Costa Rica & Panama Service Challenge

Go back to Destinations

Gain compassion for diverse communities and endangered ecosystems while experiencing adventure activities. Earn 35-45 hours of community service.

13 14 15 16 17-18 2018 Culture International Service
About the Trip

Scholarships available for this Destination! See application below.  

Gain compassion for diverse communities and endangered ecosystems while experiencing adventure activities. Earn over 35-45 hours of community service. 

“My experience has been amazing and has shown me a new side to myself. It’s an experience I will never forget.”  ~Lauren, Girl Scout, 2017

Experience a tropical adventure while making a difference in a unique cultural setting. On this course, you will dedicate your time to assisting with community projects in an indigenous village in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica and protect the unique and fragile ecosystem of Panama. This past year’s participants earned approximately 40 hours of community service.

This course starts in the indigenous region of Talamanca, Costa Rica working and living with the indigenous BriBri population. While staying in a remote village, work alongside fellow Girl Scouts to support the local community. Service projects may include food distribution, creating a garden, painting, teaching English, building aqueducts, building classrooms and recycling projects. Learn about native customs, culture, language, and food engaging with the local community.

Next, you will travel across the border of Costa Rica to help protect the diverse marine life along the Caribbean Coast of Northern Panama in San San Pond Sak. Learn about Panama’s beautiful and interesting ecosystems while working on a sea turtle conservation project. Assist with local conservation efforts through activities such as nightly patrols, cataloging nests, habitat creation, and possibly releasing newly hatched baby turtles into the wild. Secure and provide food for the newly returned manatees. You may also participate in other service projects such as beach cleanups and/or trail preservation.

For the time you not engaged in service projects, experience an action-packed adventure while braving the rapids on a day of whitewater rafting, zipping through the treetops on a canopy tour, and soaking in the vibrant culture during a city tour and a visit to San Jose’s bustling artisan market. While on base you will work to maintain the trails in the National Preserve of the cloud forest adjacent to our base.

Since 2006, Outward Bound Costa Rica has inspired a lifetime of leadership, growth and a commitment to serve through our GSUSA Destinations courses. Leadership and character development is woven throughout your adventures facilitated by discussions and meetings woven into all course activities. Explore how the challenges you meet in and out of the Costa Rican or Panamanian wilderness help you confront the challenges that life presents.

“I knew when Emily returned from her trip that she would be different, but I never expected the amazing transformation I saw when we met her at the airport. She was full of life, excitement, and confidence. Emily spoke the most about the wonderful bond she made with her new friends. This trip by far exceeded our expectations!” ~ Carrie, GS Mother, 2017

Watch our video

Learn about other adventure-filled Girl Scout Destinations with Outward Bound Costa Rica on our website.

Where You Go

Costa Rica

What to Know

You must be 13-18 years old at the time of your trip

You must possess:

  • A sincere interest in community service and cultural exchange
  • Spanish language skills and willingness to practice with the local community
  • The spirit for a physical fitness challenge
  • A comfort level in the water (for whitewater rafting day)
  • The ability to be a good team player

Trip takes place in both Costa Rica & Panama. In Costa Rica, activities in San Jose, Cartago and Limón Provinces, with base camp in San Ramon de Tres Rios. In Panama, conservation service project takes place in the Bocas del Toro Province.


The Dates

Session 1: June 16, 2018 – June 30, 2018 - SESSION 1 IS NOW FULL!

Session 2: June 30, 2018 – July 14, 2018

Session 3: July 14, 2018 - July 28, 2018

Session 4: July 28, 2018 - August 11, 2018

*Note: Please be sure to specify which session(s) you are applying for when filling out your application.*

What to Bring

  • A packing list will be provided upon receipt of your deposit
  • A valid passport with an expiration date no less than 6 months past your day of departure from Costa Rica
  • A tetanus vaccination is required before your arrival in Costa Rica


The Cost

Program Fee: $2,400

Program Fee does not include airfare. You will be responsible for providing your own round-trip airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO airport), as well as bringing your own spending money (recommended $200 per 2-week course.)

A $200 deposit will be due immediately upon acceptance. (It's part of the Program Fee, not in addition to it). The balance is due 30 days prior to the start of the course.

Girls may be eligible for a $500 scholarship made possible by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project. Please download the form on the right or contact Outward Bound Costa Rica for more information about this scholarship.

Download Application Forms
Destinations Application 2018-2019 Scholarship Application
Contact Information

Girl Scout Liaison