Sea Turtle, Service & Scuba Adventure

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Calling all humanitarians, animal lovers, and aquatic adventurers! Work alongside the indigenous Ngobe-Guaymi people, take an active part in endangered sea turtle conservation projects in Panama, and explore below the surface on incredible reef and wreck dives or snorkel experiences. You may choose to earn your NAUI Scuba Diver certification on this course (no experience necessary) and 10-15 hours of community service.

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About the Trip

Scholarships are available for this Destination! See application form below. 

“I loved helping release baby leatherback sea turtles into the ocean because I knew I was making a positive impact on the world while having fun!  Also, scuba diving was incredible and I saw a sloth!” -Sarah M., Girl Scout Alum

Give back to local communities, help protect the Leatherback and Hawksbill sea turtle populations, and scuba dive or snorkel through the tropical waters of Panama! Earn 10 – 15 hours of community service.

Sea Turtle Conservation

Dedicate time to protecting Leatherback and Hawksbill sea turtles through meaningful conservation projects that include nightly patrols, excavating old nesting sites, beach cleanups and possibly releasing newly hatched baby turtles into the wild.

Ngobe-Guaymi Community Service Projects

Part of this course includes a multi-day service expedition through the indigenous islands in the Ngobe-Guaymi community. While camping on the grounds of their remote island community, you will work alongside fellow Girl Scouts to support their current needs while learning more about the unique Ngobe-Guaymi culture, customs and language. Service projects will be based on the current need of the community and may include building recreational equipment for school playgrounds, language exchanges with local students, and cleaning up trash that drifts to the shoreline.

Scuba Diving Certification or Snorkel

This course will spark your sense of adventure and passion for learning as you discover new worlds and gain knowledge of the marine life that inhabits the tropical waters of Panama. In Panama, you and your fellow Girl Scouts will spend the majority of your time exploring the beautiful archipelago of Bocas del Toro in northern Panama. From your island basecamp, you may snorkel or become scuba certified whilst exploring the crystal clear Caribbean Ocean. If you opt out of snorkeling or earning your scuba certification, you may join some of your coursemates and leaders for alternative service and intercultural activities to maximize your time working with local school kids.

Additional Activities

When you’re not enjoying the coral reefs or saving sea turtles, you will wakeboard through the picturesque islands of Bocas del Toro, Panama, visit Sloth Island, tour Bocas Town, and zipline through the treetops on a rainforest canopy adventure. Additional service opportunities may include securing and providing food for the newly returned manatee population and/or trail preservation.

About Outward Bound Costa Rica (OBCR)

OBCR has partnered with GSUSA for nearly 15 years to provide Girl Scout Destination courses that uniquely get Girl Scouts outside of their comfort zone, expand their knowledge of other cultures, become stronger leaders, and make lasting friendships from across the world.

Hear From the Alum

“I highly recommend Outward Bound Costa Rica. My daughter is 15-years-old and it was her first time out of the country without her family. The first couple days were a little rough and she might have felt a little homesick but by the time she got back she had amazing experiences to share. She learned so much, bonded with others, she felt like she made a difference by helping the sea turtles, her appreciation grew for the beautiful world we live in, and she came back with memories and skills that will last her a lifetime.”  -Renata, GS Mother

“The most meaningful part of my course was working with the sea turtles. I feel strongly about the environment, so it was an honor to be able to help with conservation work.” -Marley Y., Girl Scout Alum

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

Where You Go

Costa Rica

What to Know

You must be 13–18 years old at the time of the trip. No Spanish language experience is required.

You must possess:

  • A sincere interest in community service and cultural exchange
  • The readiness for a physical challenge
  • The ability to be a good team player
  • An open mind to experience an eye-opening adventure

Girl Scouts will spend the majority of their time in the Bocas del Toro Province of Panama; Costa Rica Base Camp is located in San Ramon de Tres Rios in Cartago Province, Costa Rica; City tour in Bocas Town, Bocas del Toro, Panama.

The Dates

Session 1: June 18, 2022 – July 2, 2022

Session 2: July 2, 2022 – July 16, 2022

Session 3: July 16, 2022 - July 30, 2022

Session 4: July 30, 2022 - August 13, 2022

Please be sure to specify which session you are applying for when filling out your application.

You must be entering 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade – or have just graduated – to participate.

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
  • Visa will be issued upon arrival into Costa Rica for U.S. and UK citizens. No forms or fees are needed.


The Cost

Program Fee: $2,595

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.

Program Fee includes food, lodging, in-country transportation, pick-up and drop-off to the airport, and all advanced gear for adventure activities. 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) for the artisan market visit and baggage fees.

Girls may be eligible for a $500 scholarship made possible by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project. Download the application form on the right or contact Outward Bound Costa Rica for more information on how to apply.

Download Application Forms
Destinations Application Worksheet Scholarship Form
Contact Information

Girl Scout Liaison