Costa Rica Discovery!

Adventure Travel - Quo Student Travel
Pura vida!

It’s more than the quintessential slogan for Costa Rica – it’s a way of embracing the day and living life to the fullest.

Here, among the lush rainforest canopies, pebbled beaches and gaze-worthy waterfalls, students and teachers will channel their inner adrenaline junky while connecting with a culture that’s warm and welcoming.

Join Quo for an incredible 8-day adventure, packed with cultural immersion, language exposure, connection to nature and educational experiences that will have an enduring impact.

Our Costa Rica adventure is so much fun! Rich in growth experiences, plus educational benefits & advantages that last a lifetime.

– Quo Founder, Peg Thomas

Program Snap Shot

Smaller group.

Bigger impact.

 Program length:  8 days
All Inclusive Price:  from $3,995
Program Departs:  June 25, 2022

Minimum Group:  24 Paying Travelers

$500 Deposit required at Enrollment.

Program Highlights:
  • Arenal Volcano Hiking
  • White Water Rafting
  • Wildlife: Abandoned & Injured Animal Rescue
  • Chocolate, Coffee & Sugar Plantation
  • Focus on Reforestation & Conservation
  • Volunteer at a Local School
  • Authentic Local Craft Markets
  • Aerial Rainforest Gondola
  • Canyoneering and Waterfall Rappels
  • Volcanic Hot Springs
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Hands-On Service-Learning Project
  • Hummingbird Colony
  • Zipline Canopy Adventure
  • Outrigger Canoes & Kayaks at Jaco Beach
  • Pacific Snorkel Adventure
  • Relax for an afternoon at the BEACH!


Full Program Itinerary

Costa Rica: literally, a tropical paradise.

The country is covered by lush rainforests and beautiful cloud forests.

Five percent of our entire planet’s biodiversity lives here!

Prepare for a journey into biological reserves and spectacular national parks…

that will forever change how you view (and value) our planet’s threatened ecosystems.

Plus, eco warrior, you’ll roll up your sleeves and help restore Costa Rica’s “Green Highway”

Best of all, you’re about to have a ton of adrenaline-fueled fun!

Welcome to pura vida paradise!

Day One – Journey to Costa Rica

Today we will fly to San José, Costa Rica.

Upon arrival we will be met by our expert naturalist guide who will accompany us to our hotel in San José. It’s late and we’re bushed, so we’ll enjoy a late dinner before getting a good night’s rest.

Day Two – White Water Rafting

After a morning briefing on the bus, our Costa Rica adventure begins with adrenaline!

  • We will drive to Siquirres for an incredible white water rafting on the Pacuare River.
  • We’ll start with some fun and effective safety training so everyone has an amazing and memorable experience.
  • This is the best rafting river in the country – and one of the 10 best in the world! Perfect for an unforgettable start to your week of Pura Vida.
  • With our excellent river guides, you’ll also be learning what makes Costa Rica one of the most fascinating & exciting destinations in the world.
  • We’ll take a breather halfway through our rafting trip to eat lunch along the rushing river before going strong all afternoon.

Later, we’ll begin our journey north to Arenal. The 3-hour drive is beautiful and our guide will make good use of the journey by helping us discover a lot about Costa Rica along the way.

We’ll take a break and explore the globally-adored village of La Fortuna de San Carlos, or just “La Fortuna.”

You’re sure to dig out a little of your spending money at La Fortuna’s incredible local market.

  • This is where the locals shop for staples, craft items, clothing, food and other essentials.
  • You’ll be amazed at the beautiful handmade goods, colorful creations and locally grown meat and produce.

Tonight, you may be a little bushed after a big day of shooting the rapids. If there’s time & if you have the energy, maybe you’ll want to hit the pool?

We’ll enjoy a great family-style dinner as we download about our adventure, and soon we’ll turn in for a well-earned sleep in the shadow of Arenal Volcano.

Day Three – Wildlife, Zipline & Hot Springs

Our day begins with an introduction to Arenal Volcano National Park.

  • This distinctive cone-shaped volcano is one of the most famous sites in Costa Rica.
  • Every inch of the park has fascinating things to teach us about biology, geology, vulcanology, climate and history.
  • There is so much to see and do, this active afternoon will fly by in a blink. Prepare for an exhilarating and informative hike on the volcano!

Next, we’ll visit to a rescue center for orphaned and injured animals.

This is not only a great opportunity to learn first-hand about the fauna of Costa Rica, but it’s also a chance to perform some memorable service with a worthy organization.

  • We’ll get up close and personal with the wildlife as we help with feeding and cleaning their habitats.
  • Many of the animals we’ll meet may eventually be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
  • Others may never be able to survive outside this protective environment. These “lifers” are a particularly friendly bunch who give us a unique opportunity to interact in ways that would never happen in the wild.

We’ll have a lunch & learn with the wildlife biologists, where we can ask questions and engage with the pros while we fuel up for an exciting afternoon.

Our next stop is a uniquely unforgettable tour of the rainforest canopy. The adventure begins on the Sky Tram, an open-air gondola which transports us to one of the highest points in the forest.

From the top, we’ll ZIPLINE through the rainforest canopy!

  • This incredibly exciting adventure includes 8 cross-sectional cables that together have a total length of just under 2 miles!
  • The longest cable is 2,500 ft in length and over 650 ft from the rainforest floor. 
  • During this activity, our guides will point out the unique fauna and flora from an entirely new perspective.
  • Deer, monkeys, snakes, sloths, frogs, peccaries, raccoons and a great variety of birds are just some of the animals that can be seen during this canopy tour.

After a pulse-pounding adventure, we’ll head back to the hotel to clean up before hitting the hot water!

This evening, we’ll step into an exotic setting at La Fortuna’s favorite Hot Springs.

  • Amidst the tropical rainforest, more than a dozen thermal pools are filled by crystalline waterfalls. The springs that feed these pools are the result of rainwater being heated by magma in the Earth’s interior.
  • Set among manicured tropical gardens, each pool features a different temperature, so you can lounge, relax and play in the pools that feel right to you.
  • The purity of this geothermally-heated mineral water leaves you feeling you’re floating in an oasis, surrounded by sounds of singing birds and falling water.

Later, we’ll enjoy a feast of Costa Rican specialties as we dine in an open-air restaurant among the trees in the rainforest. It’s a perfect way to unwind after a busy and challenging day!

Day Four – Canyoning & Waterfall Rappels

This morning, we don our safety helmets and trek through the forest to some of the most exciting waterfalls in Costa Rica. This is a place few people endeavor to experience.

  • Even when the destination is totally amazing, they say some of the best rewards are found in the journey itself. That’s certainly true today. As we make our way through the lush rainforest, our clever, experienced and resourceful guides will help us discover many of the secrets that lie hidden deep within this phenomenal canyon.

And soon we will encounter our first waterfall! Time to harness up & rappel into the beautiful, pristine canyon below.

  • Do you jump off cliffs? You will today!
  • After some careful safety training, we’ll harness up, strap on our helmets, and complete 5 thrilling rappels, 4 of which are alongside (or right in!) waterfalls, and one dry rock face. Exhilarating!

At the market on Day 2, we saw examples of the foods common in the local diet, which partially reflects what can be grown in this climate and at this altitude. When it’s time for lunch today, we’ll pause to ponder where our food comes from both here and at home, and we’ll learn a bit more about what foods are grown locally for consumption and export.

After a hearty meal, we’ll visit a modern pineapple plantation and see how this popular delicacy is grown, harvested… and yes, we’ll enjoy some fresh cut pineapple right from the field! 

Next, we’ll motor around the stunning and picturesque Lake Arenal, en route to Monteverde, where we will spend two nights at a beautiful stone lodge high in the Costa Rican Cloud Forest!

When we arrive late this afternoon, we’ll enjoy an informative briefing from our expert guide. He will help us orient to this new climate, altitude and environment. The cloud forest is distinctively different from the rainforest, in terms of temperature, elevation, humidity, topography, microclimates and the rivers that run through each.

Dinner tonight will be a homestyle buffet at our lodge, highlighting many of the foods and ingredients we learned about today.

Timing, weather and temperatures will dictate whether you’ll hit the pool before bed tonight!

Day Five – Cloud Forest, Coffee & Sugar Cane

Today is all about discovering the fascinating and exciting Cloud Forest biome.

  • This morning, we’ll dress for variable conditions because we’re hiking right into the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. We’re on a mission to discover and explore the almost-unimaginable range of ecosystems and unique biodiversity found here.
  • This cloud forest has even more biodiversity than the Amazon Rainforest, and we’ll be on learning-overdrive as our naturalist guide introduces us to the astonishing array of plant & animal species in this area.
  • You. Will. Marvel.
  • If we’re lucky, we might see the beautiful Quetzal, the Three-Wattled Bell Bird, or the Black-Faced Solitaire.
  • Equally impressive is the unique flora of orchids, bromeliads, and strangler figs. The sounds, the scents and the dizzying array of sights make for a sensory experience that adds to this forest’s already mysterious beauty.

You’ll appreciate diversity in a whole new way when we enter the incredible world of hummingbirds at the simple but breathtaking Hummingbird Gallery!

  • You may be surprised to learn how many colorful varieties of this bird species can coexist in this relatively small area.
  • You’ll see every color, pattern, shape and size of these phenomenally fast-moving birds as they zoom though the jungle environment and drink from the specialized hummingbird feeders.
  • You’ll observe how they socialize, and if you gently lift your hand near a feeder, one or two of these tiny, delicate birds may alight on your finger.

Pause to take in the beauty and complexity of this incredible habitat and the reserve that surrounds you.

Today is about finding an appreciation for nature’s spectacle. You just might find some excellent essay topics for next year…

This afternoon, we will head into the countryside to visit a modern Coffee, Sugar Cane & Chocolate “Plantation!”

  • Prepare for an exhilarating and informative adventure, as we hike up and down the steep hillsides of this region’s farm country. From hands-on activities, you’ll learn about the origins and production of coffee, sugar & chocolate.
  • You’ll see how these essential crops are nurtured & harvested. You’ll see why they thrive in this particular climate, soil and altitude.
  • Have you tasted a raw coffee berry? You’ll see first hand how coffee is grown, harvested, processed, roasted, packaged and distributed. Then you’ll taste authentic brewed coffee straight from the roaster! (You may want to add some sugar…)
  • Speaking of sugar… if you haven’t seen sugar in its natural form, you may be surprised. You’ll taste sweet sugar cane as it’s cut fresh in the field, and you’ll see how it’s then pressed to release the surprising amount of watery juice in its fibers. You may be surprised to see how it’s then boiled to make a syrup that’s much sweeter than sugar.
  • Chocolate, if you like: we’ll see how cacao beans are transformed from a bland, gooey tree fruit into the rich & irresistible treat nearly everyone loves. Maybe you’d like to try making your own chocolate?  
  • From local labor, to landowners, to multinational corporations, you’ll be fascinated to see how these tasty crops contribute to the Costa Rican economy.

Lunch will be served at the plantation before we head back to the lodge for a little down time. Pool time, anyone?

Soon, we’ll head into town to explore and learn about the community before we enjoy a fun and festive dinner in a very typical local restaurant.

You’ve seen the cloud forest by day, but it’s a totally different world at night. After dark, we’ll don our coats and grab our flashlights. We’re headed into the inky darkness of the forest for an exciting Night Hike! The nocturnal animals, insects and even the plants and fungus are unlike anything you’ve seen by daylight!

Day Six – Service & Sustainability

We’ll get an early start this morning as we descend from the Cloud Forest all the way to the Central Pacific Coast.


One of the greatest aspects of international travel is the opportunity to interact with people whose lives are entirely unlike our own and learn about their experiences. Quo programs always look for opportunities to give back to our hosts and participate in sustainability projects. Today ticks all the boxes!

  • Upon arrival at a disadvantaged elementary school, we’ll roll up our sleeves and tackle a service project that will help improve young students’ learning experience. We may paint, we may clean, we may build something useful or make basic repairs – literally any effort we make will pay dividends for this community in need.
  • We are welcome to present any donations you may wish to bring, and the children are always thrilled with the opportunity to play!


Once upon a time, nearly all of Costa Rica was covered by a lush & dense forest canopy. Over time, vast regions were cleared to make way for agriculture and development, resulting in massive habitat loss for Costa Rica’s indigenous species.

Today, deforestation means wildlife is unable to migrate outside their small home areas, leading to disease, inbreeding and the extinction of entire species.

Costa Rica has now set a goal of “rebuilding the Green Highway.”

  • This means they are strategically planting trees to reconnect the nation’s forests to one another, creating an interconnected forest so that animals can migrate, mingle and thrive from coast to coast.
  • This is at the heart of Costa Rica’s mantra: “PURA VIDA!”
  • We will help a non-profit greenhouse prepare seedlings for planting as part of this nationwide reforestation effort! With a little effort, we’ll get our hands a bit dirty, but our impact will be massive.

Down the road a few minutes, this morning’s hard work will be rewarded with a wonderful, hearty meal at a non-profit café that benefits the local community.

Next, let’s go on an exploratory River Cruise!

We’ll board a river boat to sail upstream through the mangroves and into the “jungle.”

  • We’ll learn more about the delicate ecology of this unique coastal region.
  • Our river guide will explain the hard work it takes to keep this biome thriving and the river healthy, despite climate change and human impact upstream.
  • Best of all, we’ll see all kinds of wildlife in their natural habitat!

This afternoon we’re driving back to San José… with luck we’ll have a few minutes to hit the pool before dinner.

Dinner tonight will be at the hotel, followed by a special treat: Salsa Dancing!

Bring your moves & loosen up your hips. A group of nationally-ranked, professional, competitive salsa dancers will show us how it’s done. Who better to teach us some moves? You don’t want to be sporting flip-flops for this activity! When you get back home, your friends & family will be blown away by your caliente new moves.

Day Seven – Jaco Beach, Outrigger Canoes & Snorkeling

BIG FINISH: adventure activities always create an opportunity for personal growth and making memories. By now you know that Costa Rica is packed with adventure!

This morning, be sure to pack your swimsuit & sunscreen – we’re making our way back to the Central Pacific Coast. From the city to the sea, the landscape again transforms completely as we get closer to the ocean.

Once we arrive at Jaco Beach, the fun begins! Welcome to your outrigger canoe expedition!

  • A bit like a team-building adventure, these outrigger canoes are a great way to get safely out on the ocean.
  • Designed for a small group of paddlers, these outriggers (think of them as Hawaiian-style canoes) are a great equalizer of abilities.
  • Your steers-person in the canoe controls your direction as the team provides the steam.
  • It’s sure to be a competition, but each group arrives in the beautiful private cove at about at the same time. First to shore is first to hit the beach!
  • You will glide past spectacular cliffs filled with frigate birds and pelicans, and your guide will point out interesting landmarks.

After a nice lunch by the ocean, you’ll have time to snorkel from the beach (as long as conditions permit). At last, BEACH TIME!

  • You’ll have lots of options if anyone in the group is into monkey- and bird-watching, beach volleyball, swimming, kayaking, or just beachcombing.

This afternoon, we’ll rinse the sand out of our hair and head back toward San Jose.

We’ll stop at the world famous Tarcoles Bridge, home to – literally – hundreds and hundreds of hungry crocodiles.

  • From high above, we’ll safely peer over the bridge to watch masses of these prehistoric eating machines, sunning themselves, swimming, fighting and hunting along the Tarcoles River below.
  • Hang onto your phones, hats and sunglasses – if you drop it, you’re not going down there to retrieve it!

This is also a great time to do a little last-minute shopping for souvenirs and gifts at one of Costa Rica’s most fantastic arts & crafts markets.

Back at the hotel, we’ll have time to freshen up, dress up and make ourselves ready for a fun and fabulous farewell pizza party!

Day Eight – Adios, amigos!

Today we’re homeward bound!

It’s an early start this morning, we we’ll take our final breakfast to go.

It’s a short drive to the airport for our flight back to the USA. 

Buen viage!