Projects Abroad volunteer prepare for their ziplining experience through the Costa Rican forest

Conservation Service Learning in Costa Rica for Middle School Students

Live in the Costa Rican tropical dry forest and work with other middle school students on important conservation work

At a glance

  • Learn about the importance of conservation efforts whilst living and working in the government-run Barra Honda National Park.
  • Get involved in various conversation activities including wildlife monitoring, night walks and reforestation efforts.
  • Travel alongside other middle school students with supervisors by your side every step of the way.

Start Dates: 

Fixed dates during school holidays

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks


This project is only for 12-15 year olds

Is Conservation & Community work in Costa Rica right for me?

Our service learning trip to Costa Rica is ideal for middle school students who want to experience volunteering abroad for the first time. This trip is carefully planned by our staff so that you can experience a combination of travel, learning and community service in a safe environment. If you love the outdoors, that’s even better!

There’s no need to worry if you are travelling alone for the first time. You’ll have constant supervision and guidance by our staff from the moment you arrive at the airport in Costa Rica. If you ever have any questions or just need someone to talk to, they will be there. They even create set itineraries for your trip so you know what to activities to expect every day. All these activities are supervised by our staff including treks through the forests, bird spotting, or navigating intricate caving systems.

All that is required from you is a good level of physical fitness and a willingness to spend the next two weeks away from your everyday comforts like WiFi and hot water. Although, you’ll probably need that cool shower after a full day in the heat of the forest!

This experiential learning trip in Costa Rica runs over a two week period as set times of the year which usually coincide with your school holidays. How amazing would it be to head back to school with stories about living and working in the Costa Rican forest over your summer holidays?

Projects Abroad volunteers take a break in the forest during their Conservation Project

The project runs all year round, you can start on any day, and it’s fully supervised. So all you need to do is decide on some dates, complete our application form with a £195 deposit and we’ll take care of the rest.

What will I do during my service learning trip to Costa Rica for middle school students?

During your experiential learning in Costa Rica, you’ll assist with conservation activities in the Barra Honda National Park and surrounding communities. Here are a few of the tasks you and the other middle school students will get involved in:

  • Spot and record the wildlife you see in the forest
  • Care for plants in a nursery and replant older plants
  • Share the importance of protecting the environment with school children
  • Get your hands dirty as you repaint a local school
  • Connect with volunteers from around the world during your time exploring Costa Rica

You'll focus on the following activities:

Protect the forest and the animals that call it home

You’ll spend most of your time assisting our staff in the green forest of the Barra Honda National Park. Every activity you do will contribute to the protection of the wildlife and plants found there. You may find yourself recording the number of monkeys in an area, setting out on night walks to track bats, or caring for plant saplings in a nursery.

Through this work, you’ll learn about the importance of protecting the environment and value of volunteering. Our staff will talk you through every activity and explain the reasoning behind it. They’ll encourage you to ask questions which will develop your skills.

Participate in the community

An important part of the project is sharing your new findings with school children in the community. They will benefit just as much as you by knowing why it is so important to keep the environment clean. You’ll encourage them to protect the forests and appreciate the value that the forests add to their community, country, and the world as a whole.

Our staff will also get you involved in the painting of a local school. You can give the walls a fresh coat of paint and create conservation-related pictures on the walls. This can include pictures and names of the wildlife found in the reserve or recycling.

Make friends while exploring Costa Rica

There will be no shortage of time to socialise with the other middle school students during your time in Costa Rica. We encourage you to spend your free time chatting in the hammocks outside your dormitory or share stories about your country, culture and volunteering experiences around a fire at night.

Our project partners in Costa Rica

We’ve partnered with the Barra Honda National Park for our Conservation & Community experiential learning trip for middle school students. This government-run park protects the wildlife and other biodiversity living in the forest. They value the efforts of volunteers as it makes it easier for them to implement and complete their conservation work.

Our partnership ensures the park has enough manpower. In exchange, volunteers get to learn directly from experienced professionals.

Where in Costa Rica will I work?

Barra Honda

Our Conservation & Community service learning trip to Costa Rica for middle school students is based at the government-run Barra Honda National Park. Located in the Nicoya peninsula, the reserve is only a 25-minute drive from the town of Nicoya.

You’ll live and work with the staff in this reserve, surrounded by forest and limestone caves. You’ll sleep in same-sex dormitories with other middle school students. Your supervisor will be right next door if you need anything during the night.

This is the perfect opportunity to take a break from social media and the bustle of big cities. Everyday will be filled with chirping birds, fresh air and the most amazing sunsets. You’ll be able to truly connect with nature and enjoy your time in Costa Rica.

Airport pickup, flights and visas costa rica

When volunteering in Costa Rica, your arrival airport will be Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). You will be met at the airport by a Projects Abroad staff member. You can find more detailed information on flights, arrival airports, orientation, and visas, on our Costa Rica Arrival Procedures page.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers during your stay at Barra Honda National Park. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your time together.

On our Middle School Specials, we will always try to have you share a room with at least one volunteer of the same sex and approximate age. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe. Your programme fees include three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have all the extra support you need as a young person travelling abroad. Our Projects Abroad staff are there for you 24 hours a day during the week and over weekends to provide constant support and guidance. Our staff also make sure you feel comfortable and safe at your placement and accommodation. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

When you apply you only pay $495, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 09 801 2518 to see if we can offer a discount.

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