The combination of educational and adrenaline-rich activities included in a Costa Rican tour leave a lasting, memorable imprint on the minds, hearts and souls of your students.
The key, of course, is to build an exciting itinerary for your group while prioritizing safety at all times.
Language immersion, cultural enrichment and a more expansive world view are all compelling reasons to take a group of students to Costa Rica. That’s the message you’ll be sharing with school administrators and parents. For teachers and students, you might focus more on the enticements like zip lining, waterfall rappelling and volcanic hikes.
Here are some adrenaline-inducing experiences and how to ensure they are safe for a student group traveling to Costa Rica.
Adrenaline Pumping Activities in Costa Rica
There are plenty of exciting adventures waiting in Costa Rica, but the following are tried-and-true favorites for groups.
Zip Lining offers breathtaking views and thrills
Zip lining is a Costa Rican rite of passage for visitors. The majority of zip line tours take place in the jungle canopy. Flying high between treetops and vegetation, over waterfalls and rivers, you get a view of wildlife they might not have seen otherwise.
Zip lining is also available over Costa Rica's dry forests of Guanacaste, along coastlines and past the slopes of active volcanoes, all that offer incredible vistas. Things to remember when zip lining:
Always wear a helmet that fits securely. Our trusted excursion outfitters will require a fitting before you depart from the education station.
- Wear safe, comfortable clothes and shoes. Covered toes are provide the most protection.
- Your guides will ensure that your carabiners (clamps) are hooked securely to both harness and lines. Listen closely and follow directions related to your line and harness.
- Your harness and all gear should look in good condition if you are using a trusted outfitter. It also should fit securely and as directed. Speak up if something doesn’t fit correctly.
- Always listen to the guides and follow their instructions implicitly, including directions about starting, stopping, and what to do if you stall on the line.
The top Costa Rican zip line tours are designed and/or certified by the U.S. based ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology). We look for this certification from our excursion partners. If you are using another travel partner, verify the certifications.
Once the last group members leave the final station, students and chaperones emerge thoroughly practiced for the next activity on the list: waterfall rappelling.
Rappel yourselves down a waterfall or two
Waterfalls are captivating, natural spectacles at any age. Take that captivation a step further by taking the group rappelling down a face of one (or more) of Costa Rica's postcard-worthy falls.
Also called canyoning, this heart-pumping activity involves a range of outdoor activities - hiking, climbing and rappelling - with a refreshing dose of water added to the mix. Like zip lining, there is the thrill of a speedy descent. However, the thrill is balanced by longer pauses (when desired) and heightened control, appealing to those who enjoy spending time soaking up their surroundings and looking for exotic wildlife.
Depending on the chosen site, students can rappel anywhere between 15 to 180 feet. Some tours also include a horseback riding excursion to ascend back up and out of the canyon - always a fun way to conclude the day's activities.
Rappelling safety rules are universal whether you're in the U.S. or abroad. You should be equipped with a:
- Canyoning backpack
- Locking carabiners
- Safety lanyard
- Repelling device
- An experienced tour guide with a good track record
Many students and chaperones are surprised when rappelling the falls winds up ahead of zip lining in the "favorites" list. The hiking and rappelling process takes up more time, and allows the overall experience to settle in, rather than (literally) flying by.
Beware of eruptions while hiking the Poás Volcano
The Poás volcano crater is famous, most specifically for Botas Lake's beautiful, green acidic waters, as well as surrounding volcanic activity in the general vicinity. The half-day volcanic hike typically begins at the Pan American highway, continues through farmlands and coffee plantations, and then ascends the volcano's rim.
Geography and vegetation shift dramatically from bottom to top and, at the end, hikers are always mesmerized. The sheer beauty of the views in and around the volcano are one thing, but there's also the thrill of knowing you're standing at the edge of a highly active volcano (gulp!). Along the way, the group will also get to see fumaroles that emit steamy plumes of lake water from time to time, as well as the rich biodiversity found in the surrounding cloud forest.
The Poás volcano is monitored continuously so any signs of unusually high activity levels result in restricted access to the site. If and when access to Poás is restricted, we rebook hiking tours to one of Costa Rica's numerous volcanic attractions - all of which have their own stunning vistas and experiences to offer.
What do you get when you combine coastal swamps, tangled plant and tree roots, and high tide? Mangroves! And, where there are Costa Rican mangroves, odds are you'll find crocodiles too.
Crocodile tours are another Costa Rican specialty, regaled by both teenagers and adults. It's true that crocodiles are an intimidating force, as is anything that big, strong and ruled by its medulla oblongata. Crocs are especially thrilling when all that separates you from their powerful jaws is a bit of air space, some water and a brave tour guide.
As with any of the aforementioned, adrenaline pumping activities in Costa Rica, mangrove-centered crocodile tours come equipped with stunning scenery, water play, and phenomenal birding and wildlife-viewing opportunities.
How do we know tour group activities will be safe?
Teachers and group leaders should perform due diligence before signing up for any one of the above or additional adventure options.
- Only sign up with an educational tour group that is professional, experienced and has a good track record. This can be verified via former clients, online reviews and customer testimonials.
- Verify which Costa Rican-based companies they'll be using while your group is on tour. Research companies online and check to see whether they're listed or rated in well-respected travel guides, like Frommer's or Lonely Planet. If so, it's a good sign since mainstream travel guide publishers thoroughly vet their recommendations.
- If you can't find the information you need or want, contact the Costa Rica Tourism Board to learn more about specific companies or excursion options.
Are you looking for a way to combine educational experiences, cultural awareness and thrilling adventures into a single tour? A professionally-led, student tour in Costa Rica is the way to go. We have years of experience leading hands-on educational tours that are safe, affordable and fun.
For more information about a hands-on, educational tour of Costa Rica, please contact us.