For students currently in grades 9–12
Alaska
Baja & the Gulf of California
Barcelona
Belize
Chile & Peru
Germany & Sweden
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Montana
Peru
Switzerland
Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji
Croatia & Slovenia
Cuba
Faroe Islands & Iceland
Italy & Greece
Japan
Kilimanjaro
Panama & Colombia
Patagonia: Skiing
Spain, France, & Portugal
Switzerland, Italy, France, & Holland
Ecuador & the Galápagos
France
Spain
Barcelona
Tokyo
Tuscany
Argentina
Costa Rica
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Fiji
Hawai'i
Morocco
Nepal
Peru
Puerto Rico
Tanzania
Thailand
Vietnam
France & Holland
Iceland
Italy & Greece
France
Spain
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Hawai'i
Need help choosing the program right for you? Call us! 802.387.5000

Hands-On Experiences to Inspire Your Future

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Adventure Travel & Cultural Immersion

Community Engagement & Global Awareness

Active Immersion in Language & Culture

Our Programs

High School
For students currently in grades 9–12

Costa Rica

Village Immersion, Cloud Forests, & Tropical Beaches

June 16 — June 30
June 20 — July 11
July 3 — July 17
July 13 — July 27
July 21 — August 4
$5,090 or $6,190 + airfare

Costa Rica

Village Immersion, Cloud Forests, & Tropical Beaches

June 16 — June 30
June 20 — July 11
July 3 — July 17
July 13 — July 27
July 21 — August 4
$5,090 or $6,190 + airfare

Live and volunteer in a rural Costa Rican community and work side by side with local people on meaningful community service projects. Wake each morning to the sounds of howler monkeys and exotic birds and spend the day building a community center or classroom, running a summer camp for local kids, or learning how to make traditional Costa Rican dishes.

• Work with Tico friends to build a community center
• Practice Spanish and help local cooks prepare meals
• Play an afternoon game of fútbol with local children
• Learn to surf along Costa Rica’s pristine coastline
“Working in the village with local residents made Zach feel like he was truly a part of something.”
—Deirdre M., Brooklyn, NY

Itinerary

These itineraries represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

2-Week Itinerary

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Miami, and fly together to San José or Liberia, Costa Rica. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Rainforest Ecolodge — 3 days

Upon arrival, travel to a secluded ecolodge and working ranch. Settle into your rustic accommodations and participate in an in-depth program orientation to discuss life in Costa Rica, break the ice with games, and get to know your group. Explore the property with local guides and learn about permaculture, renewable energy, and sustainable practices at the lodge. Take a morning yoga class, visit a coffee farm, and kayak on the calm surface of Lake Arenal. Follow hiking trails through the rainforest to waterfalls and swimming holes. During your time here, learn about Costa Rica’s history, language, and culture, get to know your group and leaders, set goals for your independent project, and prepare for the rest of your trip.

Host Community — 9 days

Travel to your host community, a small town surrounded by lush mountains and fertile farmland. Immerse yourself in everyday life as you work with warm and welcoming Costa Rican people to undertake several community-initiated volunteer projects. Lend a hand laying the foundation for a community center, or shadow a farmer to learn how to milk a cow or harvest bananas and pineapple. In the evenings, relax with Tico friends, hike to a hidden swimming hole, learn new songs on the guitar, play games of fútbol in the town plaza, or join local fiestas. Each Putney group lives and partners with different host communities and do not meet during the program.

Pacific Coast — 2 days

Stay overnight in an ecolodge perched in the mountains overlooking the southern Pacific coastline. Snorkel off a secluded beach, take a surfing lesson with guides, or hike to a beautiful vista for a picnic lunch. In the evening, go salsa dancing, take a night hike under the stars, or play guitar around a beach bonfire.

Whitewater Rafting — 1 day

Near the end of your program, undertake a final challenge with your group. Spend a day whitewater rafting with professional guides through the Río Sarapiquí or Río Pacuare, surrounded by breathtaking, lush rainforest.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from San José or Liberia, Costa Rica, to Miami with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

3-Week Itinerary

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Miami, and fly together to San José or Liberia, Costa Rica. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Rainforest Ecolodge — 3 days

Upon arrival, travel to a secluded ecolodge and working ranch. Settle into your rustic accommodations and participate in an in-depth program orientation to discuss life in Costa Rica, break the ice with games, and get to know your group. Explore the property with local guides and learn about permaculture, renewable energy, and sustainable practices at the lodge. Take a morning yoga class, visit a coffee farm, and kayak on the calm surface of Lake Arenal. Follow hiking trails through the rainforest to waterfalls and swimming holes. During your time here, learn about Costa Rica’s history, language, and culture, get to know your group and leaders, set goals for your independent project, and prepare for the rest of your trip.

Host Community — 13 or 18 days (depending on program length)

Travel to your host community, a small town surrounded by lush mountains and fertile farmland. Immerse yourself in everyday life as you work with warm and welcoming Costa Rican people to undertake several community-initiated volunteer projects. Lend a hand laying the foundation for a community center, or shadow a farmer to learn how to milk a cow or harvest bananas and pineapple. In the evenings, relax with Tico friends, hike to a hidden swimming hole, learn new songs on the guitar, play games of fútbol in the town plaza, or join local fiestas. Each Putney group lives and partners with different host communities and do not meet during the program.

Coastal Rainforest Excursion — 2 days

Take a weekend excursion to explore Costa Rica’s stunning coastal rainforest, pristine beaches, and astounding biodiversity. Stay in bungalows, hike to a remote waterfall, interview local wildlife experts, and scout for howler monkeys and sloths.

Pacific Coast — 5 days

Stay overnight in an ecolodge perched in the mountains overlooking the southern Pacific coastline. Snorkel off a secluded beach, take a surfing lesson with guides, or hike to a beautiful vista for a picnic lunch. In the evening, go salsa dancing, take a night hike under the stars, or play guitar around a beach bonfire.

The four-week Costa Rica program also visits a remote jungle lodge, explores Corcovado National Park by foot, and learns about conservation and research initiatives on the Osa Peninsula.

Whitewater Rafting — 1 day

Near the end of your program, undertake a final challenge with your group. Spend a day whitewater rafting with professional guides through the Río Sarapiquí or Río Pacuare, surrounded by breathtaking, lush rainforest.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from San José or Liberia, Costa Rica, to Miami with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Itinerary

These itineraries represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

2-Week Itinerary

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Miami, and fly together to San José or Liberia, Costa Rica. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Rainforest Ecolodge — 3 days

Upon arrival, travel to a secluded ecolodge and working ranch. Settle into your rustic accommodations and participate in an in-depth program orientation to discuss life in Costa Rica, break the ice with games, and get to know your group. Explore the property with local guides and learn about permaculture, renewable energy, and sustainable practices at the lodge. Take a morning yoga class, visit a coffee farm, and kayak on the calm surface of Lake Arenal. Follow hiking trails through the rainforest to waterfalls and swimming holes. During your time here, learn about Costa Rica’s history, language, and culture, get to know your group and leaders, set goals for your independent project, and prepare for the rest of your trip.

Host Community — 9 days

Travel to your host community, a small town surrounded by lush mountains and fertile farmland. Immerse yourself in everyday life as you work with warm and welcoming Costa Rican people to undertake several community-initiated volunteer projects. Lend a hand laying the foundation for a community center, or shadow a farmer to learn how to milk a cow or harvest bananas and pineapple. In the evenings, relax with Tico friends, hike to a hidden swimming hole, learn new songs on the guitar, play games of fútbol in the town plaza, or join local fiestas. Each Putney group lives and partners with different host communities and do not meet during the program.

Pacific Coast — 2 days

Stay overnight in an ecolodge perched in the mountains overlooking the southern Pacific coastline. Snorkel off a secluded beach, take a surfing lesson with guides, or hike to a beautiful vista for a picnic lunch. In the evening, go salsa dancing, take a night hike under the stars, or play guitar around a beach bonfire.

Whitewater Rafting — 1 day

Near the end of your program, undertake a final challenge with your group. Spend a day whitewater rafting with professional guides through the Río Sarapiquí or Río Pacuare, surrounded by breathtaking, lush rainforest.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from San José or Liberia, Costa Rica, to Miami with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

3-Week Itinerary

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Miami, and fly together to San José or Liberia, Costa Rica. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Rainforest Ecolodge — 3 days

Upon arrival, travel to a secluded ecolodge and working ranch. Settle into your rustic accommodations and participate in an in-depth program orientation to discuss life in Costa Rica, break the ice with games, and get to know your group. Explore the property with local guides and learn about permaculture, renewable energy, and sustainable practices at the lodge. Take a morning yoga class, visit a coffee farm, and kayak on the calm surface of Lake Arenal. Follow hiking trails through the rainforest to waterfalls and swimming holes. During your time here, learn about Costa Rica’s history, language, and culture, get to know your group and leaders, set goals for your independent project, and prepare for the rest of your trip.

Host Community — 13 or 18 days (depending on program length)

Travel to your host community, a small town surrounded by lush mountains and fertile farmland. Immerse yourself in everyday life as you work with warm and welcoming Costa Rican people to undertake several community-initiated volunteer projects. Lend a hand laying the foundation for a community center, or shadow a farmer to learn how to milk a cow or harvest bananas and pineapple. In the evenings, relax with Tico friends, hike to a hidden swimming hole, learn new songs on the guitar, play games of fútbol in the town plaza, or join local fiestas. Each Putney group lives and partners with different host communities and do not meet during the program.

Coastal Rainforest Excursion — 2 days

Take a weekend excursion to explore Costa Rica’s stunning coastal rainforest, pristine beaches, and astounding biodiversity. Stay in bungalows, hike to a remote waterfall, interview local wildlife experts, and scout for howler monkeys and sloths.

Pacific Coast — 5 days

Stay overnight in an ecolodge perched in the mountains overlooking the southern Pacific coastline. Snorkel off a secluded beach, take a surfing lesson with guides, or hike to a beautiful vista for a picnic lunch. In the evening, go salsa dancing, take a night hike under the stars, or play guitar around a beach bonfire.

The four-week Costa Rica program also visits a remote jungle lodge, explores Corcovado National Park by foot, and learns about conservation and research initiatives on the Osa Peninsula.

Whitewater Rafting — 1 day

Near the end of your program, undertake a final challenge with your group. Spend a day whitewater rafting with professional guides through the Río Sarapiquí or Río Pacuare, surrounded by breathtaking, lush rainforest.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from San José or Liberia, Costa Rica, to Miami with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_SCRA_David Felsen
David Felsen
View Bio
2023_SCRA_SCRE_Annabelle Baldwin
Annabelle Baldwin
View Bio
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Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_SCRA_David Felsen
David Felsen
View Bio
2023_SCRA_SCRE_Annabelle Baldwin
Annabelle Baldwin
View Bio
Loading...
About the Destination

In 1949, declaring itself a peaceful nation, Costa Rica disbanded its army and has since enjoyed seven decades of democracy and peace. Known for its astounding biodiversity, warm and inviting culture, and miles of tropical beaches, Costa Rica is a pioneer in innovative approaches to ecotourism. Although a small country, the nation boasts incredible geographic diversity—from tropical rainforest to pristine beaches to active volcanoes.

Language

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica.

Climate

Costa Rica is a tropical country with two seasons: wet and dry. We visit during the wet season. It rains often in brief, heavy showers rather than all-day storms. In the host communities, daytime temperatures range from 75–95°F (23–35°C), while nighttime temperatures drop between 60–70°F (15–21°C).

Cuisine

Costa Rican cuisine is hearty fare with rice, beans, and a delicious array of tropical fruits, such as papaya, mango, and pineapple, at almost every meal. A typical lunch consists of gallo pinto (rice and beans), fish or chicken, vegetables, cheese, tortillas, and fruit.

About the Destination

In 1949, declaring itself a peaceful nation, Costa Rica disbanded its army and has since enjoyed seven decades of democracy and peace. Known for its astounding biodiversity, warm and inviting culture, and miles of tropical beaches, Costa Rica is a pioneer in innovative approaches to ecotourism. Although a small country, the nation boasts incredible geographic diversity—from tropical rainforest to pristine beaches to active volcanoes.

Language

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica.

Climate

Costa Rica is a tropical country with two seasons: wet and dry. We visit during the wet season. It rains often in brief, heavy showers rather than all-day storms. In the host communities, daytime temperatures range from 75–95°F (23–35°C), while nighttime temperatures drop between 60–70°F (15–21°C).

Cuisine

Costa Rican cuisine is hearty fare with rice, beans, and a delicious array of tropical fruits, such as papaya, mango, and pineapple, at almost every meal. A typical lunch consists of gallo pinto (rice and beans), fish or chicken, vegetables, cheese, tortillas, and fruit.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Service

During your time in Costa Rica, you can expect to work on several different volunteer projects—light construction projects where you may learn to mix cement and lay blocks or paint a community building, environmental projects such as planting seedlings or shadowing local farmers, and educational projects such as organize after class activities or summer camps for local children and adults. The focus of this program is learning about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open-mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. Everyone participates in all of the group’s projects on a rotating basis, and lends a hand in meal preparation and cleanup. To learn more about our Service programs click here.

Independent Project

In addition to group projects, pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—learn to cook gallo pinto, interview local girls and women, or organize a community-wide soccer tournament.

Language Practice

Proficiency in Spanish is not required; however, students who study Spanish in school will have opportunities to practice while communicating with local people. Students who do not speak Spanish will have the opportunity to learn some basic language skills.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. The service work and afternoon activities can be strenuous, and you can expect to spend most of each day outside; playing with local children, surfing, trekking , and swimming. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations

Living accommodations in the host community are very simple. We live together as a group in a community building or school. We sleep on camping pads and share simple bathrooms and showers. During excursions, we sleep in beds in simple but comfortable ecolodges, bungalows, or family-run inns. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals

In the host community we eat delicious, home-cooked meals prepared by local cooks. Each day several students from the group form cooking and cleaning crews and help the cooks prepare meals, Tico-style. During excursions, we eat most meals in restaurants and occasionally visit local markets to shop for picnic lunches.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Service

During your time in Costa Rica, you can expect to work on several different volunteer projects—light construction projects where you may learn to mix cement and lay blocks or paint a community building, environmental projects such as planting seedlings or shadowing local farmers, and educational projects such as organize after class activities or summer camps for local children and adults. The focus of this program is learning about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open-mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. Everyone participates in all of the group’s projects on a rotating basis, and lends a hand in meal preparation and cleanup. To learn more about our Service programs click here.

Independent Project

In addition to group projects, pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—learn to cook gallo pinto, interview local girls and women, or organize a community-wide soccer tournament.

Language Practice

Proficiency in Spanish is not required; however, students who study Spanish in school will have opportunities to practice while communicating with local people. Students who do not speak Spanish will have the opportunity to learn some basic language skills.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. The service work and afternoon activities can be strenuous, and you can expect to spend most of each day outside; playing with local children, surfing, trekking , and swimming. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations

Living accommodations in the host community are very simple. We live together as a group in a community building or school. We sleep on camping pads and share simple bathrooms and showers. During excursions, we sleep in beds in simple but comfortable ecolodges, bungalows, or family-run inns. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals

In the host community we eat delicious, home-cooked meals prepared by local cooks. Each day several students from the group form cooking and cleaning crews and help the cooks prepare meals, Tico-style. During excursions, we eat most meals in restaurants and occasionally visit local markets to shop for picnic lunches.

A Day in the Life: Host Community​

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in our host community.
7:00am
Prepare breakfast with cooks from the community
8:00am
Work in small groups to lay the foundation for a community center
12:00pm
Eat a homemade lunch and relax
2:00pm
Photograph and interview local residents for your independent project
4:00pm
Play a game of pick-up fútbol with Costa Rican friends
6:00pm
Enjoy dinner with your group
8:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day, followed by salsa dancing lessons

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Service

During your time in Costa Rica, you can expect to work on several different volunteer projects—light construction projects where you may learn to mix cement and lay blocks or paint a community building, environmental projects such as planting seedlings or shadowing local farmers, and educational projects such as organize after class activities or summer camps for local children and adults. The focus of this program is learning about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open-mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. Everyone participates in all of the group’s projects on a rotating basis, and lends a hand in meal preparation and cleanup. To learn more about our Service programs click here.

Independent Project

In addition to group projects, pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—learn to cook gallo pinto, interview local girls and women, or organize a community-wide soccer tournament.

Language Practice

Proficiency in Spanish is not required; however, students who study Spanish in school will have opportunities to practice while communicating with local people. Students who do not speak Spanish will have the opportunity to learn some basic language skills.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. The service work and afternoon activities can be strenuous, and you can expect to spend most of each day outside; playing with local children, surfing, trekking , and swimming. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations

Living accommodations in the host community are very simple. We live together as a group in a community building or school. We sleep on camping pads and share simple bathrooms and showers. During excursions, we sleep in beds in simple but comfortable ecolodges, bungalows, or family-run inns. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals

In the host community we eat delicious, home-cooked meals prepared by local cooks. Each day several students from the group form cooking and cleaning crews and help the cooks prepare meals, Tico-style. During excursions, we eat most meals in restaurants and occasionally visit local markets to shop for picnic lunches.

“I wish I could go on a Putney trip every summer because of how much I learned and grew in such a short amount of time. The experiences I had and the people I met are things that I will remember for a lifetime and I am so grateful.”
—Kate L., Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, MD

This Program is Directed by

Andrew Manzella

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

This Program is Directed by

Andrew Manzella

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

Enroll in two programs & save $1,000!

$800 tuition discount + no application fee

Costa Rica
Village Immersion, Cloud Forests, & Tropical Beaches

2024 Dates
June 16 — June 30
June 20 — July 11
July 3 — July 17
July 13 — July 27
July 21 — August 4

Duration
15 or 22 days

Tuition
$5,090 or $6,190 + airfare

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Miami

Service Hours
30–50 

Additional Info

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

 

2024 Dates
June 16 — June 30
June 20 — July 11
July 3 — July 17
July 13 — July 27
July 21 — August 4

Duration
15 or 22 days

Tuition
$5,090 or $6,190 + airfare

Service Hours
30–50 

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Miami

 

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

Share this program:

Request More Info

Alaska
Baja & the Gulf of California
Barcelona
Belize
Chile & Peru
Germany & Sweden
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Montana
Peru
Switzerland
Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji
Croatia & Slovenia
Cuba
Faroe Islands & Iceland
Italy & Greece
Japan
Kilimanjaro
Panama & Colombia
Patagonia: Skiing
Spain, France, & Portugal
Switzerland, Italy, France, & Holland
Spain
France
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Tuscany
Barcelona
Tokyo
Argentina
Costa Rica
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Fiji
Hawai'i
Morocco
Nepal
Peru
Puerto Rico
Tanzania
Thailand
Vietnam
Iceland
France & Holland
Italy & Greece
Spain
France
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Hawai'i

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