We've specifically designed our Semester courses to be different: from other outdoors programs, from traditional study abroad alternatives, and from any travel experience. Course options vary from those focused on personal development and growth to professional certification courses designed for outdoor industry hopefuls. Join us and see how much you can learn about yourself and the world around you with the tropical wilderness as your classroom.
Our Semester programs are for male & female students ages 17+. Courses range from 5-15 participants (average group size: eight) and all students should be committed to fostering a positive, shared group experience.
All courses are eligible for academic credit either through independent study or in partnership with Western State Colorado University. Discounts and Scholarships available to those that qualify.
Expedition Semester Courses
Offered in Fall 2013 (September 14 - December 7, 2013)
Earn up to 12 university credits
Embark on 24-day coast-to-coast hiking expedition that will bring you to remote villages, rainforest valleys, and into the homes of welcoming, local families of Costa Rica. Travel across each Costa Rican border to dive into the Caribbean Sea of Panama and complete a community service project in the Rivas Province of Nicaragua.
River to Sea Semester (75 Days)
Offered in Spring 2014 (Dates to Be Announced)
Earn up to 12 university credits
Improve your Spanish and expand your cultural awareness while exploring the natural beauty of Costa Rica and Panama through surfing, sea kayaking, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, hiking, and local homestays. Complete meaningful service projects in remote communities and challenge yourself in a unique outdoor setting.
Outdoor Certification Training
Offered in Fall 2013 (October 11 - December 14, 2013) & Spring 2014 (Dates to Be Announced)
Earn up to 10 university credits
Work toward earning seven internationally-recognized outdoor certifications during this comprehensive introduction to the outdoor industry. Learn what it takes to be a field instructor while following the philosophy of Outward Bound. Upon successful course completion, have the chance to be selected for a paid field internship with Outward Bound Costa Rica.
Our Leadership Semester course is for individuals looking to start a career in the outdoor industry and is not interchangeable with our other Semester programs. Please email our Enrollment Manager (enrollment@OutwardBoundCR.org) for information on our Leadership Semester application process.
Costa Rica is a stable, functioning democracy and generally considered to be a very safe country. Most of the existing crime tends to be opportunistic (pick-pocketing and mugging) and general occurs in the larger cities at night. Students are never left unattended in metropolitan areas and do not carry their valuables during the course, so it is highly unlikely that any student would be a victim of a crime.
Health & Medications
Our staff does everything we can to ensure the that students take all required medications. To help us with this, it is vital that all students complete the medication and medical history sections of the required online enrollment form. We request that you submit your online enrollment form as early as possible to ensure our team can contact you with additional information or requests for clarification or further details. All students are asked to bring extra supplies of all prescription medication in the event some is lost or damaged while on course. Instructors hold and distribute students’ oral medication for the duration of the course. Outward Bound Costa Rica’s only requirement is a Tetanus vaccination. Other than that, there are no required inoculations to enter Costa Rica, but it is a good idea to check with your physician for recommendations of optional inoculations and health precautions.
Food, Water, & Special Diets
All food and water which students access during their course is safe and clean. At our main rainforest base facility it is safe to drink water from the tap. While on course, students are directed to safe water sources by their instructors. All food at our main rainforest base is safely prepared and thoroughly cooked by our cooking staff. On course, students carry food with them and prepare it as a group under the direct supervision of their instructors. Outward Bound Costa Rica has experience with a variety of dietary requirements including vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose intolerance and nut allergies. All students are asked to disclose ALL dietary restrictions in their online enrollment forms to best ensure their needs are met. All meals are served family-style, meaning that students will not have options when it comes to what they eat. Thus it is important that all students be prepared to try new foods and accommodate the dietary needs of their coursemates. Note: Specialty food items geared towards those with dietary restrictions are difficult to find in Costa Rica and surrounding course areas. If you have a very restrictive diet and/or will be attending a course longer than 15 days, you may be asked to bring some food items with you to supplement local products.
With the help of our course instructors, we have compiled comprehensive Packing Lists for each course. Your Packing List will be included in the materials we email to students when they’ve begun the enrollment process. If you have questions about packing and have not submitted an enrollment form, please give us a call 800-676-2018. A common misconception about Costa Rica is that it is always hot. Our Base Camp and many of the camping spots during the hiking phases of courses are almost one mile above sea level. It can get quite chilly at night. This is why we recommend all students bring at least one light sweater or fleece. Also, while hiking in the rainforest it will generally rain for part of each day (usually in the afternoon). A decent rain jacket with a hood is highly recommended.
There are three ways to pay for the course: Visa Credit Card, personal or cashiers check, or wire transfer. We do NOT accept money orders. For complete payment instructions, please view our Payment Information
Travel insurance is not required to come to Costa Rica or to participate in a Outward Bound Costa Rica course, but it is recommended. Many insurance companies offer short-term policies to cover the specific dates of travel. Most of these policies can be purchased instantly online. In addition to medical expenses, some travel insurance policies cover expenses such as lost luggage or cancelled flights. We highly recommend that all families contact their insurance company to request information about international coverage. If you do decide to purchase travel insurance, please read the fine print. Many policies do not cover injuries sustained during adventure activities.