Program Details

Raleigh Expeditions is an expertly led, structured program for high school and college students that combines sustainable travel with volunteering. Expeditions are designed to help young adults develop resilience, leadership and communication skills.
Cartago, Costa Rica; Turrialba, Costa Rica
Program Type:
Volunteer Abroad
Degree Level:
Gap Year
Work Types:
Children, Construction, Economic Development, Education, Environment
3-4 weeks, 1-3 months

Program Overview

Program Description:

A gap year can help shape your future, so do something that matters.

A Raleigh Expedition is a life-changing programme for 17-24 year olds that combines sustainable travel with volunteering. You will live with a local host family in a remote community in Costa Rica, not frequented by tourists and work on meaningful projects that create lasting change and protect natural resources.

An Expedition offers more than just the opportunity to travel the world making a difference. It also gives you the chance to build skills for future careers or study that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Why Costa Rica?

Travel to colourful Costa Rica and learn about Latin American culture while living and working alongside community members.

We work with rural communities and the government to increase the provision and use of basic services such as education and healthcare.

“To go from watching my host mum struggle in her daily life, carrying a 25-litre water can to the river numerous times a day to seeing her turn on the tap 4m away from her front door at the end of the project was incredible.” – Dougie, volunteered in Costa Rica

What will I be doing?

We run Expeditions in Costa Rica for four, seven and 10 weeks throughout the year, so you can choose the programme length that best suits you. Dependent on the length of time you go for, you will take part in up to three exciting, sustainable projects with different international teams.


Don’t just visit, live it! On a 10 and seven week Expedition, you’ll immerse yourself in community life and live in the home of a village family for 19 days. You will spend your days working side-by-side with the community members on a sustainable project to improve access to education in indigenous communities.


On the 10 and seven week Expedition, you will get to call one of Costa Rica’s national park’s home! During your time volunteering, you will have the chance to improve access to a national park for park rangers, communities, and tourists.

Those on a 4 week Expedition, will either do a Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) project or Natural Resource Management (NRM) project. You and your team will be working to increase the resilience of communities to climate change related shocks and environmental degradation. You will live in a local community with a host family for the duration of your project. You’ll also get the chance to take part in a short, adventure challenge through stunning landscapes.


Costa Rica’s stunning volcanic landscapes present the ideal location for an adventure phase. You may get the chance to trek from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean! Not many people can say they’ve done that!

Raleigh International needs volunteers, like you, from around the world to work side-by-side with communities to create lasting change!

Setting Description:
Costa Rica is famed for its friendly welcoming people and its stunning environments – it also contains 5% of the planet’s biodiversity within its borders. Costa Rica aims to be the first carbon neutral country by 2021. Despite this, the country still faces problems with inequality in rural areas.

Additional Program Information

You can join a Raleigh Expedition as a volunteer if you are aged 17 – 24. If you are 25 – 75, you can apply to join our volunteer manager team. Our Expeditions are open to all nationalities. You will need a basic level of English so you can follow health and safety instructions. We welcome people from all over the world, regardless of background, education, skills and experience. We ask volunteers to share our belief in young people’s ability to create change. You’ll also need a positive attitude and an open mind. If you want to challenge yourself and learn about different cultures, then a Raleigh Expedition could be for you.

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