Coast To Coast Expedition



DATES: Spring 2018: February 2 – April 28

Fall 2018: September 21 – December 15

TUITION & FEES: Spring 2018: $11,175

Fall 2018: $11,400

COLLEGE CREDIT: 12 credits available through WSCU or an independent study


COURSE REGIONS: Costa Rica (All Provinces); Panama (Bocas del Toro Province); Nicaragua (Rivas Province)

ADDITIONAL ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS: Phone conference with lead course instructor (Information on this requirement is sent after student has reserved his/her place on course).


Coast To Coast Expedition Details

  • Explore Costa Rica on foot on a 26-day trek from the Caribbean to Pacific Coast
  • Embark on our only semester with phases in three Central American countries
  • Immerse yourself in local culture with Spanish language lessons & community service projects

Embark on a 26-day cross-country expedition that will push you to transcend self-imposed limits and expand your cultural awareness. Trek through rainforest valleys and dense cloud forests as you learn the local traditions of Costa Rica. Venture into the neighboring countries of Panama and Nicaragua where you will dive into the tropical Caribbean Ocean and engage in meaningful service learning projects. You can also earn 12 academic credits upon successful completion of course.

Listen to Coast to Coast alumna Becca P. describe how this course empowered her to be leader and learn about her unique leadership style:


The Coast to Coast Expedition Semester commences at our rainforest base camp where you will earn your First Aid and CPR certifications and build a foundation in the Spanish language. You will participate in five, half-day lessons with a local language instructor geared to your individual Spanish skills. Throughout the week, you will also participate in various cultural excursions and group challenge activities to prepare for the journey ahead.


The cornerstone activity of this course is its traversal hike across the country of Costa Rica. Learn about the rich tropical ecology and exotic wildlife as you and your coursemates trek through some of the most remote regions of Costa Rica, allowing you to build upon the Spanish foundations acquired during orientation. Increase your self-reliance and hone your craftsmanship while setting up your own shelter, mastering the techniques of backcountry cooking, and camping under the stars.

After camping along the trail for several nights, immerse yourself in the rural lifestyle and experience true Costa Rican hospitality with family homestays. Learn from the natives about traditional activities including harvesting sugarcane and grinding corn to make homemade tortillas on a traditional country stove.


Test your self-reliance with a multi-day “solo,” a time to live off the land and on your own as you reflect in a safe remote environment and return with new conclusions about yourself and your surroundings.

Learn about the hike and homestay phase of this 26-day expedition, where students visit the remote countryside community of Piedras Blancas:


Travel just across the Costa Rican border to the Province of Rivas for a multi-day service project that will spark your commitment to serve, enhance your intercultural understanding, and put your developing Spanish language skills to use. Past projects have included constructing an adult education schoolhouse, installing cleaner furnaces to reduce wood-smoke inhalation, and combating rainforest depletion.


Test your tenacity as you take on famous warm water surf breaks along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Learn to surf or improve your surfing skills through the guidance of experienced and safety-oriented Outward Bound instructors. Our instructors provide detailed, holistic instruction about how to read waves, tides, and currents to enhance your comprehension and application of surf skills. Through group and one-on-one instruction, improve your board stance to ride more challenging breaks as the phase progresses.


Improve your teamwork and communication skills as you battle some of Costa Rica’s best whitewater rivers including the Río General, Pacuare, Pejibaye and Savegre. Spend your days riding Class III and IV rapids and your nights cooking and camping under the stars. Your instructors will teach you both how to captain a raft as well as how to navigate whitewater on your own in whitewater or inflatable kayaks.


Travel to the 68-island archipelago of Bocas del Toro in northern Panama where you will dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean to earn your NAUI Scuba Diver Certification. Learn about the unique tropical ecology and coral reefs of the region while participating in several dives to earn your certification. If you are already scuba certified, study for your advanced certification, which includes night dive that will awe you with incredible bioluminescence. When not diving into the water, you will participate in cross-cultural activities with the natives as well as snorkel, wakeboard, and sail.


Continue to immerse yourself in the Panamanian culture as you and your group navigate the islands by sea kayak. Paddling by impressive mangroves and tropical coral, your multi-day expedition will both physically challenge you as well as inspire you to push on as you reach remote communities and engage in service activities. Spend your nights in distinct villages as you venture through, and return back to your home base on the island of Solarte to reflect as a group on your recent cultural adventure.


Once you have decided what courses you are interested in, begin your enrollment here:


Semester students are eligible for academic credit either through independent study or through our partnership with Western State Colorado University. Discounts and scholarships available to those who qualify.


Inquire below for more information on the course details and the Outward Bound semester experience. We can assist in deciding which of our gap year and semester programs best meets your personal objectives.

Submit an Inquiry - Gap Year & Semester Programs

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“Not only have I expanded my knowledge and career options through terrific certifications, but I have made huge strides in my physical and mental strength. I can really see myself as a leader now too , and Outward Bound Costa Rica has set me up for a really amazing future.”

– Luna, 17 –

“Seeing an untouched part of Costa Rica and learning about daily life at the homestays was an amazing experience.”

– Ilia, 19 –

“I learned to find joy in the hardest tasks and how to be in the constant pursuit of knowledge.”

– Luna, 17 –

“I learned that I am capable of more than I thought and that I have been limiting myself. I know that I can do anything and be anything and that life is mine for the taking.”

– Rachel, 24 –

“Hiking was truly life changing. The 24-hour solo brought me closer to myself and my world.”

– Luna, 17 –

“The certifications and hard skills I’ve learned in this course have absolutely met my expectations and I know I will use them and build off them in the future.”

– Rachel, 24 –

“Outward Bound Costa Rica made me a stronger, more courageous individual and gave me the skills to live a more meaningful life.”

– Beth, 18 –