The Rio Beni Health Foundation
see info below


Please note the information below reflects the dates, prices, and itinerary for our 2020 course which was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to monitor the situation and will update the course information for Summer 2021 once we have deemed the course safe in consultation with science-based recommendations, NGO leaders’ insight, advice from SStS board member physicians, and travel industry knowledge from Global Rescue. We have no intention to travel under any circumstances that do not meet our high expectations for risk management. If you have any questions about Summer 2021 programming please contact Bill Cotter ([email protected]).


June 19 to July 2, 2020

14 Days

Departure City

Miami International Airport

Tuition: $3570 *
Airfare & Fees: $1610 *
Total Course Cost: $5180
* discount and important info here

SStS partners with the Rio Beni Health Foundation to install water filters for communities in the Bolivian Amazon.
After landing in La Paz, SStS students will take a short flight to Rurrenabaque, a small town that serves as a gateway into Bolivian Amazon region. 

In this region, the rivers are the highways, and the indigenous communities lay scattered along its banks. The communities of the Rio Beni live a remote existence, with subsistence living conditions and minimal access to clean water. These local people (primarily Chimane, Mosetene, Tacana and Quechua Indians) historically have had little access to primary health care services. Our non-profit partner, the Rio Beni Health Foundation, provides these essential medical services to the people of the Rio Beni. The SStS project primarily focuses on supporting mobile clinics, participating in local trainings, and building filters for a clean water initiative.

After building filters for schools and homes that have scarce access to clean water, SStS students will travel, typically by river, to stay among the communities they have come to support. The filters they will install will aid in minimizing the high infant mortality rate in these communities. While there, SStS students will interact with the local individuals via community meetings and recreational activities like soccer. 

After completing their work in the community, students will return to Rurrenabaque where they will spend the night before heading up the Yacuma River the next day to learn about the Pampas,  the pre-Amazonian wetlands in the Beni region. Students will have the opportunity to spot diverse wildlife, see striking sunsets in the forest, and swim with dolphins in the river while staying at a locally-run eco-lodge. During this time,  students will have the opportunity to reflect upon their course in ethical leadership in the midst of this strikingly beautiful setting.

Learn More

The mission of the Rio Beni Health Foundation is to the promote health and well being by providing basic health care, laboratory and dental services, and access to clean drinking water. To learn more, please visit their website.

Rio Beni Health Foundation

Course Elements

The course elements are based on a rating from 1 to 5, 1 being the least rigorous, 5 being the most rigorous.


After spending a few days constructing bio-sand water filters, the group will travel to a remote Rio Beni community to install them in homes and schools.


Prior to their travels, students complete a series of online activities (30 minutes each). While traveling, they also read engaging articles, participate in cultural experiences, and create presentations in small groups.


While in Rurrenabaque, students typically take short hikes in the surrounding hills. Then, during the last days of the course, the group will take day hikes while exploring the Pampas.

Living Conditions80%

In addition to staying in hostels while the group is in Rurrenabaque, La Paz, and the Pampas, the group will camp in the rainforest for a few nights while installing filters in the Rio Beni community.

On the move60%

After arriving in La Paz, the students take a short flight to Rurrenabaque. While in this area, they travel several hours, typically by boat, to the community receiving the filters. At the end of the course, students will travel by boat to the Pampas.


Although the group will camp in a remote village while installing filters, they do not stay in the homes of individual families.


For a majority of the days, the group will be in rural areas (the small town of Rurrenabaque, a remote community in the rainforest, and an ecolodge in the Pampas). A day will also be spent in La Paz, a major city where the Bolivian government is seated.

Element Descriptions


Day 1

Depart from Miami, begin group orientation

Day 2

Arrive in La Paz, fly to Rurrenabaque, continue group orientation

Day 3

Introduction to the Rio Beni Foundation health clinic, begin building filters

Day 4

Continue building filters

Day 5

Explore Rurrenabaque, cultural experience

Day 6

Finish filters, prepare for expedition, travel to the Rio Beni community

Day 7

Set up filters with the community

Day 8

Finish installing the filters, last night in the community

Day 9

Return to Rurre, debrief community experience, hike to the lookout

Day 10

Travel to the Pampas, spend night at an eco-lodge

Day 11

Spend the day learning about the Pampas tour, spend the night at an eco-lodge

Day 12

Morning at Pampas tour, return to Rurre, farewell dinner with Rio Beni staff

Day 13

Return flight to La Paz, night in La Paz

Day 14

Return to Miami


: In Three Phases


the 5 Lenses Curriculum

Prior to departure, students are guided by their course instructors through a series of interactive, online lessons. Organized by SStS’s Five Lenses Curriculum, these activities (30 minutes per week) allow students to directly engage with other members of
the group.


partnering with ngos

The majority of the days at each site are spent engaged in meaningful service work with our NGO (non-governmental organization) partner. Days not dedicated to project work are spent immersed in intriguing cultural activities.


post travel advocacy

During the next school year, students educate others by advocating for our NGO partner through public presentations to the community at large and/or younger, school-based audiences.

Travel Journal

During the travel phase of each SStS course, students spend time reflecting about the learning that occurs through their immersion and service experiences. These posts capture the impact of our programs on individual students. Explore the posts below to learn about the SStS Bolivia program from the important viewpoint of our students.

Explore Bolivia

Important Details

Cost Information

Students who attend a school that is a member of SStS’s Global Schools Coalition receive a tuition discount. To see the list of schools in the coalition, click HERE.

Tuition (students from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $3370
Tuition (students not from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $3570
Airfare & Fees: $1610

SStS is in search of curious, compassionate, globally-minded students. Thus, we will do all that we can financially to support students who require assistance. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, please indicate this on the application. Financial assistance resources are limited. Scholarships tend to be less than 50% of tuition.

Please note, tuition does not include airfare and immunizations.
Tuition costs are all inclusive with the exception of personal expenditures (e.g. souvenirs).
Tickets and medical & security evacuation services are purchased as a group. The cost of these services is included in the tuition.
Talbot Travel Agency provides travel services for SStS, working personally with us to find the least expensive group fares. As a result, it is not possible to use airline miles or credit card benefits for the international flights. However, these can be used to purchase tickets to the gateway city.

Travel Expectations
Please note that we expect all participants to travel together, adhering to the identical itinerary. We will depart the United States as a group from a gateway city. Exemptions may be made for international students. Additionally, travel in the developing world inevitably includes “the unexpected” (e.g. weather disruptions, transportation strikes, etc.). SStS will adjust the itinerary accordingly, making the best of uncontrollable situations. Due to the unknown variables in international travel, participants are asked not to make travel plans or to enroll in programs that start immediately after their return. SStS is not responsible for expenses incurred due to missed flights if the group is delayed in their return.



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