Summer 2022 course dates and application coming soon

Costa Rica

Rancho Quemado
see info below

Course Details

Coming soon


Departure City

Coming Soon



14 Spaces
We partner with the Integral Development Association of Rancho Quemado to Support community development projects and run workshops for children.

Program Overview

Alongside our partner, The Integral Development Association of Rancho Quemado, you will learn about rural tourism as a means to balance human prosperity and the protection of natural resources. This program will take you deep into the heart of the Osa Peninsula, home to 2.5% of the entire biodiversity of the planet. 

While in Rancho Quemado you will support a community development project, run workshops for children in the community, participate in a wildlife monitoring expedition, and meet with local leaders to learn how they are balancing economic development and conservation of this biodiversity-rich area. You will also have the opportunity to be immersed in the Spanish language, experience cultural traditions, meet with resident entrepreneurs, and explore all the Osa has to offer.

Program Highlights

  • Practice speaking Spanish while staying in rural cabins owned and operated by a local family
  • Experience the rich biodiversity of the Osa Peninsula
  • Support a community development project and run workshops for local children

LEARN MORE About Our Partner

Rancho Quemado



Course Elements

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

Students will support a community development project, run workshops for children in the community, participate in a wildlife monitoring expedition, and meet with local leaders to learn how they are balancing economic development and conservation.
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.
A majority of the course occurs in Rancho Quemado. Students will have the opportunity to explore various sites on around the area on a couple of long day hikes.
While at the project site, students will live in rural cabins owned and operated by a local family. While in San Jose, they will stay in a hostel.
After arriving in San Jose, the group will take a van to the town of Rancho Quemado where they will be based for the duration of the program. While in Rancho Quemado the group will do a few short day trips by van.
The group will spend the majority of their time in Rancho Quemado, a small town located on the Osa Peninsula in Southern Costa Rica.



Depart from Miami, begin group orientation in San Jose.


Drive from San Jose to Rancho Quemado.


Introduction to the program. Begin planning workshops for local children.


Learn about the sustainable production of organic cacao and lead a workshop for local children.


Learn about the impact of gold mining on the environment. Explore the area and learn about conservation efforts.


Learn about the wild animals in the area through a tour led by a local leader. Lead a workshop for local children.


Support a community development project and learn about how tourism helps to support these communal projects.


Support a community development project and learn about how tourism helps to support these communal projects.


Explore Isla del Caño, an important biological reserve in the area, and learn about environmental leadership.


Lead a workshop for local children and learn about the importance of skills training from local business leaders.


Participate in a biological monitoring expedition with locals who have been trained by the Ministry of the Environment.


Participate in an environmental education program for local youth. Finish the day supporting a local community development project.


Begin the journey back to San Jose and spend the last night in San Jose.


Return home.

Costa Rica : In Three Phases



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



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.



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 on the learning that occurs through their immersion and service experiences. These posts capture the impact of our programs on individual students. As this is our first year running the program we do not have any travel posts. Please check back soon.

Important Details

Cost Information

Students who attend a Shoulder-to-Shoulder partner school receive a tuition discount. To see a list of partner schools, click HERE. The prices below are from 2021. 2022 pricing coming soon.

Tuition (students from partner schools): $4360
Tuition (students from non-partner schools): $4560
Airfare & fees: $600
Total Course Cost: $4960 (Partner)/$5160 (Non-Partner)


SStS is in search of curious, compassionate, globally-minded students and 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. 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 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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