USC Capstone Scholars Spring Break

University of South Carolina
About The Adventure

Pura Vida is a common phrase used in Costa Rica. Simply translated, it means “simple life”, but in Costa Rica, it is more than just a saying—it is a way of life.

We’ll be visiting a country that prides itself on their sustainability efforts as well as their demeanor regarding stressful situations—pura vida to them means being thankful for what they have and not dwelling on the negative.

Throughout this course, we will explore the three components of sustainability: environmental, societal, and economic. We’ll learn how the Costa Rican culture informs sustainable living and the role of the collective versus the individual in carrying out the pura vida lifestyle.

Cancellation Policy:

Trip attendees can cancel their trip at anytime for a full refund until 90 days before the trip departure date.

Cancellations made within 90 days of trip departure will be offered a full refund less the equivalent of the trips deposit amount ($395).

No refunds are provided for cancellations made within 30 days of trip departure.


March 7-15, 2020


Costa Rica

Regular Cost:


Deposit Only:


What's Included:

  • 9 days / 8 nights shared accommodations in villas
  • 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 8 dinners
  • Guided tour of a famous eco-lodge farm
  • Three private round trip shuttles to La Fortuna
  • Local community cooking experience
  • Private airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Private airport drop-off upon departure
  • Custom Experiences Trip Leader
  • Personal recommendations for optional activities
  • The chance to meet some kick-ass people


March 7-15, 2020

*schedule subject to change

Arrival in Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica! It's time to see what the Pura Vida Lifestyle is all about!

Arrive at SJO Airport before 12:30pm where you will be met by your Trip Leader.

Take private transportation to a world-famous eco-lodge. Along the way we'll stop for dinner and a special cultural activity. Dinner will be at a restaurant located in a former Costa Rica president's home. While the chefs prepare your meal, learn how to make tortillas.

After dinner settle into your bunks and let nature sing you to sleep.

Eco-Lodge Tour & Adventure

Participate in optional yoga in the heart of the rainforest and eat a healthy breakfast with locally sourced ingredients grown just outside your bungalow.

Tour the permaculture farm and see exactly where breakfast came from. Learn about green initiatives, sustainability, and regeneration at the world-class eco-lodge.

Hike to El Mirador lookout point or visit a small Costa Rican town to enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Arenal. Have the option to fly through the treetops on one of the world’s best zip-line canopy tours.

In the evening, have a class reflection followed by optional board games or swimming in the pool.

La Fortuna

Depart to the rainforest town of La Fortuna after enjoying optional yoga, breakfast, and a fresh cup of Costa Rican coffee.

On today's rainforest adventure, explore this Costa Rican town, take a pedalboard onto Lake Arenal, or visit a local waterfall.

Relax in the hot springs at the base of the Arenal Volcano and feel the geothermal energy warm the water.

Look out for sloths, monkeys, and tree frogs--three of the coolest jungle creatures in this region.

In the evening, have a class reflection, rest in your hammock, and journal.

Rainforest Adventure

Today, you'll go whitewater rafting which is guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. Enjoy an included Casado lunch before heading back to the eco-lodge.

Have dinner, pack your bags, and enjoy your last night in the rainforest before heading to the other side of Costa Rica tomorrow.

Depart to the Beach

Wake up early and opt for a morning hike to spot a toucan in a country world-renowned for birdwatching.

Enjoy an onsite coffee tour and learn about the coffee-making process.

On the way to the beach, stop to see crocodiles before arriving at Playa Hermosa. Watch the locals surf one of the most famous waves in the world.

Have a Costa Rican dinner and enjoy a beautiful sunset on the black sand beach.

Head to Manuel Antonio for a class reflection and settle into your hotel nearby both beach and town.

Waterfalls and Costa Rican Culture

Wake up by the sound of toucans or scarlet macaws and enjoy your first Costa Rican breakfast.

All the activities are optional, but we suggest starting your day with an active hike to a secret beach. Look out for three types of monkeys and two types of sloths on the hike to our secret beach and enjoy an untouched slice of paradise.

Enjoy lunch in town. In the afternoon, paddle into the Pacific Ocean and catch waves like a Tico during an optional surf lesson. Alternatively, lay under an almond tree at Playa Espadilla, consistently ranked one of the best beaches in the world.

Return to the hotel for dinner and optional salsa dance lessons.

Explore + Beach + Adventure

Enjoy some Costa Rican coffee and a gallo pinto breakfast to start your day off right.

Today's adventure is a hike to a waterfall guaranteed not to disappoint. Swim in the lagoon and take a shower provided by mother nature.

Explore el Malecon and catch sunset from the beach. Afterward, head to the farmer’s market on the Tico bus like a local. Shop for unique artisan gifts, try local fruits, cheeses, ceviche, or homemade ice cream in the fishing town of Quepos.

In the evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel followed by a class reflection and stargazing.

El Cocal Community Cooking Experience

Take a short ferry ride to the island of Cocal for a truly unique cooking experience. Families from El Cocal have welcomed us into their community center to teach us how to cook a  traditional meal. Hand roll tortillas with local señoras, fry your own plantains, and drink from a coconut straight off a tree.

Enjoy the block party, dance to Latin music, and understand how Under30Experiences supports the local community.

Spend your last afternoon relaxing at the beach and kick off the last night with a delicious dinner.

Relaxation & Departure

Wake up early for a delicious breakfast and reflect on the week’s adventures.

As our experience comes to a close, we hope you are feeling rejuvenated after spending nine-days in Costa Rica.

Enjoy the included scenic drive back to the airport to catch your flight back home. Plan flight departures after 1:30 pm.