High Adventure LDS Youth Trips



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Trip Overview

Summer 2020 Dates:
  • June 6 – 14th (Trip Leaders TC & Julie Erkelens & Hallie Hill)
  • July 10 – 18th (Trip Leaders Jason Tonioli & Hallie Hill)
Trip Includes
  • All Meals from Dinner on Day 1 through Breakfast on Day 9
  • 8 Nights accommodation, including 2 nights at Jungle Camp on the Pacuare River
  • 5 Days of high adventure activities, whitewater rafting (weather/water level dependent), ziplines, and hikes
  • 2 Days of cultural outreach and community service
  • Airport Transfers + All Ground Transportation
  • All guides and chaperones
What’s Not Included?
  • Airfare
  • Tips and Gratuities
 Parents are invited to join us on this trip! We are actively looking for at least 2 additional adults to join both trips. Youth Ages 14-19 years are welcome to join us!

An AMAZING Trip that every young adult should experience!

 Fly to Costa Rica for the most memorable and life changing week you’ll be talking about for decades.  Take the best parts of a luxurious exotic vacation, a challenging river rafting adventure, carefully crafted soul searching activities, a grit building bootcamp, and a relaxing revitalizing retreat. 

This is the week teenagers dream of, and their parents have always hoped to provide. Whitewater raft in the stunning Pacuare River canyon, rappel down multiple waterfalls and then eat handpicked food from local organic farms and help prepare meals with a Costa Rican expert chef.  

Teenagers will love zip-lining, learning to roll a Kayak, Stand Up Paddle boarding, paddling a raft, cooking, relaxing, and then a little downtime to chat and learn and make future decisions that matter.  This is the week when you not only do things you’ve never done, but you decide to build the life you’ve never had.

Our company was founded on the principle to provide unforgettable experiences for guests, while providing livable wages for the incredible guides we work with in Costa Rica. The juxtaposition of ecotourism and the simplicity of life enables Costa Rica to provide a high adventure experience that encourages self growth while showing teenagers other standards of life.

Why this trip for my Teenager?

As Mark Twain says, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

By encouraging your teen to travel you are investing in their future and their character.  In an ever shrinking world, traveling encourages cultural growth, international networking,  and fosters compassion. Travel enables learning in a hands on environment, changes perspectives, and increases independence and confidence.  Young people are quite comfortable in their routines at home – family, school, church, sports, and activities. However, the most learning happens when we place ourselves in situations outside of our normal routines.  Here at Amazing Vacations, we aim to provide a safe environment to learn and grow through adventure and travel. 

As parents of teenagers, educators, and coaches, we care about developing young men and women of character.  We aim to foster self-growth and development through cultural experiences, adventures, and international friendships.  The impact that Costa Rica has had in our lives and the lives of our loved ones has encouraged us to develop this youth program.  We’ve carefully selected activities that foster confidence, self-esteem, and character growth in addition to developing cultural understanding, changes in perspectives, and international friendships. We expect you and your teenager to look back on this trip and recognize the amazing opportunity they were given and how it cultivated change in their character.


Goals of our Youth Focused Trip


  • Provide teenagers with an adventure that will push them mentally and physically, and inspire them for life. 
  • Between the gorgeous sites and adventurous trips, plant mental seeds to improve communication, relationships, and determination
  • Experience a new culture and people
  • See memorable and amazing places
  • Provide a series of experiences for youth that create a lasting impact and change them for the better. 
  • Provide teenagers with life experiences that make them more likely to be a better leader/sibling/friend/parent/spouse in their life.
  • Help build positive relationships between parents and kids to strengthen families.

Why travel with Amazing Vacations?

Our guides have 10+ years experience in the outdoor industry and are ACA Certified

All inclusive Small Group trips

Red Eyed Tree Frog
Costa Rican wildlife
Three-toed sloth
Costa Rica Group Vaction
Rafting the Pacuare River

Schedule of Trips and Prices

We are constantly running river trips year round. While we have some set dates for each trip, we can almost always make your trip dates work if you need flexibility with when you travel. If you don’t see a date listed, please check with us because we are always running custom trips and can often combine with an existing group.  We are always helping people plan custom trips, so talk to us if you’d like to create your own trip plan that also includes time paddling.


Two LDS Youth Trips Scheduled for Summer 2020!

June 6 - 14th and July 10 - 18th

High Adventure Youth Trip

Day 1-9

Day 1

Arriving in Tropical Paradise

You’ll fly into (SJO) San Jose, Costa Rica.  From there we’ll transfer to Montañas del Pacuare near Turrialba (you’ll get more detailed information).  You will travel for about 37 miles (60 km) east of San Jose passing the slopes of the Irazu and Turrialba Volcanos.  Enjoy the breathtaking landscapes full of natural beauty as you arrive at the Turrialba Valley.  The Valley is for the most part underdeveloped compared to many of the other tourist locations in Costa Rica and still has the  “local, authentic” feel and is off the normal tourist routes. Expect moderate temperatures from 68-84 degrees and low humidity due to its proximity to the Caribbean side of the country.  

Day 2

Pacuare River Part I

This 24 kilometer (17 miles) class III/IV section is your whitewater rafting gem today. This is the most popular run on the Pacuare, often said to be one of the top five river sections in the world. We will put-in a bit higher than other groups and enjoy an additional 4 kilometers of whitewater as we paddle to our riverside Jungle Lodge. The rapids on this day are fun class II and III. To spend a night along the shores of the Pacuare river is an experience every person should enjoy at least once in their lives. We’ll light the camp with candles and prepare delicious tropical cuisine. The camp is complete with flush toilets, warm showers, raised platform tents with comfy mattresses and fully landscaped grounds.

Day 3

Zipline & Tarzan Swing

This course containing 6 ziplines and multiple tree platforms, makes it a thrilling, must do experience. This activity starts with a 10 minute walk from the POC Jungle Lodge through the forest.  Once there, the views are second to none. The cables travel above the Pacuare river, along the side of a steep canyon and the platforms are located high up in the trees so you can experience life in the canopy. The ride will be unforgettable.

After the ziplines, you’ll head over to the Tarzan swing!  The swing is reported by many of our guests as the highlight of their entire trip.  From a platform located over 200+ feet (61 m) above the river bank, you’ll launch yourself into a free fall out towards the river.  You will then swing 100+ feet (30m) out before returning back towards the steep hill in the jungle.  It is an adrenaline rush for those craving extreme fun and something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

After the activities, we will return to the lodge, where our guests will typically relax with a drink and book in hand and rest in a hammock or rocking chair while looking out over the river.

Day 4

Pacuare River Part II

Today’s day is significantly longer on the river, with 14 miles (23 kms) and about 30 rapids to travel. You will enter the famous Pacuare River Gorge, which is 5 miles of some of the best whitewater Costa Rica has to offer.  You will also see the Huacas Waterfall, a 150 foot dramatic drop into the river. Almost at the end, get your camera ready to capture one of the most beautiful places of this river, the Dos Montanas canyon. We finish in Siquirres, where you can take a shower and get changed for your next destination.

Day 5

Youth Outreach Humanitarian Service Projects

Today you’ll head into Turrialba, on clear days you will see the Turrialba volcano.  This day will be spent reaching out to the community, specifically with the youth from the local ward in Turrialba. Amazing Vacations has partnered with local church leaders and school teachers to create what will be a unique and fun day working together with the local youth.  Some projects may include helping teach English in the local school as well as other service needs depending on the size of our service teams. Be prepared to spend a fun day and evening playing games with the local church youth group and creating new friendships. 

Day 6

Humanitarian and Service Day:
Pacayitas & Mollejones Cultural Exchange

Today we will visit a rural school in Pacayitas Village to teach the children and share with them our experiences. They are a public school supported by the government of the country, English is a tool they are practicing in school so they can develop their knowledge in their future and we will be part of that.

Later, enjoy the beautiful town of Pacayitas and what it has to offer – archelogical history, agricultural, and butterflies.  Let your tour guides share the process of sugar cane milling, coffee production.  Wander through the beautiful butterfly gardens and experience the national butterfly – the Blue Morpho. 

Day 7

Canyoneering & Waterfall Hikes

The Canyoning Tour begins as you meet expert local guides who take you on a 15 minute hike into a tropical rainforest. Be on the lookout for animals, tropical plants and flowers, birds, parrots, toucans and butterflies. Once you reach the waterfalls, you will learn to use and practice using the latest safety equipment before the adventure begins. After you become comfortable with all the safety procedures, you will start your adventure waterfall rappelling (canyoning) down the first waterfall into the beautiful canyon below. There are a total of five waterfalls. When we are finished, you will hike back out with your guides and enjoy a Costa Rican lunch with some of the most delicious wood stove grilled chicken and ice cream in all Costa Rica.

Day 8 - Morning

Guayabo Archeological Site & Transfer to San Jose

This morning hike the monument where you will find the largest pre-Columbian ruins that have been discovered in Costa Rica to date.

Once a bustling city around 800 AD, archaeologists believe the site was populated from 1000 BC to 1400 AD. For no known reason, the city, that many believe was a key regional center for politics, culture, and religion became a desolate landscape.

Set on the jungle-rich slopes of the Turrialba Volcano it is one of Costa Rica’s most important archaeological sites.

Although not as grand as other well-known archaeological sites in the Americas like Machu Picchu in Peru, Guayabo is still impressive in its own right. It is a delightful peek into Costa Rica’s little known pre-Columbian past.

Day 8 - Afternoon/Evening

San Jose Costa Rica Temple Trip

We’ll make a final stop at the San Jose Temple to do baptisms and confirmations as a group. If you are unable to join the group at the temple, we will have an alternate activity while the group is at the temple that evening. 

Day 9

Departure Day or Extend your Trip

We say our good-byes at the airport and we start making plans for your return to Costa Rica! If you would like to have your family join you or plan to extend, we are more than happy to help arrange all logistics and help plan the rest of your trip. 
**We do our very best to adhere to the specific itinerary listed above, but activities and locations may be subject to change due to a number of reasons beyond our control (i.e. weather, river water levels, road and safety conditions).

Trip Details

All Inclusive Costa Rica Humanitarian Youth Trip

The Costa Rica  Humanitarian Trip is ALL-INCLUSIVE from the time we pick you up at the SJO Airport until we drop you off.

All transportation, food, and lodging is included in the price of the trip. You will stay in some of our favorite hotels, eat at our favorite restaurants, and have a driver for the duration of the trip for one low price. Tips are appreciated by the local guide teams, but not expected or required.

Experience Costa Rica’s Adventures

You’ll have a chance to paddle world-class sections of whitewater, zip line through the jungle, canyoneer down waterfalls, and foster relationships with local LDS youth during this amazing trip in Costa Rica.

Our trip is specifically designed to mentally and physically challenge youth and empower them in an amazing and safe location. The experiences had and sites seen will leave a lasting impact and encourage growth in leadership, communication, and confidence.  

Gear, Food, and Lodging

While on this High Adventure Humanitarian Trip, you can look forward to excellent meals from our guides and some nights from our private chef. Enjoy gourmet and traditional meals, all the tropical fruit Costa Rica is known for, and the local’s only secret recipes.

You will stay in top rated hotels and eco-lodges while on this trip. When you’re not on the river, you can relax by the pool, use wifi, or just kick back and enjoy the scenery. 

What to Expect Once You’re Ready to Signup

When you are ready to book, we typically do a quick phone call and/or trade emails and texts with you to make sure you don’t have questions about the trip. Once we finalize your dates, we will prepare a deposit invoice that will be emailed to you. You can pay online. We will schedule an email to be sent about 90 days prior to your trip to pay for the remaining balance on your trip. You’ll also be able to pay online when that invoice arrives via email. 

Once you’ve paid your deposit, you’ll get a series of emails and other communications from us to help you know what to pack, what to expect and how to prepare. You’ll also get a final detailed itinerary with pickup times, phone numbers and all the details you’ll need for sharing with your family back home who will jealously be watching you post facebook photos during your amazing trip.

If you have questions at any time, please contact us and we’re happy to talk with you more about which trip is right for you. We have our team in Costa Rica as well as the support team in the United States that are here to help make this the best trip you’ve ever been on!

Costa Rica Rafting Adventure
Lunch On RIver Costa Rica
Costa RIca Family Trip
White Water Kayaking

Can I bring my family with me?

YES! Whereas this trip is designed specifically for youth, we strongly encourage you to extend your stay in Costa Rica with your family. We have great options to keep family, friends, and even kids super busy and having as much fun as you are having. Just let us know if you need more info about options. 

What others saying about their Amazing Vacations

Want to read more about some of the adventures in Costa Rica?

We’re working on building a comprehensive guide of adventures in Costa Rica along with Walk-Through videos of rivers, tours, and lodging so people can better understand what each river is like at different water levels. Feel free to check out the link and check back as we continue to build this resource for the Amazing Vacations community.

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