Costa Rica Trips For Teens and Parents

Best Week Ever...For Teens and Parents

Why this trip for my teenager?

When adults reminisce about the most memorable experiences of their childhood, they recall times they connected with family, challenges they overcame, amazing trips to exotic locations, or serious moments of change when they decided to course correct their life. What if all of those were possible in one experience?

The week will be led by experienced youth leaders and guides, including a doctor who specializes in child psychiatry.  He works with teenagers all year long, helping them build resilience and overcome extreme life stressors to reach their personal goals.

We’ve tried to create the perfect week that will be remembered for a lifetime with an emphasis on having BOTH the teenager and a parent attend and participate in activities for the week.

Trip Overview

Fly to Costa Rica for the most memorable and life changing week your teens will 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 parents dream of for their teen AND we promise your teenagers will talk about for all the right reasons.

River Raft over 52 named rapids on the Pacuare River canyon, rappel down multiple waterfalls and then eat handpicked food from local organic farms where your group helps prepare meals with a Costa Rican expert chef.

Teenagers and their parents will be zip-lining, learning to roll a Kayak, Stand Up Paddle boarding,  rafting Class III and IV rapids, Cooking Costa Rican food, seeing wildlife in the middle of the jungle and eating plenty of world famous Costa Rican Pineapple and other exotic fruits.

You’ll even have time to relax and then benefit from discussions and life lesson chats that will help teach skills for making decisions that matter and will affect their future.  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.

The group size is limited to no more than 16 teenagers age 14 – 18 and their parents. If parents aren’t able to make the trip, that’s ok but the best experience will come when both the child and a parent can attend.

Goals of Youth Trip / Vision

  • Provide teenagers with a week long 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 and parents 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.

“We’ve used many of the popular Youth Camps and EFY programs as a model for this trip, with a special focus on providing Challenging Adventures AND Life Lessons for the teens and their parents… and we’re doing it in one of the most spectacular locations in the world.

This is the trip I’ve designed for my own teenagers to help with their personal development.”

Jason Tonioli



Price does NOT include flights to San Jose (SJO)

Price Includes:

  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Guides
  • All Activities
  • All Meals

Most trips similar to this are $3,200+ per person

Ratio of AT LEAST 1 Adult per 4 Teens during the trip

About The Trip Leaders

Jason Toniloi

Jason Tonioli

One of the co-founders of Amazing Vacations, Jason has worked as a banker, marketing director, software consultant and built a successful software company. He also works as a professional musician and has performed across the United States and in other countries. His music has been played over 100 million times and he has been able to work with some of the most talented artists in the world. He currently owns and manages 6 businesses, including Amazing Vacations Costa Rica.

Jason has worked with youth as a scoutmaster, coach, youth leader and volunteer for nearly 20 years. He has the gift of bringing the right people together to accomplish amazing things and hopes that this program will help inspire the youth who attend to accomplish great things.

Matt And Joni Larsen

Dr. Matt & Joni Larsen

For years Matt has directed a long term treatment center for teenagers.  He works daily with patients who self harm, attempt suicide, and suffer from severe mental illness and terrible life circumstances.  He spends some of his free time as a youth speaker and local expert, presenting several times a month at local churches, schools, and mental health trainings.

“For years I have wanted to make parents a more integral part of these life changing experiences.  I help many kids, and talk to their parents on the phone, but don’t get to help them learn and grow together, side by side, while having fun and being challenged.  This program has been a goal of mine, to offer families a chance to make a lasting change in their lives.”

Costa Rica Team

Walter Centeno

Walter is a Costa Rican Native and one of the co-founders of Amazing Vacations. He has been organizing and running group trips in Costa Rica for over 15 years. For five of those years he worked as a youth counselor running “expensive high end” trips for teenagers from all over the world.

He competed and trained with the Costa Rica kayak slalom team that competes internationally and currently serves as the coach of the National Champion youth rafting team that recently took third place at the international championships in Argentina this past winter.

Life Building Topics That We’ll Cover Throughout The Week

The Reality Gap

None of us are who we wish we were. There is an ideal version of ourselves we wish we could become. We all have values and standards and goals and aspirations we don’t live up to. So there is always a gap between who we are, and who we wish we were.

How do we make that Gap useful? We could give up the standards and just be happy as we are with no drive to ever improve of change. We could be depressed and disappointed forever because we will “never be happy” until we become our ideal selves. Or we can do BOTH – enjoy life as we are and know that we can be happy now, while always striving to improve.

Failure Is A Gift

Failure is not only a great teacher, it is a gift.  Nothing teaches us to change like experiencing failure.

Lectures are forgotten, experiences are remembered forever.  This is actually why parents using the counting method of discipline works: telling kids “I’ll count to three; 1,2,3”  It gives kids time to think and consider and change, and then it has consequences, without the lecture. 

Teach them through failure and experience more often than lecture

All Behavior Makes Sense

The key to lasting communication, and friendship, and marriage, and collaboration, is understanding the WHY of someone else’s behavior. Behavior is often not useful, nor helpful. It can even be destructive and awful for everyone involved, but it makes sense to the person doing it in the moment they do it. 

 If we can teach kids and parents to withhold judgment for a moment to figure out why the behavior EMOTIONALLY made sense, and validate that reason, and then correct the behavior that was dysfunctional, then we can improve and build communication.

They’ll Only Have Conversations You Can Handle

Teaching kids and their parents that even thought they tell their kids and spouse “you can tell me anything” – the other person almost never believes it because they know you can’t handle some conversations, your judgement is too strong to ever manage it.

How do we make that Gap useful? We could give up the standards and just be happy as we are with no drive to ever improve of change. We could be depressed and disappointed forever because we will “never be happy” until we become our ideal selves. Or we can do BOTH – enjoy life as we are and know that we can be happy now, while always striving to improve.

Other Planned Topics

  • Multitasking is a myth
  • You must move from dependence to independence before you can be interdependent
  • Set up life so it is hard to screw up. (schedule for success)  Like sleeping in gym clothes, or buying a flip-phone to avoid pornography.

With a country as beautiful as Costa Rica and great leaders in the world we live in, why not combine the 2 in our Costa Rica Adventure Week!

With our new Leadership and Service Expedition, you can experience the beautiful country of Costa Rica while serving the local communities and learning to become better leaders!

Travel & Arrival Day

  • Arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica
  • 2 Hour Group Shuttle Van Ride to Turrialba – Get settled at Hotel
    • Turrialtico Hotel
  • Get to Know you and Dinner
  • Relax and enjoy the sunset

This amazing hotel sits at the top of a hill overlooking the jungle and agricultural areas near Turrialba. You will be a short 10 minute drive from town. The hotel will provide meals for all times we will be staying at the hotel. The buildings are created from beautiful hardwood and the views from the seating areas are incredible. The hotel provides free WIFI that will allow for voice and video calls to home.

Pejibaye River Duckies (Inflatable Kayaks) or Raft

This is a super fun section of river for people to experience in a small one or two man inflatable raft (called duckies). Duckies are perfect if you don’t want to learn to roll in a kayak but still want to be able to maneuver similar to a kayak.

A section of this river was recently used for the whitewater kayak slalom international competition and often paddlers can paddle through the gates on the course. Depending on water levels and the abilities of your group, you may have a chance to paddle the slalom course at least twice.

We will use the first section of river to work, to learn and practice, so you become more comfortable with turns, and experience “pushy” water. There are multiple spots along this run that allow for surfing as well.

You’ll get to experience just the right amount of rapids, rocks and swift water while paddling below the jungle canopy. There will also be some who choose to try a SUP stand up paddle board or larger raft.

This is one of our favorite sections of rivers in all of Costa Rica because there are spots where the trees completely cover the river with vines and branches, making you feel like you are in a movie set.


Service & Humanitarian

We will be working directly with a Finca ViaLig that has been doing youth excursions for the past 7 years. They specialize in providing 1-2 week experiences for teenagers but we will only be spending one day with the group. Our goal is to give our group a chance to experience the very best of what they have to offer.

Today we will head to a remote area that is an archeological site that has yet to be designated as a national park. Here we will interact with the local community and experience the culture and friendly people in this awesome area. We will be working together as a group in multiple service oriented projects that will teach leadership and communication skills.

This will likely be one of the favorite memories that the youth will have from their trip. More details about this planned activity will be available as we get closer to the travel date.

Canyoning at Sitio Mata

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, and butterflies. Once you reach the waterfalls, you will learn to use 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.

Organic Farm and Cooking with family

We will split into 2 or 4 groups. The canyoning/rappelling goes quicker in smaller groups. The other group will take a tour of the farm, pick vegetables and then come back and work together to prepare a Costa Rican meal.

Everyone will eat lunch together around 11:30 or noon when they get back and then we would switch activities. The 2nd group will then assist with cooking a dinner or dessert.

River Rafting & Leadership

Pacuare River Part 1 (Class III+)

Get ready for whitewater on one of the most famous section of river in Costa Rica! Today you will enjoy the first section of the Pacuare River. It is rated one of the top rivers in the world not only for its 52 Class III and Class IV rapids, but also for its remote jungle experience.

Today you will run 8 miles (13 km) of continuous Class III whitewater, around 14 rapids, and have the chance to explore the intimate nature of the rainforest and wildlife from the river perspective.

You will be able to ride the river safely with one of our expert guides in a raft.  Sure to be an enjoyable ride for all.

Pacuare Outdoor Center (aka Jungle Camp)

The Pacuare Outdoor Center (POC) is nestled in the heart of the rainforest with views down the canyon and mountain ridge of the famous Pacuare River. Most of the time, people will arrive here via raft. However, it is possible to drive into this location. Our team often refers to this as the “Jungle Camp”, but although this is incredibly remote with no electricity (we do recommend bringing a headlamp or flashlight) or cell service, each screen enclosed cabin does have its own flush toilet and shower with warm water and is completely surrounded by jungle and trees. There is something special about being able to completely unplug from the world in this location by kicking back in a hammock or rocking chair and relaxing with a drink in hand.

POC offers one of the most unique experiences in Costa Rica by offering a deep sense of the wilderness and gardens that are very well taken care of that perfectly blend with their surroundings. The main building provides the perfect “hang out” space and an incredible view of the river. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included and typically provided by your guides in the gourmet chef’s kitchen.



Adventure & Leadership

Zipline and Tarzan Swing (Pecaure Outdoor Center)

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.

Hike to Indigenous Area

We’ll take a hike to go and see some super cool areas of the jungle and we’ll end up meeting with some of indigenous families in the area.

Pacuare River – Part 2 – Class III & IV Whitewater

Get ready for one rapid after another, including our favorite stretch of Class III and Class IV rapids in the country. This is the day that will truly test the skills you learned on the previous day. The second day is significantly longer on the river, with 14 miles (23 km) to travel and about 30 rapids. You will enter the famous Pacuare River Gorge, which is 5 miles (8 km) of some of the best whitewater Costa Rica has to offer. The rapids here are “Terciopelo Snake”, “Double Drop”, “Upper and Lower Huacas”, and “Pinball” to name a few. You will also see the Huacas watefall, a 150 foot (46 m) dramatic drop into the river.  When you’re almost at the end, get your camera ready to shoot one of the most beautiful places on this river: Dos Montanas Canyon. We finish in Siquirres, where you can take a shower and get changed for your next destination.


 Fly Home

Most flights will plan to leave on Sunday morning. If you’d like to extend your vacation with your teen, please chat with us and we’re happy to help you make arrangements for transportation and amazing hotels. There are some great hotel options near the beach on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts that we recommend often.

Don't Delay, Reserve Your Seat!

Trips fill up at different rates. There is no telling how much time before a trip is full. 

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