Travel by bus, by boat, and finally on foot to reach the remote village of Coroma on the Bribri Reservation. Your Costa Rica mission trip team will get your team off-the-grid to experience indigenous life as you work alongside local leaders. These international mission trips in the Talamanca region give your team the chance to work alongside indigenous leaders and the local church—building relationships through Kids Club and helping with community work projects focused on both business and educational growth.
Your team will be challenged physically as you live without running water or electricity, but you’ll also be challenged to grow spiritually, experiencing quiet and stillness in a place deeply connected to creation. Will you say yes to the adventure and challenge of a 2021 mission trip to Coroma, Costa Rica?
Preview Costa Rica Mission Trips! Check out EM Vision Trips for team leaders.
You will be working in the remote indigenous villages of the Bribri and Cabecar tribes in the interior jungles of Talamanca, Costa Rica. Your destination will only be accessible by boat, so you must be able to carry everything you need on your back. (After the boat landing, some destinations require hiking and others require a rugged bus ride.)
These villages are primarily agricultural, and they are almost entirely without modern conveniences such as electricity and running water. Located along the Coen, Telire, and Lari rivers, these communities depend on waterways for their survival. Possible destinations for your team include Coroma, Bajo Coen, Sibode, Sepecue, Arenal, and Alto Coen.
Your team will catch a glimpse of a simple life with only the basic necessities. The journey to your destination community might include slogging through the mud in pouring rain or fording rivers, so you are sure to have times of physical discomfort, yet you will be rewarded by experiencing the beauty and simplicity of life in the jungle. You will serve and partner with the indigenous people in meaningful ways, and through this, you will have the chance to build relationships with mutual trust and respect. This is an opportunity to develop an understanding of a life that most Americans have never witnessed firsthand.
This is an advanced trip with an environment that can be unpredictable, so it is essential that your team come ready to be flexible as the week varies according to the needs at a given time. That being said, below is a basic itinerary for the week, which may vary depending on the specifics of your trip and the situational developments of a given week.
Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. Experience Mission has devotionals/journals that are available for purchase or teams can supply their own. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage everyone to spend it with God journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold.
Our staff will lead a time of debriefing and a short devotional in the evening (what we call "Evening Gathering") and it is always a great addition to have musical worship. Our programming does not include musical worship as we can't guarantee that our staff will have this ability. Please let us know if you have anyone who sings or plays guitar on your trip so that we can help to coordinate the musical aspect of worship when able. If teams aren't able to help in the area of music, it may not be a part of the trip.
- Arrive in the San Jose Airport and stay the night at a Hostel in San Jose.
- Team Orientation
- Depart from San Jose early in the morning. You will take a 5-6 hour bus ride to Shiroles and then you will travel by boat up the Telire River.
- After finishing your boat ride, hike from the boat landing to your village. (For some villages, there is a bus that will transport you along a rugged path, and for others, you will hike or do both.)
- Get settled in your accommodations for the night.
Day 3 - Day 7
7:15 - Breakfast
7:45 - Devotions and quiet time
8:15 - Group prayer
8:30 - Team leaves for sites
12:00 - Lunch
3:30 - Finish work for the day
4:00 - Break and clean-up
5:00 - Leaders Meeting
6:00 - Dinner
7:00 - Evening gathering
8:00 - Team time
- Pack up and hike out to the boat launch.
- Take the boat back to Shiroles
- Return to San Jose via chartered bus (Approx. 6 hours)
- Stay in Hostel in San Jose
- Depart San Jose.
Due to staffing limitations and varying school schedules in our community locations, Evening Gathering and Kids Club may not be offered during spring break trips.
Teams may opt to add an extra day or two to their trip. EM can help arrange the logistics for these additional days but you may not be accompanied by an EM staff member. If your team adds extra days all expenses incurred will be your teams cost and you will need to bring cash/credit to pay for these in person. EM can provide you with estimated quotes but know that your team is responsible for the costs should they be higher than the estimated quote.
Should you add additional days please be sure to talk with your Servicing representative to make sure your personalized logistics are handled.
Your team will partner with the local people to help meet the needs of the community in which you are serving. Potential projects include work on bridges, schools, and health centers. Because of the difficulty in transporting tools and supplies, your team should expect to work with only the most basic necessities. Specific construction skills may be helpful but none are required. It is most important that you are physically capable of hard work, and you come with a willing heart.
In this community, connecting with the local children through children's ministry is an important part of what we do each day. Teams coming to this community must expect to participate in Kids Club. Experience Mission will provide the curriculum for your teams use. This Kids Club curriculum will be sent out to Team Leaders in the spring via email. Your team may be asked to participate in multiple Kids Clubs and avenues of ministering to children.
Teams will be responsible to bring the craft supplies needed for their specific crafts and should budget appropriately. While we do our best to make sure the craft materials are cost-effective, teams may feel free to augment any materials to make them more suitable for their budget. Experience Mission will supply scissors, staplers, paper hole punches and rulers. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with local children through games like soccer or frisbee. Tuck in a hackysack, football or jump rope as they are sure to come in handy.
*Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs within the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day. Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific activities until your team arrives.
Because we eat only what we can pack, you should not expect to have a great deal of variety. Locals can generally cook for the teams, but we will purchase the food which will generally consist of basic items such as rice and beans. Team members should plan to bring their own plate, bowl, cup and silverware for meals.
Due to a limited variety of foods available in Coroma EM can not accommodate any nut or seafood allergies. Please inquire with an EM staff member for more details.
Your team will be staying in a local home or community building.
You will be sleeping on hard floors, so mats are essential. You will be responsible to carry all of your bedding in your packs, so thin self-inflating pads are ideal. It may be cool at night, so a travel sheet and a lightweight sleeping bag rated down to the mid-50's are recommended. The sleeping bag must be very compact-able. Accommodations will be minimal and your entire team should be prepared to sleep in one room.
There are no shower facilities in Coroma, so be prepared to bathe in the nearby river.
Outhouses are likely to be the only form of restrooms available.
Some water can be carried in, but your team must be prepared to drink out of the jungle streams and rivers. You should have two forms of water purification such as iodine tablets, steripen, filter, or boiling.
In most places there is no electricity.
Your team will most likely be sleeping in open rooms, so valuables are best kept on your person. These villages are very peaceful communities, and the presence of trustworthy locals nearby will enhance security.
Destination Airport: San Jose Juan Santamaria International Airport, Costa Rica (SJO)
Team members are responsible to cover the cost of their round-trip airfare to the San Jose airport and should make plans to arrive before 10pm on the first day of your selected trip. You will stay at a hostel in San Jose the first night and then will make the journey to Coroma the following day.
Return travel should be arranged with your flight departing after 9am.
If you have trouble finding flights that fit into this time frame please contact us before booking your tickets to make special arrangements.
Upon arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica, all transportation IS INCLUDED. After you arrive, initial transportation to the Talamanca region (where Coroma is located) will be by chartered bus.
The journey to/from Coroma involves a 5-hour bus ride, a 1-hour motorized wooden canoe ride, and then a 30-minute hike.
When you leave Costa Rica, you will be charged an exit fee at the airport for each individual. This will be approximately 30 US dollars per person, and you should bring cash for this payment. You will not be permitted to leave the country until you pay this fee. Note: Some airlines may include this fee in your ticket price. Check with your airline about exit fees before you leave on your trip.
Passports - Each team member must carry a valid passport.
If you have further questions regarding required travel documents we advise you to contact the US State Department - www.travel.state.gov
If you do not have a valid passport, it is of the utmost importance that you apply as soon as possible. The processing time for a Passport can take several weeks once your application has been submitted. An expired Passport is not considered valid.
Other Required Travel Documents - All team members under the age of 18 must carry a written, notarized letter from their parents giving them parental permission to leave the country. They must carry the original notarized copy of this letter. It cannot be a photo copy of the letter.
1) If the minor is traveling without parents, both parents must sign the letter.
2) If they are traveling with one parent, the parent that is not traveling with them must sign this letter.
3) If their parents are separated or divorced and both parents do not want to sign the same letter, they must have a notarized letter from each parent giving them permission to go.
Experience Mission can provide a sample copy of a permission letter or you can create your own letter that must include the following:
1) The full name of both parents and their formal signatures
2) The full name of the child
3) The full name of the Adult Chaperone serving as the Team Leader
4) The specific traveling dates for each country
5) The destination country
6) The reason for travel to the destination country (example- "youth group function")
7) The Airline itinerary (if applicable)
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EMís IMMERSION program.
Wondering what all goes on during our Coroma, Costa Rica mission trips? Youíre not alone! Hereís a list of frequently asked questions about this trip.
Is the place where we are staying safe?
Yes. While there is always a risk when traveling abroad, we make certain our housing facilities are safe. In every community where we work, we partner with trusted local people who are responsible to ensure team safety.
What airport will I fly into?
Mission trip team traveling to Coroma fly into San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO).
How will I know where to go at the airport? Who will I meet?
You will have access to specific instructions on how to go through customs and where to meet our staff at the airport once you register for your trip. We will also provide you with the phone number of our staff on the ground to call should you get lost. You can expect a call from this person the week of your trip to communicate any special details.
Will there be clean water to drink?
Some water may be carried in, but your team must come prepared to drink water out of the jungle streams and rivers. You should bring two forms of water purification such as iodine tablets, steripen, filter, or boiling.
What will we be doing on our mission trip?
Mission trips in Costa Rica typically consist of a mixture of highly physical construction projects and children's ministry, called Kids Club. Be sure to check the details for your specific trip because individual trips may vary.
What shots and immunizations do I need to get before my mission trip?
In addition to being up-to-date on all childhood vaccinations and boosters, we strongly recommend all participants check with the Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) as well as their local physician and closely follow their directions for recommended shots and immunizations. Click here for the CDC travel page for Costa Rica.
Will I need to purchase additional travel insurance on my mission trip?
We strongly recommend that every team member have personal medical insurance. All volunteers should check with their personal medical insurance provider regarding international coverage. If your personal insurance will not cover you, we strongly recommend purchasing additional travel insurance. Short-term travel insurance can be purchased separately through a local insurance company.
If you cannot obtain travel insurance through a local provider, upon team registration, we will direct you to a link for "Travel Insurance" on our website. This link will connect you and your team members to "Group International Travel Solutions," a trusted travel insurance company.How much do Costa Rica mission trips cost?
What seasons do you offer Costa Rica mission trips?
Trips are offered in Coroma only during May-August. Donít see a date that works for you? Contact us about planning a custom trip.
Do you offer spring break trips in Costa Rica?
Not at this time.
Will we work with children in Costa Rica?
Yes! You will work with children in a variety of settings, most notably, when your team leads a Kids Club.
What paperwork is required for this mission trip?
Each team member will need to fill out a team member registration form and liability waiver and all adults are required to pass a background check. Additionally, each team member will need to have a valid passport that expires at least six months after traveling to Costa Rica.
Will I need a visa for a Costa Rica mission trip?
You will not need to apply for a visa ahead of time. You will go through customs upon arrival and provide information about the nature of the trip. We will provide you with all the resources you need for this prior to your departure.
Where will my team stay in Costa Rica?
Teams will either stay at a local church or with host families for this trip.
Are meals provided for Costa Rica mission trips?
Yes, but because we eat only what we can pack, you should not expect to have a great deal of variety. Locals generally cook for the teams, but food is purchased ahead of time and carried in and generally consists of basic items such as rice and beans. Team members should plan to bring their own plate, bowl, cup and silverware for meals.
Due to a limited variety of foods available in Coroma, EM cannot guarantee that we can accommodate any nut or seafood allergies. Please inquire with an EM staff member for more details.
When can I arrive in Costa Rica?
We ask that teams arrive between 11am and 2pm on the first day of their selected trip. If you are unable to arrive in this window of time, please contact your mission trip support person prior to booking airfare so that we can ensure that you will have transportation available upon arrival. You will spend the first night of your stay in a hostel in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Is airfare included in EM trip fees?
No. Airfare is a separate expense and you will book this on your own.
What local culture will we experience on our Coroma mission trip?
Teams will experience authentic Costa Rican culture and hospitality by local guides. All meals will be prepared by local cooks and you will have the opportunity to meet and build relationships with a variety of local people.
How does this trip impact the local community?
All work projects are focused on community development and decisions about what the projects will be are left almost entirely up to local leadership. As a result, real community needs are being met and projects have a lasting impact.
Have more questions about Experience Mission trips? Check out our general FAQs, or call our support team at 888-475-6414.
Find the best trip for your group
Register your team to reserve your week
Serve on a life-changing Mission Trip this year!
Find the best trip for your team
Register your team to reserve your week
Serve on a life-changing mission trip
You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.