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 missionary 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 Coroma mission trip?
Want to preview Coroma 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 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.Average daily schedule
- 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 boat launch.
- Take 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 then 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 to their budget. Experience Mission will supply scissors, staplers, paper hole punches and rulers. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with the 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)
If you're interested in bringing your group on a mission trip, fill out this quick interest form! Our staff will be in touch with you shortly to help answer your questions. Also, many questions about trips to this community are answered under Mission Trip Details & Logistics above.
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.
EM's Health & Safety plan provides the following:
Staff certification: All Summer Staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.
Medical kits: Medical kits that include first-aid supplies for general accidents and ailments are provided for each site. In international locations, we will also carry a Trauma Kit or First Responder Kit. In these remote locations we will have medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl and Imodium on hand. We make these available to adult team leaders for their sole discretionary use with their team members. EM Staff will not dispense any medications. In our domestic locations, we ask that teams supply their own medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl and Imodium as they deem necessary.
Emergency response plan: Based on the severity of each emergency, EM has a plan for appropriate response.
- If a team member becomes seriously ill, they will be taken to a local doctor to receive appropriate medical attention and medications. If they are a minor, their Team Leader along with our staff will accompany them to the clinic. If needed, their parents will be contacted. Their recovery will be carefully monitored by our staff.
- If there is an accident that requires a doctor, but is not life threatening and does not have the potential to cause permanent damage, Experience Mission staff will locate the Team Leader, contact parents or guardians (providing the injured is a minor) and provide safe but quick transportation to a local clinic.
- In the event that an accident occurs which is life threatening or has the potential for permanent damage, emergency medical care will be secured and arraignments will be made if necessary, to transport the injured person to the United States as quickly as possible providing they are serving in one of our International locations. In our domestic locations, local 911 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted immediately to assist in guidance for appropriate response.
All medical care is the sole responsibility of the team member. Experience Mission requires every team member to be covered by domestic medical insurance and recommends that team members traveling abroad carry additional international travel insurance to cover any medical needs their domestic medical insurance may not cover.
Immunizations: As with all mission trips, it is essential that volunteers are up to date on all childhood immunizations. Each volunteer must also have a tetanus shot.
For a more information about health concerns and recommended immunizations, you can visit the CDC travelers guide to Costa Rica. You should consult your local doctor prior to receiving any immunizations.
Mission Trips involve many details, and we know you probably have a few questions about EM mission trips.
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You must have a group size of at least 15 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 15 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.