Young Adult & Adolescent Therapeutic Gap Semester

in Costa Rica

With over 20 years of experience operating in Costa Rica, Pure Life Adventure offers a life-changing experience for young people utilizing adventure therapy, coaching, and cultural immersion. Our therapeutic gap semester is an opportunity for young people to develop confidence, leadership skills, life skills, and valuable insight at a critical phase of life. 


At Pure Life, we utilize an adventure therapy model to help young adults and adolescents with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, executive function deficits, trauma, and harmful coping mechanisms related to technology and substance use. At a time where so many young people are struggling with their mental health, Pure Life offers a fun and engaging alternative to Wilderness Therapy or other short term residential options.


Pure Life for Adolescents

Our new program, available for all gender adolescents ages 14-17

After successfully serving young adults for the past six years, families and professionals have asked us to provide services for adolescents. We are pleased to open our doors to adolescents ages 14-17 in 2020. These students will be able to heal and grow in the beauty of Costa Rica. Our unique model incorporates: nature, mindfulness, cultural immersion, adventure activities, and community service with the strong foundation of clinical support provided by our licensed Masters-level clinicians.

What is Adventure Therapy?

What does surfing have to do with depression? How does rafting help treat anxiety? Activities like these help students develop self- efficacy and grit. Self-efficacy, our belief in our own ability to persevere and succeed, translates to a happier and healthier life. Adventures challenge students to overcome perceived limitations, ultimately building their self-confidence. Our mission is to facilitate meaningful therapeutic experiences that provide students with the tools to thrive and flourish. Research shows that skills and coping methods learned through adventure therapy transfer to post program success. Each novel experience has the potential to become a profound, therapeutic moment promoting lasting change.

Who Do We Serve?

Adolescence and the transition into young adulthood is an exciting time of life but can also present many unique challenges, especially for young people dealing with depression and anxiety. These challenges are very real and can be debilitating. It is not uncommon for even the brightest young people to feel “stuck” or “paralyzed” in the transition. Some struggling young people self-medicate with substances, overeating, undereating, or by avoiding, isolating, giving up easily on everything, or just simply sitting in their parent’s basement and shutting down. Whatever your challenge may be, there is hope and help available.

Therapeutic Gap Semester

Young people choose to take a gap semester for many reasons.  They are not ready for the rigors of college, they need to take a break from high school, or they are finding that they have personal barriers that might get in the way of a successful academic experience. 

Most gap year programs fit a common profile that includes experiential learning and a deliberate challenging of comfort zones. Many are also marked by cultural immersion, community service, and adventure activities. Yet, a traditional gap year does not include the therapeutic component that is often necessary to help young people reflect on their experiences and prepare for the next stages of their development.

Pure Life is able to provide a traditional gap experience with with the added deliberate focus on the therapeutic needs of young adults & adolescents. Our three month adventures are built to intentionally foster grit and resiliency in students while supporting them as they confront the barriers that are holding them back from success.

Videos From Our Alumni

Check out some of the videos below to see first hand how Pure Life has helped our students overcome many obstacles in their life.

Play Video

"A better future begins with a choice to change"


Our Mission

We believe young people should play a part in the decision to attend an outdoor program like Pure Life. We ask all of our students to talk with us before committing to the experience and we want them fully informed as a part of the admission process.  We know that nature, adventure, and cultural immersion are therapeutic and can offer our students an effective way to get healthy. 

“There is power in going out into nature and challenging yourself – it changes you.”

Mara Mueller, Pure Life Clinical Director