Frequently Asked Questions
Listed below are many of the Frequently Asked Questions we receive. If you have specific questions, please contact us on our contact page. Alternatively, you can email us directly at [email protected] or call us at (801) 896 9490.
We are here to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to ask us anything. We will have the answers for you.
To apply to Pure Life Adventure’s program, you must fill out our online application and supply the required documentation. After your application has been reviewed, a member of our admissions team will reach out to schedule a phone interview to discuss your application and our program requirements. Our Admissions Director speaks with every student before they commit to joining us in Costa Rica. We use trauma-informed practices in our admissions process, and the student has to agree to come without coercion.
Applications are reviewed within 24 hours of submission.
Each applicant has unique needs. As we receive applications, we want to ensure that our program is a good fit for the needs of each applicant. In cases where we do not feel our services are the best fit, we may deny admission. We also require that all applicants who attend, do so willingly with a full understanding of our program and requirements. If they do not agree, or if admission is without their permission, we will not accept them into our program.
We offer rolling admissions, so we accept applications at any time during the year, but space is often limited. We typically do intakes on Mondays.
Unfortunately, we do not directly work with insurance companies. However, Pure Life can provide you with a super bill at the end of your stay. This bill includes all of your accrued clinical hours, which can then be submitted to your insurance provider. Please note that all insurance policies are unique and Pure Life cannot guarantee that your insurance company will reimburse you for this expense. We recommend checking with your insurance provider to understand what your policy covers to avoid any surprises.
We offer on-site visits for parents during their child’s stay with Pure Life in Costa Rica. We also have a number of referring professionals who visit frequently–these professionals are tasked with becoming acquainted with our team to ensure quality programming.
All travelers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic before departure.
- Hepatitis A – Recommended for all travelers.
- Typhoid – Recommended for all travelers.
- Hepatitis B – Recommended for all travelers.
- Yellow fever – Required for travelers arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas.
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) – Two doses are recommended for all travelers born after 1956, if not previously given Tetanus-diphtheria – Revaccination recommended every 10 years.
We accept all young men and women ages 18 to 26. Most of our students are 18-23. We do have an adolescent program that accepts students between the ages of 15 and 17.
We do not require proof of vaccination for admittance to our program. However, you must provide a negative COVID test 48 hours prior to your arrival at our Costa Rica facility.
Pure Life Adventure therapists are licensed and experienced in dealing with the unique challenges facing our students. We are also accredited members of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH), members of the National Associate Of Therapeutic Schools And Programs (NATSAP), and accredited with Association for Experiential Education (AEE).
Our students engage in individual therapy and group therapy on a weekly basis. Pure Life Adventure uses a hands-on, strengths-based, student-integrated clinical model through which students quickly learn new and healthy coping strategies, behavioral and emotional regulation skills, leadership skills, and life skills that lead to future success.
Surfing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, and other activities are tools inherent to Wilderness Adventure Therapy. This environment makes for a dynamic and engaging model for our students to work on their issues. Being outdoors and exposing ourselves to new and challenging activities can help us be more receptive to finding new tools and new ways to cope when we struggle. These tools help break down walls and challenge students, but they also give the clinical field staff a unique look into the individual struggles of each student. For each student, individual treatment plans are created, adjusted, and proven successful both here at Pure Life Adventure, and in the student’s personal lives at home.
Our students engage in individual therapy and group therapy on a weekly basis. Pure Life Adventure uses a hands-on, strengths-based, student-integrated clinical model through which students quickly learn new, healthy coping strategies, behavioral and emotional regulation skills, leadership skills, and life skills that lead to future success.
Our program includes a wide variety of therapy methods. We offer individual therapy, group therapy, equine therapy, as well as adventure therapy through activities such as white water rafting, surfing, yoga, meditation, and more.
Yes. We value your privacy and take appropriate action to protect every family’s personal information.
We currently follow all CDC guidelines and adhere to any local laws and regulations instituted by Costa Rica.
In many of our operating areas, we are within 20-30 minutes of a hospital or private clinic. However, a few of our itineraries are quite remote and may be up to three to four hours from intensive medical care. These areas may or may not be accessible by helicopter or vehicle depending on weather conditions. For this reason, we rely on the admissions process to ensure students are healthy and cleared by a medical professional before entering our program.
We do our best to ensure the safety of all students in our program. Each adventure activity is developed by experts in the field and overseen by risk management personnel. All of our guides are trained in Wilderness First Aid, therapeutic de-escalation, and many have other technical rescue certifications. Pure Life follows Utah state regulations regarding safety in the wilderness industry. Additionally, Costa Rica is considered to be the safest, most stable country in all of Central America and has quality health care should an emergency occur. With all of that said, we are operating in a foreign country, and in some remote areas, it is possible that access to quick medical care will not be available.
Our Program FAQ
We do our best to ensure the safety of all students in our program. Each adventure activity is developed by experts in the field and overseen by risk management personnel. All of our guides are trained in Wilderness First Aid, therapeutic de-escalation, and many have other technical rescue certifications.
Pure Life follows Utah state regulations regarding safety in the wilderness industry. Additionally, Costa Rica is considered the safest, most stable country in all of Central America and has quality health care should an emergency occur.
Our cultural homestays are an opportunity for students to stay in the home of a local Costa Rican family. Usually, this means sleeping on the floor with the guides and the rest of the group in a safe and clean environment. All homes are comfortable and provide flushing toilets and clean running water for drinking and bathing. Host families benefit as they are paid for the student’s room and board. All students will be asked to roll up their sleeves and pitch in with daily chores in and out of the home, as most of the families live on farms and there is never a shortage of work to be done.
Pure Life is very small by design. We pride ourselves in our ability to give high levels of focus and attention to each client. We currently have two student groups: an adolescent group, and a young adult group. Both groups have space for up to 8 to 10 students and are typically full year round.
We are happy to speak with anyone interested in enrolling their children in our program. Feel free to reach out to our team to ask questions. We also encourage you to read our expansive blog that has more detailed information regarding our program, what life challenges we can help with, and what can be expected as a student of Pure Life.
Adventure therapy is held in the front country and is more involved in the local community. We rely on the outdoors and nature as a tool for therapy and learning. Wilderness therapy is typically held in the backcountry, far from civilization, and engages more of a nomadic lifestyle. Adventure therapy also uses outdoor adventures such as white water rafting, surfing, rappelling and cultural immersion to teach life lessons and improve mindfulness.
There’s too many benefits of wilderness adventure therapy to list in a short FAQ answer, but adventure therapy is effective because nature is healing. A great benefit of adventure therapy is it removes the young person from any toxic or stressful living situations. By incorporating adventure therapy activities, students learn confidence, how to conquer fear and deal with other emotions through a different and unique tool. We also blend in the benefits of traditional talk therapy for individuals and groups.
Absolutely! We allow a parent visit two to three months into your student’s stay with Pure Life. Parents are very involved in the entire process. Collaborating with the family and communicating well is very important to us. We strongly believe that solid family units are formed as families work together with health care professionals to overcome challenges.
Parents of our young adults will have weekly calls with their child’s therapist. We also include parents in weekly parent support group calls.
We feel that parental involvement is important. We know sending your child to a foreign country when you are already worried about them can be difficult. We like to involve the parents each week by facilitating a call between the parent and their child’s therapist. We also encourage parents to join their child on-site for a parent visit. We also offer a parent support group that allows parents to meet and share with other parents who also have a child enrolled in the program.
The most notable difference about our unique program is that it involves nature in our therapeutic model. We know that nature is healing. We want our students to engage with nature, learn from it, and make improvements that will last beyond the forests of Costa Rica.
Pure Life is also unique in that we require our students to be engaged prior to making a commitment to our program. We expect our students to agree to the program and its expectations and have a desire to work in the program. We will only accept students who fully agree to participate in the program.
While students are on base (Monday/Tuesday), students sleep in beds and have access to amenities like flushing toilets and hot showers. During Adventure itineraries, students sleep on their sleeping pads on the ground, often camping or sleeping in an open-air shelter.
On base days, students have access to a full kitchen and lots of fresh ingredients. Students will eat food harvested from the local community garden, and they will also learn to cook outdoors and eat family style, preparing each meal as a group. When students leave on an Adventure itinerary, each student is given their own food that they will manage while they are away from base camp. This will typically include items like eggs, some fresh fruit and vegetables, rice & beans, pasta, snacks, tortillas for sandwiches, etc.
Students with Pure Life will get to enjoy surfing, white water rafting, rappelling, sea kayaking, rainforest backpacking, three different certification courses and service opportunities within the local community, such as chores and gardening. We acknowledge that most of our students may never have participated in these activities. For safety reasons, we also require each student to complete safety certification courses such as swift water rescue and a technical rope course.
Note: Some adventure activities such as sea kayaking and rafting are seasonal, depending on the rainy season.
A passport is required to travel to Costa Rica. All customs forms will be given to you on the airplane. It’s recommended with any international travel that you make a photocopy of your passport and airline ticket, and keep it in a separate location. Be sure to check under the Visa Section of the FAQ page to see if you need a visa. To expedite a passport, visit http://www.rushmypassport.com.
Students, as well as any visitors, fly into the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), located in San Jose, Costa Rica. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time with layovers. We recommend no less than two hours.
Unfortunately, there are no secret tricks. Try everything until you find the best price. Kayak.com is a recommended site. If you are using frequent flier miles, try to book as early as possible to ensure you get the dates you want.
Check the expiration date of your passport to make sure you don’t need a renewal before the trip. For U.S. passports, visit the following site for more information: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html.
To expedite a passport, visit: http://www.rushmypassport.com
No visa is required to visit Costa Rica if you are visiting from the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.
A Visa is required if you are visiting from the following countries: Andorra, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Chile, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Grenadines, Greece, Guadalupe, Guyana, Haití, Malta, Martinique, Morocco, Paraguay, Peru, San Marino, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Saudi Arabia, Surinam, Taiwan, Trinidad, Tobago, Uruguay, Jamaica.
That depends on where you’re coming from. Costa Rica is on U.S. Central Time, although it does not follow daylight savings so for half of the year, the time will be equivalent to U.S., Mountain Time. For travel from the U.S. generally jet lag is not a problem.
The Costa Rican climate doesn’t change much from season to season. The average temperatures of the country range from 21.7˚C (71˚F) and 27˚C (81˚F). The coolest months are usually around November to January, and the warmest is from March to May, although it’s never far from paradise. Costa Rica has a vastly different topography so temperatures, rainfall, and overall climate differ from region to region. The typical rainy season runs from May to November or December, with the dry season running from January to May. Both seasons offer amazing benefits, so any time is a good time to be in Costa Rica.
There is only one place to exit the airport. There will be a Pure Life Adventure representative holding a sign with our company logo on it and your name. He or she will safely escort you to our base where we will be waiting for you.