As the eco-tourism and adventure capital of Central America, Costa Rica is not typically thought of as a big volleyball destination. All of that is changing. In 2016 Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro were the first duo to ever represent Costa Rica at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero. In June, 2018 FECOVOL, the Federation of Costa Rica Volleyball, hosted the NORCECA U-19 boys Continental Championship at Costa Rica’s national sports complex in La Sabana.
In addition to the Costa Rica women’s and mens national teams, the capital city of San Jose is also home to top club teams eager and ready to play competitive volleyball matches for visiting DI, DII and DIII level college teams. However beyond the volleyball, there’s several other compelling reasons teams are traveling to Costa Rica on their foreign tours.
Reason number one is getting back to nature. It’s no wonder that Costa Rica is the eco-tourism and adventure capital of Central America. In just a week, you can capture a birds-eye-view of tropical rainforests on hanging bridges, come face to face with exotic wildlife on a zip-line canopy tour, swim in naturally heated volcanic hot springs and surf warm waves crashing on sandy white beaches.
To take advantage of Costa Rica’s unique biodiversity, each of our volleyball tours include a visit to three very different cities: San Jose – Costa Rica’s capital city where all the volleyball matches will take place; La Fortuna – an eco-tourism haven and home to the famed Arenal Volcano; and a beach destination, either Playa Tamarindo or Manuel Antonio depending on team flights.
Reason number two is the opportunity to volunteer abroad and give back to the community on your foreign tour makes lasting impact. Hosting youth volleyball clinics at local clubs and distributing much needed volleyball equipment is often the highlight of the trip for visiting teams.
Cornell College donated dozens of brightly colored volleyballs by provided by Molten. Drake University, in partnership with The Sports Bra Project, distributed sports bras to empower young women and make sports more accessible. Loras College women’s volleyball team donated over 100 pairs of kneepads at the volleyball camps and clinics they hosted in Costa Rica. At BIP, we believe the best of part of traveling is connecting with the locals, engaging with the local community and giving back. Every BIP volleyball tour to Costa Rica includes at least 2-3 days of cultural engagement and community service activities.
Reason number three is obvious if you’ve been to Costa Rica. It’s all about the Pura Vida! It means to live a peaceful, simple, uncluttered life with a deep appreciation for nature, family and friends; a “real living” that reflects happiness, well-being, conformity and satisfaction. You’ll find it often echoed in warm greetings and embodied in the spirit of friendly locals. The Pura Vida vibe is infectious. Learning to slow down and be thankful makes us better travelers, teammates and friends.
Jeff Meeker, the head women’s volleyball coach at Cornell College, experienced this on Cornell College Volleyball’s 2018 tour to Costa Rica. In reflecting upon the trip Jeff told us, “It is hard to put into words the positive impact these tours have on our program and our players. Being able to blend the joys of international travel with competitive volleyball, service, learning different cultures and spreading our passion for volleyball is truly special.”
The truly special experience of blending international travel with competitive volleyball, nature and community service is exactly why Costa Rica is emerging as an international volleyball destination.