The Local Costa Rica Travel Experts
Why book with Adventures Under the Sun? Because AUSun is a lot more than just a Costa Rica travel agency – we know the best places to visit in Costa Rica for outdoor enthusiasts that integrate cultural and nature experiences, thus creating unforgettable, personalized all-inclusive vacations touring the diverse natural landscape and unique characteristics of Costa Rica.
With a lifetime of guiding and adventure racing under our belts, the team at Adventures Under the Sun creates exceptional, incomparable, one-of-a-kind adventures in Costa Rica for groups of all kinds.
AUSUN’s founder, adventure athlete and Costa Rican, Mélida Barbee, has a strong passion to share the joy and health benefits of being active in nature, and she loves to share the path of human wellness through adventure travel. Mélida has been creating trips and guiding guests for over 20 years and has built up a network of partners that elevate and enrich the adventure experience.
Mélida and her team are seasoned guides and athletes ready to kayak the whitewater, teach you how to surf a gorgeous wave or snorkel alongside you to explore a spectacular reef. We will zipline with you across the forest, look for Howler monkeys and birds along the trail, visit volcanoes and caves, and teach you all about Costa Rica along the way. It’s a deeper, richer Costa Rican experience that you, your peers and your family will carry with you for a lifetime.
Meet the Team
AUSun’s staff consists of a variety of amazing local professionals in environmental and outdoor education, travel, and sports. Our trip leaders are young, bilingual adults with CPR, WFR, First Aid and ICT Guide Certifications. Our shared values, philosophies, and passion for the Costa Rican outdoors is reflected in the success of the trips we lead and operate.
Founder, Director, Guide, & Adventure Mentor
Mélida Barbee founded AUSun in 2001 after working in the local, environmental conservation sector. She later led students and adults on adventures throughout Costa Rica and the United States for 15 years. As a dedicated and competitive athlete, a concerned environmentalist and passionate outdoorsman, she chose a path to share experiences that sharpen and engage our senses and make life beat at a richer tempo.
Adventure Mentor and Experience Leader
Trip Leader and Surf Instructor
My husband and I enjoy participating in AUSun adventures, especially the kayaking trips. No matter where we travel, we know that the small details will be taken care of, the trip will be fun and adventurous, and that Meli and her crew will have thought of every small detail to make our trip pleasant. Both of our daughters participated in AUSun weeklong trips when they were in school and loved it. We highly recommend AUSun trips for safe fun and adventure for the whole family.
I sent my kids to five Adventure under the Sun Trips over the past years. It made such a huge difference in their lives. I truly believe they are better young men today, because of those incredible outdoor experiences. I would recommend this experience to everybody that has teenagers and is worried about how to deal with everything that comes with teenagerhood.
ASUN has been an excellent onsite operator for our Student´s Journeys. Always professional, creative and flexible with our needs. The staff is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, friendly and careful. Teachers and students have come back home very happy with service quality and the whole experience that Adventures Under the Sun creates.
Over the last 5 year AUSun has supported us with teamwork activities. Their energy, enthusiasm, and passion are contagious. Taken our teams to the limit, building self-confidence, hungry to get better and make them believe in their ability to reach new heights.
Dr. Kerri Nolan
As an educator and as a parent, I have seen hundreds of students and my two daughters benefit greatly from participation in challenge trips through Adventures Under the Sun. Young people and even their adult teachers have conquered their fears of heights, water, and even spiders to engage in thrilling and sometimes uncomfortable experiences such as white water rafting, zip-lining, beach clean ups, camping, mountain climbing, and even spelunking. Every experience results in improved team work and a sense of empowerment, as students realize, Yes, I can!
AUSun has been our go to Costa Rica adventure outfitter for over 10 years now! From white water rafting to environmental education, from cooking classes to organic farming, AUSun has always designed unique and creative itineraries that keep our students engaged and learning every day. Their local knowledge runs deep and their guides treat each group like family, opening our students to cultural and community experiences that have changed lives and made life long friendships. We feel safe and secure knowing that the AUSun staff is keeping watch over our most precious resource, our kids! Thanks Meli and team for making each and every year a new and exciting adventure for both kids and teachers.
Muy agradecido con todo el equipo de Adventure Under the Sun por el esfuerzo y gran trabajo. Ver las sonrisas de los chicos, escuchar con la emoción que narran sus aventuras, retos y logros son prueba que disfrutaron cada momento de su expedición.
Adriana Chave Mora
De parte de la Familia Arrieta Ch y principalmente de Andrés, deseamos agradecerles por haber creado una experiencia única, inolvidable, llena de retos y aventuras para Andrés. Andrés ha llegado a casa muy contento y sumamente emotivo porque estos días junto a ustedes se formó en él un sentimiento de amistad, de unión , de equipo. La felicidad de la experiencia se mezcla en estos momentos con la tristeza del término de esta aventura llamada Expedición Nicoya 2018!!
About 7 years ago my husband Hans and myself decided it was time to let our twin sons get some independence from us and an exit out of the sheltered "bubble" they lived in. When they turned 12, we decided to send them off on their first adventure with Adventures under the Sun. I believe they were gone for two or three nights. The young boys returned amazed by what Costa Rica had to offer and all they had learned with Adventures under the Sun: hiking, camping, group meals, cleaning up, kayaking and surfing. The following years they went every year after that becoming truly great adventurers. I do remember that after they returned from the Osa Camp they came back very grateful to a clean bed and a home cooked meal. Adventures under the Sun gave my twins the opportunity to live the best of Costa Rica in a safe and enriching way. You changed the lives of my boys! Thanks!
I, and indeed all members of our family, have participated over the years in many of Meli's Adventures Under the Sun (and occasionally under the rain) - kayak trips and treks. We have always had a great time and look forward to more of Meli's adventures in the future. Meli is an amazing person and impresses in so many ways. She is very efficient and her adventures are always well organized. She is an excellent cook and picnics on beaches and in the mountains are a treat. For such a slim and trim lady, her physical strength and stamina are extraordinary. And perhaps most important, she is a delightful person with a warm and friendly personality.
Many thanks for a great weekend. You not only impress - indeed amaze - with your physical capability, but also how you always have everything perfectly organized. For those of us of a certain age, trips such as last weekend are not only most enjoyable but also good for the ego and self confidence. It let's us know that we are not quite as decrepit as we probably look and sometimes feel.
Dear Melida, From what we have seen beforehand by WhatsApp through the photos and the "life" documentation we already knew that this would be a life experience for all participants. In the case of Jenny you are completely right regarding her comfort zone and one of the reasons we motivated her to participate was just this challenge to get a new experience different than the "Country Day Lifestyle". She came back very happy and day by day she is telling us more of her nice experiences.
Melida, Muchas gracias por el feedback, para nosotros era muy importante no solo que Sebastian la pasara bien (en el summer expedition), sino que el camp fuera una experiencia de vida y desarrollo personal. Nos alegra saber que él haya aprovechado la oportunidad y haya participado activamente en el camp y haya desarrollado sus "soft skills" con el resto de sus compañeros.
Hi Melida, I so enjoyed the trip. You and your team were such a pleasure...and your attention to detail was so appreciated.
On behalf of our entire crew we would like to let you all know that so far in 3 seasons of production for this show your crew was hands down the best we have ever had. Since we have been in Rio our crew keeps reminiscing about our experience and new lifetime friends we made with all of you. I will return one day when I'm on vacation and I will plan to see all of you! Thank you all for your hard work to make our shoot successful and fun!
Méli, you and your entire group are exemplary! Each and every one of you. From Mané always being right where he needs to be, with a smile to Manuel's good natured presence to Luigi's humor and youthfulness to Diego's innocent way about him and to you who is the glue, the brains and the drive behind it all. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. We all feel that we have just gained 7 life long friends, including Mario and Sebastian. What a fantastic group of hard working, gracious individuals!
I can unequivocally recommend Meli’s programs 110%. Jack loved every part (including the tougher segments). He grew enormously. In fact, so much so that the whole summer was like the 12” fish which became 28” by the time he was done writing his high school application essays and talking about the adventure and Costa Rica to admissions officers. We can’t thank Meli or her people enough for Jack’s experience.
Keystone Montessori School
All the safety standards were met, and I never felt at any time that safety was compromised. The leaders were well qualified and went above and beyond.
Telluride Mountain School
Great trip, the homestay and language program really allowed the students to engage in the language and culture. The Corcovado experience was unbelievable.