2019 Sandy Spring Costa Rica Adventure

IMPORTANT: PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER FOR EMAILS FROM @WALKINGTREE.ORG AND BE SURE TO ADD US TO YOUR CONTACT LIST. PLEASE ENSURE YOUR PASSPORT IS VALID FOR SIX MONTHS BEYOND THE PROGRAM END DATE.
Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the homepage for the 2019 Sandy Spring Costa Rica Adventure! We have created two webpages dedicated to this once in a lifetime experience so that travelers are as informed as possible throughout the process. This first page, the Pre-Enrollment page, is meant to share exciting details, highlights, and pertinent info that participants will want to know before enrolling. Once enrolled, the Post-Enrollment page is intended to prepare travelers for participation on the adventure ahead.
Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for Costa Rica!
Travel Dates: June 17, 2019 - June 23, 2019
Group Organizer(s):
WTT/SSA Contact:
Program Tuition: $1,785 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $718
Deadline(s): Pre departure meeting on April 22 at 6PM

What to Expect

Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.

Itinerary

We work hard to create safe, engaging, and immersive itineraries for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group. 

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
June 17Maryland, USA - San Jose, Costa RicaToday the group will travel from Maryland to San Jose, Costa Rica. After arrival, the group will have lunch in a typical restaurant close to the airport and willsettle into their hotel, enjoy their first Costa Rican dinner and and have an orientation meeting where they'll discuss the upcoming trip in detail.Rosa de America
June 18San Jose - Pura SuerteToday we will travel early in the morning to San Salvador, we will be visiting the local school and have lunch here. We'll have the opportunity to interact with the students in Spanish, participate in cultural exchanges, and explore Costa Rican culture today.Jungalows
June 19Pura SuerteIn the morning we will hike down to the Nauyaca waterfall, a spectacular three-story waterfall not far from the farm. We will spend the day here, getting to know one another, swimming and taking in the natural beauty of the jungle. In the afternoon we will tour the organic farm in Pura Suerte, where students will try different products and feed farm animals in the middle of the mountains. After the tour we will return to the farm for a relaxing evening.Jungalows
June 20Pura Suerte - Manuel AntonioAfter a hearty breakfast, we will head to the central Pacific coast and raft down the Savegre river. After the tour and lunch, we will leave our belongings in the hotel and get ready to explore Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most stunning national parks in the country. Within Manuel Antonio, we will enjoy one of Costa Rica's most beautiful beaches, and spend time surrounded by wildlife. In the evening we will have dinner, some down time at the hotel pool to relax.Villas Mymosa
June 21Manuel Antonio - La FortunaWe will spend the morning soaring over the coastal canopy in a series of spectacular zip lines! Following this, we will continue on to La Fortuna, home of Costa Rica's most famous volcano, Volcan Arenal. Arriving in the evening, we will relax at some most luxurious hot springs on the area and enjoy a buffet dinner.Arenal Hostel Resort
June 22La Fortuna - San JoseToday we will hike to La Fortuna's most famous waterfall and have time to swim and enjoy lunch at the falls. This afternoon we will head back to San Jose for our final farewell dinner and reflect on our trip.Rosa de America
June 23San Jose - Maryland, USAAfter breakfast, we will head to the airport for a morning departure back home. Hasta luego!Your own bed, eventually!

Need to Raise Money? We have you covered.

Our travelers are provided with funding opportunities that are easy to implement and fun to take part in. Our flagship fundraiser involves selling fair trade, organic, carbon-neutral coffee from a women’s collective in Peru. There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so get started now by clicking the link below!

START FUNDRAISING  

WTT coffee

Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience for travelers, we follow strict guidelines when choosing our accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels which are centrally located, clean, safe and wifi-enabled. 

For rooming, travelers are grouped by gender, and will never share rooms with people who are not associated with their group.  Non-binary travelers are accommodated. Group Organizers and Program Leaders, along with any other traveling adult, are roomed separately from students.
Below are the hotels we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
Finca Pura Suerte

Situated high on the hills overlooking the Pacific coast, the open-air cabins of Pura Suerte are the ideal accommodation for exploring the surrounding farm, primary forest, and countless waterways. This comfortable setting is a center where ideas can be exchanged and practiced to promote sustainable living. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability. There will be no internet access during this portion of the trip.

Villas Mymosa

Hotel Villas Mymosa is a modern 10 room condo hotel located in the peaceful setting of beautiful Manuel Antonio.  These spacious rooms are fully equipped to provide you with all the amenities of your own home.  Each Villas Mymosa villa has a private terrace or balcony or both.  You have the option of peace and quiet at your villa or interacting with other guests around our beautiful large centrally located pool. Free Wi-Fi will keep everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender.

Rosa de America

A beautiful and affordable boutique hotel near the airport yet in a relaxing setting. This hotel is complete with updated rooms, fresh towels and linens, free Wi-Fi, and land lush gardens. Students will be grouped according to gender.

Arenal Hostel Resort

Arenal is one of the great beauties in Costa Rica! With its beautiful gardens, swimming pools, and centralized location, Arenal Hostel Resort is a wonderful place to relax and unwind. Wifi and air conditioning are included, and students will be split between double and triple rooms based on gender and availability.

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure City Departure Date and Time  Arrival City Arrival Date and Time 
Outbound
WN
1576
BWI – Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Baltimore, USA
June 17, 2019 at 6:15AM
FLL – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, USA
June 17, 2019 at 8:55AM
Outbound
WN
303
FLL – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, USA
June 17, 2019 at 10:40AM
SJO – Juan Santamaria International Airport, Alajuela, Costa Rica
June 17, 2019 at 11:40AM
Inbound
WN
304
SJO – Juan Santamaria International Airport, Alajuela, Costa Rica
June 23, 2019 at 12:40PM
FLL – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, USA
June 23, 2019 at 5:45PM
Inbound
WN
4725
FLL – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, USA
June 23, 2019 at 7:50PM
ATL – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, USA
June 23, 2019 at 9:55PM
Inbound
WN
4725
ATL – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, USA
June 23, 2019 at 10:40PM
BWI – Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Baltimore, USA
June 24, 2019 at 12:35AM

 

We will provide additional details on your Group’s Flight and travel day details here.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the group organizer before departure. Nevertheless, travelers will need to check in at the airport and we recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure. For details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure, please contact your Group Organizer.

A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.

WTT is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to find out about baggage fees and options. It is also important to make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.

UN-ACCOMPANIED MINORS
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm if this is required on your flight.

Host Community and Project Details

Packing List

What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The below list should cover everything you would need, but we frequently hear that travelers feel “overpacked” if they follow all of our suggestions. Know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with. We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.

Please consult the 10-day weather forecast in https://weather.com and enter the cities listed in your itinerary if you desire a more detailed look at the weather you might encounter. Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

 

CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :
Underwear
Socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
T-shirts (some quick dry)
Long sleeve shirt
Lightweight sweater
Rain jacket or poncho
Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
Comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions, boys may want to opt for a polo shirt or button up shirt with jeans)
Durable athletic/hiking shoes with good grip
Sandals (Chaco/Teva/Keen/Merrel sandals are great to have for water activities)
Swimming suit, for surf classes a rash guard is recommended for sensitive skin
TOILETRIES
BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS…
Sunscreen (You will use a lot. Natural products/lotions are preferred over aerosol, especially for the beach)
Mosquito repellent (non-deet/lotions are preferred to reduce environmental impact)
Band Aids and Neosporin
Hand Sanitizer
Medication in properly marked original container. It’s important that medication travel in
its original container, as customs officials have the right to confiscate it otherwise.

MISCELLANEOUS:
Sunglasses
Journal and pen
Book
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on number of desired snacks, souvenirs, extra items etc.)
Durable water bottle
1 quick-dry towel
Flashlight/headlamp
Deck of cards or other portable games
Spanish/English Dictionary

Support Team

At minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every program. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado where we remain available to the group for additional help whenever necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program. Meet your support team!

Sara Lavell
Sara Lavell
Country Director - Costa Rica & Panama


Universidad de Costa Rica – B.Sc. Geography

Proudly born a ”tica” with a British father and a Panamanian mother, Sara was raised in the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Sara started traveling the world at a young age and has visited 4 continents. Passionate about conservation, sustainable development and education Sara spent her college years volunteering in different communities during mid-term vacations and later found herself sharing some of her interests with US students and volunteers traveling all over Central America. Nowadays, Sara is finishing her master’s degree in Planning with an emphasis on Socioeconomic Project Management.

Luke Mueller
Luke Mueller
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO


Emory University – B.A. Sociology and minor in Latin American History

During college, Luke spent a semester living and traveling in rural Mexico. His experience sparked a fascination with Latin America and a commitment to community service that continues to this day. Upon graduating from college, he joined WorldTeach and lived with a local family in a small village in Costa Rica while teaching elementary English. After this experience, he moved to San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, and wrote for The Tico Times newspaper. Luke has since traveled to over 60 countries on five different continents.  Now settled in Denver with his family, he continues to crave massive helpings of rice and beans.

Sofía Quirós
Sofía Quirós
Program Leader


Universidad de Costa Rica – B.A. in Art History 

New York University – M.A. in Art Education  

Growing up in Costa Rica, Sofía developed an early passion for nature and the outdoors. She originally wanted to be a biologist but ended up going into the arts instead, specializing in Art Education in New York City where she lived and worked for over eight years. Having mostly worked in non-formal education settings like museums and community spaces, her work focuses on generating transformative learning experiences beyond subjects or settings.

She is passionate about critical pedagogy, community development, multicultural perspectives, and conservation efforts. She has traveled extensively (over 25 countries in 3 continents) believing that there’s nothing like traveling to expand your mindset and allow for growth and connection to new spaces, people, cultures and oneself. She currently lives in San José, Costa Rica, and among her favorite things to do are hiking, whale watching (when possible), eating delicious food, dancing and enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Group Roster

See below for a list of travelers enrolled on the program.

  • 1 Alejandro Omland
  • 2 Aniya Pharagood
  • 3 Carlyssa Prather
  • 4 Chandler Grier
  • 5 Delilah Works
  • 6 Elizabeth Jackson
  • 7 Emma Doty
  • 8 Ethan Lee
  • 9 Eva Derryberry
  • 10 Evan Thomas
  • 11 Faith Carter
  • 12 Griffin Eagle
  • 13 Heidi Duff - Group Organizer
  • 14 Henry Niepold
  • 15 Isabel Menjivar
  • 16 Jackson Henderson
  • 17 Jahanzaib Qureshi
  • 18 Jason Chih
  • 19 Jonathan Kenney
  • 20 Kairava Buchwald
  • 21 Karl Cheng
  • 22 Keira Schroeder
  • 23 Kristin McCarthy - Group Organizer
  • 24 Malik Taylor
  • 25 Samuel Deichman-Caswell
  • 26 Sarah Ambrose
  • 27 Seamus Blake
  • 28 Shayan Qureshi
  • 29 Suutumee Negash
  • 30 Sylvan Addlestone
  • 31 Tadeo Vargas
  • 32 Taryn Schwartz
  • 33 Timothy Dalton
  • 34 William Zell - Group Organizer
  • 35 Zoe Burgess
35 Travelers

Blog and Communication

We work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program.  Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, and can check back any time via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page or the link included in the email.

Beyond our proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

For any general inquiries during travel, please email your Walking Tree Representative (see top of page) or info@walkingtree.org. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the United States.

 

GLC Curriculum

We have developed a curriculum of activities designed to help each of our travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple and engaging tools are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.

For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More About the GLC

To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.

Pre-Program Activity Portal

Standards of Behavior

Walking Tree provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
  3. Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
  5. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
  6. Breaking group rules

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with us.

Health and Safety

We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Costa Rica website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

Insurance

While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers while on program, experience has taught us that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we suggest you consider purchasing Premier travel insurance which would cover you in the event your student needs to withdraw before travel due to a covered reason or loses baggage in route or encounters an emergency while traveling, among other unforeseen circumstances. While most travelers have opted in for us to purchase basic travel insurance on their behalf during the enrollment process, this plan does not cover trip interruption or trip cancellation. Please see a summary of a plan below and follow the link for a more detailed explanation or to purchase the plan for your traveler.

-Recommended Travel Insurance-

Premier*
Trip Cancellation Up to 100% of Trip Cost
Reimburses your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.
Maximum coverage: $100,000.

Trip Interruption Up to 150% of Trip Cost
Reimburses for the unused, non-refundable portion of your trip and for the increased transportation costs it takes for you to return home or to continue your trip due to a covered reason. Maximum coverage: $150,000.

Missed Connection $1,600
Reimburses for covered expenses resulting from a covered delay that causes you to miss your scheduled flight or cruise.

Travel Delay $1,600
Receive up to $200 per day per person to cover additional accommodation/travel expenses and lost prepaid expenses due to a departure delay of six or more hours.

Medical Protection: 
Emergency Medical and Dental $50,000
-This primary coverage provides reimbursement for expenses incurred during your trip due to covered medical and dental emergencies. No deductible.
-$750 maximum for emergency dental care.

Baggage Protection
Baggage Loss/Damage $2,000
Covers loss, damage or theft of baggage and personal effects.

Baggage Delay $600
Covers the reasonable additional purchase of essential items during your trip if your baggage is delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for 24 hours or more. Receipts for emergency purchases are required.

Assistance Services
Emergency Medical Transportation $1,000,000
Provides medically necessary transportation to the nearest appropriate facility following a covered injury or illness. Also covers the cost of your transportation back home following a covered injury or illness.

24-Hour Hotline Help Included
Help is just a phone call away with Allianz Global Assistance. Our staff of multilingual problem solvers is available to help you with a medical, legal or travel-related emergency.

*Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated “A­” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101­C series or 101­P series, depending on your state of residence. Plan(s) may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company or its affiliates. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of this plan and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson InsuranceCompany. Non­ Insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer may be responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800­-284­-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.

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