2019 Sandy Spring Costa Rica Adventure

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 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 do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers and given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but, 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!

Fundraising

Need to Raise Money? We Have You Covered.

Walking Tree Travel is proud to team up with Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative that distributes organic coffee, tea, sugar, bananas, avocados, cocoa, chocolate bars, and more.  There is no limit to the amount you can earn, so the sooner you can start, the better!

Learn more here.

WTT coffee

Accommodations

In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.  We vet and inspect the accommodations to ensure they uphold the ethos of our programs, are great values for our travelers and nice places to rest after enriching days of travel.  

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
Finca Pura Suerte

A grouping of bamboo cabins and impressive communal spaces, this farm is nestled deep in low-land rain forest with views of the Pacific coastline. The accommodations are comfortable, the food fantastic, and the surreal setting provides an ideal introduction to the country’s impressive flora and fauna.

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.

Rosa de las Américas

A charming ranch-style hotel on the outskirts of San José, Rosa de  las Americas is a great spot to unwind after a long day’s travels. This hotel is complete with a lush gardens, a big pool, updated rooms, and friendly staff.

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

 

Once your flight has been confirmed, the itinerary will appear here.

Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.

Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.

We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, and travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION, DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel can be unpredictable.  Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc.  Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route.  Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night.  Our primary role will be to  keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a  quick and effective resolution.

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 a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. 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. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

Sara Lavell
Sara Lavell
Program Leader


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

Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.

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

Blog and Communication

During travel we will 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, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.

Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.

 

GLC Curriculum

Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities 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

In order to run a safe and successful program, 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.

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.
  4. 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 physical or emotional harm, or brandishing a weapon.
  4. Possessing, consuming, or distributing tobacco or nicotine, including vape pens.
  5. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  6. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew.
  7. Breaking group rules.

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

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 on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with  two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.

To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by getting a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.

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