Read our Coronavirus FAQ

2021 New Tech Institute Costa Rica Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2021 New Tech Institute Costa Rica Program! To learn the basics about this once in a lifetime opportunity, you'll begin by using the Pre-Enrollment webpage, the purpose of which is to share exciting highlights and important info that participants will want to know before signing up. If you enroll, you'll begin using the Post-Enrollment webpagewhich offers a much greater level of detail.  Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for Costa Rica!! Pura vida! 
Travel Dates: March 1, 2021 - March 8, 2021
Dates are tentative
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,390 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Estimated Airfare: $750
Deadline(s): Enrollment deadline forthcoming

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, 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
1USA - AlajuelaToday the group will travel from the USA to Costa Rica, and flights usually arrive in the evening. After arrival, the group will settle into their hotel for the evening and take some time to get ready for an exciting week.Casa Cielo Grande
2Alajuela - Pura SuerteOur journey begins at Pura Suerte, which is 4 hours away from Alajuela, and is a beautiful ecological farm deep in the southern rain forest of the country. Upon arrival at Pura Suerte we will tour the farm on a hand on experience that involves tropical fruits and farm animals as well as a nearby coffee plantation that produces some of the best beans in the area. We will learn about the importance of organic farming and how rural farmers are taking advantage of sustainable farming practices. After dinner we will have an orientation meeting where the group will discuss the upcoming trip in detail.Jungalows
3Pura SuerteIn the morning we will hike down to 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. After lunch by the river we will return to the farm for a cooking class, we will make tortillas, empanadas and picadillo. After dinner we will enjoy a relaxing evening. Throughout the program, we'll have the opportunity to interact with community members in Spanish, participate in cultural exchanges, and explore Costa Rican culture.Jungalows
4Pura SuerteToday we will focus mainly on working on our community service project. Lunch will be on-site provided by our friends at Pura Suerte. In the afternoon, activities are flexible and will vary, but may activities with the local community, like a soccer match.Jungalows
5Pura Suerte- UvitaWe will spend the morning travelling to the beachtown of Uvita and having private surf lessons from some of Costa Rica's best surfers. Never surfed before? No problem! The waves at Parque Nacional Marino Ballena are perfect for beginners and almost everyone is able to stand up. In the evening, we will have some down time at the hotel pool to relax.El Tecal
6Manuel Antonio - La FortunaAfter a hearty breakfast, we will head to Manuel Antonio where we will visit one of the most stunning national parks in the country. We will have time to enjoy what many call Costa Rica's most beautiful beach, hike through the national park and spend time surrounded by wildlife, including monkeys. After lunch we will head north for 4 hours to La Fortuna, home of Costa Rica's most famous volcano, Volcán Arenal. This evening, we will relax at some luxurious hot springs and enjoy a buffet dinner.Hotel La Fortuna
7La Fortuna - AlajuelaToday we will hike to La Fortuna's most famous waterfall and have time to relax and swim. After lunch, we will head back to Alajuela for our final farewell dinner and reflect on how this trip has impacted us.Casa Cielo Grande
8Alajuela - USAAfter breakfast, we will head to the airport for a morning departure back to the USA.Your own bed

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!

Use the promo code FAIRFALL through the end of 2021 and save 10% off wholesale cases prices.

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 locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe. 

Below are the accommodations we anticipate using on your trip, subject to availability. 
Hotel Casa Cielo Grande

Casa Cielo Grande is a beautiful property ideally located just twenty minutes from the airport. Close to the city center yet perched high in the mountains, the views of the Central Valley are breathtaking and the new pool is a delightful respite after a hot day. Spotless rooms and friendly staff will make you feel at home the moment you drop your bags.

Hotel Pacandé

Located in Alajuela, Hotel Pacandé is the perfect place to start and end a Costa Rican adventure because of its warm family atmosphere and proximity to the airport. Cleanliness and service are the main qualities that differentiate Pacandé from typical hotels in the area. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Cabinas El Tecal

Cabinas El Tecal is a locally owned and operated three star hotel close to playa Uvita in the Marino Ballena National Park. Off the beaten path, the hotel comes with modern amenities, a private pool, and great service. It’s the perfect place to relax away from the crowds. Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Hotel La Fortuna

Located right in the heart of La Fortuna in San Carlos, Costa Rica. La Fortuna Hotel offers visitors a very convenient location with all the services within walking distance from our facilities. This hotel boasts amazing views of the Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna Downtown you won’t forget! Guests have access to free Wi-Fi throughout the building in order to stay connected. Students will be grouped according to gender in their rooms.

Group Flight

Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here.

Remember that Walking Tree is not 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 but travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure but for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure, please contact your Group Organizer/s.

FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION 
Air travel is unpredictable. Regardless of proper planning, 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 unanticipated costs incurred by travelers.  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 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 advocate as best we can for a quick and effective resolution to the situation.

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 skins

 

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)

Alarm Clock and watch

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

Batteries

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
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.

Group Roster

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

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. 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
  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 on program, experience has taught us that travel can come with risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider protecting their trip and travel investment by purchasing a travel protection plan with a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) provision.

To make this process as easy as possible, we have partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry.  Begin by taking a few minutes to get a quote here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of the date your initial payment or your deposit for your trip is received. You must also insure 100% of the prepaid, non-refundable trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions and cancel 48 hours or more before your scheduled trip departure date. Please note that CFAR is not available to residents of New York.

Top