2022 Bethel Costa Rica Service Adventure
|Travel Dates:||June 20, 2022 - June 28, 2022|
Airfare not included in program tuition
Review all materials
What to Expect
Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.
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.
|June 20||USA - Alajuela||Today we will catch our overnight flight to Costa Rica to begin our adventure!||Airplane|
|June 21||Alajuela - Manuel Antonio||The group will arrive today and, after a meal upon arrival, start the 3.5 hour journey to Manuel Antonio, one of Costa Rica's most popular destinations. The group will settle into their hotel for the evening and have an orientation meeting after dinner where the group will discuss the upcoming trip in detail.||Villas Mymosa|
|June 22||Manuel Antonio||Today we will explore Manuel Antonio National Park which bursts with wildlife. Inside we will find idyllic beaches and winding trails that lead through dense jungle. After lunch, students can take surf lessons on a stretch of coastline that has a reputation for being great for beginners. In the evening, we will have our cultural introduction that will prepare us for our visit to the host community on the following day.||Villas Mymosa|
|June 23||Manuel Antonio - Host Community||After breakfast we will leave Manuel Antonio but on the way we will stop to have an exciting zip line tour. In the afternoon, we will head to the host village to meet our host families. Students, normally paired, will have dinner with their own individual host families this 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.||Host Family|
|June 24||Host Community||Our days in the village will consist mainly of working on our community service project. Lunch will be either be on-site or at home with families. In the afternoons and evenings, activities are flexible and will vary, but may include time with host families, excursions around the village, or activities with the local community.||Host Family|
|June 25||Host Community||Today, we will continue working on our service project and spending time with host families. Evening activities will vary.||Host Family|
|June 26||Host Community||Today we will finish our service project and celebrate with our new friends and family with a fiesta de despedida!||Host Family|
|June 27||Uvita - Alajuela||Today we will say goodbye to our friends at the community early in the morning and start making our way back to Alajuela. We'll end the trip with a splash as we whitewater raft down the Savegre River! After lunch we'll make the drive back to Alajuela for a farewell dinner ahead of our international departure the following morning.||La Rosa de América|
|June 28||Alajuela - USA||After breakfast, we will head to the airport for a morning departure back to the USA.||Your own bed!|
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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.
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.
This will be the best part of your trip! Staying with a host family immerses you in the language and culture of the destination, and can lead to deep and lasting relationships with your hosts. Initially intimidating but ultimately unforgettable, there’s no better way to begin to truly understand the place you’re visiting.
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.
|Type||Carrier Name||Carrier Code||Flight Number||Departure Airport & City||Departure Date and Time||Arrival Airport & City||Arrival Date and Time|
June 20, 2022 at 10:04 PM
June 21, 2022 at 05:53 AM
June 21, 2022 at 11:05 AM
June 21, 2022 at 01:11 PM
June 28, 2022 at 07:00 AM
June 28, 2022 at 12:00 PM
June 28, 2022 at 03:23 PM
June 28, 2022 at 05:29 PM
June 28, 2022 at 06:25 PM
June 28, 2022 at 08:44 PM
Once your flight has been secured 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, but 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 is unpredictable, especially in a pandemic. 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
La Florida is a very small town located about 1 hour from San Isidro el General, the closest sizable city. Composed of only about 50 families and hidden away in the rolling hills above the Pacific coast, La Florida is truly off the beaten path. Students will get a great picture of what rural Costa Rican life is really like here. Most families work in agriculture or travel to neighboring towns to work on construction projects. Families here are extremely warm, welcoming and are eager to teach students about Costa Rica.
What follows is a sample packing list that is provided as a guideline. Feel free to augment as you feel necessary. 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 list below should cover everything you would need, but 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.
Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination.
CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :
- Socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
- T-shirts (some quick dry)
- Long sleeve shirt
- Lightweight sweater (especially if doing service work in the communities of San Gerardo de Rivas, Herradura de Rivas, Canaán, Chimirol)
- 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)
- Work gloves – required for service work
- Bandana for work site (optional)
- A hat that can protect your neck
- Swimming suit/s
- In addition to the basics…
- 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)
- Basic first aid supplies
- Hand Sanitizer
- Medication in properly marked original container. It’s important that medication travel in its original container
- Journal and pen
- Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on number of desired snacks, souvenirs, extra items etc.)
- Durable water bottle
- Quick-dry towel
- Deck of cards or other portable games
- Host family gift
Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this… Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!
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.
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO
Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government
While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.
Juan Pablo “JP” Rabanales
Global Country Operations Manager
Earlham College – B.A. International Studies, Minor in Economics
Born and raised with a big family in Guatemala, JP spent seven years living and studying in the US where he was exposed to highly diverse communities. JP worked as a Wilderness Leader guiding expeditions in the Southwest of the US. After spending two years in New Mexico studying the International Baccalaureate, he moved to Indiana where he spent the next four years at Earlham College. His passion for international affairs brought him to spend a semester in China, and several other Southeast Asian countries. During his time abroad, he spent his summers traveling and backpacking through 15+ different countries, and participating in several service projects. Today JP is based in Costa Rica where he works full time with the Walking Tree team. Juan Pablo also enjoys hosting friends and travelers coming to visit. He’s always down for an exciting road-trip around the country, or even better, around Latin America. He is a long time art and design enthusiast, and a photography aficionado.
Emory University – B.A. in English Literature and Theater
Taylor is an educator and artist from Atlanta, GA. After graduating, Taylor began traveling through Latin America to learn Spanish while creating theater and dance in new contexts. She is currently an independent educational counselor and loves working one-on-one with students to help them define and achieve their college goals. She finds the college essay process to be particularly meaningful and enjoys helping students articulate their magic.
Tufts University – B.A. American Studies and Africana Studies
Daniel’s long-time dream of living in Latin America became even crazier when he chose Havana, Cuba as his initial destination. After studying abroad at the University of Havana, he never stopped trying to return and eventually lived in Havana again (not an easy task for an American) when he worked as a translator for the Episcopal Church of Cuba. In Cuba, he befriended international students from all of the continent, deepening an already existing passion in Latin American history, politics and culture. Since then, he has spent time in Peru and Colombia, and is very excited to return to Peru this summer. Besides his interest in Latin America, Daniel is also a big fan of Philadelphia sports teams, Latin American and American music, and, above all else, crazy and authentic cross-cultural experiences.
Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.
- 1 Abigail Huber
- 2 Alexia Thompson
- 3 Arieanna Patch
- 4 Ashley Koontz
- 5 Ashley Zuhlke
- 6 Briawna Wood
- 7 Brooklyn Phillippe
- 8 Callyn Widmer
- 9 Evelyn Smith
- 10 Hailey Koontz
- 11 Heidi Aaron
- 12 Ian Bond
- 13 Jeremy Bond
- 14 Joy Hatch
- 15 Kaitlyn Steiner
- 16 Maddox McElwain
- 17 Matthew McElwain
- 18 Vanessa Dillon
- 19 Xavier Viner
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.
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.
To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.
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.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- 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
- Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
- Possessing weapons.
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
- Getting a piercing or tattoo.
- Being out after curfew.
- 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.
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.