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2022 Key School Chile Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2022 Key School Chile Program!  To learn the basics about this once in a lifetime opportunity, you'll begin by using the Pre-Enrollment page, 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 webpage, which offers a much greater level of detail.  Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for Chile!! 
Travel Dates: June 1, 2022 - June 12, 2022
Dates are tentative
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,990 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Estimated Airfare: $1,200
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. 

DateLocationActivityLodging
1US - SantiagoToday we will depart the US and start our trip to Chile. Flying
2Arrive in SantiagoAfter settling in and an orientation meeting, students will set off to explore the grand capital. This day will be a historical day, including a walking tour of Cerro Santa Lucia, Barrio Lastarria, Palacio La Moneda, La Plaza de Armas, and El Catedral. Students will have dinner near the hotel and get a good night sleep to fight the jet-lag!Hotel Neruda Express
3SantiagoToday’s schedule will be an active experience, visiting Santiago’s most bustling highlights which include La Vega Mercado Central in the morning, Parque Forestal, a tour of the museum created from Poet Pablo Neruda’s city apartment- La Chascona, and a breathtaking ride of the teleférico to the top of Cerro San Cristobal for a 360 degree city view, and a leisurely stroll back down. Hotel Neruda Express
4Fly to San Pedro de AtacamaAfter having breakfast at the hotel, the group will head to the airport to fly to Calama. Upon arrival to Calama, the group will take a bus to the driest place in the world, San Pedro de Atacama and get situated in the hotel. After dinner they will participate in an astronomic tour in one of the world's best stargazing destinations!Hotel la Casa de Don Tomas
5San PedroToday the group will head head to San Pedro's most iconic locations, Valle de la Luna. This includes a trip to Tres Marias, Anfiteatro, Salt Caves, Dunes and a beautiful lookout at Coyote Rock. Hotel la Casa de Don Tomas
6San PedroToday the group will visit Piedras Rojas and las Lagunas Altiplanicas. Hotel la Casa de Don Tomas
7San PedroThe adventures continue with a visit to Valle del Arco Iris (Rainbow Valley) in the morning, and then in the afternoon the group will visit and bathe in the Laguna Cejar, a salty lagoon! They will also see Ojos del Salar and another spectacular and beautifully colored lagoon, Laguna Tebinquinche.Hotel la Casa de Don Tomas
8San PedroToday the group will rise early to head to the Geysers del Tatio and visit a small town in the morning, then in the afternoon relax in the thermal baths, 8 natural big holes filled with water that's about 85 degrees Farenheit.Hotel la Casa de Don Tomas
9San PedroFor the group's last full day in San Pedro, they will visit Salar De Tara, salt flats that are situated higher than 4,000 meters above sea level in the Flamingo National Reserve. The group will be able to see flamingos and various unique flora and fauna. They will also see the Monjes de Pacana, giant vertical rocks that were uniquely molded by the wind and look like monks. Then the group will head back to the hotel for a special last dinner in San Pedro!Hotel la Casa de Don Tomas
10Travel back to SantiagoAfter breakfast in the hotel, the group will fly back to Santiago, relax in the hotel and get ready for their adventure day in Valparaíso!Hotel Neruda Express
11ValparaísoAn epic adventure awaits in the port city of Valparaiso, only an hour and a half journey from Santiago. In this coastal and colorful town students will ride up and down the hidden funiculares to explore the UNESCO protected hillsides of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción, taste local seafood, learn about the street art movement of Chile, and visit La Sebastiana, Poet Pablo Neruda’s beach home. After dinner, students will return back to Santiago at around 8pm.Hotel Neruda Express
12Santiago - USLast breakfast in Chile before flying home!Your own bed, eventually!

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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 Neruda Express

Hotel Neruda Express is a comfortable three-star hotel located in El Golf neighborhood, a modern business area with a variety of wonderful restaurants nearby. All rooms come equipped with A/C and Wi-Fi access to keep everyone feeling comfortable and connected. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.

Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas

Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas provides clean and comfortable accommodations in an ideal location for the nearby adventures and natural wonders of the San Pedro de Atacama desert. As the name suggests, the modern amenities and friendly staff all make the hotel experience feel like a home away from home. There truly is no better place to relax in comfort and San Pedro style after a full day exploring your surroundings in this picturesque setting.

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 but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. 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 daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!

CLOTHES:
Underwear
Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
T-shirts (some quick dry)
Long sleeve shirts
Sweaters or sweatshirts
Warmer jacket
Warm hat
Scarf
Warm gloves
Rain jacket
Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
Comfortable, everyday pants
Nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
Durable athletic/walking shoes
Sandals (optional)
Hat

TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
Mosquito repellent
Band Aids and Neosporin
Hand Sanitizer
Medication in properly marked original container

MISCELLANEOUS:
Sunglasses
Journal and pen
Book
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Power Converter
Alarm Clock and watch
Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
Durable water bottle
1 quick-dry towel
Flashlight/headlamp
Batteries
Deck of cards or other portable games
Host family gift
STUDENT ID
Spanish/English Dictionary

HOMESTAY GIFTS

In general, 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!

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.

Emma Parsons
Emma Parsons
Chile Country Director


University of California, Santa Barbara ​–​ B.A. Sociology and minors in Spanish and Education

During college, Emma spent a year abroad Studying Spanish Literature and Sociology in Madrid, Spain. During her time in Madrid, she embraced the Spanish culture while also managing to explore Europe and feeding her ever-growing travel bug. After graduation she spent a year in California substitute teaching in public schools and coaching volleyball, which was sandwiched between two summers at an all girls summer camp in Massachusetts. She then headed off to Santiago, Chile, where she still resides after two and a half years. She loves Chile’s landscape, food, and culture, and passionate about helping others experience its unique charm.

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 Chile 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.

Beyond these recommendations, 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.

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