2023 GSSM Costa Rica Conservation Expedition
January 11, 2023 -
January 18, 2023
Dates are tentative
Airfare not included in program tuition
There are two options for payment, including an interest-free installment plan. Follow whichever works best for your family.
Program Tuition: $2,490
Pay in Full
All prices in United States Dollars.
Costa Rica Conservation Expedition: Osa Peninsula
From white sand beaches to misty cloud forests, towering volcanoes to beautiful rivers that carve through tropical canyons, and hospitable, friendly communities, Costa Rica has it all! Our conservation program along the Pacific coast gives travelers the opportunity to delve deep into the verdant ecosystems that set Costa Rica apart; in addition to white water rafting, relaxing on white sand beaches and swimming at the base of a towering waterfall, students will participate in field work and data collection at a research station staffed with professional scientists who conduct a wide array of research projects. Adventure awaits!
Conservation Expeditions bring travelers to the heart of the modern-day conservation movement. Whether building nurseries for sea turtle hatchlings in Costa Rica, snorkeling alongside sea lions in the Galapagos or teaching local school children in Thailand about the importance of wild elephants to their ecosystem, these trips make the wonders of our world, and our responsibility to protect them, abundantly apparent.
Check out some of the featured experiences of your program!
Have the adventure of a lifetime with your friends
Work side by side with scientists at the Organization for Tropical Studies in one of most biodiverse ecosystems in the world
Zip-line though the rainforest
Trek to a beautiful waterfall deep in the jungle
Visit one of Costa Rica's most beautiful volcanoes
Practice your Spanish language skills with locals
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.
|January 11||USA - Alajuela||Today 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 and have an orientation meeting where the group will discuss the upcoming trip in detail. Dinner will be at the hotel.||Casa Cielo Grande|
|January 12||Alajuela - Horquetas de Sarapiquí||After breakfast the group will head for Sarapiquí, an area characterized by its lush tropical rainforest and swift rivers. The bus ride is three hours north of the capital city. The group will settle in La Selva Biological Station, owned by the world-renowned Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). The group will get familiar with the facilities and meet the scientists and research tutors. After lunch, we will set off on a hike through some of the multiple trails in the middle of the primary rainforest where students will learn about the natural history, ecosystems, and biodiversity of the reserve. After dinner, we will have some reflection time to discuss some of our goals for the upcoming days.||OTS cabins|
|January 13||Horquetas de Sarapiquí||Today we will begin with an introduction to the several research projects conducted but the OTS in La Selva station. After we receive the lecture and general instructions, the group will be divided into different tasks we will be completing for the rest of the day to participate in one of the several on-going projects at La Selva. Projects vary but these may include topics of water quality, plant adaptation and mammal monitoring, specially peccaries which love to hang out around the station! After lunch, will take a short break from our conservation work to learn how to dance salsa, merengue and bachata. After dinner in the station, the group will set off on a night hike through the trails in the middle of the primary rainforest to find frogs and other nocturnal creatures.||OTS cabins|
|January 14||Horquetas de Sarapiquí - La Virgen de Sarapiquí||Today we will involve service in collaboration with a riparian forest restoration project of the OTS. The group will learn about the different strategies scientists use to restore the vegetal area that protects and supports rivers and streams, as well as the biotic components that support these ecosystems. After lunch we will depart La Selva to the nearby Tirimbina Biological Station. We will first make a stop for our Ethnobotany tour, where students will engage all five of their senses in getting to know different plants and learn about the scientific importance of the tropical rainforest in the medical and cosmetic fields.||Tirimbina Cabins|
|January 15||La Virgen de Sarapiquí||We will begin our day learning about the history of one of mankind’s favorite foods: chocolate. Originally from Central America, this plant has an extraordinary history. The group will then go whitewater rafting down the Sarapiquí River, renowned worldwide for its scenic beauty and thrilling class 3 rapids. After well deserved break we will end our day with learning about the bat research conducted at this reserve. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the natural history of bats, their classification, diversity, adaptations, reproduction, threats. They will also be able to take a close look at the snare net and bats captured for this research.||Tirimbina Cabins|
|January 16||La Virgen de Sarapiquí - La Fortuna||After breakfast we will head to La Fortuna, a small city right next to the Volcán Arenal, an impressive volcano that stands out in the middle of the flatlands. Students will have some free time to explore the towns center and do some souvenir shopping. We will see the forest from a different perspective after we go zip-lining in the afternoon. At night we will relax at the Baldi hot springs, where we will be having a buffet dinner as well.||Hotel La Fortuna|
|January 17||La Fortuna - Alajuela||Today we will hike down to La Fortuna waterfall, where students can relax, swim, and explore in the morning. After lunch, we will make the drive back to San Jose for a farewell dinner and our final reflection before our international departure the following morning.||Casa Cielo Grande|
|January 18||Alajuela - USA||After breakfast, we will head to the airport for a morning departure back to the USA.||Your own bed, eventually!|
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.
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.
Tirimbina Biological Reserve
Timibina combines research and education with ecoturism to create a unique experience for its visitors and to promote conservation. The rooms offer bunk and single beds, shared bathrooms, bug protection on windows and fans. Students will be grouped according to gender. They offer a dining hall, wireless internet, all-access trail, and on-station security.
OTS La Selva Research Station
La Selva’s juxtaposition of protected ecosystems and well-developed facilities is unique in the world’s wet tropics. This is one of several field stations run created by the Organization of Tropical Studies, a non-profit consortium of over 50 universities and research institutions based in the United States, Latin America, and South Africa. The cabins offer bunk and single beds, shared bathrooms, bug protection on windows and fans. Students will be grouped according to gender. They offer a dining hall, wireless internet, library, all-access trail, and on-station security.
Safety and Support
EASY FUNDRAISING & PAYMENT
24/7 GLOBAL EMERGENCY LINE
HIGHLY VETTED PARTNERS
PRIVATE GROUP GUARANTEE
COMPREHENSIVE CURRICULUM SUPPORT
DEDICATION TO CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT
I was very concerned about my daughter who has a peanut allergy travelling to a foreign country for the first time without us. Walking Tree was very sensitive to my concerns and reassured me that this is something they could handle and they did! I would send her again in a heartbeat. Thank you Walking Tree.
Parent of Emilie, traveler on 2018 Service Program to Costa Rica
Your Adventure Includes
In order to give our travelers the best possible price, we break out airfare from the Program Tuition. We will still handle all booking and ticketing via our flight partner who has access to special fares not available to the general public. Once confirmed, you will be invoiced for the flight roughly 75 days prior to travel.
Program Tuition Excludes: Premiere Travel insurance, baggage fees, airline minor fees, passport/visa fees, laundry, souvenirs, and activities not listed on itinerary.
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Why should high school students travel abroad? What happens if a participant gets sick? How quickly do we need to enroll? We’re sure you have plenty of questions and we’ve got you covered! Visit our Resource Center to discover the answers to your most pressing questions and contact us anytime with additional questions.