2023 Minnetonka Chile Program

Dear Families, Friends, and Travelers – Welcome to the 2023 Minnetonka 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 page  which offers a greater level of detail.  Please be sure to review the information thoroughly and get excited for Chile!
Travel Dates: June 7, 2023 - June 26, 2023
Group Organizer(s):
WTT Contact:
Program Tuition: $2,090 USD
Airfare not included in program tuition
Confirmed Airfare: $1,638

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. 

DayLocationActivityLodging
June 7USA to Santiago, ChileDepart Minneapolis for Santiago, Chile Airplane
June 8Santiago - ConcepciónThe group is scheduled to arrive early this morning. After time for breakfast, we connect to our domestic flight and travel down to Concepción to meet our Chilean hosts. Hotel Neruda Express
June 9 - 20ConcepciónConcepción programmingConcepcion Host Families
June 21Concepción to Santiago In the afternoon students will arrive back to Santiago and have time to relax before riding up the 62 story elevator of the tallest building in South America, Sky Costanera Tower. Here they can sit or walk around the glass-encased rooftop admiring the pink sunset over the towering Andes Mountains and city skyline.Hotel Neruda Express
June 22SantiagoToday’s schedule will be an active experience, visiting Santiago’s most bustling highlights which include La Vega Mercado Central, Parque Forestal, a tour of the museum created from Poet Pablo Neruda’s city apartment- La Chascona, and a leisurely hike up Cerro San Cristobal for a 360 degree city view. Hotel Neruda Express
June 23SantiagoAfter having breakfast and spending the morning organizing, students will take a trip to the Museo de la Memoria, the human rights museum inaugurated in 2010 to educate the public and honor the victims of human rights violations in Chile between 1970-1990. After, one last lunch will be organized at Peluqueria Francesa, a historical barbershop constructed in 1868 that has now been renovated into a beautiful eatery in the old neighborhood Barrio Patrimonial Yungay. Hotel Neruda Express
June 24ValparaisoToday is the last full day of the trip, but there is still more to see! An 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 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.Hotel Neruda Express
June 25SantiagoToday we delve into some of Chile's history
with visits to Cerro Santa Lucia, Barrio Lastarria, Palacio La Moneda, La Plaza de Armas, and El Catedral. We'll have a bit of free time this afternoon before heading to the airport for our flight home.
Airplane
June 26USAArrive homeYour own bed!

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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.

Homestay

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.

Group Flight

Type Carrier Name Carrier Code Flight Number Departure Airport & City Departure Date and Time  Arrival Airport & City Arrival Date and Time 
Outbound
United Airlines
UA
2431
MSP – Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport, St. Paul, United States
June 07, 2023 at 03:45 PM
IAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, United States
June 07, 2023 at 06:50 PM
Outbound
United Airlines
UA
847
IAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, United States
June 07, 2023 at 08:05 PM
SCL – Santiago International Airport, Santiago, Chile
June 08, 2023 at 06:20 AM
Inbound
United Airlines
UA
846
SCL – Santiago International Airport, Santiago, Chile
June 25, 2023 at 11:30 PM
IAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, United States
June 26, 2023 at 08:00 AM
Inbound
United Airlines
UA
2399
IAH – George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, United States
June 26, 2023 at 12:00 PM
MSP – Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport, St. Paul, United States
June 26, 2023 at 02:55 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

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.

“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. 

Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!

CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :

  • 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

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.

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.

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.

Group Roster

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

  • 1 Ainsley Phillips
  • 2 Alayna Winters
  • 3 Anja Christiansen
  • 4 Charlton Barry
  • 5 Evelyn Engebretson
  • 6 Grace Stahl
  • 7 Isabella Stahl
  • 8 Isabella Tobin
  • 9 Janna Aune
  • 10 Keira Keegan
  • 11 Lana Barry
  • 12 Madeline Moen
  • 13 Maisie Smith
  • 14 Michaela Shannon Cowen
  • 15 Milla Gonzales
  • 16 Nolan Schmidt
  • 17 Sadie Heiland
  • 18 Timothy Felty
18 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. 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. Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
  3. Possessing weapons.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
  5. Getting a piercing or tattoo.
  6. Being out 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 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 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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