Below are some videos that describe some of the destinations we visit on our Open Enrollment and Custom Programs. Please consult the individual program pages for specific itineraries. While you are here, take a seat, make some popcorn, and enjoy the below mini-movies!
Walking Tree Overview
Our mission is to inspire individuals to become global citizens by taking an active interest in the world around them. We strive to achieve this goal by providing unforgettable programs filled with challenging and enriching adventures.
We have found that our most rewarding travel experiences come from being active members of a community rather than passive tourists. For this reason, Walking Tree specializes in programs that integrate travelers into communities around the world where they will work to complete meaningful community service while living with local families. Our programs are designed for a proactive, select group of travelers who are not looking for the typical tourist trip, but rather an opportunity to interact with another culture while forming relationships that can continue long after they return home. We encourage you to spend time abroad with us, opening your heart and mind to an experience you will never forget!
There is a reason that Thailand is the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia. It’s impressive geography ranges from forested mountains and thick jungles, to white sand beaches with towering limestone cliffs, to bright green rice paddies that extend for miles. Thailand has become increasingly more modern, as you’ll see during your visits in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, yet the Thais prides themselves on maintaining their traditional culture, values, and lifestyle. Come discover for yourself what makes Thailand so unique and experience first-hand what “Thainess” is all about.
Costa Rica Overview
From white sand beaches to misty cloud forests, towering volcanoes, beautiful rivers that cut through tropical canyons, and hospitable, friendly communities, Costa Rica has it all. Having abolished its military over 50 years ago, this tiny democratic republic has long been known for its pacifism, commitment to environmental protection, and its status as a destination for those seeking safe yet exciting adventure travel set against breathtaking scenery. However, despite an extensive tourism industry, in many parts of Costa Rica there remains a need for help and service. Our programs offer unique access to Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets and friendliest communities. We are confident you will love the land of Pura Vida as much as we do!
Perú: Immense, rugged, colorful, vibrant and mystic. No one word or idea can symbolize a land so diverse in geography, culture and history. Perú is the destination for adventure. Whether enjoying the sun rising above Lake Titicaca, tracking a wild boar in the Amazon Basin, listening to live salsa music in Lima, seeing wheat sway in the shadow of the mighty Andes or a rainbow forming above the ruins at Machu Picchu, you will be transported by the beauty of Perú. The contrasts of Perú permeate every part of the country. Despite its charm, there are large discrepancies among socioeconomic classes and wide differences in standards of living throughout the country. There is need for help and aid in the wake of a divisive colonial legacy, natural disasters and decades of uneven development. Walking Tree invites you spend a portion of your summer with us in Perú, exploring and sharing in meaningful service and unforgettable adventure.
The smell of paella, the rhythmic tapping of flamenco, the rugged peaks of the Pyrenees, the soft waves of the Mediterranean, the world class museums, the Moorish palaces, the medieval villages, and the people who seem to have more lust and passion for life than anywhere else; this is Spain! Walking Tree’s first program in Europe will access all of this and more as travelers improve their Spanish and escape the tourist path as only Walking Tree can. We have carefully developed programs that include spending days hiking along the epic Camino de Santiago, learning to make olive oil at an old-world grove, enjoying tapas, exploring the colorful streets of Barcelona, and sketching our own versions of Dalí.
Imagine watching the sunset melt into the teeming jungle from atop the mighty ruins of Tikal and later kayaking through the blue waters of Lake Atitlán. Next, you’re helping Mayan families with critical community service before marveling at the market in Chichicastenango. From the quintessential colonial streets of Antigua to the towering volcanoes near the capital city, Guatemala is a traveler’s paradise and an obvious choice for students interested in learning Spanish through meaningful community service. Walking Tree is excited about the unique richness Guatemala has to offer, and we hope to see you there this coming summer.
Situated at the northern most extreme of Africa, Morocco has long attracted travelers who are lured by tales of its exotic markets, endless desserts, alluring coastline, and rugged mountains. Today it is a country that finds itself cautiously entering the 21st century while remaining loyal to deeply traditional roots. Upon arrival one is immediately captivated by the geographic diversity of Morocco’s landscapes. Whether it’s navigating the heaving bazar in Fez, winding your way through the narrow and tightly packed back alleys of Marrakech’s medina, surfing the perfect breaks of Essauira’s beaches, or hiking in the Rif mountains above the charming village of Chefchaouan, you will be swooned by Morocco.
As the 21st century unfolds, it is clear that China will take a leading role in shaping the way our world develops. The world’s most populous nation – and dynamic economy – has as its backdrop 5000 years of history and is home to a wide variety of rich cultural traditions and exotic cuisines. Furthermore, China is the world’s fourth largest country in area, with wide geographic diversity and stunning natural beauty. The China Immersion program provides access to all of this. Our month in the Far East will include visits to the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and exotic markets; study of Mandarin, Kung Fu, Chinese cuisine, Tai Chi, and calligraphy; visits to isolated villages and staggering Himalayan peaks on the Tibetan plateau; seminars with business leaders and government officials; biking though rice paddies and traditional farming villages, community service; and more. If you’ve already been to China, know a little about the country, or are simply intrigued by it, our China Immersion Program is ready to impress on every level.
The ocean breeze of Senegal is lucky. It carries the animated French, Wolof and Pulaar from its people, the vibrant tones of West Africa’s best music, and the exotic aroma of local cuisine. It travels from the pulsing metropolis of Dakar, through beachside palms to French colonial islands, pink lakes, game parks, and colorful communities. Our students will enjoy the ride as they improve their French, travel this fascinating nation, and most importantly, spend time volunteering alongside Peace Corps on various projects focused on malaria prevention, reforestation and public health.
From Facebook to Ford, Hollywood to hamburgers, Beyonce to baseball, no country has more influence on global culture than the United States. With 50 states spanning 4 million square miles, and over 300-million citizens from dozens of ancestry groups, the United States has astounding cultural, political, and geographic diversity. During your program, we will explore a small corner of the country in the Golden State of California. With winding streets, rambling trolleys, rolling fog, and savory treats from Chinatown, San Francisco is a feast for the senses. The gurgling waterfalls, warm campfires, and open sky of Big Basin National Park will provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Surfers, swimmers, and sand castle connoisseurs alike will enjoy the abounding beaches of Santa Cruz. Yet the heart of the program will be our time spent in the city of San Jose. Despite being often labeled as the “wealthiest country in the world,” America still contains many citizens that struggle to survive. We will join up with Sacred Heart Community Services to provide food and clothing to homeless and low-income individuals and families. And of course, no visit to Northern California would be complete without a tour of its finest universities – UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Whether you seek to help an under-served community in your own country or want to take your first trip to America, an incredible adventure awaits you!
Custom Program Overview
Partnering with schools, families, professional organizations, or groups of motivated friends or colleagues, Walking Tree is excited to offer customized travel itineraries to a variety of destinations around the world. Seeking to provide our participants with a unique, adventurous, and safe experience abroad, our Custom Program Director will work closely with a group sponsor to design every aspect of your travel. We will work hard to tailor the itinerary to your pursuits and interests. Consistent with our dedication to community service, Walking Tree encourages groups to spend a portion of their program in one of our many host communities, dedicating time to homestays and service work.
We strive to make the planning process as easy and hassle-free as possible. We do this by helping the teacher or group organizer with recruiting and then with handling all logistical concerns including meals, transportation, accommodations, and group activities, leaving travelers to enjoy the ride.
Conservation Expeditions offer students the chance to learn about and interact with the natural world like never before. Due to our unique relationships with conservationists working in some of the wildest and most biodiverse places in the world, our groups will participate in research projects, learn about local ecosystems and lend a hand in critical conservation efforts. Our Conservation Expeditions will see students traveling to dense rainforests, remote tropical beaches and unique island ecosystems to learn about local ecology and biology through hands on scientific fieldwork, while having the adventure of the lifetime.