Day 1 - Arrive and Travel to Tirimbina (Tirimbina Lodging)
You will be met at the airport by your driver and guide. Upon leaving the airport you will spend about 40 minutes driving through the Central Valley and capital city of San Jose. Here you will learn about the very interesting history of how Costa Rica developed into the country it is today. You will hear how the coffee boom in the 1840's resulting in exporting the product to Europe, was the trigger for some European scientists to study for the first time, some of the same biodiversity you will see during your stay in Costa Rica.
After you pass through the Central Valley you will make your way to one of Costa Rica's largest and most beautiuful national parks called Braulio Carrillo. After you leave the park you will be just 30 minutes from La Tirimbina where you will be staying for the first two nights of your Costa Rica Educational Tour. La Tirimbina is a low lying tropical rainforest that is made for student groups who are looking to get an up-close look of the rainforest. If you are looking for an educational trip to Costa Rica their is no better place to start than La Tirimbina.
In the evening we will have a briefing of the arrival to a new country and the first impression of being in the rainforest. (Meals: Lunch & Dinner)
Day 2 - Full day activities at Tirimbina (Tirimbina Lodging)
The day will begin very early for those that are interested in going birding with your guide. After the birding in the early morning you will all meet for breakfast. When breakfast is complete it is time to put on the rubber boots and go deep into the rainforest. We will spend the morning going over the many different parts of the rainforest and some basic information on the role the rainforest plays locally and globally. After we get our introduction to the rainforest it is time to learn about some of the most fascinating creatures that can be found here as we take a hike and keep an eye out for any sort of movement.
After the morning of hiking and learning about the rainforest we will head to the dinning area for lunch. After lunch we will have a quick debriefing on what the students' thoughts were on being in the rainforest. We will also use this time as journal time. After the journal and meeting is complete we will go back out to the jungle and visit some of the field stations. Visiting these stations allows us to understand what researchers are trying to learn from the rainforest, what has been learned, and also how much is still unknown. At these stations we will open the topic of biomimicry. We will explain to the kids that it is not always learning "about" nature but we must also learn "from" nature. Using the tactics that nature uses, we can solve problems of today's society and live in a more sustainable way.
In the evening it is time for the night hike. Here we will put the rubber boots back on and visit some of the same trails but this time with head-lamps and complete darkness. One of the best activities during the night hike is not what you see but what you hear. Don't worry we will see plenty!
(Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 3 - Travel to Sitio de Mata (Homestay)
After breakfast we will load up the bus and make our way to one of the highlights of the trip, the homestay experience. We will drive to the mountains of Turrialba where you will be staying in one of the most beautiful, simple living, rural settings you can imagine. The village is called Sitio de Mata and it is more commonly known as the Eternal Spring. Here you will have breath-taking views of the smoking Turrialba Volcano. The only thing that can compete with the beauty of the scenery is the kindness of the people and the smiles of the children. You will be welcomed as if you were family.
Upon arrival, we will all eat lunch together and you will be introduced to your homestay family. Your family will take you to your house. All the homes are in walking distance of each other and you will spend a few hours getting to know your family and the neighborhood kids. In the evening we will all meet back up where you will have a dance class and learn the basic steps of salsa & merengue.
When all is finished for the evening we will do a briefing getting the kids reaction of the homestays. We will want them to explain some of the differences between their living back home and their living in the rural village. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 4 - Community Service & Homestay Activities (Homestay)
CRR's Educational Tours to Costa Rica are not all learning. We also include a giving-back component. That is why we are going to get involved with some community service work. The kids will have a project and be joined by some of the locals who will be helping out in the project. This is a great way to give back to the community that will be giving your kids so much in just the two days you will be staying in Sitio de Mata.
In the evening we will give the village a chance to give back to us as they put on an extraordinary performance of local dance and folklore of some of Costa Rica's most well-known traditions. This is great fun for all and a chance for your kids to practice some of the salsa and merengue moves they learned the day before. The fiesta will start with one of the best meals you have tried allowing you to enjoy the local cuisine.
After the party we will have a short briefing getting everyone prepared for their day of rafting. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 5 - Enter Pacuare River (Tent Camp)
With National Geographic calling this one of the top five rivers on the planet, this will surely give your kids some bragging rights. We will leave the village after breakfast around 8am and make our way just 30 minutes to an area known as La Cruz. When we arrive we will be getting all the gear set up and ready for the adventure. Each rafter will have a lifevest, helmet, and paddle as they take on the Pacuare. The first day of rafting they will face some class I & II rapids and the second day is when the Class III & IV rapids start.
We will raft for around 2 hours and then stop for a river lunch along the way. You will be able to enjoy swimming on the river edge and just hanging out with your friends. We will then raft for another 40 minutes and arrive to the camp-site. Everyone will get situated in their tent and take a shower if needed. In the early afternoon we will meet back at the social area of the camp-site which is beautiful, with hammocks looking down river, a very relaxing place. The meeting will be geared towards talking about the trip, getting the kids thoughts, and journal time. We will also be talking about our freshwater supply which seems to be a very fitting topic for the evening. It is amazing how some of the best talks and journal times come when completely engulfed by the tropical rainforest.
After the meeting it will be time for happy hour which will include fruit punch and some of the many different fruits of the tropics. This will be a quick glimpse of the fruits you can find in some of the different parts of Costa Rica. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 6 - Leave Pacuare River & Travel to Veragua (Veragua Lodging)
The next two hours of the trip are what many consider the best two hours of their lives. We will be taking on the Pacuare Canyon and seeing some of the best class IV rapids in all of Costa Rica. The canyon is filled with virgin rainforest from start to finish with numerous waterfalls coming into the river from the walls of green that line the river for 18 miles. When we are finished with the heart-pounding adventure we will get some lunch. We will now be on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica when we take out of the river. Here you'll experience the Caribbean cuisine and culture which is quite different from the rest of Costa Rica.
After lunch we will drive to Veragua, located 15km off the main highway on a bumpy road, getting you far into the rainforest. The Veragua is set up for visitors and is home to beautiful waterfalls and an aerial tram. The area is perfect for a Costa Rica educational trip about the rainforest. We will arrive in the evening and just do a quick briefing on their thoughts about the river rafting adventure. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 7 - Veragua Activities in Morning and Travel to Caribbean (Beach Ecolodge)
Today we will wake up in the morning and after breakfast take the aerial tram to the famous Puma Waterfall. This is an excellent morning getting a look at the rainforest from the canopy which is home to many different mini-ecosystems in it's bromeliads. The morning will be spent getting to know the area of Veragua and after lunch we will make our way to the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.
The Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica stretches 212km and is home to many different types of areas. You have the northern canals of Tortuguero which is where many of the turtles do their nesting. You also have the port city of Limon which is Costa Rica's main and busiest port. Heading south you get to the almost undisturbed beaches of the Caribbean. Here you have communities that understand the importance of preserving their environment, so it makes for a great place to see plenty of wildlife and be part of the perfect educational trip to Costa Rica.
When we get to the Caribbean everyone can get their feet wet as we will be staying just steps away from the beach. In the evening we will meet up and have a meeting discussing the problem of global warming and where we are today with the issue. How it relates to the tropics? (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 8 - Snorkel & Visit National Park (Beach Ecolodge)
With 35 different species of corals and over 500 endemic species of fish, the Caribbean is an excellent spot for those who want to take a look at some of the marine life in Costa Rica. We will be visiting the area of Punta Uva where everyone will get their snorkel, lifevest, and fins. We will be walking right into the water from the beach, getting a chance to look at some of the corals of Costa Rica. This is a very fitting place to see considering the night before we had a talk on global warming.
After the snorkeling in and around the reefs of Punta Uva we will get some lunch and relax at the beach. After our food is digested it is time for another nature hike down one of Costa Rica's most scenic areas. This is the Manzanilla-Gandoca which is filled with wildlife.
In the evening we will have another reflection time on how the students feel about the disappearing of corals of the world. They will also be asked to write in their journal and explain ways that they can fight global warming. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 9 - Take boat to Punta Mona Center for Education on Sustainable Living (Punta Uva Ecolodge)
If you are looking for a Costa Rica Educational Tour to include some information on how to live sustainably, then visiting the Center for Education on Sustainable Living is a must. This is a very interesting place that is completely off the grid. It is not far from where we will be staying but does require that we take a boat ride to get there. We will be staying two nights in the ecolodge of the Center learning, feeling, seeing, and tasting first-hand what it is to live sustainably.
It is a beautiful area that is located on the Caribbean. You swim or even take the kayaks out and enjoy your time being surrounded by nature. In the evening we will have an introduction lecture about sustainable living and why humans need to start thinking in a different frame of thought when it comes to what we consume and how much. There will be time for journaling and feedback from the kids. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 10 - Learn Sustainable Prinicpals and Permaculture Design (Punta Mona Ecolodge)
Today will be an entire day of getting a fundamental understanding of sustainability and one of our favorite forms of biomimicry which is the permaculture design. The food at the Center comes from a permaculture garden which basically is a garden that mimics nature. This garden is designed with certain plants for shade, certain for nitrogen, certain for insect repellent, and the main idea is to use as little energy as possible, leaving more time for fun and play at the beach. Now that sounds like something kids can grasp.
The kids will spend the day being able to see the different methods of living sustainably and learning methods that they can even apply at home. One of the highlights of the stay here is sampling the different tropical fruits from all over the world, making for one of the best tasting experiences you could ask for anywhere. They can also get a feel for what it is like to live off the grid even if it is just for a few days.
The evening will be dedicated to reflection on their thoughts of sustainability, how they can improve, and what the world can improve on. We will also enjoy evening activities to celebrate your one-day crash course on living sustainably. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 11 - Travel to San Jose, Airport Hotel (Airport Hotel)
Today we will head back early after breakfast. You will get a boat ride back to the main road just as the sun in rising on the Caribbean making for quite a picturesque moment. It will be a full half day of traveling today and we'll be arriving to the Central Valley in the afternoon. We will get everyone checked in to the hotel and then meet up for the farewell dinner. This is quite the experience and a chance to refelct back on the trip and think about all we learned. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Day 12 - Fly Home!
We will transfer you to the airport and get you on your way home!
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