Friday, November 22, 2013

Jared Sample Costa Rica Itinerary June 2014

Day 1 -- Arrive & Travel to Arenal (Arenal Hotel)
Arenal Volcano

Today you will be met by your CRR staff and transported to your first hotel in the province of San Carlos on the fertile northern plains of Costa Rica. Here you will be staying at the base of the active Arenal Volcano. This is a travel day but will consist of an orientation to get teachers and students aquainted with staff members and an idea of what to expect during the week. (Meals: Dinner)

Day 2 -- Arenal (Don Juan, Ziplining, National Park)

Today we will start with a little adventure as we make our way to the ziplines that hang 700ft above the rainforest floor. This will be the kids first introduction to the primary rainforest. The students will also get to use their Spanish in an adrenaline-pumping situation. We'll give them a list of words to use such as TUANIS! PURA VIDA! BUENAZO! and many more local favorite phrases The zipline guides will surely be impressed with their bi-lingual guests.

After the zipline we will make our way to the Arenal Volcano National Park. Here the kids will hike on old lava
Zipline Adventure
rock and get to the closest possible point of the volcano. This is a great lesson on not only the origins of the volcano but this area of Costa Rica.

After the hike we will stop for lunch in town and then the kids can have some time to walk around the small little town of La Fortuna. Later we will be heading to the organic farm of Don Juan where the kids will taste, see, smell, and feel the different stages of organic farming from one of Costa Rica's most respected farmers. This will be followed by a delicious dinner prepared from all the things grown on the farm.

Then it's back to the hotel where we will have our first official reflection, getting the kids together and talking about the experience so far. Since this is a Spanish focused trip we could have them journal in Spanish just to keep the writing skills prime during their week away from school. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Day 3 -- Travel to Sitio de Mata (Sitio de Mata)


Today we will say good-bye to the volcano and make the drive to Sitio de Mata where you will be saying "hola!" to
your new families. This is the part of the trip where the kids will be immersed with some of the greatest families for homestays you will find anywhere. You will be taken in as family and have the chance to communicate in Spanish from start to finish. Every day will be filled with activities and things to keep us busy, building new friendships, learning about the culture, and understanding the importance of family values.

When we arrive we will meet in a little ranchito where all the moms will be present and we will introduce all of you to your new families. Although not everyone will be in the same house, this is a small village and houses are close together. Everything is in a very short walking distance. 

In the evening we will meet as a group in one of the ranchitos where the kids will have time to journal and reflect on the homestay arrival. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Day 4 -- Culture Activities (Sitio de Mata)
Time with the families

Today is a day of cultural activities in the village. We like making this the first day activity so you can learn about the many different norms of the village. We will learn how to dance, cook, and even take a ride into the larger nearby town of Turrialba.  We'll have a lesson in shopping for the village since we will be responsible for cooking a meal for our homestays!

This is an excellent day for plenty of time with your families, a chance to get to know the kids, and get your bearings in the village. 

After dinner, as we do every evening, we will have a reflection where the kids will meet with their guides as a group and go over their experiences. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Day 5 -- Attend School (Sitio de Mata)

Well you might think you had the week off from school but guess what?! We found a school for you to attend in Costa Rica!Back to School, kids and it is a full day of learning. This is a day of being in class with local
students. It would be great to have a notebook of interview questions for the CR kids to answer throughout the day keeping everyone engaged and attentive. They will surely make a lot of new friends and maybe even get some homework.

Day 6 -- Community Service (Sitio de Mata)

Today we will have a service project set up so the students from Utah can give back to the community that in just two days has given back so much to them already. Depending on the type of project we come up with or ideas you and the kids back home might have, will depend on the type of work we do doing your stay. 

In the afternoon we will again meet as a group and reflect on the day of work. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Day 7 -- Visit Nearby Canyon, Soccer Game with Locals, & Farewell Fiesta! (Sitio de Mata)

Rafting Pacuare River
Today we will take the kids to a nearby canyon where they can rappell down different waterfalls. This is a fun adventure getting everyone wet and enjoying some outside time with the local kids. After the morning in the canyon we will head back to our homestays and have lunch and some down time with our families. 

Then it will be time for the soccer game that is always requested by the local kids and a crucial part of getting the full culture experience. This is a great way to enjoy what the local kids love doing with their spare time. Once the soccer game is over we will head back to our homestays and great ready for the final evening fiesta. This is a show you can not miss and in our opinion is on par with Cirque du Sole! (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Day 8 -- Enter Pacuare & Stay at River Lodge (River Lodge)

Today we will spend the morning saying good-bye to our Sitio de Mata families. This will not be an easy
Morning in the Jungle
departure after five days of being with the families I get choked up just writing about the departure. Once we give our final hugs, good-byes or "until next time", we'll head to what National Geographic has listed as one of the top five most scenic rivers in the world. In the morning we'll raft some small class II & III rapids then have lunch right on the river followed by a little hiking to some waterfalls.

Then it's back in our rafts to get to our final river destination, our beautiful river lodge that has breath-taking views of the Pacuare Canyon and lush green mountains as far as the eye can see. In the evening we will have activities planned for everyone as we experience living in the jungle for a night. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Coffee Makes a good souvenir!
Day 9 -- Travel to San Jose & Souvenir Shop (San Jose Hotel)

Today we will get breakfast and begin our final raft. This is the most scenic part of the river with the most adventurous rapids. We will deftly make our way down the class III & IV section passing beautiful canyon walls that rise 300ft high, primary rainforests from start to finish, and hundred foot waterfalls that drop into the banks of the river.

Back on dry land and in the bus, we will make the two hour drive back to San Jose leaving us enough time to stop at some souvenir spots. At the hotel, we'll have our final evening reflection and farewell dinner. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)

Day 10 -- Fly Home!

Today we will make the drive to the San Jose Airport where you will catch your flight home! (Meals: Breakfast)


  1. Its very clear from your blog that you really had a adventurous trip. I love the way you have described all your activitied into days form.

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