We will be meeting you at the airport and making the drive to your first hotel. Your first hotel is in an absolutely beautiful sitting on a private reserve and is a true example of what an ecolodge should be. There were close to no trees removed in making this place as you can tell when eating dinner they have designed the restaurant that actually has some of the larger trees coming out of the ground. It is a great first night allowing everyone to get the full feel of the jungle on day one.
Before arriving at the hotel you will be able to drive through the capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose. As you drive, your guide will give an introduction to the history of Costa Rica from pre-Columbian to present day.
When we arrive at the hotel we will all meet for dinner and there you will get an orientation of what to expect during the week and some of the Standards we hope to include during the course of your Costa Rica Educational Trip. (Meals: Lunch & Dinner)
The day will start early for those of you that want to go looking for birds in the morning with the naturalist guide. We will all meet for breakfast after the birding or after resting up an extra hour. Once everyone has finished breakfast we'll take a nature hike and spend the morning learning about the rainforest and gaining a basic understanding of it. We will be discussing how it functions and how we all depend on the rainforest even though we might not live in it.
After the morning in the jungle we will go to Sitio de Mata, the homestays. This happens to be one of the highlights of the trip as you will be staying in one of the most beautiful villages that is surrounded by breath-taking views. The only thing that can compete with the scenery is the simplicity of the people and their welcoming smiles. When we arrive we will eat lunch together and each student will be introduced to their homestay family. We''ll then go to the homes where you will have time to get to know your family and make friends with the neighborhood kids.
In the afternoon we will meet back up for some dance classes. We will be learning how to dance the salsa and merengue which are the most common moves in Costa Rica. After the dance we will have a cooking class where you will learn how to make your own tortillas and be able to make the ever so famous GALLO PINTO. When all cooking is done we will add a few more ingredients and dinner is served. We will again eat dinner together and then put the music on for some practice of what we learned in the dance classes.
After the dancing is finished we will have a meeting getting some feed back and reflection of what the kids think of the homestay. We will ask the differences of living in a rural village in Costa Rica and where they live at home. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Today every student will have breakfast in their homestay. We will meet up after breakfast to do our community service activity. This is a chance for you to give back to the community and do a little work during your visit. The community service will last the good part of the morning and then you'll go back for lunch. After lunch everyone will have an hour of downtime. We will then make our way to a meeting point where we will get together for journal time and another briefing on village life.
After our meeting the kids will have time for a soccer game with the locals. This often is one of the favorite events of the trip. After the soccer game everyone heads back to their homestay and gets ready for the evening activities. The village will be putting on a show of local cultural dance and food. We will see around seven different dances and folklore that the local kids from the village have prepared. After the show the eating and dancing begins. You will be an expert salsa dancer by now!
When the dancing is finished we will give a quick briefing getting everyone ready for the 2-day adventure of whitewater rafting. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Today we will enter the famous Pacuare River. Listed as one of National Geographics top five rivers on the planet, this is some of the best scenery you will find on the planet. The river is filled with waterfalls and canyons from start to finish.
We will begin our day leaving the village around 8am and make the 30 min. drive to a small area called La Cruz. Here we will put in the river and begin our two days of rafting. We will raft for around two hours and then stop for a river lunch. The river lunch will be some of the best CRR-River-Guide cooking you can imagine. After the lunch we will begin to talk about the indigenous population of Costa Rica. The area where we will be having lunch will be on the reservation of the Cabecar Indians. We will also talk about the how the indians treat the land on one side of the river and how others treat the land on the other side of the river.
After the lunch we'll raft to the camp-site which will be around 40 minutes more of rapids. When we arrive to the camp site everyone can get their things into their tent, take a shower, and relax on the camp grounds surrounded by nature. When early evening comes we will all meet at the social center of the camp site. This is a beautiful area with hammocks looking downstream. We will use this meeting time to talk about the water supply of the planet. Quite the fitting subject considering where we will be sitting. In the evening it is another fine meal from your CRR river guides. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
During our educational trips to Costa Rica we have to admit that not all is completely educational. The next two hours of the trip are considered by many two hours they know they will never forget. They often say the best way to not forget it, is to actually do it yourself. We assume that is why most of our students never forget the two hours of rafting on the Pacuare Canyon which is where you will be on day 2 of your rafting adventure. This is an amazing two hours filled with adventure and fun from start to finish.
When we take out of the river we will be on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Although on the Caribbean side, we will still have a two hour bus ride to get to where we are going. We will be staying just steps from the beach. When we arrive we will all enjoy the cuisine of the Caribbean which is very different from the rest of Costa Rica. You will be staying in a beautiful hotel located just steps from the beach. We will also have time for a meeting in the evening talking about the river and being in the jungle for a night. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
At CRR we are always very conscious of the environment and the way mankind is treating it. We feel there is no better people to learn from than people that have lived in harmony with the Earth for as long as they have existed. The Bribri Indian tribe is the tribe in the Talamanca Mountains on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. They are fighting to keep their traditions and knowledge alive and we feel through our ecotourism practices we can help them in their fight to keep their thousands of years of knowledge from disappearing.
We will start the day by visiting a waterfall where the kids can rappel down a 100ft. If they are up for the adventure it is a real thrill to walk down the side of a waterfall in the middle of the tropical rainforest. After we do the rappel we will continue into the reserve where we'll visit the Cultural Center of the Bribri Tribe. There we'll be welcomed by the local community and hear and practice some of their language. We will have a crash course on the language before we arrive so everyone can try and learn the greetings. In the evening the Bribri will do their traditional dance and talk to us about the importance of the environment and what they have learned from generations past. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
We will wake up in the middle of the reservation sleeping under thatched roofs. This is an experience that you will never forget. We will rise with the sun and take a hike with the tribal medicinal doctor as he walks us through the jungle explaining to us which plants the tribes have been using for generations to cure certain ailments. After the hike we will head back to the river we crossed getting into the reserve. Instead of crossing the river we will be floating down in kayaks. This will be around a 2 hour float and row down a very easy river. Everyone will have their own kayak and a chance to steer their way through the ancient lands of the Bribri Tribe.
In the evening we will be back at the beach ecolodge which will now feel like civilization even though it is still quite remote. During dinner we'll reflect on our stay in the Bribri Reservation and talk about indigenous tribes in the tropics and how consumption all over the world is affecting lives of these people and ultimately affecting the environment which affects us all.
We will also have a short briefing on global warming, discussing the causes, where we are now, and things that can be done. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
With 500 endemic fish and 35 different species of corals there is not better place for a snorkeling trip than the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. Here you will walk out of your beach hotel and be ready for the snorkel trip as we walk in off the shore.
We will spend the morning snorkeling and what better place to visit, after an evening briefing on global warming. The corals of the world are disappearing and are some of the species to feel the most damaging affect from global warming. After the snorkeling we will visit a nearby National Park of Cahuita. This is a beautiful park that is easy hiking. The kids will walk and talk with their naturalist guide and see different wildlife like monkeys and sloths. They will also be able to relax on the beach and enjoy their time in the ocean.
In the evening we will have a farewell dinner. Before the dinner we will have our final briefing on the trip and get the kids involved by asking questions based on things they experienced during the week and how they can relate it to their journey home. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
Today we will make our way to the airport where you catch your flight home!