PROVINCE The Northern Zone of Costa Rica. La Fortuna San Carlos- Monteverde.

With its several protected areas, lakes, lagoons, volcanoes, rivers and waterfalls, the Northern Zone is undergoing a boom in tourism service and adventure site development, so that nature-loving visitors can enjoy the region’s many riches. Thanks to frequent rains, the Northern Zone features wet and evergreen forests as well as fertile plains—natural environments that serve as sanctuaries for water birds, reptiles, mammals and the prehistoric Gaspar fish, and important sites of interest for wildlife-lovers. Essential Costa Rica.

This is an amazing destination to combine nature and community service. Our first stop will be the Arenal Volcano where we will visit the Fortuna Waterfall, the National Park and do the 6 hours hike. We will also visit and enjoy the hot spring waters of the Arenal Volcano. A treat for the body and spirit. After our visit to Arenal, we will take go to our next destination Monteverde where the world famous cloud forest reserve is located and where our host community, San Luis, will wait for us. In San Luis we will conduct our community service and this would be our home and base while in the area.
As for our work, we will help the community families with the farm work, help at the local school in various tasks, like tutoring or with some repairing in the infrastructure, create a recycle project with the children and help the entire community with the coffee harvesting process, drying and packaging the coffee. We will learn a great deal about the economic activities of the rural communities of Costa Rica and also about the integration of women in the local economy.
Activities & Community Service:
Visit of a coffee processing mill.
Tutoring at local school.
Farm work.
Planting trees in the could forest.
Canopy in the could forest.

Visit to a women’s art cooperative.

Depending on the interest of the different groups and individuals, we will activate learning service trips to one specific area. In some cases, we can combine two regions if requested. The students or participants, who would like to conduct a specific internship, can choose the project base on the specific needs or academic requirements.

Other Components and Services of the Program:  

Spanish Language: Motivation for learning a foreign language increases greatly when a person is immersed in the culture. When the students return home, they will have a better understanding of the language and will be inspired to continue improving the skills they have learned. The language teaching philosophy used is based on guided oral activities with the use of grammar rules, only as a tool, to review and learn, but with an emphasis in the speaking part as the main component for success. We will have formal and informal session so students can consult and study the vocabulary that we are going to be using every day in the different activities.

Social  and Leadership Skills: By interacting with the host families, the local people, Costa Rican students, and the new friends, and working with the members of the host community, in all our location, students will gain social skills and would learn about the importance of mutual respect and understanding. This experience will help them immensely to see the world from a different perspective. 

Culture: Students will visit some interesting sites in San Jose and in the other areas that we visit. By doing this, they will learn about different aspects of the history, the economy, and how Costa Ricans like to live “the Pura Vida Life”. 

Environment and Ecology: Students will gain and enjoy exposure to the rainforest, its ecosystems and the importance of preserving nature. As part of the trip we will visit the magnificent Poás Volcano, the Peace Waterfall, the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, the Pacific Ocean, the cloud forest, the dry forest, the tropical forest and the rain forest.

Community Service: Students will conduct some community work with the idea of learning, but also to contribute in a meaningful way to the host community. Working directly with the local people in our various communities would be the best part of the experience.

Accommodations: Students stay with local family owned hotels and this would represent an excellent opportunity to practice the Spanish language and learn aspects of the local culture. For the ones conducting internships, they will stay with local families. Other accommodations are available upon request. 

Activities: We will have opportunities to see a lot and visit the central market in San Jose and see the most important places in the city. We will visit a volcano, the cloud forest, do the zip lining, play soccer with the members of our host community, do some work for and with the community members and finally will go to the beach. In Costa Rica we have two oceans and the program would always end on the coast line. The best way to say good bye is to swim in the warm waters of the oceans of Costa Rica.  

Safety and Security: The top priority of the program is the safety and overall well being of the participants. We will be with a local guide and a responsible person at all times 24/7. We have a safety protocol and an evacuation plan. As an official program, we have a partnership with the National Commission for Emergencies. A person with a credential extended by the Red Cross will companion the group and be on duty 24/7. 

Costa Rica has excellent healthcare: By almost any standard Costa Rica has some of the best healthcare in Latin America. There are two systems, both of which we can access: the government-run universal healthcare system, Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, known as Caja, and the private system. Both health systems are constantly being upgraded—new hospitals, new equipment, and improvements in staff training.

Despite the advancements, costs are low in comparison to those in the Canada, U.S. and even some European countries. Healthcare costs are about a third to a fifth of what you’d pay in the Canada and U.S., depending on the treatment. Many doctors, especially in private practice, speak English and have received training in Europe, Canada, or the U.S. Drugs are also much less expensive.

Private healthcare is also available, which is affordable and high quality. There are three large, private hospitals like CIMA hospital in Escazú, Clínica Bíblica in San José, and Hospital La Católica in San José-Guadalupe. All these facilities are in and around the capital of the country, San José.

In this private system you can pay cash or use insurance, including some policies from Canada, U.S. and Europe, international policies, and insurance from Costa Rican companies.

Costa Rica’s Government-Run Healthcare System. With a government-sponsored network of hospitals and clinics throughout the country, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has primary responsibility for providing low-cost healthcare services to the Costa Rican populace. During our programs, depending on the location, we will use either the public services or the private services. 

All Inclusive Programs: The price for the program is all inclusive. All meals, lodging, transportation, fee entrance to National Parks, materials and services are included. 

Benefits of Doing this Trip:

This can be a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn about the world around them and to have a wonderful international experience. By doing this trip, students will have a real opportunity to understand the theory in a real life situation, and to  learn how to be assertive in the process of taking better decisions by observing and experiencing firsthand the reality of the living conditions of the members of the host community. By interacting with people from various backgrounds and from a different country, students will have an excellent opportunity to develop social and leadership skills that will be beneficial throughout their lives as adults and professionals. The students would be exposed to a different culture and language and would be contributing to the host community and also visit some of the natural wonders of Costa Rica. 

During the trip students learn a great deal about different aspects of this part of the world and the Costa Rican culture.  Also learn and improve the command of the Spanish language and taste and enjoy the Costa Rican food. This program also offers the opportunity to learn important social and spiritual concepts like networking, solidarity, responsibility, tolerance, compassion, friendship and love. The participants always find lots of new friends and new contacts here in Costa Rica. Our ultimate goal is for all the participants to become global citizens.

“The uniqueness of this language and cultural exchange trip lies in the combination of fun activities and educational experiences that will help the participants learn and grow as a person. It is an experience the student will likely never forget”.

Muchas gracias amigos de Canadá y Estados Unidos. Los esperamos en Costa Rica.

Costa Rica, Pura Vida!