Chicos & Chicas de Costa Rica
(Costa Rica, Central America)
In a Nutshell
Did you know that happiness is contagious? You can “infect” other people with it, and at the same time “catch it” from your surroundings.
Knowing this, we have created this adventure in Costa Rica- home to some of the happiest people on Earth!
This small, tropical country has been recognized time and again for having one of the happiest populations in the world, and with reason: from the perfect climate and beautiful landscapes to unique cultural activities and food, Costa Rica has a reputation for happy and laid back citizens. Imagine dragging your feet through the soft white sand beaches with a fresh piña colada in hand…you’re starting to get the picture.
In the itinerary below you will see how the second week of our adventure embraces this lifestyle, day by day. However, just before the Pina-colada-on-the-beach-day , we need to help a change occur:
Despite the fact that Costa Rica has one of the highest standards of living in the Americas, profound poverty still affects many people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Poverty in Costa Rica is especially apparent in rural areas and in certain parts of the country’s capital, San José. Children are among the most gravely impacted by this situation and general living conditions for thousands of Costa Rican children remain precarious. This is where we can step in, and offer a little help to our soon-to-be young friends.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 36,000 children in Costa Rica are orphans or in a legal state of abandonment. Due to dysfunctional or non-existent family structures, many children are also at risk of ending up on one of the crime-ridden streets or in barrios, where child prostitution, drug abuse and gang violence quickly become part of their everyday lives.
Our first week will involve lending support to those kids, in the form of spending time and helping with all that is necessary in one of their shelters, called “Hogarcitos” or Homes for Children. These shelters need our helping hands and our smiles to brighten these less fortunate kids’ days, in various ways (see below in the “contributional work” section). We will not be alone in this daunting task- the National Child Welfare Authority, which helps provide these temporary homes, coordinates with several organizations to offer children who are suffering from physical or psychological abuse a temporary place to live while their parents undergo counseling or treatment.But, as for the children’s daily life in the Hogarcitos, they need help; our help.
Day 1, Sunday: Hola Costa Rica! Arrival at Juan Santa María International airport, San José, Costa Rica. Transfer to beautiful boutique hotel in San Jose.
Day 2, Monday: We will experience a full day of cultural immersion activities including a “survival Spanish”course to enhance the engagement with the children we’ll soon meet. A festive welcome dinner will be served in late evening.
Day 3, Tuesday: Contribution time! In the morning we will meet the children with whom we will interact in the next four days. During the second half of the day we will embark on a historical tour of San José.
Day 4, Wednesday: In the first half of the day, we will do contributional work at the children’s home or hogarcito. In the afternoon, we will practice our spanish vocabulary at the Mercado Central, where we’ll buy ingredients for a cooking workshop. In the workshop we will cook (and eat) a typical Costa Rican meal. Yummmm!
Day 5, Thursday: Half a day’s work at the hogarcito. Come afternoon, we will expand our horizons at the National Museum and learn about Costa Rica’s indigenous culture.
Day 6, Friday: Last day with our new, young friends: After a morning of contributional work, we will have a farewell ceremony at the hogarcito. In the afternoon we will discover the beautiful, rural town of Zarcero and from there head to the next anchor in our adventure- Arenal.
Day 7, Saturday: During the first half of this day, we will share our time with a farming family, who will share their way of life and agricultural working techniques. Then we will share a delicious,farm-to-table lunch with them.
In the afternoon, we will head for Arenal, our home for the next few days
Day 8, Sunday: “Into the Wild” day – We will enjoy the tropical rain forest by traversing the hanging bridges in front of the awe inspiring Arenal Volcano. In the afternoon, we will visit the Carara National Park, which is well known worldwide as a premier birding destination. The Scarlet Macaw will surely stand out.
Day 9, Monday: Buenos dias! We have an energetic morning ahead: we will enjoy a Tranopy tour that combines a flight over the treetops in a safe aerial tram with the excitement of the canopy tour. In the afternoon we will visit a butterfly garden and then relax at the beach and enjoy the amazing sunset.
Day 10, Tuesday: After a bountiful breakfast we will visit the Manuel Antonio National Park, where we will surely encounter its famous spider monkeys.
Day 11, Wednesday: A day of wildlife care: we will visit a wildlife sanctuary to see and hear how its staff rescue, rehabilitate and release exotic wildlife back into the jungle.
Day 12, Thursday: Our final day in the wild: the first half of the day will be filled with crocodiles, exotic birds, iguanas and more. After a short break in the afternoon, we will celebrate the end of our adventure by enjoying Costa Rican folk dancing and a delicious buffet dinner.
Day 13, Thursday: Pack your bags and say farewell. Transfer is provided back to Juan Santa María International airport in San José.
- Location of the adventure: Monteverde, Punta Leona, San José , Costa Rica (Multiple locations)
- Project length: 13 days
- Airport: Juan Santa María San José (SJO)
- Contributional Work:
Contributional Work: Work at the homes for children in need is likely to include spending quality time with the children, organizing recreational and educational activities and games for the children, assisting the staff during meals and nap times, helping out with light chores necessary for the day-to-day running of the homes, working in maintenance to improve the home’s facilities and joining special projects, such as making a photo album for each child.
Family Option: This project accepts families with children as young as 5 years old.
- Number of Participants: This adventure requires a minimum of eight participants in a group.
- Accommodations: All accommodations are provided in eco friendly hotels and ecolodges
- Food: Three meals per day are included
- Transportation:Airport transfers upon arrival and departure and all inland travel is included.
- Orientation: Orientation and a San José city tour is included plus a brief tour of the town of Monteverde and the Cloud Forest Reserve
- Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 emergency hotline, experienced local field team accompanying the group throughout the program.
- Other: Three hours of survival Spanish lessons, Costa Rican cooking classes, A City Tour, A Spanish class- “Buying at the market” plus a cooking workshop, visit to a national museum, microbreweries and craft beer tour in San José, visit to Zarcero, cultural activity (lunch with local families), Baldí hot springs, the hanging bridges, entrance to Carara National Park, tranopy, entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park, a visit to an animal rescue center sanctuary, a crocodile tour and folk dance and dinner show.
What’s Not Included
International flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses, lunch and dinner on the first day.
Adventure Departure Dates
- April 21st, 2019
- May 5th, 2019
- August 4th, 2019
- September 1st, 2019
- October 6th, 2019
- November 3rd, 2019
- December 1st, 2019
Adventure Cost : $3,790 USD