Costa Rica: Community Service & Adventure Expedition
July 24th – August 6th, 2017

Day 1: Owning your Experience, Liberia area
Students will be challenged to take charge of their experience over the next 8 days in Costa Rica, encouraged to engage in active learning and personal growth, and to have open minds to make the most of this incredible opportunity.

Pura Vida! Welcome to Liberia, in beautiful Guanacaste, the Northwest corner and cultural heart of Costa Rica, home to incredible Tropical Dry Forest Ecosystems. Your bilingual naturalist guides will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel to settle in. Share a delicious tropical dinner as your guides set the tone for students owning their experience with active and engaged learning. The experiential learning adventure of a lifetime has begun!

Important Themes:

  • Your guides will introduce the Story Approach and the teaching themes that will cohesively link together the incredible wealth of information you will learn on the trip.
  • Your group will be introduced to the Expedition Mentality, our nuanced strategy for creating the strongest possible group culture.
  • Our first nightly circle and bandana ceremony will reinforce the Expedition Mentality and set the tone for the best possible experiential learning trip.

Overnight: Liberia area

Day 2: Community Service: Martina Bustos Community
This day will be spent working hand in hand with the Martina Bustos Community to improve community infrastructure

Today we work hand in hand with community members to meet local needs. Our work will be focused on improving the community center, which also serves as a nutrition center for children in the village. We may also help local families planting

edible gardens and improving infrastructure in the town. We will also have the chance to engage with the children who use the community center, playing games or teaching workshops.

Important Themes:

  • Community Service: who benefits?
  • What makes a successful service project
  • Water access and social justice
  • Grassroots community development: Strategies and challenges

Overnight: Liberia area

Day 3: Exploring Ecosystems: The Unique Cultural and Biological Elements of Guanacaste
Today we discover the unique tropical dry forest ecosystem and special adaptations for life in this area!

After breakfast we head to the rural town of Ortega where we will take a boat tour on the Tempique River, surrounding Palo

Verde National Park. This is an incredible opportunity to explore the dry forest vegetation; mangroves, perfect for bird habitats and for many other common animals from this region. Keep your eyes open for a wide variety of animals such as: Jesus lizards, Macaws, Herons, Kingfishers, Iguanas, Common Basilisks, American Crocodiles, Coatis, Raccoons, Capuchin and Howler Monkeys, and the rare Jabiru, the biggest bird in the country. Afterward, we have a typical lunch in a small organic farm full of tradition. In the afternoon, we visit the nearby town of Santa Barbara, where we learn about the vibrant cultural traditions of this traditional village alongside our wonderful community contact, Clara Padilla and be introduced to our homestay families. We will have the time to learn about the ancient art of pottery and its importance to the local culture throughout the generations, and even try our hand at making a pot using traditional techniques!

Important Themes:

  • Unique ecosystems of the disappearing tropical dry forest, other unique ecosystems on the planet
  • Habitat connections: flora and fauna of the tropical dry forest
  • Cultural History and makeup of Guanacaste
  • Placing a value on forests and nature- for ecotourism, enjoyment, extraction, ecosystem services, and more
  • Eco-tourism versus traditional tourism: their effects on local economy, culture, water supply, pollution, etc.

Overnight: Guanacaste Area

Day 4: Community Service: Santa Barbara town, local kinder garden
Today we have the chance to give back by participating in a service project, working hand in hand with the locals to make a positive impact on a local school in need.

At Chill Expeditions we believe that community service projects are an excellent opportunity to work hand in hand with communities and create positive change. We will dedicate our day to help the CEN- CINAI of Santa Barbara town. CEN –

CINAI is a government program run by the Ministry of Health. This program started as nutrition centers in the early 40’s serving children up to 7 years and pregnant mothers. Currently the centers include preschool education and attend children whose mother’s work, for up to 12 hours. Among the beneficiaries of the CEN – CINAI are infants, preschool, children, pregnant and lactating mothers, and families in poverty or social risk.
The CEN-CINAI of Santa Bárbara has plenty space available and lots of needs. During 2016, with the support of Eastside Prep and Buckingham Friends School we completed several projects such as building a playground, installing a fence, painting dinning area, and improving sinks.

Important Themes:

  • Why community service? Who benefits?
  • What makes a successful service project?
  • Service in your home community

Overnight: Santa Cruz area

Day 5: Community Based Conservation: Ostional
Today we explore unique species conservation/sustainable management efforts at a Sea Turtle nesting area

Enjoy our breakfast before we say goodbye to Santa Barbara and head toward the beach. Today, we learn about marine eco-systems and sea turtle life cycles at the La Arribadas Biological Station. This small, rustic marine biological station is built

and run by a local family who is focused on preserving the rich diversity of their ocean. Las Arribadas Station was established in 1993 by the Cruz Sevilla family, in order to promote sustainable community development and maintain a productive conservation area. Las Arribadas is member of ADIO (community development association of Ostional). ADIO develops a legal – sustainable project of use of turtle eggs for local consumption and commercialization. Tonight we will be introduced to the important work they do in this station and enjoy a home-cooked meal before we go on a night hike along the beach, keeping our eyes open for nesting turtles!

Important Themes:

  • Methods of Tropical Field Research
  • Umbrella Species- protecting emblematic species and their habitats
  • Species behavior and monitoring

Overnight: Las Arribadas Biological Station

Day 6: Sea Turtle Conservation Project Service Work: Ostional
This portion of our trip is dedicated to making a positive impact with a unique grassroots conservation effort, working on a sea turtle conservation program!

Today we get our hands dirty working to benefit a sea turtle conservation program- working in the nursery, building infrastructure, helping improve monitoring systems, and learning about the biology and life-cycles of these fascinating creatures while helping to protect their future. In the evening, we may have the chance to search for nesting turtles on the beach!

Important Themes:

  • Sea turtle biology and life cycles
  • Threats to sea turtle survival
  • Grass roots conservation efforts: opportunities and obstacles

Overnight: Ostional Area

Day 7: Habitats of Costa Rica, Dominical area
Today we explore the ecology and biodiversity of Costa Rica as we travel through a number of unique habitats.

Today we leave the Ostional far behind and head to the Southern edge of Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast. Along the way,

we will begin to learn about bananas, pineapples and agricultural practices in Costa Rica. Settle into our eco-lodge and enjoy the afternoon on the beach!

Important Themes:

  • Life Zones of Costa Rica
  • Biodiversity and Habitats that support species
  • Coastal conservation

Overnight: Dominical Area

Day 8: Ecotourism in Action, Savegre River
Today we have the chance to experience Ecotourism at its best, taking part in an activity that helps protect fragile ecosystems while providing jobs for locals and enjoyment and learning for participants

We get an early start for an unforgettable day of white water rafting on the Savegre River. This is one of the most pristine rivers in Costa Rica, with its fair share of class 3 and 4 rapids. Expert experienced guides safely guide us on our adventure as we paddle through lush rainforest, waterfalls and canyons. Keep your eyes peeled for egrets, toucans and monkeys! We have lunch on the river and soak ourselves in waterfalls.

Important Themes:

  • Conservations areas
  • Water cycles
  • Eco-tourism and economic alternatives to deforestation

Overnight: Dominical area

Day 9: Indigenous Cultures; Terraba
Today we explore the Boruca Indigenous culture and the importance of preserving culture throughout our world

This morning we head towards the Terraba Indigenous Reservation. First we visit the nearby Boruca Indigenous village, where we learn first-hand about this fascinating culture and how they have thrived for thousands of years. In the village, we

have the unique opportunity to view and participate in making one of their crafts — stunning masks, natural dyes, as well as their beautiful wood working skills. In the afternoon continue to Terraba where we will stay.

Important Themes:

  • Life in a rural Costa Rican Village: what to expect
  • The importance of preserving indigenous cultures and oral traditions
  • Cultural Values and traditions in Rey Curre
  • How modern culture affects the Boruca people through time

Overnight: Terraba (Ethnotouristic Center El Descanso)

Day 10 & 11: Community Service and Cultural Connections; Terraba  
Today we have the chance to give back to a local indigenous community by participating in a service project, working hand in hand with the locals to make a positive impact

These days we work with our hosts, the indigenous community of Terraba, who are striving to revive their culture through

eco-tourism and other means. We work together with members of the local community to execute a service project that meets local needs. We learn about their culture through generations, as well as why it’s so important they continue to keep their ancestral knowledge alive. In the afternoon, we learn about the traditional processing of cacao (chocolate). Also, we check out the nearby petroglyphs and gain a better understanding of the importance of our work today.

Important Themes:

  • What makes a successful service project?
  • Service in your home community
  • Cultural Values and traditions and comparison with our home community

Overnight: Terraba (Ethnotouristic Center El Descanso) 

Day 12: The Seelye Family, Pioneers of Sustainability, Santa Maria de Dota Highlands
The Seelyes are pioneers of living off the grid in harmony with nature. They are a family of exceptional naturalists and environmental crusaders.

After a leisurely morning at Diamante, after lunch we head up the mountains up into the cloud forest! Settle into our off-the grid, family run eco-lodge, and meet the Seelye Family. This afternoon we have a chance to explore the farm and the nearby trails. In the evening we share a delicious home-cooked meal and hear the amazing story of this resilient and inspiring family.

Important Themes:

  • Diverse ecosystems of Costa Rica
  • How geology shapes Costa Rica: as a landbridge, cultural impacts, and creator of diverse habitats
  • Cerro de la Muerte” and historic migration patterns in Costa Rica

Overnight: Seelye Family Farm

Day 13: Life in the Cloudforest, Santa Maria de Dota Highlands
Today we explore life in the cloudforest- from living on a sustainable farm to the adaptations of plants and animals for living in this unique environment.

This morning we learn about life on an off-the grid farm- helping to milk cows, gathering eggs from the chickens, feeding trout, and discovering the many strategies for sustainable living that the Seelye’s employ. In the afternoon, we take a breathtaking

hike in this spectacular forest, hoping to glimpse a resplendent Quetzal. On our hike we learn about the highland forest and see many unique species of plants, trees, and birds that are endemic to this area. We have a chance to climb the magical Castle Tree, a redwood relative that is believed to be 1000 years old. Tonight we return to San Jose reflect on all that we have done, seen, and learned on our expedition.

Important Themes:

  • Strategies for living sustainably- “off the grid” or in your hometown
  • How people live with (or removed from) nature
  • Flora, Fauna, and watersheds of the Cloudforest and Paramo forest

Overnight: Seelye Family Farm

Day 14: Home with Inspiration!

On our final day together we’ll enjoy a last group breakfast, head to the airport, bid our guides a fond farewell and return home with memories of our Costa Rican Adventure that will last a lifetime! We hope to inspire all those who travel with us to gain a greater appreciation for the many natural treasures Costa Rica has to offer, and reflect upon the choices we all make at home to help preserve this precious culture and environment. Pura vida!

Program Cost: $3630 per person, all inclusive land cost*

  • Includes all lodging, meals, activities, in-country transportation, local bi-lingual guide.
  • Does not include international flight, gratuities, incidentals, activities not listed in itinerary
  • * Minimum of 5 participants required for program to run