Day 1. Owning your Experience!

Pura Vida! Welcome to San Jose and to this experiential learning adventure of a lifetime! You will be enchanted by this wonderful little country and the friendliest people imaginable. Savor a delicious tropical meal as your guides set the tone for the experience.

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: San Jose Area

DAY 2. ECOSYSTEM INTERACTIONS

Today we explore the interconnectedness of Ecosystems: Watersheds, Agriculture and Human Pressures, Inland and Coastal Ecosystems  

Head down to the colorful Southern Caribbean to immerse yourself in the vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture. Your head will be spinning after observing and learning about a large banana plantation, where you will see the non-sustainable and industrialized side of agriculture, and the myriad of costs in the conversion of tropical forest to monoculture.  After, we will get up close and personal with monkeys and tropical animals in Cahuita National Park.  Enjoy the warm waters of the Caribbean ocean before dinner in town.

Important Themes: 

  • Conservation Areas & Watersheds
  • Impacts of Monoculture Plantations: Banana & Pineapple Industries
  • Comparing and Contrasting Rainforest Microclimates & Habitats

Overnight: Puerto Viejo Area 

DAY 3. TINO: CULTURAL AMBASSADOR

Tino is a wonderful institution in the colorful Caribbean town of Manzanillo who loves to share stories and his vast knowledge of his rainforest “backyard” with unmatched humor and enthusiasm

We head to the muy tranquilo village at “the end of the road”, Manzanillo, which borders aqua blue- crystalline water and Primary Rainforest.  Meet our local visionary guide Tino and his son Michael and hike with them in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. They will astonish you with the incredible plants, and the animals that you otherwise would have never seen from this perspective.

Tino will have you asking questions about the countless medicinal, culinary and other uses of the trees, fruits and plants as you taste, smell, touch and marvel at the beauty of all this biodiversity. Later, we swim at a stunning beach- Punta Uva, a magical spot where monkeys are likely spotted eating sea grapes on the point.

Important Themes:

  • History of Costa Rican Caribbean Culture and its influences
  • Cultural differences throughout Costa Rica
  • Medicinal, culinary and other practical uses of rainforest plants
  • Spanish Vocabulary Themes:  Wildlife, Medicinal Plants

Overnight: Puerto Viejo Area 

Day 4. Community Service: Leaving a Positive Trace

Today we have the chance to give back to the community by participating in a service project, working hand in hand with the locals to make a positive impact on a local school in need.

Expedition Mentality is put to the test today as you participate in a Community Service project. We do many hands on projects all over Costa Rica and many other countries. We have communities and schools that we have adopted and have been working with continuously for many years.  Our high impact projects are based on the community’s needs, they may include building schoolhouses, installing gravity water systems, setting up gardens, building sidewalks, reforestation projects, and many other sustainable ventures.  Community service is another way for you to directly step into the culture of the country you are visiting and leave a lasting positive impact.  We usually work from 9am to 3pm with a break for lunch.

In the afternoon,  we delight ourselves with some Chocolate, with a visit to Petronila’s Farm for a chocolate tour! This is a locally owned and operated farm where a family grows and sells cinnamon, chocolate, ornamental plants, and crafts.

Important Themes:

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

Overnight: Puerto Viejo Area 

Day 5. Ecotourism in Action

Today we have the chance to experience Ecotourism at its best- sustainable support for local communities

This morning we head to the banks of the Pacuare River for an unforgettable day of white water rafting on class III and IV rapids.  As your group works together to move down the river, the bonds formed through the Expedition Mentality strategies employed throughout the trip will be apparent.  This most scenic and famous river slices through pristine rainforest and mountain gorges, which drop the most beautiful waterfalls right alongside our raft. From there we make our way our Homestays in Tres Equis.

Homestays are stepping stones to learning about the country and culture you are visiting.  Students and individuals stay with rural “Tico” (Costa Rican) families in their homes for several days or more. This unique experience not only exposes the student to a different lifestyle and culture, but it also allows individuals to practice and enhance their language skills and make new friends.  All of our families go through a lengthy selection process and are approved by our local community contact, Raphael Montenegro, whose enthusiasm and hospitality are truly remarkable.

Important Themes:

  • Land use and sustainable recreation
  • Water cycles
  • Eco-tourism and economic support for communities

Overnight: Homestay, Tres Equis 

Day 6. Cultural Connections: Tres Equis

Today we get to know the community of Tres Equis by participating in a cultural activity at the local high school

Wake up and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal by your homestay family. Today is full day of cultural immersion partnered with the local high school students. We may attend classes and meet as a group to discuss the similarities and differences among our cultures or receive a cultural dance from younger students and do a reading activity.  In the afternoon invite our new friends to participate in a soccer game!

Important Themes:

  • Family structure and traditions
  • Comparing educational opportunities and methods from home
  • Using all forms of language for communication

Overnight: Homestay, Tres Equis 

Day 7. Pre-Columbian History, Guayabo

Today we explore the history of Costa Rica’s original inhabitants                                 

Today we visit Guayabo National Monument to explore one of Costa Rica’s only ancient ruins, where we learn about the Indigenous history of the country.  This is one of the largest and most important archeological finds in the country.  It is likely to have been the residence of approximately 10,000 people about 3,000 years ago. The monument’s mission is to protect past, present, and future archeological exploration by safeguarding the structural remains of this ancient city. Significant restoration has already been completed, and awareness of the pre-Colombian period is actively promoted.

When our visit is completed we will have a delicious lunch and walk through the charming little town of Turrialba.

Important Themes:

  • How ancient history dictates modern culture
  • Settlement patterns and Indigenous groups in Costa Rica
  • Reflecting on your home stay experience

Overnight: Homestay, Tres Equis

Day 8. Valuing Nature.

Today we will focus on conceptions and values of nature from different cultural perspectives, as well as human relationships and interactions with nature

Today we’ll collect all of our memories and say goodbye to our homestay families to continue on our adventure. We will drive past the Central Volcanic Mountain Range to the base of Arenal, Costa Rica’s most spectacular volcano.

Upon arrival we fly through the air on ziplines, a unique way to experience the canopy. Expert guides assist us in this exciting journey through the different layers of the pristine rainforest from the time you leave the ground until you rappel back down to the forest floor. Orchids, bromeliads and ferns share this aerial existence with an abundance of wildlife.

Important Themes:

  • Placing a value on forests and nature- for ecotourism, enjoyment, extraction, ecosystem services, and more
  • Emblematic and endangered species
  • Microclimates and layers of life in the canopy

Overnight: La Fortuna Area 

Day 9. Don Juan: Inspirational Teacher of Sustainability

Don Juan is a visionary former schoolteacher who now shares his passion for teaching organic agriculture with everyone who visits his farm.

This morning we have a chance to compare different strategies for sustainable and organic agriculture with a visit to Don Juan’s Farm. Don Juan is a former teacher who changed a 4 walled classroom to an open classroom full of aromas, colors, shapes, textures, sizes, and shapes on his farm. He combined two loves: teaching and farming and developed a hands-on experience for kids all about sustainable farming solutions. He says that “just like the fruits that burst open and spread seeds long distances, he would like to disseminate his knowledge to people all around the world”. The purpose of his farm is to produce, conserve and spread knowledge to the curious about sustainability and organic farming.

We make some time today for a solo/journal writing time before we head back to San Jose for our final reflection.

Important Themes:

  • Strategies for sustainable food production
  • Advantages and disadvantages of monoculture versus sustainable farming,
  • How you can share positive solutions with your community as Don Juan does.

Overnight: San Jose Area 

Day 10. 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 Chill Expedition 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!

Why settle for less?

MIKE BUDD

MIKE BUDD

EXPEDITION DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR at Chill Expeditions

As a husband, father, coach, and athlete, Mike is in perpetual motion. He will, however, pause for sushi, bacon, fried plantains, mint chocolate chip ice cream and a pint of Guinness.

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