- Flight to Costa Rica We will be met at the airport by our WorldStrides Tour Director, where we will board our own private coach and transfer to our hotel.
Your Adventure, Day by Day
- Orientation Meeting This morning we will begin with an Orientation Meeting to learn more about Costa Rica, including its traditions and culture. We will also get an overview of our activities for the next five days and our individual assignments. Groups will then be formed and a leader assigned to each group, who will be responsible for organizing their team. At the meeting materials will be distributed and everyone will receive their uniform, which must be worn during the program.
- San Jose City Tour At the meeting materials will be distributed and everyone will receive their uniform, which must be worn during the program. This afternoon we will take a guided San Jose City Tour. We will view all of the city’s most important sights and landmarks including the University of Costa Rica, the Supreme Court, Democracy Square, the Metropolitan Cathedral, elegant residential homes, and many sights that display the finest in Costa Rican architecture.
- National Theater During our tour we will also visit the National Theater. Designed after the Opera House in Paris, it is considered to be Costa Rica’s most important architectural landmark.
- Museo del Oro Our afternoon concludes with a visit to the Museo del Oro, featuring an impressive collection of pre-Columbian golden treasures.
- Museo Nacional Time permitting, we will also visit the Museo Nacional, in the former Bella Vista Military Fortress, which today houses pre-Columbian artifacts along with art, historical items, and natural science exhibits.
- Patronato Nacional de la Infancia Today we will visit the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI), where we will interact with infants and children who are at-risk or have limited resources. Through this program we will have the opportunity for a unique and vibrant experience by immersing ourselves with the children, and thus providing an ideal environment for fostering cultural understanding and working with the local community. Our groups will spend the morning playing, singing, painting, runninganddancingwiththechildren.
- Lunch and Afternoon Party We will enjoy lunch with the children, followed by an afternoon party with cake, ice cream and a Piñata to break. We will have a lasting impact on a child's development and they are always delighted to see new and smiling faces, and love the games and rhymes that volunteers help to organize. Simply holding infants, sharing your affection, and providing individual attention is important to their future well-being.
- Poas Volcano National Park This morning we begin our sightseeing with a visit to Poas Volcano National Park, an active volcano whose main crater is more than 1 mile wide and constantly active with fumaroles and hot geysers. Poás is surrounded by dense cloud forests, and we will hike some of the gentle trails.
- La Paz Waterfall Gardens This afternoon we will visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens where we will hike a series of trails through primary and secondary forest alongside the La Paz River, with lookouts over a series of powerful waterfalls, including the namesake La Paz Fall. We will also explore an orchid garden, a hummingbird garden, and a huge Butterfly Garden which some claim is the largest in the world.
- Caring for the Elderly Today our teams will be Caring for the Elderly by creating a compassionate and nurturing atmosphere at senior centers and homes for the elderly. Elderly people are sometimes the most neglected and abandoned group in the Costa Rican society and their access to basic services and income is severely restricted. Community initiatives and organizations provide an opportunity for the elderly to receive one-on-one attention, learn new skills, and receive basic nutrition and healthcare.
- Volunteer Work Our volunteer work today may include lively activities such as singing & dancing, leading exercise, playing games, and developing arts & crafts projects. It may also be simple but meaningful work, such as preparing meals, feeding, and other similar care giving tasks. As a volunteer, our visit is sure to brighten someone's day, providing mental stimulation and energizing the spirit and body. As volunteers for the day in this program, we will be making a meaningful contribution, working side-by-side with local people and sharing in the goals of a community.
- Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angele Our morning begins with a visit to Cartago, Costa Rica’s first city founded in 1563 and a former capital of Costa Rica. We will visit one of Costa Rica’s most famous buildings, the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles, which is dedicated to the patron saint of Costa Rica. Within the walls of the Byzantine-style church is a shrine containing the tiny figure of La Negrita (the Black Virgin), where legend has it that La Negrita was revealed on this site to a peasant girl in 1635. Miraculous healing powers have been attributed to La Negrita and, over the years, thousands of pilgrims have come to the shrine seeking cures for their illnesses and difficulties.
- Lankester Gardens Next we will visit Lankester Gardens, created in the 1940s by an English naturalist, where no fewer than 800 species of orchids are on display. The University of Costa Rica now administers the gardens, and their primary goal is to preserve the local flora, with an emphasis on orchids and bromeliads. We will walk along Paved Trails that meander from open, sunny gardens into shady forests. In each environment, different species of orchids are in bloom.
- Coffee Plantation Tour Costa Ricans call coffee grano de oro, the grain of gold, and with good reason. The humble bean lifted the nation out of obscurity two centuries ago, bringing wealth to countless farmers and to the country as a whole. This morning we will take a Coffee Plantation Tour where we will learn from experienced personnel the origins of coffee-growing, one of the major exports of Costa Rica. This very amusing and informative tour is a multimedia presentation for all ages, using actors to bring to life the coffee production experience.
- Team Volunteer Work and Ecological Activities fter a wonderful lunch at the plantation, we will spend the afternoon doing our final Team Volunteer Work, as we enter a National Park and assist in ecological activities, such as planting trees, preserving habitats or preparing nature trails. (Activities will be discussed at the planning meeting)
- Return Flight Home Our rewarding tour will come to an end as our tour manager/guide accompanies us to the airport for the return flight home.