Pura Vida: Immersive Student Travel in Costa Rica
Pura Vida. It’s a simple phrase in Costa Rica translated as “simple life.” It’s used for hello, goodbye, and everything in between. It connotes an approach to life, an attitude, an ethos of happiness, joy and appreciation. And when you traverse the country of Costa Rica, it’s easy to appreciate why. It’s a small country that makes up .03% of the landmass of the earth, yet contains 5% of it’s biodiversity. In its chest of science treasures lie active volcanoes, rainforests, cloud forests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, to name just a few natural gems. In these ecological wonders exist a biodiversity that stretches the learning mind. From the jungle ground to tropical trees to rare birds of the sky, every step in this rich country offers the chance to witness an exotic animal kingdom. From howler monkeys to scarlet macaws to the famed sloth (2 or 3 toed!) Costa Rica does not disappoint even the most seasoned of wildlife enthusiasts.
With endless opportunities for place-based science instruction from ecology to biology to oceanography, this “rich coast” is not limited to the traditional scientific fields. Costa Rica offers student groups marvelous cultural and language immersion opportunities with a dialectical influence that is considered to be, by many, one of the more universally applicable in the spanish-speaking world; the culture, too, is accessible, stable and life-changing. Whether it’s in urban San Jose engaging with street vendors and cultural rituals or being guided through the rainforest in rural Sarapiqui, relating with the Ticos, their country and their way of life is possible and wonderful.
As if students needed more than exotic wildlife, ecological marvels, and the beauty of the language and people, Costa Rica boasts incomparable fun and adventure. Ziplines in the rainforest, world-renowned beaches and surfing, hikeable volcanoes…for the truly intrepid. All this without even mentioning the food. Fresh mangos, juicy pineapple, gallo pinto (unparalleled rice and beans), all local foods, all amazing when in-country.
Curating the perfect balance of accommodations (a stay in an ecological preserve, perhaps?), unique dining experiences, service project opportunities, and authentic learning experiences for student groups into a fully customized itinerary should not be taken for granted.
The fact is, anyone can travel to Costa Rica, and with enough time, research, and experience the proper relationships might be built to deliver a usable itinerary. But to be assured of the ideal itinerary, highlighting the most authentic and unique hands-on experiences in a limited time? Choosing a true educational partner with existing local relationships, ample resources, and a dedicated, experienced team is the best solution.
This is our passion, our expertise, and our mission. So come talk with us about bringing your ideal tour to life!
With degrees in history and a background in education, tour guiding, and travel, Tim Smith serves as the Lead Guide for Global Travel Alliance and Global Guide contributor.
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