Organized by Travel For Teens and the Chase Collegiate, this Costa Rican cultural immersion and service adventure features central, authentic accommodations; superb meals; adrenaline-inducing adventure activities and a meaningful community service project working with local children. Start off the trip with an eco-trek through lush jungle wilderness, followed by relaxing on pristine beaches and splashing through warm ocean waves. Then, spend the next few days earning community service hours as you work with a local nonprofit, helping to run one of their many programs focusing on academic and artistic education, environmental consciousness, health, and socio-cultural development. The afternoons will be jam-packed with more adventure activities such as stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling with parrotfish, surf lessons, hot-springs, and zip lining through the rainforest canopy!
Open to all Chase Collegiate students. There are a limited number of spaces for the trip which are available on a first-come, first served basis.
DAY 1: DEPART FROM THE USA
Flight from Boston or JFK to San José
Arrive in San José – Welcome to Costa Rica!
Meet your TFT Counselors at the airport
Board private coach to Sámara, our home for the next week
Arrive in Sámara, get checked into the hotel
First Costa Rican dinner!
First Day Meeting: We’ll go over the rules and expectations for the trip, and answer any questions you may have.
DAY 2: COMMUNITY SERVICE PREP AND JUNGLE HIKES
Breakfast: Live like a local and enjoy a comida tipica – a filling breakfast of rice, beans, fried plantains, ham and cheese. Wash it down with an aromatic Costa Rican coffee!
Morning activity: Go on an eco-hike through the jungle. Head out for a walk in the beautiful area around Playa Sámara where, if we are lucky, we will be able to spot wildlife like howler monkeys, iguanas, raccoons, parrots and sloths.
Meet our local partners to learn more about the service projects you’ll be working on, and get a few key Spanish words under your belt.
Enjoy the beach, play on the sand and take a swim. Take a walk around town so can you start getting familiar with your new home for the week.
Dinner. Try one of the amazing local dishes at one of our favorite restaurants in town. Order something adventurous, or share some dishes with your new friends.
Evening activity TBD
DAY 3: COMMUNITY SERVICE & BEACHES
Breakfast. Today is our first day of community service, so fill up with a big breakfast to get ready.
Today we start working on our service project with the Asociacion CREAR. This local association provides supplemental educational, recreational, and career opportunities for community members, primarily youth with limited resources, in the rural beach communities surrounding Playa Sámara.
Lunch. Try some more delicious local Tico (slang for Costa Rican) dishes you haven’t had yet.
Stand-up paddleboarding lessons!
Free time to visit the local shops
Dinner. Stroll into town for another delicious Tico meal.
Evening activity TBD
DAY 4 COMMUNITY SERVICE AND ISLAND TOUR
Breakfast. Live like a local as you enjoy another delicious comida típica!
Community service. Today we continue with the service in this lovely little town by helping to one of their many programs focusing on academic and artistic education, environmental consciousness, health, and socio-cultural development.
Lunch. Try some seafood bursting with flavor!
Snorkeling and sea kayaking tour! Head out onto beautiful Chora Island, snorkeling through the clear water in search of vibrant fish and other incredible marine life!
Return to the hotel and wash up before dinner
Dinner. This evening, try something you haven’t had yet, or order one of your new-found favorite dishes!
Evening activity TBD
DAY 5 ZIPLINE & HOT SPRINGS ADVENTURE
Breakfast. Enjoy another comida típica or choose something more familiar. Either way, get ready for a day full of activities!
Private coach to Zipline Canopy Tour.
Canopy tour. Ziplining is found all over Costa Rica because it is one of the best places in the world to do it! Swing and zoom through the lush rainforest and above the canopy as the wind zips past your face. This is an adrenaline-filled morning you won’t soon forget!
Lunch in town
Afternoon: Soak your worries away at the beautiful and relaxing volcanic hot springs heated naturally by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano – the largest and most active volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Surrounded by thick forest, the crystal clear river flows through 10 man-made pools to capture the steaming mineral-rich water. Heated volcanic clay is available to smooth all over like a “spa body masque.” After it dries, wash it off with a cool shower or jump in the river before soaking again in the hot pools. The complete relaxation is pure bliss.
After the hot springs, return to the hotel
Dinner. We’ll enjoy another delicious group dinner in town. This is a great chance to order that one thing on the menu you’ve been dying to try!
Evening activity TBD
DAY 6 COMMUNITY SERVICE AND SURFING LESSONS
Breakfast. Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican rice and beans) anyone? Get fueled up for a big day!
Community service. We are halfway through this beautiful project that we all have been working so hard on. These service projects are able to function due to the generosity of volunteers like you and the community.
Lunch. Take a break from volunteering to enjoy another delicious Tico meal.
Afternoon surf lesson! Whether you’re a beginner or rival Kelly Slater, hone your skills as you learn how to surf in one of the best places in the Pacific side of Costa Rica!
Free time for souvenir shopping in the cool boutiques around the hotel
Return to the hotel
Dinner. We’ll walk to another one of the great local restaurants we love, so you can try any of the Tico dishes you haven’t had yet!
DAY 7 COMMUNITY SERVICE AND FINAL DAY
Breakfast. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before another big day!
Community service. Today is the last day of our service project. Say hasta luego to your new friends, and take what you have learned from this experience and bring it home with you.
Lunch. We’ll have lunch at one of our favorite spots in town.
Surf lesson. This afternoon, surf’s up! Build on your skills from the last lesson to carve up the waves.
Free time for last-minute souvenir shopping
Return to the hotel to get dressed up for our fancy final dinner
Elegant final dinner. We’ll grab some group photos of everyone before enjoying one last group dinner at a restaurant in town. Spend some quality time reminiscing on an incredibly rewarding time in Costa Rica!
Evening activity: After dinner, we’ll take some time to go through everyone’s favorite moments and memories from the trip.
DAY 8 - RETURN TO THE USA
Fly home from San José to Boston or JFK
Deadline to register: October 1st, 2019.
Within three days of registration: Deposit of $250
Balance in three installments, October 15, November 15 and December 5, 2019.
Trip must be paid in full no fewer than 60 days before departure, by January 7, 2020
*All payments are fully refundable until October 15, 2019.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Travel For Teens?
We are in our 18th year in the teen travel business and have emerged as the industry leader for teen travel.
Our philosophy: We offer genuine and authentic trips for travelers, not tourists.
Our goal is to engender a passion for learning about other cultures and places through living like a local in that place.
How much is tuition and what does it include?
Tuition for the trip is $2,800, which INCLUDES all meals, roundtrip airfare from either JFK/BOS (TBD) accommodation, transportation, entrance to museums/events, taxes and tips.
Tuition does NOT INCLUDE meals not listed in the itinerary, beverages other than filtered water at meals, laundry, souvenirs, shopping, visas and visa application fees, personal and medical expenses, activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary, excess baggage fees, damage to hotels, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. transportation delays or natural disasters), or Trip Cancellation Insurance (Travel Protection Plans).
If I cannot afford the payment schedule listed above, does Travel For Teens provide flexible payment plans?
Yes, Travel For Teens is willing to customize a payment plan for any participant who needs a little flexibility in the payment schedule. Please email email@example.com for details on payment plans.
How much is trip cancellation insurance?
Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended for all participants and is not included in tuition. We feel that this gives everyone more peace of mind in case of unforeseen events. The trip cancellation insurance, if purchased directly from Travel For Teens, is $118 for the standard plan.
For more information on insurance, please see this page.
How much is airfare? How do the flights work?
Travel For Teens will reserve a group contract for all participants traveling roundtrip from either BOS or JFK to SJO. The exact flight path will be determined in October once the group has been confirmed.
The price of the flights is projected to be up to $500 of the tuition. If the group flights chosen by the school leadership are more than $500 per person, there may be a supplement added to each student’s tuition.
Who can go on this trip?
The trip is open to all Chase Collegiate students. Space is limited and is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Are parents allowed to go on this trip?
Parents are not welcome to come along with their teen. Sorry parents, this trip is just for the teens and the teacher chaperones.
What happens after I register?
Once your deposit is paid, you will receive an email that confirms your registration.
You will receive another email that contains your USERNAME and PASSWORD to MyTFT in September 2019. All forms to be completed by parents and physician as well as packing lists, travel tips, travel insurance information, and other important information can be found on the MyTFT portal (hard copies of the essential legal/medical forms can be mailed to participants upon request). Our contract and release must be signed by all custodial parents (or guardians) and the participant. We will host a second meeting in advance of your departure to go over all last minute questions and details in February 2020.
Where do we stay?
We will be staying in three-star hotels throughout the program. The names of the accommodations are available to all families once they have signed up.
Single rooms can be requested and will cost $350 additional per person per single. Note: singles must be requested at the time of registration to be guaranteed.
Trip Emails & Photographs
We will take dozens, if not hundreds, of photos each day. The best photos will be posted as regularly as possible (ideally every day) to a private webpage where you can follow along with the trip. We will send you an email to alert you when we post new photos. We will provide every family a link for downloading all pictures immediately after the trip returns. All photos can be purchased in high resolution after the trip via digital download ($50) or USB ($75).
The trip director will be in regular email contact every 24-48 hours, internet willing, with the families. Email will be the best way to communicate messages to the Trip Director.
Safety, Sickness & Communication
SAFETY AND SICKNESS
The safety of your kids is our #1 concern, which is why we have only experienced trip leaders running the show.
All trip leaders and chaperones will have international mobile phone access and TFT will give you these numbers before departure.
The TFT trip leader will also have a smartphone that is accessible 24/7 that can be called in case of emergency.
Your kids will be given opportunities to call and email home on a regular basis. Teens are encouraged to bring a cell phone on the trip. Outside of the hotel students can use their cell phone for photos/videos and emergencies. At the hotel, they can use their smartphones for social media, texting, emailing etc.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the food like on a TFT program? Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
We also love to have picnics al fresco and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!
Are participants allowed to have their cell phones on the program?
We do allow participants to bring their phones, but we ask that they use it solely as a camera when we are out and about during the day. We want everyone to focus on living in the moment and fully experience each new destination we are visiting without being absorbed in their phones. We ask that participants look at their journey with us as a way to disconnect. When we have downtime at our hotels in the evenings it is okay for participants to use their devices to connect with friends and family back home.
What is the activity level of this trip?
This is an active trip. The goal of the trip will be to maximize each day. We aim to achieve a good balance of activity and downtime. You will need to be comfortable walking about 5 miles a day in total.