Organized by Travel For Teens, 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. Take the time to take a surf lesson, snorkel with parrotfish, or try stand-up paddleboarding! Our trip will end in the stunning La Fortuna, where our days will be jam-packed with more adventure activities like zip-lining through the rainforest canopy and enjoying the hot-springs underneath a volcano!
Open by invite-only for students impacted by the cancellation of the minimester China trip. There are a limited number of spaces for the trip which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Informational Meeting Details
A TFT representative will give a short webinar presentation and answer your questions. Please register using the link below
Date: Monday, February 3rd
Time: 8:30pm EST
Phone +1 (631) 992-3221 access code 780-813-895
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN SÁMARA, COSTA RICA
Once our flight has landed at the Liberia airport, the group will board a private coach to Samara Beach, a small surf town with breathtaking mountain views. Samara is famous for its gentle waves (perfect for surfing) and wild horses that roam the beach.
DAYS 2-3: COMMUNITY SERVICE
Here, we will give back to the community through our service program. We will work with a local association that provides supplemental educational, recreational, and career opportunities for youth with limited resources. We will be working directly with the children on various projects. In the past we have done group art projects, helped teach English, worked on environmental tasks and more! It’s a great opportunity for us to connect more closely with the community and interact with the friendly locals.
DAY 4: CHORA ISLAND TOUR
This morning we’ll head out for our day trip to Chora Island. We’ll take an incredible snorkel and sea kayaking tour in search of vibrant fish and other incredible marine life!
Relax in the afternoon, picking up any last-minute souvenirs or lounging on the beach – the choice is yours!
DAY 5: SURFING IN SÁMARA
Our final morning in Sámara, we’ll try our hand at surfing one of the stunning beaches! Then we’re off to La Fortuna, our home for the next couple of days near the breathtaking Arenal Volcano – the 10th most active volcano in the world (don’t worry, it’s safe and very closely monitored!).
DAYS 6-7: LA FORTUNA
During our time in La Fortuna, we will zip line over the rainforest and have a thrilling view of the jungle from above. This activity is fun, safe, and just the right amount of adventure! In the evening we will relax our muscles at the natural hot springs formed by the volcano.
The next day we will hike down to La Fortuna waterfall, a 210-foot ribbon of water that gushes into a cool pool in the jungle. We’ll swim in the refreshing pool formed by the waterfall, relax on the rocks, eat lunch and head back to town to grab any last minute souvenirs and get ready for our fancy final dinner!
DAY 8: RETURN TO THE USA
Deadline to register: February 6th, 2020.
Within 3 Days of Registration:
Participants will pay a $250 deposit. This $250 deposit is fully refundable until the trip has been confirmed on February 10th.
As of February 10th, TFT will confirm that a minimum of 8 students have registered for the trip.
Paperwork and the balance will be due February 12th.
International Airfare can be purchased with the help of TFT. Airfare payments are due at the time of booking and will be subject to a one time $100 flight booking fee. TFT will establish a group flight path once the trip has been confirmed and make sure all families can book that flight on their own or through TFT.
TFT strongly recommends all participants purchase travel insurance as all payments are non-refundable once the trip is confirmed. Insurance can be purchased directly from TFT after booking.
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 $2,500, which INCLUDES all meals in Costa Rica, accommodation, transportation, entrance to museums/events, taxes and tips.
Tuition does NOT INCLUDE (not meant to be an exhaustive list): airfare, 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).
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?
Getting students safely too and from Costa Rica is part of the service TFT provides for families.
TFT will have one of our staff chaperone the group flight to/from Washington D.C. to Liberia Airport, Costa Rica (LIR) and home from San Jose Airport (SJO). Once the group is confirmed, TFT will work with the group to select the best flight option for the group.
The flights at that time can be purchased via TFT for a $100 booking fee or booked by the families directly with the airline. Airfare payment is due at the time of booking.
Airfare is estimated at $600-$750 for a roundtrip ticket. TFT will work with families to pick the best flight path and get the best airfare.
Who can go on this trip?
This trip is open to a select group of students who had their minimester China trip canceled. Minimum 8 students are needed to confirm the group.
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 February 2020. All forms to be completed by parents and physicians 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 the last week of 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 $450 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.