A Community Service Volunteer Project in Costa Rica
For SUNY PLATTSBURGH Students
and Non-Matriculating Students

January 5 to 15, 2016

SOLD OUT – New Reservations On Request

Costa Rica Tour

Be part of SUNY Plattsburgh students to experience the beauty and spirituality of this natural wonderland that includes a course promoting an understanding of the beliefs, values, environment and lifeways of people. Plus the variety of meanings these terms carry for members of differing Sociocultural populations!

Costa Rica offers you one of the world’s greatest collections of rain forests, wild rivers, historic culture, mountains and volcanoes. With its unique combination of beauty and spirituality, it’s the ultimate refreshment for your body, mind and soul.

Enjoy this unique “Study Abroad with a Reward!”

How much better would it be if you could visit a great destination, do sightseeing, enjoy local cuisine and a unique atmosphere with an opportunity to “give back” while taking a SUNY Plattsburgh accredited course?

This trip combines traditional touring with participation in a volunteering program that assists children and their families who live in poverty in Costa Rica.

Course Objectives

  1. Explore the meanings of culture, environment and socialization and their contribution to health beliefs and practices in rural and urban populations in selected world regions.
  2. Discuss health equity from an ethical perspective that supports a socially just system of care.
  3. Examine the demographic and economic diversity within health, illness and disability in contemporary global society.
  4. Discuss impact of students own ethnocultural heritage and socialization on their understanding of world health.
  5. Analyze selected aspects of health and the health care delivery system in relationship to the lifeways of selected sociocultural groups.
  6. Compare and contrast the perceptions and meanings of health, disability and illness among diverse people.
  7. Relate how World Health organizations can contribute to interventions that aim to diminish and correct disparity in the health care system

ITINERARY

Day 1 – January 5: To San Jose (D)
Depart from Newark for Costa Rica. After Immigration and Customs, transfer to reserved accommodations where you will have a bit of time to relax and have lunch on our own before we have a short afternoon tour of San Jose to explore this wonderful city founded in 1737, San José was a forgotten backwater of the Spanish empire until the late 19th century, when it boomed with the coffee business. The tour begins on the east side of San Jose. Here, we will be able to see the capital’s main attractions: Democracy Place, the National Museum, the Courts, Los Yoses, San Pedro Mall, Hispanidad Fountain, and to check out the extensive and impressive collection of indigenous art and craftworks on offer at Galería Namu. After dinner we will meet with Gail Nystrom for discussion on the Volunteer Project at La Carpio called “Carpio Clean … Carpio Green … Carpio Healthy … Carpio Happy.” La Carpio is a shantytown of 34,000 residents that sits between a trash dump and the Tobias Bolaños International Airport northwest of San José, where a splash of paint, a small toy and something green can go a long way. La Carpio is one of the poorest areas of Costa Rica, inhabited largely by Ticos from other parts of Costa Rica and Nicaraguans who fled a bloody revolution in their home country, and later, a collapse of their economy, began settling in La Carpio in the 1980s. So here on your Costa Rica journeys, you will truly have an opportunity to “give back” and make La Carpio a better place.

Day 2 – January 6: In San Jose- Volunteer Program (B/L/D)
After breakfast it’s off to La Carpio. Upon arrival, we will start our “Carpio Clean.” Painting the front of houses. Picking up trash and promoting recycling through talking with people and showing how to sort trash. It will be an opportunity to show how pleasant it is to have something to look at that’s not trash, not gray dirt, but clean. Working with the local youth of the community through the painting of a mural with this theme. An example is a mural painted over a flap of corrugated tin shows a tree reaching into a night sky. Lunch (Box lunch will be prepared at the hotel & taken with you on your way to La Carpiuo). After lunch, continue today’s volunteer program. Pick-up at La Carpio back to hotel to relax and some R & R. Dinner at our hotel.

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Day 3 – January 7: In San Jose- Volunteer Program (B/L/D)
One more time to La Carpio for Volunteer program for “Carpio Healthy and Happy.” We start by pairing up with local children and youth of the community as they create their own “Dream Mat” program, which will be an opportunity to teach the children the value of dreaming: how important it is to have dreams, to wish for things, to have goals in our their hearts as they put their names on cloth (in Spanish of course). Each child will leave with two mats as a decoration that they can hang in their homes. So, bring your loving and creative self and give these children an experience that can affect them very positively for years to come. This will be followed by passing out the hygiene kits you have put together and as they are given to the children, you will be interacting with them to practice hand washing, hair care, nail care. Local lunch at Carpio, followed by a local handicrafts program and exhibit (also for purchasing items). Depart Carpio back to the hotel in the afternoon for some “R & R” by the pool. Meet for dinner.

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Day 4 – January 8: To Arenal (B/L/D)
After breakfast, depart for Arenal, and a day to discover nature from the tree tops. Arenal Hanging Bridges is where nature lovers from all around the world come visit this unique attraction. It has a 2 mile trail through the rainforest that allows you to take in nature’s beauty in a most pristine way. With 15 bridges from 15 to 30 feet long, and one of them located at a height of about 100 feet, you will get a 360° view of the tropical rainforest. And if the weather is on your side, you’ll see the most amazing views of Arenal volcano. All the hanging bridges are made of aluminum, galvanized steel and concrete, following the most strict safety margins in the world to ensure visitors safety. Likewise, the trail is built using paving blocks to prevent slipping. And of course, a naturalist will guide you throughout your hike, not only informing you about the surrounding wildlife and flora, but also to assist if needed And the best way to end this amazing day is at Eco Termales Hot Springs, where you can relax and treat your body to its naturally replenishing effects. After taking you swim in the soothing hot springs, we return to our rooms and end the day dining in the authentic, home-style Costa Rican restaurant. Overnight in Arenal.

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Day 5 – January 9: In Arenal (B)
Known worldwide for its near perfect cone shape, the Arenal volcano has become a must-see destination when coming to Costa Rica. Its volcanic activity and surrounding natural beauty will make this a most exciting day. Ever since the 1500s, locals considered Arenal to be a mountain. However, everything changed on the morning of July 29, 1968, when the supposed mountain suddenly erupted. The eruptions continued. non-stop for several days, covering more than 40 square miles with lava, rocks and ash, From that time until 2010, Arenal volcano was quite active, often spewing out rocks, lava, ash and smoke. We begin our tour on one of the closest trails around the Arenal volcano. This will allow us to see close-up the area that was destroyed in the 1968 eruption which is now regenerated. The hike around the National Park will last about 2 ½ hours. We return to our hotel where we have the rest of the afternoon at leisure and for lunch and dinner on our own. Overnight in Arenal.

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Day 6 – January 10: To Arenal (B/L)
Today we partake in a Volunteer program in Finca Don Juan, a farm located at the foot of Volcán Arenal. This farm has a strategic system that incorporates the natural ecosystem of the region with agriculture. More than 50 different crops are cultivated manually with organic techniques. And to get a “local-feel” of Costa Rica, you are going to work with dairy cows, hens, and tilapia that are used as sources of food, fertilizer, and methane gas production. Then in the farm’s kitchen proudly you are going help prepare a traditional Costa Rican Lunch with produce from the farm, ending your tour in a special way that most tourists do not experience. Dinner on your own, Overnight in Arenal.

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Day 7 – January 11: To Manuel Antonio (B/D)
After breakfast we continue to the Middle Pacific Coast and the Manuel Antonio Area. Here we’ll find a beach destination that offers the opportunity to continue interact with Mother Nature while enjoying an immense variety of things to do and places to visit, all in a single day that will highlight this blessed land in a lush tropical place. We’ll take an amazing walk into Carara National Park. In comparison with a majority of Costa Rica’s National Parks, it’s relatively small;. However, its ecological importance is immense due to its location in the transition area between the tropical dry forest and the tropical rainforest. Because of these particular characteristics, we will be able to enjoy one of the largest wild populations of scarlet macaws (Ara macao) that remain. Also, the Río Grande de Tárcoles borders the park which helps provide the perfect habitat for a great variety of animals and birds. If you have any interest in bird-watching,[ or even if you are not into bird-watching], you will have an experience of your life here, as Carara is considered one of the best spots to watch tropical birds in the entire country. Lunch on your own. Overnight and dinner in Manuel Antonio.

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Day 8 – January 12: In Manuel Antonio (B/L)
Experience a unique piece of Costa Rican rural heritage on this tour as you partake in a scenic country excursion to the Santa Juana Mountain Adventure that is located only an hour from Quepos. This guided nature adventure and cultural expedition takes us along lush, jungle-shrouded slopes of the nearby Fila Chonta Mountain range to the farm village of Santa Juana de Tarrazu. Enjoy as we explore a user-friendly nature e trail where our guide will share their knowledge of this pristine mountain sanctuary of flora and fauna. Our guided journey will traverse leisurely down past a myriad of rushing jungle mountain streams to the River Rodeo where we will be able to swim beneath the mesmerizing and pristine waterfalls that feed these rivers on their journey to the coastline of Manuel Antonio. We will visit the tiny farm village of Santa Juana, that overlooks the panoramic jungle landscape and coastline of the Central Pacific, while enjoying an authentic Campesino lunch in a typical farm house, prepared with local ingredients and traditional family recipes. After lunch we depart for the small town of Quepos (about 10 minutes away) to continuing our Volunteer program. Breakfast and Lunch included today with dinner on your own. Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

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Day 9 – January 13: In Manuel Antonio (B)
After breakfast we will join an expedition to one of the most beautiful national parks in Costa Rica. As we ourselves in the regions tropical rain forest, where our guide will take us on an informative 1 ½ hour walk. After our walk we can enjoy a swim at one of the most gorgeous beaches backed by forests and rocky headlands and have the rest of the afternoon and evening on our own. Breakfast only, so you are free to experience lunch and dinner on your own.

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Day 10 – January 14: To Guacalillo and  San Jose (B/D)
After breakfast we board our coach for the ride back to San Jose. Along the way, we will stop in Guacalillo Town to participate in a recycling project. After checking in at our hotel, we will have the rest of the afternoon to relax at the hotel before we have our farewell dinner.

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Day 11– January 15: To New York (B)
Breakfast on own time, meet in lobby for an early afternoon transfer to Airport for our flight back to New York. On the way, we will stop at the Sr and Sra Eses shop and factory for a short tour and some shopping.

OUR HOTELS

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IN SAN JOSE:
The 325 room Best Western Irazu is located only 10 minutes from Downtown San Jose. “The prestige of a great name and the experience of a hotel… to those who deserve nothing less than the very best” is the promise of quality, friendly service and value in lodging accommodations to all its visitors. All air-conditioned rooms offer a 25″ color TV, in-room ironing board, hair dryer and full-length mirror. Guests can enjoy complimentary coffee served 24-hours a day in the lobby. Happy Hour from 5 pm to 6 pm at the “La Cantina Bar,” free local calls and Internet access. The hotels facilities include: Denny’s Restaurant, La Cantina Bar, Pizza Hut, and Burger King “touch button” for delivery service, lit tennis courts, outdoor swimming pool, laundry service, room service, exercise room, landscaped gardens. A shopping center is located next door to the hotel with souvenir shops, bank, grocery store, pharmacy and much more. All this and more from the most comfortable atmosphere of the happiest and entertaining hotel in San Jose.
IN ARENAL:
The Arenal Paraiso Hotel has a unique charm, combined with the Paradise of the majestic Arenal Volcano and the northern plains of Costa Rica. The  rooms are surrounded by natural scenic beauty that will take you to a place of complete relaxation and comfort and connect you to the natural world around you. They  offer first class service, where there will be no need to even leave your room.  All offer volcano views, 2 restaurants, 13 hot spring pools, 1 fresh water pool, the Mayin Spa, and for the more adventurous; our zipline circuit with 12 platforms and 11 cables above the river canyon with incredible panoramic views, and  our horseback ride through mountains, trails, and to the observation deck of Lake Arenal at the base of the Arenal Volcano, which are the perfect compliments to make the most of your stay at the Hotel.
IN MANUEL ANTONIO:
The Cabinas Playa Espadille hotel is right near the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park and offers 16 comfortable rooms equipped with the best amenities for your enjoyment. The swimming pool is located next to wonderful terraces and beautiful gardens. The restaurant offers a Costa Rican and international premium menu in an atmosphere of exclusivity and tranquility unmatched in Playa Manuel Antonio This boutique hotel is surrounded by the lush beauty of our National Wildlife Refuge making it a special place to stay.

Tour will include:

  • Roundtrip air transportation from New York to San Jose
  • 10 Nights accommodations in San Jose (3), Arenal (3), Manuel Antonio (3) & San Jose (1)
  • Breakfast throughout
  • 5 lunches (including at Volunteer programs and sightseeing tours) as per itinerary
  • 6 Dinners as per itinerary
  • Local transportation throughout
  • Afternoon brief walking sightseeing tour of San Jose
  • Additional Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, wait-staff, etc.
  • $100 Non-refundable application Fee
  • $771 for 3 Credits of in-state winter tuition
  • $64 SUNY Plattsburgh fees for the 3 credits tuition
  • $44 Mandatory HTH Worldwide insurance
  • $300 Miscellaneous personal expenses for estimated additional meals, etc
  • $2,284 program fee

Not included in the above are:

  • Any beverages including mineral water, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks etc. unless otherwise specified
  • Any items of a personal nature such as baggage handling at hotels or airports
  • Any changes in the program due to conditions beyond our control

Price Per Person (includes prepaid gratuities for guides & escorts):

$3,563 in Double room
$3,463 in Triple room
$4,162 in Single room

FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS CONTACT:
SUNY Plattsburgh
Global Education, Kehoe Building
518-564-3287
geo@plattsburgh.edu

Please read our RMC Travel Terms and Conditions.

SOLD OUT – New Reservations On Request

register online only

Travel Insurance
RMC highly recommends the purchase of Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance, and we therefore provide you with an easy way to contact RMC’s preferred insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance. If you need additional information or have questions, please call Allianz directly at 1-800-284-8300, and refer to code F025323.