Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ridgefield Costa Rica 2015

June 25th --- Arrive and Travel to the Arenal Volcano (Manoa Hotel)

Today the Ridgefield kids will be welcomed by CRR staff as they exit the San Jose Airport in Costa Rica. The staff includes your naturalist, bilingual guides and drivers, all doing their part to make this Costa Rican Adventure an unforgettable experience.

We'll drive to the Arenal Volcano where we will arrive at the Manoa Hotel. Here we will have orientation and get the kids ready for the week.

Our focus will be learning about the culture and biodiversity of Costa Rica. We will also be taking a broader look at the topic of sustainability from a local level and onto a global scale. It's a week filled with learning, adventure, service, and fun. The students will return home enlightened by and exposed to the amazing wonders of the natural world. They will also participate in worthwhile, meaningful, fun service projects.

There is a Costa Rican expression--PURA VIDA! (pure life). It has many meanings. On a CRR trip we try to emphasize to the students the Pura Vida way of life and the four areas that we feel exemplify it.

1. Love of nature
2. Healthy living
3. Protection of the environment
4. Service to others to promote community

June 26th ----- Zipline & Organic Farm Tour (Manoa Hotel)

What better way to spend our first day in Costa Rica than flying through the rainforest canopy on a zipline. We
Arenal Volcano
will be zipping from mountain top to mountain top with views of the Arenal Volcano and Arenal Lake. 

After the zipline the kids will have the chance to buy some souvenirs in the town of La Fortuna and then we will spend our last activity having a hands-on experience with one of Costa Rica's best organic farmers, Don Juan! Here the kids will do everything on a farm you can imagine and have the best tasting meal of the trip after they harvest the crops themselves.

In the evening we will have some time to journal and reflect on our first full day in Costa Rica. 

June 27th ------------- Hike to Cavern (Sleep Behind Waterfall)

Welcome to Costa Rica!
We'll begin the day by driving four hours to the Southern Pacific where we will begin hiking to the cavern. This is one of the more unique experiences you will find anywhere with the opportunity to sleep behind three beautiful waterfalls. During the hike we will have our first immersion into the primary rainforest where the kids will learn from their naturalist guides about the different layers of the rainforest and its function as working as the planet's "lungs" giving nations far and near an opportunity to have clean air. Along with the rainforest we will stop at an organic garden where the kids will have the chance to learn about the many different fruits of the tropics along with the important topic of global warming and how small organic farming can help reverse the effect 
by making our soils healthy and trapping CO2. We call this "regenerative agriculture".

After the energizing hike ,we're all happy to arrive to the cavern and waterfalls and have lunch. After lunch we will gear up and get ready for a 120ft waterfall rappel down one of Costa Rica's most majestic waterfalls.

In the evening we will have dinner and a bonfire and enjoy a night of telling stories and playing games behind the waterfall. 

Cavern Adventure

June 28th ------------ Visit Upper Pools & Travel to Turrialba (Casa Turire Hotel)
Casa Turire Hotel (Hot Water!)

Today we will wake up behind the waterfall and enjoy a healthy breakfast before making another hike to some smaller nearby waterfalls and pools. This is a chance for the kids to have a wake-up swim and get a free massage from the waterfall as they play in the pools and jump off some rocks into the beautiful pristine pools of the nearby falls.

After that hike we will leave the cavern and meet up with the bus. The bus will drive us over one of Costa Rica's highest mountains at 10,000ft offering our guides the opportunity to tell the kids about tectonic plates and the change of different life zones as we make the climb and descent from Pacific to Caribbean. CRR makes learning fun and come to life.

Our final destination will be the beautiful Casa Turire Hotel located in the valley of Turrialba with views of the Turrialba Volcano.  The volcano is a nice touch to the topic of tectonic plates. We will have this small boutique hotel to ourselves. The hot shower and comfy bed will feel great after sleeping behind the waterfall last night. 

June 29th ---------- Travel to Homestays (Sitio de Mata Homestays)

Homestay Sitio de Mata

One of the finest parts of the trip is our Sitio de Mata Homestay Project. After a relaxing morning we'll drive to the village of Sitio de Mata. The kids will have their crash course of Spanish and we will arrive to the homestays where all the moms will be waiting for us.

There is so much to be learned from this two day visit but the most important will be just how happy and pleasant the homestay families are. They might not have all the modern luxuries of life but they are surrounded by beautiful nature, have a healthy diet,  very strong community and family ties, and a solid recipe for being very happy.

Each student will be meet their homestay family and the fun will begin as we have many different activities planned for the two days.

July 30th ----- Community Service Projects & Homestay Activities (Sitio de MataHomestays)

Today is a full day of activities in and around the village. Everything is in walking distance and each house is literally only 20ft away making for a very tight knit community and easy access for the kids to visit other homes.

We'll be doing many activities such as cooking classes, dance classes, community service project and an unforgettable evening fiesta. 

July 31st --------- Rafting Pacuare River  (Pacuare Ecolodge)

Today we will say good-bye to our new friends and it usually takes a few hours and some tears before we get the Ridgefield kids on to the river rafting adventure.

Pacuare Ecolodge
Next stop, the Pacuare River, voted by National Geographic as one of the top five most scenic rivers on the planet. This is an amazing two day adventure, spending  the night at the beautiful PacuareEcolodge which happens to be the private river lodge of CRR. Here we will have games, amazing food, and a chance to spend another night in the jungle. 

Pacuare Ecolodge Campfir

Thursday, July 2nd --- Raft Pacuare Canyone and Travel to El Studio Hotel (El Studio)
Hola Ridgefield Welcome to Costa Rica

The day will start by rafting through the tropical rainforest and one of the most scenic areas of Costa Rica. We will pass by canyon walls that rise 300ft and pristine 200ft waterfalls that fall into the river.

After we take out of the river we will drive to San Jose for our final night. In route we'll stop by the Hogar Sembra Orphanage. This is an orphanage that the Roth Family and Ridgefield have developed a working relationship over the years. The visit is a chance for the Ridgefield kids to interact with the local kids, exchange gifts, play games and make unforgettable memories for all.

We will then make the short drive to the final hotel, El Studio, where the kids will have time to play in the pool and swim off the long day of travel. We will then have dinner and a farewell fiesta. 

Friday, July 3 --------------- Drive to San Jose Airport & Fly Home!

Today we will make the drive to the San Jose Airport where we will send your kids home with a better understanding of what Costa Rica and "Pura Vida" is all about! 

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