•weShare is an online inquiry based educational tool that helps students connect to their travel experience before, during and after their tour
• weShare stands for “Students Having Authentic Research Experiences”
• weShare is easily accessible to all students – it uses cutting edge technology yet does not require any costly, special equipment
Using weShare – Getting Started (Project examples)
1. Measure your global awareness: Students take a quick survey to benchmark their global perspective before their tour experience
2. Find a project type that suits your strengths: Students explore the various project types: researcher, journalist, technologist, trailblazer, action taker, and collaborator. Students should also view the weShare rubric to understand the grading criteria for projects (projects receiving a grade of 70% or above will be eligible for awards like iPads and gift cards)
3. Explore resources on your destination and get helpful tips on how to create a great project: Destination discovery – learn about the destination they are traveling to – 21 topics that make up global competence from politics, to culture, to food, to fashion. Helpful resources to guide students on choosing a research question or defining a project focus based on their personal interest
4. Tell your Teacher and Classmate what you’re planning to investigate while you travel: Students select their project type and share their project focus and plan with their teacher and classmate
5. Go on tour: Students explore their research question or project focus by taking pictures, doing interviews, making observations and reflections and collecting data
6. Post Tour - submit your project: Students share their findings and present their conclusions. Their findings (data) can be in the form of student reflections, journal entries, photographs, summaries of interviews, graphs, charts etc . Students take another survey to measure growth from their experience
· Researcher: Research a topic you’re passionate about
· Journalist: Document your experience on tour with a photo montage, art diary, journal, or video
· Action Taker: Start an activism project to raise awareness or help change the world
· Technologist: Use technology to identify an issue or solve a problem
· Trailblazer: Make your own rules and tell us what kind of project you want to do
· Collaborator: Work with a group to create something together
• Pair of sturdy sandals or other shoes to wear once back at the hotel
• Shirts (short- and long-sleeved) No tank tops
• One Sweater
• Shorts/pants/jeans – at least 1 pair of long hiking pants or yoga pants, your rainforest walks can be cooler and rainy.
• Bathing suit
• Raincoat and/or light windbreaker jacket - again it will likely rain multiple times during the trip (you are in a rainforest!) Buy one or two from the dollar store.
• Towel – for beach. This may make a great souvenir purchase during your first few days??
• Spare set of contact lenses/glasses (if applicable)
• Bug repellent
Carry On Bag - EF Tours Backpack
• Passport (Photocopy would be good to bring; Mr Irwin will be carrying the Passports during the trip.)
• Money (American & Costa Rican)
• Toothbrush and toothpaste (remember, toothpaste needs to go in a one-quart Ziploc bag, and can't be bigger than 3 oz/100 mL)
• Contact lens case/glasses (if applicable)
• A change of clothes (in case luggage is delayed)
• Any valuables
• Travel Blanket
Tour ID: 1477231TJ
Phone Contact During Trip: 1-800-387-1460
DAY 1 - TUESDAY MARCH 18:
- Meet at LCHS at 5:30pm and travel to the Best Western Airport Inn Calgary ((403) 250-5015) www.bestwesternairportinncalgary.com
- Early evening
Day 2 - MARCH 19: (Air and San Jose Region)
- Bag Breakfast from the Best Western Airport Inn Calgary
- Check in at the airport at 4:30am
- American Airlines 1166 departs at 7:00am and arrives in Dallas at 11:45am
- American Airlines 986 departs Dallas at 4:40pm and arrives in San Jose at 7:30pm
- Meet your Tour Director at the airport
- Check into Hotel Autentico in San Jose (506-2222-5266) www.autenticohotel.com
Day 3 - MARCH 20: (Sarapiqui Region)
- Travel to the Sarapiquí region
- Visit INBioparque
- Visit Poás Volcano
- Check into Hotel Bambu in Sarapiqui (506-2766-6005) www.elbambu.com
- Travel to Guacimo to participate in 2 programs at Earth University
- Production Systems
- Banana Plantation
- Visit the Maleku Indigenous Reserve
- Take a canopy tour; Watch the Youtube video of the Tarzan Swing
- Visit La Fortuna Waterfall
- Visit hot springs
- Arenal Volcano
- Check into Hotel Vista Arenal Hotel (506-2479-1927) www.hotelvistaarenalcr.com
- Take a Crocodile Jungle Safari boat cruise
- Travel to San José
- Check into Hotel Autentico in San Jose (506-2222-5266) www.autenticohotel.com
Passport and visa requirements: To enter Costa Rica, Canadian visitors must have a passport valid for six months after your expected return date. No entry visas are required. Citizens of all other countries should contact their appropriate embassy to find out what specific documentation is required for them to visit Costa Rica. For a list of embassies, please visit travel.gc.ca. All travelers exiting Costa Rica are charged a departure tax and your Tour Director will give you money to cover this cost. If travellers are under the age of 18, each traveller will be asked to carry a notarized Parental Authorization Form, proving that the minor has the parent/guardian’s permission to enter Costa Rica. Specific information, including the form, will be provided to you and your travellers directly via email. No vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica.
Currency: Costa Rica’s currency is the Colon but you can use U.S. dollars in many of the areas you will visit. Visit xe.com for more currency information. We recommend bringing at least $50 US with you and once in Costa Rica withdrawing money from an ATM instead of using credit cards or traveller’s cheques. Not all shops will accept credit cards and if they do, the phone connections are slow which makes using credit cards time consuming and may cause delays in your group’s schedule. Traveller’s cheques are usually not accepted in Costa Rica. Using ATMs, which are available throughout Costa Rica, is most convenient. Also, inform your local bank about your travel plans prior to your departure and ensure that you debit card/credit card and pin number will work in Costa Rica.
Climate: The climate in Costa Rica is tropical with two seasons. The wet season begins in May and lasts through November. During the wet season it will rain every day and will be anywhere from a light rain to a downpour. The dry season begins in December and lasts through April, it is very hot. Temperatures remain fairly constant throughout the year but vary according to region. In Monteverde, the evenings will be cool so pack a sweater and long pants. Regardless of when you are travelling, during the day, sun is extremely strong and sunscreen is a must.
Packing: Due to the nature of the tour itineraries in Costa Rica, it is advisable to bring the following items: a light jacket or windbreaker, rain gear (poncho or jacket), comfortable walking shoes, a spare pair of athletic shoes that you do can get dirty and wet, water shoes, hat, sunscreen, a beach towel, insect repellent, cotton clothing that can be dirtied, binoculars, travel-size toilet paper, and a camera.
Phones and Internet: The ekit calling cards do not work in Costa Rica. Cell phone access in Costa Rica is very limited and dependent on the weather. There are internet cafes located throughout Costa Rica and some hotels might have internet available. Wireless internet is not common in Costa Rica and will not be available in most areas, so we recommend not bringing a laptop or tablet. If wireless internet is available it will be slow and unpredictable and there will be a charge for use.
Transportation: Almost every bus transfer on your Costa Rica tour will take between three to four hours, depending on road conditions and the weather. The country’s topography includes narrow, two lane highways, with many curves and steep hills. Those prone to motion sickness may consider bringing medication. The distance between destinations is normally much longer in actuality than it appears on a map due to limited highway and many unpaved roads - especially going to and from Monteverde.
Accommodations: While you are in Costa Rica you will stay in hotels and lodges which are simple, but clean and comfortable. Accommodations vary from large and modern hotels (San Jose) to small rustic lodges and bungalow-style hotels. Be aware that tropical conditions in Costa Rica make insects and other small animals (such as ants, mosquitoes, lizards, spiders, frogs) very prevalent and it is common to find these creatures inside your hotel room. Students under the age of 20 will share rooms with two or three other travelers of the same gender in North America-style hotel rooms, ie: two double beds per room, which they will share. If your group is matched up, students may share rooms with students in the tour group who are not from their own school. Adults will share twin rooms with other adults of the same gender. Adults may share rooms with adults in the tour group who are not from their own school. Groups may not all be roomed next to each other and may be on different floors or in different sections (cabinitas).
Local Food: Costa Rican food is flavorful but not spicy. In Costa Rica, you will enjoy a lot of rice, beans, chicken and pineapple. Other typical dishes include plantains, vegetables, beef, pork or fish and fresh fruit. Fresh fruit juices will often be served with meals in addition to water. Water is chlorinated throughout the country and safe to drink, however some people may choose to use bottled water, which is readily available for purchase. In Costa Rica all meals are included in your program price. Breakfast and dinners will always be served at your hotel.
Safety: Petty theft and pick pocketing incidents have been known to occur in areas frequented by tourists. As a precaution, we recommend that you refrain from carrying large amounts of cash or wearing jewelry and that you keep your valuables in your hotel room’s safe or at the safe at the front desk. Never leave your bags, cameras, backpacks or other belongings unattended. Always inform your Tour Director or another member of your group of any plans and be conscious of your surroundings, especially at night. Swimming in the ocean is strictly prohibited unless you are informed otherwise by your Tour Director. This is because although not evident, the under current in Costa Rica is extremely strong. Swimming conditions are closely monitored and only your Tour Director can advise you if the water conditions are safe enough for swimming. Generally, Manuel Antonio National park and the beach in Guanacaste are okay for swimming. Please be sure to read EF’s Safety Handbook before going on tour.
Public bathrooms: While public bathroom facilities are generally available in Costa Rica, it will often cost about 50 cents, or 250 colones, to use the facilities, which will include toilet paper from an attendant before you enter. We suggest carrying your own supply of toilet paper also.
Activities: Costa Rica tours involve some degree of physical fitness. Examples are the Canopy Tour (zip-lining), hiking through the rain forest and hiking to and from waterfalls and horseback riding.
Additional information: Some Costa Rica tour itineraries will visit a local school in the Monteverde region. You can bring school supplies such as pens, pencils, colouring materials and notebooks for the students if you wish. Please do not bring candy. You can also choose to donate money to the school. The students will perform traditional Costa Rican dances and interact with your group during the visit; the students will enjoy playing games and soccer with your group.
Tour Directors and Bus Drivers: You will have the same Tour Director during your entire tour and he or she will also act as your local guide throughout the tour. All Tour Directors are highly trained and specialized in the biology and eco-diversity of Costa Rica. You will typically have the same bus driver during the entire tour as well.
Tipping: It’s customary to tip your Tour Director and coach drivers as a token of appreciation at the end of your tour. We recommend collecting $5 per person per day for your tour director and $3 per person per day for your coach driver (including you and your chaperones). Collect this money from all of your travellers, including you and your chaperones, at your Departure Meeting. For Costa Rica, it is best to collect the tip money in US dollars. We suggest depositing the tip money into your bank account and withdrawing it at the end of the tour to present it to your Tour Director and bus driver in the tip envelopes provided by EF.
Optional Excursions: In addition to the optional excursions offered by EF prior to your tour, once you arrive, your Tour director may offer your group additional activities to enhance your tour. Please ask you Tour Manager for more details.
San Jose: Learn about biological diversity at INBioparque, a theme park and research station created by the National Institute of Biodiversity. Get up-close and personal with tarantulas, frogs, bees, butterflies and many more in the permanent exhibits, or walk through the four different ecosystem trails. See how many iguanas you can spot sunbathing near the lagoon. Continue along a scenic 22-mile drive overlooking the Central Valley as you make your way to the Poás Volcano. This still-active volcano is part of Costa Rica’s most developed national park. Here, you can see one of the largest craters in the world (about a mile wide and 300 meters deep), whose hot sulfurous lake changes color with volcanic activity. From a lookout point, see geysers and active fumaroles; in addition, a 20-minute hike uphill rewards you with a view of the jewel-like Botos Lake, which occupies an extinct crater.
Sarapiqui: Averaging over 13 feet of rain per year, La Selva Biological Station is the world’s most popular site for tropical rain forest research. Originally established in 1954 as a farm to improve natural resource management, La Selva became a biological reserve and research station in 1968, when it was purchased by the Organization for Tropical Studies. La Selva’s 1,600 hectares are home to over 400 bird species, as well as 114 species of animals and 44 types of frogs and toads. As you enjoy a nature walk here, be on the lookout for poison-dart frogs, green iguanas and giant tropical ants, among other interesting organisms. Based on the needs of the station’s projects when you visit, you will also take part in a planting, agricultural, or maintenance activity.
At EARTH University, participate in a rotation through various activities. See a recycling plant and witness how Tetra Paks are compressed and re-purposed as wallets, bags, and other accessories. You will also learn about renewable energy on a visit to a farm in one of 11 communities in the surrounding areas, and experience their commitment to sustainability. At EARTH University, walk through a banana plantation where you will learn many amazing facts about the fruit. Banana growing is labor intensive, delivers a relatively quick return on effort and investment, provides a weekly income year round, and the crop recovers quickly from hurricanes and other natural disasters. Learn about the crop, harvesting, processing, packing and exportation. Costa Rica is the second largest banana producer in the world.
Arenal: One of Costa Rica’s most spectacular waterfalls, La Fortuna is located within the thick jungle of the Arenal Rainforest. You’ll pass some impressive scenery and wildlife as you walk the 480 steps to the bottom of the waterfall. Then, prepare for the intense hike back up! On your canopy tour, see what it’s like for the birds and monkeys who call the cloud forest home. Zip lines unveil one of the planet’s most fascinating ecological systems from a unique perspective—the tops of the trees. With local expert guides at your side, you can decide which view you prefer—from below or from above!
At the Maleku Indigenous Reserve, meet community members and witness a dance and chant demonstration. See how the Maleku live and observe the benefits of the Light Up the World Project, an initiative to provide clean, bright LED lighting to indigenous people.
This area is one of the world’s major coffee producers. The coffee production in Costa Rica played a key role in the country's history and still is important for the Costa Rican economy. In 2006, coffee was Costa Rica's number three cash crop export. Hear about how a single Arabica Costa Rican coffee bean goes all the way from the plantation to your home where you savor the first sip of this rich, dark fabulous brew. In addition, throughout your tour learn about Costa Rica’s exports of exotic fruits such as pineapple, guava, and starfruit and the differences between their local and foreign uses.
Central Pacific Coast: Embark on an excursion along the shoreline to Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its lush jungle vegetation and white, sandy beaches. This beautiful 716-acre park is home to both the squirrel monkey and the two-toed sloth. Take a Crocodile Jungle Safari boat cruise and get up close to these enormous carnivores. Watch a skilled worker feed the crocodiles as you learn about their lifestyle, habitat, and how they are tagged and monitored by local scientists. Your captain will also point out numerous species of unique birds along the way.
Costa Rica is also considered a pioneer for ecotourism and in 2010 it was ranked third globally in the Environmental Performance
“The more freedom we enjoy, the greater the responsibility we bear, toward others as well as ourselves.”
– Oscar Arias
1-800-387-1460 | eftours.ca