Costa Rica is a true haven for wildlife and natural beauty. Over 25% of the country’s entire territory is made up of national parks or protected areas. This is one of the largest percentages of protected land area accounted for by a country in the world. It’s no surprise we’ve gotten increasing enquiries from clients in our US, UK and European markets for educational travel here orientated around environmental conservation.
And that’s precisely why Chi Ngo, our Discova Educational Travel (DET) Regional Project Team Leader, recently spent three weeks there. Her visit and our DET expansion to Costa Rica means:
Costa Rica’s wild nature is second to none, with animal-lover Chi being especially delighted by the ease at which one can see wildlife roaming freely in their natural habitat.
We currently offer educational tours that show off precisely this exceptional natural beauty in Costa Rica. In July we will host our first student groups (5 in total) visiting here, with itineraries being relatively similar and ranging from 2 to 3 weeks. An itinerary would look something like this:
Interspersed during this itinerary are often soft adventure experiences like kayaking, rafting and ziplining. We believe educational tours are often best enjoyed with a balance of service learning, meaningful cultural interaction and some leisure fun.
The average monthly income of families in this community is about 400USD/month, lower than average in Costa Rica. We established that one of the best ways our clients and visiting groups could support the progress and elevate the livelihoods of the people here was to focus on education. About 60-70% of children here continue on to high school education, and of those only about 2% go on to study at university. For most, university is simply too far away from their home (and therefore costly), and with the community’s main source of income being agriculture, children typically end up staying to support farm work and maintain the family business once they’ve completed high school.
It was the bigger objective for Chi’s trip here: identify a community we and visiting students could help, train the team here on precisely how to initiate the development project, and establish a concrete plan and steps moving forward.
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Costa Rica also has a very well-established tourism sector (one of its top three industries), largely based on nature exploration and conservation tours. With that comes the assurance of insightful, responsible travel experiences and excellent hospitality. Chi’s time in Costa Rica may have been short, but it gave her a strong, lasting impression of how warm and friendly its people are, and nature conservation at its highest level.
With her years of experience in our educational travel segment and leadership role in Asia, Chi’s visit here was especially important. Through her in-person guidance, our team in Costa Rica could better understand the steps involved in creating exceptional educational itineraries, the unique experiences to search for and incorporate, and how to best begin and plan a sustainable community project.
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