Birmingham PS – Costa Rica
February 16, 2020 – February 24, 2020
$2,350 (*airfare not included)
This trip is intended for High School students from Birmingham Public Schools. Students will spend the week working with the children and families of the hillside village of Providencia de Dota. This tranquil town lies in the middle of the cloud forest in the heart of the tropical coffee-producing region of the country. Its residents are some of the most fun-loving, warm, and welcoming people on Earth. Come help them strengthen their sustainability practices with projects including organic coffee farming, permaculture and a local recycling program.
The cost of the trip covers virtually all in-country experiences, including:
- Housing and meals
- Excursions and cultural activities
- Service project materials and coordination
- Daily transportation
- Airport pickup and drop-off
- Dedicated group leader and experienced local guides
- 24-hour emergency contact
The fee does not cover airfare, visa expenses, or immunizations (if necessary). With the exception of meals during your free time on the arrival and departure days and any shopping you do, all trip costs are covered from the minute you arrive until the minute you return.
Housing & Meals
Dream Volunteers uses family home stays in Providencia. The home stays are arranged with families who have many years of experience hosting intenrational volunteers. They have been through a vetting process that involves health and safety inspections as well as training. Volunteers receive 3 meals daily (vegetarian and vegan meals are accommodated as well), lodging in a private room, a hot shower and purified water.
Living with a host family enables students to participate in family social events, and gives volunteers a unique glimpse into the authentic lifestyle and culture of rural Costa Rica. Although it helps, Spanish is not a requirement on this trip. The families are very used to creative communication with their English-speaking guests
Costa Rica Service TripSample Itinerary
- Day 1: Arrive San Jose Airport. Shuttle to Providencia. Orientation.
- Day 2: Morning: Service Projects. Afternoon: Group Picnic & Games with Host Families
- Day 3: Morning: Service Projects. Afternoon: Group Hike to a Local Waterfall.
- Day 4: Morning: Service Projects. Afternoon: Cooking Lessons.
- Day 5: Morning: Service Projects. Afternoon: Service Projects & Group Discussion.
- Day 6: Morning: Service Projects. Afternoon: Soccer Match with Locals.
- Day 7: Morning: Zipline & Rope Swing at Community Adventure Park. Afternoon: Farewell Activities.
- Day 8: Morning: Depart for Dominical Beach. Afternoon: Visit Manuel Antonio National Park.
- Day 9: Morning: Surf Lessons. Afternoon: Shuttle to San Jose.
- Day 10: Morning: Free Time at the Hotel Pool until Departure.
Preparing to Travel to Costa Rica
We are here to help you every step of the way.
Booking Your Flight
Dream Volunteers will coordinate charter flight arrangements for the group on a major commercial airline so that the group may all travel together and to ensure that participants receive the most competitive pricing. Registered trip participants will purchase their tickets individually and will receive more information once registered.
Lying so close to the equator, Costa Rica enjoys a tropical climate year-round.with temperatures in the 70s and 80s (F). Typically May-October is the rainy or wet season and November-March the dry season, however regions will vary according to elevation and other environmental factors — the Pacific coastline tends to be dryer and warm, the cloud forests almost always wet. Everywhere is quite humid.
San Jose, capital city, is at slight elevation and enjoys among the most consistent and temperate conditions year round, while Providencia is subject to big swings throughout the day with cool mornings, warm days, and breezy evenings. It is important toring layers and — during the wet months — be prepared to get wet!
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following immunizations for travelers to Costa Rica.
- Up-to-date boosters for routine vaccinations
(measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc.)
- Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow Fever*
Zika has been reported in Costa Rica and the CDC recommends travelers to Costa Rica exercise rigrorous prevention against mosquito bites..The mosquitoes that spread Zika usually do not live at elevations above 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) and travelers whose itineraries are limited to those regions are at less risk of getting Zika from a mosquito (that would include the mountainous area of Dota where most of our service projects are located, though not the beaches).
Many of the vaccinations should be started four to eight weeks in advance so please check with your healthcare provider or Travel Medicine clinic. Please refer to the CDC website or your doctor for more information on necessary vaccinations and insect repellents.
*There is no risk of yellow fever in Costa Rica. The government of Costa Rica requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (not the US).
What to Bring
It is typically warm, but quite rainy in the Spring and Summer in Providencia. Expect to get wet and muddy. Pack light clothing with layers and rain gear as the evenings and early mornings are cool, midmorning work hours are warm, and the afternoons are often rainy. While you’re working, plan to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, stained, or damaged. Also, wear very sturdy shoes or boots due to the mud and uneven terrain. Sandals are fine during free time but not during work time.
Below are some other suggested items to bring along.
- Light clothing with layers
- Shorts, jeans, tshirts, sweatshirts
- Rain protection (jacket, boots, umbrella)
- Sturdy shoes for mud and uneven terrain
- Work gloves
- Spanish/English dictionary
- insect repellant (very important)
- Sunscreen, hat & sunglasses
- Ear plugs (if you’re a light sleeper)
- Beach towel & bathing suit
- Over the counter medicine (aspirin, ibuprofen, Pepto Bismol, Imodium AD, band-aids) !
- Snacks (granola bars, trail mix, etc.)
- Journal/notebook !
- Spending money
Spending Money: Nearly all of your in-country costs are covered on this trip, but there are a few things that you are responsible for : extra snacks and drinks, souvenirs and gifts, social spending at the beach, airport exit tax ($29) and lunch on the way to San Jose from the beach will all be up to you. We recommend approximately $200, depending on your shopping and spending habits.
Donations and Gifts
Participants often ask what they can bring with them to support the communities they are serving.
Here are some ideas about how you can contribute.
- The villages of Vuelta Grande and El Hato suffer under crushing poverty. They are in need of donations of new children’s clothing, shoes, jackets, and school supplies. We would love for you to make an effort to collect these items and bring them with you if you have the space in your suitcase.
- Monetary donations are most helpful. If each of us could raise at least $100, we would be able to send 2-3 teens to school for an entire year, as well as improve the physical structure of the local elementary school.
Due to the humanitarian nature of this trip, you may find creative ways to ask friends, relatives, colleagues, teachers, store owners, etc. for monetary and in–kind donations. We can provide you with two documents, which may aid you in your efforts:
1. In-Kind & Monetary Donations Letter for Store Managers/Owners
2. In-Kind & Monetary Donations Letter for Friends, Relatives, Teachers
All tax-deductible checks can be made payable to our 501(c)(3)non-profit, Dream Volunteers, and mailed to our headquarters: Dream Volunteers, 2221 Broadway Street, Redwood City, CA 94063.
There are many ways to fund your trip and we encourage you to think creatively. Given the nature of your service trip, others may be interested in supporting or sponsoring you or contributing to the cause.