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COSTA RICA

Costa Rica: Spanish Language in Nature's Playground

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Road Scholar
Program #16394RJ
10 Days | 9 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
San José 3,021 ft. Arenal 3,281ft - 5,435 ft.

Itinerary for Mar 4 — Mar 13, 2015

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: This charming hotel has 30 cozy rooms built around a tropical, peaceful indoor courtyard. Tico culture and their world-famous hospitality can be seen and felt at the Boutique Jade, from its warm and inviting rooms to its friendly staff.

Contact info:
250 mts. North of Autos Subarú, Barrio Dent Los Yoses, San Pedro,
San José, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-22242455
web: www.hotelboutiquejade.com/

Room amenities: Air-conditioning, wireless Internet, mini-bar, safety deposit box, hair dryer, cable TV, spacious bathrooms, desk, and telephone.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, currency exchange, wireless Internet, meeting rooms, laundry service, coffee station, room service, swimming pool, and private transportation services.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Additional nights are subject to availability.


Day One: Wednesday, March 04 - Arrive to San José.
Arrive To: Arrive in San José's Juan Santamaria International Airport.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. Please use the exit door on the right. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights).

Transfer to the hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3PM.

Lodging: Hotel Boutique Jade

Type: Hotel

Description: This charming hotel has 30 cozy rooms built around a tropical, peaceful indoor courtyard. Tico culture and their world-famous hospitality can be seen and felt at the Boutique Jade, from its warm and inviting rooms to its friendly staff.

Contact info:
250 mts. North of Autos Subarú, Barrio Dent Los Yoses, San Pedro,
San José, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-22242455
web: www.hotelboutiquejade.com/

Room amenities: Air-conditioning, wireless Internet, mini-bar, safety deposit box, hair dryer, cable TV, spacious bathrooms, desk, and telephone.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, currency exchange, wireless Internet, meeting rooms, laundry service, coffee station, room service, swimming pool, and private transportation services.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Additional nights are subject to availability.


Day Two: Thursday, March 05 - San José - Introduction to the Costa Rican ...
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Overview and orientation to the program.

Meet your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Walk to the Costa Rican Language Academy (CRLA).

The CRLA is a privately owned language school with over 19 years of experience teaching Spanish to students from around the globe. The language academy has 35 classrooms, 2 computer rooms with internet access, 2 classrooms for Latin dance classes, a kitchen for cooking classes, a cafeteria, terraces, and gardens with sitting areas. The teaching staff at CRLA is accredited with the Costa Rican Department of Education and all hold degrees either from the University of Costa Rica or the Universidad Nacional.

Begin your first language sessions.


Lunch: Lunch at the CRLA.

Afternoon: Continue with Spanish classes.

Costa Rican cooking class.

Walk back to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Boutique Jade

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: This charming hotel has 30 cozy rooms built around a tropical, peaceful indoor courtyard. Tico culture and their world-famous hospitality can be seen and felt at the Boutique Jade, from its warm and inviting rooms to its friendly staff.

Contact info:
250 mts. North of Autos Subarú, Barrio Dent Los Yoses, San Pedro,
San José, 00000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-22242455
web: www.hotelboutiquejade.com/

Room amenities: Air-conditioning, wireless Internet, mini-bar, safety deposit box, hair dryer, cable TV, spacious bathrooms, desk, and telephone.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, currency exchange, wireless Internet, meeting rooms, laundry service, coffee station, room service, swimming pool, and private transportation services.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: Subject to availability.
Additional nights are subject to availability.


Day Three: Friday, March 06 - San José - Spanish Language Instruction/Gold...
Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Walk to the CRLA for morning language classes.

Lunch: Lunch at the CRLA.

Afternoon: Continue with Spanish language lessons.
Field trip to the Gold Museum. 
This unique underground museum showcases a collection of Pre-Colombian gold. The 2,000-piece collection weighs over 20,000 troy ounces, making this one of the wealthiest spots in the nation! Stamp collectors should consider the on-site philatelic museum, while those with an interest in ancient coins should venture into the adjoining numismatic museum.



Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.

Lodging: Hotel Boutique Jade

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Arenal Paraiso Hotel is located just a few minutes from La Fortuna town and near the Arenal Volcano National Park. Accommodations are provided in small casitas--all with views of the famous volcano. Landscaped grounds feature lush tropical vegetation that provides both privacy and visual interest.

Contact info:
From the Catholic Church in town of La Fortuna 7 km road to the volcano
Arenal, 000000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-24791100
web: www.arenalparaiso.com

Room amenities: Hair dryer, mini refrigerator, porch, cable TV, safety deposit box, coffee maker, and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, 3 pools, bar, zip line, conference room, laundry services, and spa.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Saturday, March 07 - Arenal - Spanish Lessons/Introduction to the...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Walk to CRLA for morning language classes.


Lunch: Lunch at the CRLA.

Afternoon: Depart for La Fortuna/Arenal.

The community of La Fortuna, in the province of Alajuela, is nearest to the Arenal Volcano. La Fortuna offers the perfect vantage point from which to admire Arenal's perfect cone. The fertile soil in this area produces a variety of crops for local consumption and for export, which are an important source of income for the community. Although increased revenue from tourism has led to improvements in la Fortuna's infrastructure and the emergence of hotels, it has managed to retain its local flavor and overall small town feel.

Late afternoon arrival at the hotel and check-in.
Lecture: The Many Moods of the Arenal Volcano.

Arenal was once Costa Rica's most active volcano and a main draw to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano National Park. The volcano lords over the countryside with its perfectly conical shape and occasional smoke and gas emissions. While minor activity excites visitors, they are rarely acknowledged by the locals who have learnt to accept the antics of the volcano as part of their daily lives. The thermal waters emanating from the volcano, the clean air and the energy associated with Arenal, makes this a favorite destination for health spa enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Arenal Paraiso Hotel is located just a few minutes from La Fortuna town and near the Arenal Volcano National Park. Accommodations are provided in small casitas--all with views of the famous volcano. Landscaped grounds feature lush tropical vegetation that provides both privacy and visual interest.

Contact info:
From the Catholic Church in town of La Fortuna 7 km road to the volcano
Arenal, 000000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-24791100
web: www.arenalparaiso.com

Room amenities: Hair dryer, mini refrigerator, porch, cable TV, safety deposit box, coffee maker, and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, 3 pools, bar, zip line, conference room, laundry services, and spa.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Sunday, March 08 - Arenal - Spanish Lessons/Independent Explora...
Arenal -
Spanish Lessons/Independent Exploration of La Fortuna/Dining with locals.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Morning Spanish classes at the hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at hotel

Afternoon: Enjoy some free time to rest before your afternoon activities or enjoy the hot springs at your hotel. Depart for the town of La Fortuna to visit with some of the local families at their home.


Dinner: Dinner at the home of local families.

Lodging: Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The Arenal Paraiso Hotel is located just a few minutes from La Fortuna town and near the Arenal Volcano National Park. Accommodations are provided in small casitas--all with views of the famous volcano. Landscaped grounds feature lush tropical vegetation that provides both privacy and visual interest.

Contact info:
From the Catholic Church in town of La Fortuna 7 km road to the volcano
Arenal, 000000 Costa Rica
phone: +506-24791100
web: www.arenalparaiso.com

Room amenities: Hair dryer, mini refrigerator, porch, cable TV, safety deposit box, coffee maker, and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, 3 pools, bar, zip line, conference room, laundry services, and spa.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Monday, March 09 - Arenal - Spanish Classes/Views of Arenal Vol...
Arenal -
Spanish Classes/Views of Arenal Volcano/Optional Dining in La Fortuna.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Full morning of Spanish classes at the hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: This afternoon visit Arenal Observatory Lodge for a close-up view of the volcano. The lodge has facilitated a small research center that plays an important role in obtaining data about the volcano in an effort to predict its potential for activity. The gardens of the lodge are alive with butterflies and hummingbirds .

Return to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner on your own.

Transportation will be provided for those who wish to select a restaurant in the town of La Fortuna to satisfy a more adventurous palate. Teachers will be available to accompany participants. Tranport will be available to return participants to the hotel.

Lodging: Arenal Paraiso Hotel Resort & Spa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Lodge

Description: Built as a 15th century Pre-Columbian village and due to its outstanding concept in ecotourism and cultural indigenous conservation, the hotel received an international attention for being a model in tourism. Furnished with exquisite decor, antiques, garden fresh flowers, and an overall Hispanic Colonial and Indigenous atmosphere. Guests enjoy a total experience at this ecolodge featuring a rainforest reserve, museum, botanical garden, archaeological park, library, and an education center.

Contact info:
La Virgen de Sarapiqui
Sarapiquí, Heredia, Costa Rica
phone: +50627611004
web: http://www.sarapiquis.org/frameset.htm

Room amenities: Private bathroom, ceiling fans, in room safe, porch.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, pool, travel desk, meeting rooms, gift shop, laundry services, forest trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Seven: Tuesday, March 10 - Sarapiqui - Spanish Classes/Transfer to Sar...
Sarapiqui -
Spanish Classes/Transfer to Sarapiqui/Independent Time/Pre-dinner Chat on the Patio.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Morning Spanish lessons at the hotel.


Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: After lunch, drive to Sarapiqui (approx. 2.5 hours), in the country's Caribbean lowlands.

Sarapiqui is an area known for its natural beauty and biological diversity, nestled in the lush Caribbean lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica. Nature reserves such as those at La Selva Biological Station, Braulio Carrillo, Tirimbina, and Selva Verde have greatly contributed to the preservation of the region's rich plant and animal life by safeguarding large tracts of primary forest.

Arrive at the lodge and check-in.

Orientation to Selva Verde with a brief history of the lodge.

Time at leisure to enjoy the pool, explore the lodge's gardens or relax in your hammock, surrounded by the sounds of the rainforest.

Celebrate the end of a busy day with a get-together on the lodge's patio with your CRLA instructors. Enjoy some casual conversation in Spanish before heading to dinner.

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Lodging: Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Built as a 15th century Pre-Columbian village and due to its outstanding concept in ecotourism and cultural indigenous conservation, the hotel received an international attention for being a model in tourism. Furnished with exquisite decor, antiques, garden fresh flowers, and an overall Hispanic Colonial and Indigenous atmosphere. Guests enjoy a total experience at this ecolodge featuring a rainforest reserve, museum, botanical garden, archaeological park, library, and an education center.

Contact info:
La Virgen de Sarapiqui
Sarapiquí, Heredia, Costa Rica
phone: +50627611004
web: http://www.sarapiquis.org/frameset.htm

Room amenities: Private bathroom, ceiling fans, in room safe, porch.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, pool, travel desk, meeting rooms, gift shop, laundry services, forest trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Eight: Wednesday, March 11 - Sarapiqui - Optional Birding/Spanish Lesson...
Sarapiqui -
Optional Birding/Spanish Lessons/Tirimbina Chocolate Tour/Biological Corridor Project/Pre-dinner Chat on the Patio/Karaoke...in Spanish!


Breakfast: Optional birdwatching around the lodge.

Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Full morning of Spanish classes at the lodge.

Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.

Afternoon: Field trip to Tirimbina Rainforest Center to learn about traditional methods for cultivating and harvesting cacao and the process of turning it into chocolate. The 2.5 hour tour will include a site lecture on the pre- and post-colonial history of chocolate.

Tirimbina is a nature center located in the La Tirimbina community, in the northeastern lowlands of Costa Rica. Their primary mission is to provide environmental education and promote research opportunities that will eventually lead to conservation. The organization works closely with schools in the region (4th and 6th grades), offering inquiry-based learning activities that help to raise environmental awareness and appreciation within the local communities.

Return to the lodge.

Presentation: Selva Verde and the Biological Corridor Project.

Before dinner, meet on the lodge's patio with your CRLA instructors, for some casual conversation in Spanish.

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge.

Evening: Depart for a local bar/restaurant for an evening of Spanish karaoke with members of the community. Drinks are not included.

Lodging: Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Built as a 15th century Pre-Columbian village and due to its outstanding concept in ecotourism and cultural indigenous conservation, the hotel received an international attention for being a model in tourism. Furnished with exquisite decor, antiques, garden fresh flowers, and an overall Hispanic Colonial and Indigenous atmosphere. Guests enjoy a total experience at this ecolodge featuring a rainforest reserve, museum, botanical garden, archaeological park, library, and an education center.

Contact info:
La Virgen de Sarapiqui
Sarapiquí, Heredia, Costa Rica
phone: +50627611004
web: http://www.sarapiquis.org/frameset.htm

Room amenities: Private bathroom, ceiling fans, in room safe, porch.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, pool, travel desk, meeting rooms, gift shop, laundry services, forest trails.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Nine: Thursday, March 12 - Sarapiqui - Spanish Lessons/Sarapiqui River...
Sarapiqui -
Spanish Lessons/Sarapiqui River Nature Boat Ride/Walking Exploration of Puerto Viejo/Independent Time.


Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: After breakfast, embark on a nature boat ride on the Sarapiqui River to learn about this ecosystem and its resident wildlife. There will also be an opportunity to interact with a local family that lives on the banks of the river. Learn how the river plays a significant role in their daily lives.

Visit the frontier town of Puerto Viejo accompanied by a group of residents from the town. Learn about their favorite shops, cafés, and restaurants and discover what type of medical facilities and social services are available in this small community.

Return to the lodge.

Lunch: Lunch at the lodge.

Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy some free time to rest and prepare for your final lessons with CRLA instructors.

Spanish classes at the lodge.


Dinner: Farewell Dinner at the lodge.

Lodging: Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Ten: Friday, March 13 - Early Morning Transfer from Sarapiqui to San José...
Early Morning Transfer from Sarapiqui to San José/International Flights from San José/Arrive to the U.S.

Note: Note: Participants will depart at 6:00 a.m. from the Sarapiquis Rainforest Lodge in order to arrive at the international airport in San José by approximately 9:00 a.m. Please do not book return flights that leave San José earlier than noon.

Participants who need to schedule flights that leave earlier than noon should contact the program provider, Holbrook Travel 800-866-7111/ roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com, for assistance.

Depart From: 6:00 a.m. transfer from Sarapiqui to the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José (approximately 2.5 hours driving time) for flights to U.S.

Note: Participants booked on later flights will be able to take the second transfer that is scheduled to leave Selva Verde Lodge at 9:00 a.m. (arriving at the international airport by noon).

Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.

This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.


Breakfast: Box breakfast en route for participants taking the 6:00 a.m. transfer. Breakfast will be served at the lodge restaurant for later transfers.



Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
9 nights of accommodations
24 meals: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners
10 Expert-led lectures
6 Field trips
5 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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