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The Maddox Family’s Journey to Costa Rica

Swanee Maddox has a long history of learning about the world through travel — growing up in the 1950’s, her family moved around as they followed her father’s job as an economist. “We lived in Mexico City for two years, and living there was so educational,” she remembered. Swanee wanted to ensure that her grandchildren had that same cultural education and love for travel, so she decided to reserve a Road Scholar program just for her family.  In December of 2021, they attended a learning adventure with Road Scholar in Costa Rica. 

Costa Rica

“I wanted to get them out of the U.S. and see the rest of the world. That was significant to me,” said Swanee. “I think many kids in the U.S. have no idea how the rest of the world lives.” 

After touching down in Costa Rica, Swanee and her family spent nine days in the Sarapiquí, Arenal and Jacó areas of Costa Rica learning about volcanoes, wildlife and so much more. Swanee knew the kids would love zip lining, whitewater rafting, snorkeling and ocean kayaking, but she was amazed at how much they liked the chocolate-making demonstration and the nighttime bat lectures. For Swanee, it was the perfect amount of learning for the whole family. 

The Maddox family was hosted in Costa Rica by their local Group Leader, Eric, and their coach driver, Luis. “Eric and Luis were so congenial; we bonded so well,” Swanee said. “They were funny and good with the kids. And as much as the kids enjoyed it, thanks to Eric and Luis, the adults really enjoyed it, too.” 

Costa Rica

Luis’s and Eric’s connections to the local community enabled the Maddox family to visit the homes of local Costa Ricans and engage in activities that they might not have been able to otherwise. “Eric knew somebody at a local animal rescue and got them to take us around to see sloths that had been injured and rehabilitated,” Swanee said. “We even got to see them release a sloth back into the wild! That was one of the highlights for my daughter.” 

Swanee recalls that when she was growing up, her cousins lived far away and were much older in age than she was, so they didn’t share a close relationship. This was one of the reasons why this family adventure was so important to Swanee. 

“The fact that we were together for 10 days, 24/7, learning together and doing fun things together — everyone really got to know each other on a much deeper level. My daughter said her children really want to go with their cousins wherever we go now.” 

We were so glad to help Swanee and her family explore the world and learn about a new place together. If you’d like to plan a private learning adventure for your family or group, go to or email