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The Society / True Nature Costa Rica Service and Adventure Program
June 11 – 18
SPACE IS LIMITED! REGISTER TODAY!
Pay $250 Deposit to Hold Your Spot. (Scroll down to Register Now)
*NOTE: We have recently changed our registration process.
SCROLL DOWN TO THE REGISTRATION SECTION BELOW TO REGISTER
For Any Questions Regarding Registration Please Email: Info@TrueNatureEducation.com
True Nature Education is partnering with The National Society of Leadership and Success to offer this service-based travel opportunity to Costa Rica. Both organizations share similar values as the Society’s shared values includes, “for the good of the community,” and at the core of True Nature’s values is an emphasis on community service.
You are invited to participate in this exciting and unique service and travel opportunity in Costa Rica. Experience the rich culture of this incredible country while doing work to support the people, communities, and preservation of the land and native environment. You will have an unforgettable experience, full of outdoor adventures, connections with local people, and mission outreach work. In a time where our world is becoming more and more of a global community, come be a part of the bridge of support, by taking part in this international service and adventure trip.
During the program you will participate in several service projects* including potential projects such as: planting trees, working at the local school, renovation/construction of a local building (ie. school, community, center, church), caring for endangered monkeys, cleaning the beach, and sharing our individual gifts – art, music, dance and sports — with the local villagers. You will lodge at eco-hotels and lodges. Our programs will take place in two different sites in 2015. Site #1 will be next to Manuel Antonio National Park and Site #2 will be located near village San Rafael, close to the Arenal Volcano.
These service projects may include work in:
~A Monkey Sanctuary
~Local school building
~Building of a local library
~Village Community Building
~An Area that you can share your gifts! Just let us know.
Activities can include:
WATCH A NEW SHORT VIDEO ON THE TRUE NATURE /SOCIETY COSTA RICA SERVICE AND ADVENTURE PROGRAM
For more information contact: Info@TrueNatureEducation.com
True Nature Education has searched long and hard throughout Costa Rica to find unique, ecologically friendly, and inspiring accommodations for our guests to stay in. All of the accommodations are clean, comfortable and close to nature. Lodging includes electricity, hot water, internet, phone, comfortable beds and linens, and an environment which allows you to rest peacefully after a long day of activities. Most accommodations for large groups are shared. Private rooms are occasionally available for an extra fee on a first-come first serve basis.
Testimonials from Past True Nature/Society Trips
I believe coming on this trip took me out of my comfort zone, no actually, it expanded my comfort zone. I feel I am a changed person now and that I am able to to see and experience the beauty of planet Earth. I will take the memories or Costa Rica with me as I keep on with my journey of life.
-Kathryn Hima, Stratford, Connecticut
I am forever grateful and forever changed. I truly found myself here…who I want to be. I am happy, content, and a completely new person. Thank you so much True Nature and the Society! I could have never felt this way without you and for that I am forever indebted.
-Charlotte, Dabrowski Middletown, Connecticut
There is no words to describe how beautiful everything is. Costa Rica takes my breath away. I was surrounded by life, felt closer to the Earth than I have ever felt before. More than that True Nature and everyone has been so supportive. I have never felt to unselfconscious.
-Allison Waters, San Antonio, Texas
Life is a journey, every pebble on this Earth has its place. Sometimes those pebbles create a stepping stone-something with time , concrete, and strength. This experience was another stepping stone to my life-my personal journey, and I am grateful.
-Nola Heller, Plover WI
Payment and Online Registration
(Society Members SAVE $350 off the Regular price of $1945!!)
Tuition includes accommodations, food, ground transportation,
activities, and service projects. *Airfare is not included.
Register early as these programs fill quickly to fill quickly! A $250 deposit will get your name on the big
“I Want To Go To Costa Rica” list and officially reserve your spot. It will be deducted from the total amount of the trip cost.
*The trip has a minimum of 10 people and a maximum of 25 people
*** A $35.00 Service Processing Fee will be added to the tuition.
In order to pay and register use the drop-down menu below to choose the trip you would like to attend, then click the register now icon below. Once payment is processed you will a confirmation email followed by further information and a link to the online registration page.
December 12-19, 2015
June 11-18, 2016
July 30-August 6, 2016
December 10-17, 2016
Hold My Space Deposit for December, 2015 $250.00 USD
Hold My Space Deposit for June, 2016 $250.00 USD
Hold My Space Deposit for July, 2016 $250.00 USD
Hold My Space Deposit for Dec, 2016 $250.00 USD
Participant’s Primary Email
If you have any questions please email: Info@TrueNatureEducation.com
tInitial deposits are non-refundable
t50% of payments are refundable upto 90 days before program excluding initial deposit
t89 days prior to a program, tuition is non-refundable
tFull tuition is refunded if the trip is canceled due to low enrollment
Half Tuition is Due 90 Days Prior to the Trip
Full Tuition is Due 45 Days Prior to the Trip
**AIRFARE IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE TUITION PRICE
Alumni and Non-Society Members
Society Alumni and Non-Society Members are also welcome on the trip. If you or someone you know would like to join us please let us know.
Non-members will have to pay the full tuition price and also agree to the True Nature / Code of Conduct for the trip. Alumni are eligible for the discount.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We understand that many questions come up when visiting a place you have never been. What do I bring? What is the weather like? We have created Participant Packages that will clarify these type of questions and more Once you have registered, we will send you these materials. In addition, on our website we have a comprehensive FAQ section, that also gives detailed answers to common questions. If you have other questions, you can always write us at email@example.com we can support you.
All international flights will arrive at San Jose International Airport (SJO). True Nature Education has a Group Travel Agent that will be happy to help you book your flights. Just ask us if this interests you. Some of our retreats also have a Group Flight Option so you can travel with your fellow retreatants. From the airport we will organize one group transport for all retreat participants. Before booking tickets please contact us to discuss flight arrival and departure windows for your retreat and to be sure group minimums have been reached.
True Nature Education
True Nature is an Educational Travel Company which provides full service in the planning, support, and guiding of a diverse catalog of trips to Costa Rica each year. We believe in the power of experiential travel abroad and the multitude of affects it has on ones growth. We have hosted thousands of participants and have been honored to share in the life-changing experiences of our guests. It is True Nature’s goal to strive to meet the needs of our guests and to be of support from the time you first contact us, to the time you land in Costa Rica, and until you return home from your journey.
Stay at Hotel Near Airport
Transfer to Manuel Antonio and Hotel Karahe
Sunset Group Circle
Transport to BBI Monkey Sanctuary
Service Project #1
Service Project #2
Service Project #3
Beach Activities 10am
1pm National Park Tour
Dolphin/Snorkel Boat Tour
Depart for Luna Nueva Eco-Lodge
8:30am Transport to San Rafael for Service Project #4
Lunch in the Village
Afternoon Biodynamic Farm Tour
Rest (Optional Night Hike)
Service Project #5: Local School Exchange
Zip Line / Horseback
Transport to Airport
Depart for Airport…Adios…
*Schedule Subject to Change
+ GOOGLE CALENDAR
Sustainable Homestead Design
JUNE 22 – JUNE 26, 2016
Register here →
Learn the tools to design an abundant and harmonious landscape!
This five-day intensive course will introduce participants to the basic skills needed to analyze the landscape and design a sustainable homestead. The course will cover site analysis and mapping, goal setting, and designing to maximize the productivity, beauty, and sustainability of the land. This course is relevant to people who already own a home-site as well as people considering buying land in the future. During a final hands-on project, participants will put their new skills to work on a small-scale design. Students will leave equipped with the skills to more deeply understand their homestead and to design for the challenges and opportunities they encounter. The course will be conducted in Rancho Mastatal’s beautiful naturally built classroom and will mix lectures, drafting, and group work, with mapping and measuring in the field.
Note: Participants with their own property should contact the instructor to see about the potential for using their land during the final design project.
Concepts and skills covered will include:
tKey permaculture principles
tUsing the pattern language
tThe design process
tCreating a base map
tDrafting tools and techniques
tDesign alternatives and evaluation process
INSTRUCTOR: RACHEL JACKSON
Rachel holds a Masters Degree in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design from the Conway School in Conway, Massachusetts. She has been practicing permaculture in the tropics since 2009, working in both the rainforests of Costa Rica and the dry forests of Nicaragua. She is passionate about creating harmonious, healthy relationships between humans and the landscape. From urban renewal projects in New England to food forests in Latin America, Rachel has used her skills to create integrated, whole-system designs in difficult locations. She has also worked as a garden-based youth educator, art handler, photographer and carpenter and harbors a life-goal of trying as many varieties of tropical fruits as possible.
For more information about food and lodging please see our website at accommodations.
Cost includes 6 nights lodging, all meals, course instruction and full access to Rancho Mastatal and its private wildlife refuge. A $250 deposit will secure your space in the course. Please follow the link for payment options.
To enroll in the class, please go to our Online Registration Form. For more information please contact Tim O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or call the Ranch at 2200-0920. We have a maximum of 12 openings for this workshop and a minimum of 4 students to run the course.
Costa Rica Summer Program
Costa Rica has been the model for sustainable economic development in Latin America for a generation. On this program, you’ll spend most of your time living in or alongside some of Costa Rica’s most important biological reserves while learning about integrated sustainability initiatives to protect these valuable resources.
In this Sustainable Summer Program…
tYou’ll visit an indigenous community and learn traditional agricultural practices
tYou’ll learn about the implementation of renewable energy at a variety of scales
tYou’ll harvest crops and practice permaculture at an organic farm
tYou’ll develop homesteading skills such as fermentation and soap-making
tYou’ll learn about natural building and work with natural building materials and techniques
Your Sustainable Summer experience will span from Costa Rica’s legendary Pacific beaches to the mist shrouded slopes of the Central Highlands to the tropical rainforest. Our Costa Rica summer program is ideal for high school students with a strong interest in environmental sustainability, and particularly renewable energy and agriculture. Costa Rica is widely considered an ‘easy’ place to travel by developing country standards, and we think this program is also a good choice for students that are looking to get their first taste of ‘adventure travel’ and life in a ‘developing’ country, although we caution that our itinerary is more challenging (in a good way) than many Costa Rica travel itineraries.
Picture yourself living on an organic farm on the edge of a national park, where you’ll help produce the food that sustains the local community. Or on a guided night hike through Costa Rica’s virgin rainforest, when the jungle really comes alive. You’ll feel the rush of rafting Costa Rica’s world famous whitewater, play soccer with local kids, and come to understand why the essential Costa Rican phrase – pura vida – is the perfect embodiment of this beautiful place and the Tico people that call it home.Not sure if this is the right option for you? Use our Compare Programs page to help you assess which Sustainable Summer is the best fit for your interests and comfort zone.
how sustainable energy and agriculture solutions are designed
tropical rainforests, hidden valleys, and pristine beaches
horseback to a towering waterfall in Cangreja National Park and raft Costa Rica’s legendary whitewater
2016 Facilitators *
Costa Rica Testimonials
Thank you so much for creating and running this amazing program!! I’m so grateful for all that you’ve done to make this organization so awesome!! Jess, student from Boca Raton, FL
Read More Testimonials
Costa Rica 9-Day Photos
By Sustainable Summer // September 16, 2015
Costa Rica 21-Day Photos
By Sustainable Summer // September 16, 2015
Costa Rica Student Essay
By Rafael Robert // September 8, 2015
Costa Rican Transformation
By Lily Antunez // September 1, 2015
Costa Rica Student Essay
By Amber Heldreth Miller // September 1, 2015
Costa Rica Student Essay
By Own Shain // September 1, 2015
Costa Rica Student Essay
By Miriam Wahid // September 1, 2015
Costa Rica Student Photo Essay
By Jess Kian // August 16, 2015
Core Curriculum & Program Components
Much More Than A Tour
Amazing destination? Check. Fun and authentic experiences? Absolutely. A smart, down-to-earth group of like-minded teens? Yup. An awesome itinerary and first-in-class lodging are just the start. Our programs prepare teens to become environmental leaders through dynamic place-based learning.
How do “small” and “local” provide a blueprint for a sustainable future? This essential question guides our experience studying sustainability in Costa Rica. Participants – through discussions, workshops, site visits, and fieldwork – will investigate sustainability with the understanding that truly sustainable solutions take into account not only the environment, but also the people, culture and economy of a given place.
Each program has a tiered tuition rate: standard (full tuition), tuition assistance (83% of tuition), or scholarship (as low as 15% of tuition).HOW IT WORKS
tOur standard course fee, which represents the actual cost of operating our programs, including the administrative costs that are necessary to sustain our organization in the long-term. This is the suggested rate for families living in high cost of living areas with household net assets of greater than $650,000 and/or annual household income of greater than $180,000.
tParticipants at this tuition rate cover only their direct participation costs, including lodging, meals, activities, in-country staff and transportation, and support for local projects. Participation at this level is based on the honor system. It is available to all families – no documentation required. We simply ask families to honestly consider their financial resources and ability to pay the full tuition rate.
$ 720 – 3355
tAdditional scholarship funding is available for students that are unable to participate at either of the other rates. Scholarship participants receive up to an 85% reduction of the standard course fee. Due to the limited availability of scholarship funds, a separate application is required, including a parent financial statement and recent tax return.
in eco-lodges and other locally-owned (and often sustainably-minded) establishments
3 meals daily while in-country. Local cuisine, served family-style, is on order most days. Dietary restrictions can typically be accommodated.
Guided activities, from the adventurous to the cultural, are a regular part of the itinerary.
Dynamic Learning Opportunities
Place-based. Interactive. Fun. Our programs prepare teens to become environmental leaders.
Once in country, all travel will be by private coach when we are traveling any significant distance, although we may occasionally use other transport when traveling locally. This can range from a cattle truck to the local bus. Traveling like a local is part of the experience!
2 Full-Time Professional Facilitators
Our international field team includes returned Peace Corps volunteers, college professors, seasoned wilderness guides, sustainability graduate students, and similar.
Pre-Program Materials and Support
Students and parents receive comprehensive and prompt pre-program support.
Tuition does not include airfare, $95 InternationalSOS membership (required), or personal expenses such as laundry, snacks, souvenirs, and internet or international phone calls, and other incidentals. A $29 Costa Rica exit fee, payable at the SJO airport on departure, is also not included.
We designate a recommended group flight for students. Students, whether arriving on our group flight or independently, will be met at the international arrivals area by our staff. Very detailed travel and booking instructions will be provided to all participants upon enrollment.Our designated round trip group flight:
CHECK THE CURRENT PRICE
Escort on Both Outbound and Return Flight
San Jose (SJO)
San Jose (SJO)
tDo not make any flight reservations until explicitly directed by Sustainable Summer. Enrolled families – please check your MySummer accountfor more information.
tNot all of our group flights have a staff escort. Please see above for specifics and our Flights page for additional details.
tStudents NOT traveling on our designated group flight will be assessed a $35 fee if they arrive on a flight other than our specified group flight and/or a $35 fee for departing on a non-group flight ($70 total). Students must verify BEFORE BOOKING all non-group flight travel itineraries
Most students will arrive on our chaperoned group flight into the international airport outside San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city. It’s a short drive by private transport from the airport to our hostel in Alajuela, where we will begin our orientation period.Day 1
Orientation at Rancho Margot
The next morning, after breakfast we’ll travel north to Rancho Margot, a stunning eco-lodge on the shores of Lake Arenal. Rancho Margot is the perfect destination to become acquainted with Costa Rica and your fellow students. It is fully self-sufficient, yet at a truly impressive scale – two different micro-hydro turbines provide all their energy needs; chickens, pigs, and cows number in the hundreds, yet exist in healthy, environmentally sustainable way; and the entire property of several hundred hectares has been reforested in the last decade.During orientation, we’ll become familiar with local customs, health and safety protocols, and share our individual and mutual goals for the program.We also will begin our investigation of sustainability as a subject of inquiry, as we learn about the various sustainability initiatives on the farm and consider how the systems and philosophies in place at Margot can inform a shift to more sustainable communities elsewhere in the world. No visit to the beautiful Arenal would be complete without some dedicated to exploring the surrounding countryside. We’ll have some time for a short hike in the area, as well as kayaking on Lago Arenal.Days 2 & 3
We’ll then move on to the Sarapaqui region, one of Costa Rica’s most important biospheres. We’ll be staying at an eco-lodge on the edge of Costa Rica’s largest National Park, Braulio Carrillo. The surrounding jungle is primary rainforest that serves as a critical ecological corridor. Much important research has been and continues to be conducted in the area. Conservation efforts have maintained the native forest on the southern side of the Rio Sarapiqui, although the numerous pineapple farms that dot the northern side serve as a constant reminder of the threat of development.During our five nights in the area, we’ll conduct biodiversity research with a local scientific organization; take an ethnobotany course from a local expert; go whitewater rafting on the Rio Sarapaqui; and go for a guided night hike through the tropical jungle. It’s not all adventure and sustainability, though. We’ll also take in some with local culture. You’ll learn to make the perfect gallo pinto and friend plantains in a cooking class and polish your Merengue, Salsa, and Cha-Cha skills in a Latin dance class, too.Days 4 – 8
The Cloud Forest
Leaving Sarapaqui, we’ll travel south and up in elevation to Paraiso Quetzal, a beautiful cloud forest lodge situated on a ridge overlooking Costa Rica’s southern valley. After lunch, we’ll have an afternoon hike in search of the elusive Quetzal, seen rarely throughout Costa Rica, but living in abundance in this area.While in this area, we’ll visit a cooperatively owned wind power facility and hydroelectric project and learn how the projects are producing clean energy at fair rates for rural communities that previously had no access to the grid. This segment of the program encourages reflection on the sources, uses, and economics of renewable energy. One of the principle questions we will consider is the size and scope of a project, which we will continue to explore later in the program.We’ll also visit a flower exporter and a coffee cooperative in an effort to better understand both the global supply chain as well as issues of equity and social justice associated with agricultural production and consumption.Days 9 & 10
Winding our way through the craggy, jungle clad valleys of the central mountains, our next destination is Mastatal and Cangreja National Park, one of Costa Rica’s least visited, but most remarkable destinations.We’ll spend a little over a week at Rancho Mastatal, an environmental learning center and eco-lodge situated on the park’s boundary. Rancho Mastatal is a sustainability pioneer that practices natural construction techniques (locally harvested woods and bamboo, earthen structures, etc), sustainable food production, and renewable energy generation.The American operators work closely with the surrounding community on conservation initiatives to help preserve and protect the last remaining virgin rainforest in this region of Costa Rica. Sustainability education of both local and foreign students is an important part of Mastatal’s mission.During our time there, we’ll study many of the initiatives that make Mastatal a stunning example of sustainability, from their use of biodigesters and rainwater catchments to traditional agricultural production methods and reforestation efforts.We’ll visit the Zapaton Indigenous Reserve, play soccer with the local kids, and fill our minds with knowledge about the principles of permaculture, tropical ecology, and other remarkable subjects that are being practiced every day at Mastatal.Days 11 – 18
Our final days of the program will be at the beaches of Playa Esterillos, where we’ll reflect on our time in Costa Rica, share our Sustainability Action Plans, and prepare to say farewell.Days 19 & 20
We’ll wake up for breakfast and perhaps a final swim in the Pacific and then it’s about 90 minutes driving by bus back to the airport in Alajuela for an early afternoon flight back to the US.Day 21
An Important Note About Itinerary Changes
Sustainable Summer reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the program itinerary. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in weather or road conditions; to take advantage of a new activity or unscheduled opportunity (such as a local festival or event); to accommodate the health needs of an individual participant; or due to changes in activities or schedules of our local partners and providers.The itinerary shown here is based on previous programs and the anticipated day-to-day activities for this program. However, as with any travel experience, some changes may occur.