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Friday, 01 November 2019 13:46

Life-changing Volunteer Vacations

For many people, family vacations create the longest lasting, happiest memories that are carried and shared for a lifetime. A family volunteer vacation has the added element of a new country, community and culture and changing personal outlooks as families give back while receiving a profound, eye-opening experience. Here is a fantastic article in a recent edition of Chesapeake Family Life


Volunteer Vacations that Give Back

November 1, 2019

Taking a family vacation can be a great way for families to relax and reconnect. But what if your family wants a more meaningful experience than the annual trip to the beach or a theme park? Enter volunteer vacations, a popular alternative to the traditional vacation that allows families to give back while also getting away.

Volunteer vacations have been on the rise for the past decade, and volunteer tourism or “voluntourism” is now an almost 200-billion dollar industry. It’s a trend that continues to grow as more families search for ways to make a concrete impact on the world around them.

“I think more people are seeking this kind of vacation because they have a personal desire to connect with a cause they support,” says Kimberly Haley-Coleman, Executive Director of Globe Aware, a nonprofit organization that pairs families with volunteer vacation experiences. “We are living in such a digital world that it can be hard for kids to gain perspective on the world around them, and parents want to give their children the experience of making a difference in a direct way.”

Many organizations, like Globe Aware, Discover Corps, and Together for Good, are helping plan vacations that directly impact a community in need. Globe Aware’s popular Cambodia trips have families build wheelchairs for land mine victims, while its Guatemala trips focus on a local mountain community where families help improve housing and plant vegetable gardens for single mothers.

Though many volunteer vacations focus on global experiences, travelers can also make a difference closer to home, like the trips offered by the American Hiking Society during which participants repair trails at national parks.

Volunteer vacations also take the hassle out of planning, as trips are completely planned by the organization and almost always include housing, food and real-time training. “A volunteer vacation takes the legwork out of planning and it’s a great way to vacation while doing good and working toward a common goal,” says Libby Wile, Senior Director of Programs at the American Hiking Society.

While volunteer vacations are aimed at making a difference for others, the experience is just as impactful for those doing the work. “When a family experiences this type of vacation, the effects can be felt long after the trip is over,” says Haley-Coleman. “It can give kids a sense of appreciation for what really matters, and it can be empowering for them to know that they’ve truly made a difference.“

Read on for five volunteer vacations that offer a variety of experiences from exotic travel to far-off locales, to one-day Caribbean opportunities, to nature-based trips closer to home.

Globe Aware
For almost twenty years, Globe Aware has been connecting families with volunteer opportunities around the world. With 20 international locations, Globe Aware offers a variety of experiences for families who want to make a difference. Travel to Thailand and work with endangered elephants or help rebuild in hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico. Globe Aware’s planned trips last one week and include food, accommodations, medical insurance and bilingual translators. Additionally, Globe Aware also offers customized experiences that can be added on to existing vacations.
globeaware.org

Tuesday, 29 October 2019 10:52

Changes to Cuba-U.S. Flight Rules

The current U.S. administration announced Oct. 25, 2019  that all flights to Cuba would be stopped to any city other than Havana. Globe Aware's volunteer vacation programs are based in Havana and will continue to function.

The workplace is changing. Employees in some companies are enjoying greater flexibility in work scheduling, planning days off and personal time off. Here is a great NASDAQ article profiling several companies who are leading this trend and offer employees an ideal opportunity to take a life-changing volunteer vacation.

Determing the next great trip and adventure can be a challenge: finite money and time must vet seemingly infinite travel opportunities. Generation Z travelers are turning to social media to help them in their due diligence, finding the next-best-destination, trend and activity. Allie Jones in a recent article for Conde Nast Traveler examined the trends and motivators sending the newest generation of travelers around the world.


Gen Z Are Starting to Travel—And Instagram and YouTube Determine Where They Go

By ALLIE JONES
July 29, 2019

Experts differ on the exact confines of America’s newest generation, Gen Z, but for the purposes of this article, let’s say that it includes anyone born after the year 1995. That means that Gen Z’s oldest members are now in their late teens and early twenties—the time of life when, if you’re lucky, you get to start traveling on your own.

Like many of her peers, 18-year-old influencer Kayla Kosuga has documented her early travels on social media. Kosuga, a recent high-school graduate, has 550,000 subscribers on YouTube, where she’s posted videos about her “morning routine,” her boyfriend, “being grounded,” and other relatable aspects of teen life for the last two years. Last year, she recorded a vlog during a family trip to Washington, D.C.—the classic boring educational vacation. But this year, she informed her followers she was striking out on her own in a video titled “TRAVELING WITHOUT MY PARENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME.” (She went to Beautycon, an influencer conference, in New York City.) Later, she traveled to Bali with her boyfriend and documented the trip on YouTube and Instagram, where she has 162,000 followers.

According to Jonah Stillman, a 20-year-old expert on his generation, this documentation is a crucial part of how Gen Z travels, whether they have hundreds of thousands of followers or not. “We really are the first native generation to a world with iPhones, smart tablets, smart watches, all these different things,” he says. Stillman runs the consultancy GenZGuru with his father, David Stillman, a Gen Xer, and they advise companies like the NFL and Deloitte on how to reach young consumers. “Social media plays into, not only travel, but almost every aspect of life” for Gen Z, Stillman says. “Gen Z pretty much goes through every decision they make, every activity they do, every trip they take, with the lens of: how can I create a permanent moment using social media? Whether that be taking an Instagram photo, or creating a travel blog, or posting day to day updates on my Snapchat story.”

Riley Taylor, a 20-year-old photographer who often shoots Gen Z travel influencers at music festivals like Coachella and popular European destinations like Venice, confirmed that social media is one of the first things he thinks about when booking a trip. He typically works with models like Eva Gutowski, 24, an influencer who parlayed teen YouTube stardom into a travel-influencing career, creating glowy, dreamlike images that, he says, are extremely popular with his peers. “One of the things I love about social media is that you can kind of see the places that other people have been to and curate the way that you would want to visit these places and what you want to do,” he says. “I often use the saved section of Instagram and will save a bunch of inspiration photos for a certain place that I want to go to. That kind of helps me figure out where I want to go and what I want to do there and make sure that I take photos of.”

"GEN Z PRETTY MUCH GOES THROUGH EVERY DECISION THEY MAKE WITH THE LENS OF: HOW CAN I CREATE A PERMANENT MOMENT USING SOCIAL MEDIA?"

Taylor said that Instagram is currently the most influential platform among his peers, followed closely by YouTube. There are thousands of travel influencers on these platforms who make a living visiting far-flung destinations, often at the behest of hotel, airline, and fashion brands, he adds. And many of them are just barely out of school, like Taylor’s friend Gutowski, who has 6.8 million followers on Instagram and recently posted photos from Tokyo, New York City, Death Valley, and Disneyland. (Disneyland remains a very popular Gen Z destination, perhaps because the park encourages visitors to take as many photos as possible.)

According to Stillman, influencers like Gutowski have essentially replaced old-school travel agents and formalized review sites for Gen Z travelers. “What we have seen specifically with travel, picking travel destinations is pretty much the end of the era of experts as we know it,” he says. “We're not going to big travel agencies or companies to get recommendations of where we are going. It's really peer-to-peer reviews, and you see that in almost all aspects.”

Taylor concurs. Usually he picks places to travel “by word of mouth, or if I see somebody I trust and look up to on social media [who has] been there, then that would definitely be a deciding factor,” he says. He adds that social media influencers have been his primary motivation when it comes to planning trips for himself—and its clear that Instagram and YouTube have made travel feel more accessible than ever before to Taylor and his peers. “From a young age, I really did want to travel and I was always so scared and didn't think that it would actually happen," he says. "But from watching so many people on Instagram and YouTube and different social media platforms go to these places and see that it's not a big deal, I was kind of able to get over my traveling fears and start traveling.”

And like many of his peers, Taylor has been savvy about getting certain trips paid for. Brands like the fashion company Revolve have invited him to Coachella to take photos of other influencers, who in turn promote the festival to the general public. (Taylor himself has 128,000 followers on Instagram.) Stillman says that music festivals are a common first trip for his peers to take away from their parents. “I think that Gen Z has really brought back what maybe the traditionalists remember in their age of Woodstock—we have our modern-day versions,” he says. “You see on social media that Gen Zers flock to these different events, whether it be Lollapalooza, Coachella, Country Fest, all these different things, because it's the best of both worlds. You're vacationing, you're with friends, you're in a very unique environment.”

Overall, Stillman says that Gen Z travelers are price-conscious and more likely to spend money on travel and experiences than pretty much anything else. “Growing up in the midst of the 2009 recession and seeing the downfall of their parents' money” contributes to this mindset, he says. “We are very price-conscious shoppers. Oftentimes, when you buy a premium item, or something nice, it creates buyers' remorse. However, when you see my trip, or you buy a festival ticket or concert ticket, whatever it may be, you very rarely have remorse about a great experience with friends. You also get to create that memory on social media.”

And that “memory” gets shared with many others, providing them a glimpse into influencers' lives and allowing them to build up the confidence for their own first trips. When Kosuga posted “Traveling Without My Parents For the First Time” on YouTube, she was sharing the ups and downs of navigating everything from Beautycon to Times Square (fan encounters included). The travelogue garnered over 300,000 views—and is one of her best-performing videos to date.

Monday, 16 September 2019 13:47

Romania Fundraising

We are always in support of our friends and colleagues in Romania!
Our friend Bogdan has started an NGO in order to improve the employment rate of those with special needs in Brasov, Romania.

INSERT Association has the mission to integrate disadvantaged people in the workforce, by building social enterprises such as the Ophori bath bomb workshop. We are creating this NGO in order to solve the problem of unemployment in Romania:

  • More than a third (35.7%) of the population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Romania.
  • There is an 8% rate of employment for disabled people.

I developed a bath bomb workshop in the Crystal Children Association, where we employ adults with special needs. In order to be able to increase employment, we need…

HELP!

In order to distribute skincare products in any EU country, we need a cosmetic notification. We do not have the money to do the lab tests (safety tests and product information reports) for the recipes that we have. Basically, all the bath bombs that we make cannot be placed on the market. This is a serious issue, as we already have people and companies (beauty salons) interested in purchasing bath bombs from us. A particular franchise is interested in distributing our bath bombs in 12 saloons in Romania, which means distributing over 500 bath bombs every week! This will lead to employment for many.
The lab tests cost $1,720. Can you help us raise this amount? Any help will be much appreciated!
Thank you for your time!
Bogdan

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If you would like to learn more about the Ophori workshop, costs and details, you can email us at Office@globeaware.org.

If you wish to make donation just click on the donate button and you will be taken to PayPal. You can also call us at 214-824-4562 to make an offline donation.

Corporations of all sizes have international suppliers, manufactures, agents and customers. Learning about the countries, communities and people is important in understanding how best to manage these business relationships.Kimberly Haley-Coleman of Globe Aware has decades of experience leading groups around the world on short-term volunteer experiences and creating and managing volunteer abroad solutions for groups and companies of every size.


Managing Risk and Reward When Volunteering Abroad

Nearly every public company in the world, and an increasing number of smaller companies, have some level of international engagement linked to their core business. It's part of the globally connected present. Industries ranging from medical, tech, import-export, energy, and finance to agriculture, production, construction, manufacturing, marketing, executive and risk management need to be alert to how geopolitical events could affect their people, product and profit.

IMG 20190507 WA0006At Stratfor, we believe success in working internationally can be developed with the application of geopolitical know-how: understanding the implications of historical, social and cultural mores, business practices, geography, politics and infrastructure of the countries where you choose to do business.

Tracking and managing those geopolitical risks can be nearly unmanageable for smaller companies, unless they have strategies and partnerships in place to complement what they can do themselves.

Kimberly Haley-Coleman has firsthand knowledge of what's at stake. She is founder and Executive Director of Globe Aware, a non-profit company that develops short-term volunteer programs in international environments. The company's goal is to provide an immersive volunteer experience for busy professionals who want to make a difference in a short amount of time doing projects that are actually requested by the communities they serve. Ventures in giving range across continents, from Southeast Asia to South America to Eurasia and beyond. Globe Aware works with communities on projects they identify and volunteers in both service work and learning more about the people with whom they are working. Globe Aware links volunteers with ventures and people all over the world.

I'll say it's sort of a mini-Peace Corps experience. While the typical Peace Corps experience is a 2 1/2 year commitment, this is a one week intensive immersion.

Globe Aware volunteers immerse themselves in service and in a community. Projects range from building schools in the Andes to building irrigation projects in Southeast Asia to teaching students in Guatemala to working at an animal rescue in Costa Rica or preserving elephant habitat in Thailand.

"I'll say it's sort of a mini-Peace Corps experience," Haley-Coleman explained. "While the typical Peace Corps experience is a 2 1/2 year commitment, this is a one-week intensive immersion. It's similar in the sense that you're giving back to the community, side-by-side with locals, as equals, on some project that they've chosen, that's important to them, that will hopefully make a really big impact in a short period of time."

Prior to launching Globe Aware, Haley-Coleman led a distinguished career in a broad number of private sector fields tied together by a central theme: helping internationally-focused businesses succeed. As both a for-profit and non-profit leader, Haley-Coleman has a deep appreciation for the value of global awareness.

She told Stratfor that when she decided to launch her company, it became apparent on where she should focus in providing a potentially life-changing experience: awareness and mitigation of risk, and the need to understand at a deeper level the place where you are working.

First and foremost, while we're looking for communities that have need, we also want them to be communities that are culturally expansive... It doesn't mean we're necessarily in the communities of the greatest need, we have been asked to have programs and places like Somalia, Darfur, Afghanistan, Syria, and in terms of risk and liability we just aren't in a position to go into war-torn countries… We really have to watch in terms of safety where were putting our volunteers, and then the projects we work on have quite a few criteria. We're not operating heavy equipment and machinery, we're not high on ladders, we're not Doctors Without Borders, so we are not handling bodily fluids and things like that.

But confounding and complicating efforts is a continually shifting menu of issues that face most developing regions. These changes can be disruptive to people and business as well as potentially dangerous. Or they can be rich in opportunity, if you are knowledgeable and poised to take advantage of change. Haley-Coleman said:

We are very actively monitoring the state department sheets that come from Canada, the U.S. and England. They do a pretty good job of any even minor possible situations, such as an expected protest or strike. Then we also monitor the CDC… alerts relating to health and things like dengue fever, Ebola, Zika. This is another thing that's always changing. Avian influenza and H1N1, when those things came out they really impact who's willing to go where, and who's allowed on a plane and what is deemed safe or not. However, we also are staffed locally by people who are based there looking at that situation. Those can change too. For example, in Puerto Rico it's not just about, "Hey is there a hurricane coming, is there a protest, is there a war?" It's also, "Can we get the materials right now to even put roofs on houses, given how difficult it is to get donations delivered in Puerto Rico?"

The rapid pace of change from one project to the next and from one country to the next takes careful pre-planning and close attention during trips. There are always challenges to managing multiple projects across multiple continents from the home office to the field: including, sometimes, evolving in-country laws and even some level of corruption. Haley-Coleman says she enjoys navigating it all.

If materials are expected and needed at a particular location, the idea is all the materials are there before the volunteers get there. Well, there have been times when we've been asked for bribes to get materials there on time.

These are the kinds of things that are always changing so this is an area where it is helpful to have somebody who is notifying our volunteers of what's going on, what to expect, how much to pay for this or for that, where to get the best value for your money in terms of bringing money into a country. Because that's changed too, there was a time when travelers checks were the primary safe currency, and I would never tell anyone to do that now… While we have seen, in terms of bribes, where we're more likely to encounter that, the volunteer, it might be invisible to the volunteer. For example, if materials are expected and needed at a particular location, the idea is all the materials are there before the volunteers get there. Well there have been times when we've been asked for bribes to get materials there on time.

Haley-Coleman loves what she does, and enjoys the challenges presented by constant change and the constant need to stay updated. But those challenges have also become central to most businesses in the digital age. The same skills needed to juggle projects and secure the safety of supplies and people are critical elements for success — whether your business is local, national or global in scope.

A family’s tradition of sending grandchildren, once they reach the age of 16, on trips to introduce them to different cultures and people and around the world continues. Here is a travelogue entry by Zeth to Guatemala with Globe Aware. Previous grandkids selected volunteer work in the Andes mountains of Peru, with the Roma people of Romania and in a small rural village in the West African country of Ghana.

Day One: Lake Peten Itza, El Remate, Guatemala

IMG 9987Moments like yesterday are why I’m a travel junkie. The guys still asleep, I took an early walk along a small road where we’re staying. What a treat! No city noise, only the idyllic sounds of nature: tropical birds unlike we hear at home … the occasional cry of a monkey, perhaps chiding her youngster … insects buzzing … and the crunch of my footsteps along the gravel-dirt road.

After a while a small older man walked in my direction, and I offered my best “Buenos dias, senor.” He offered me a mostly toothless smile and gently reached out toward me – but not his right hand, as if to shake hands, his left hand. He held onto my hand and we had this wonderful nodding and eye-to-eye exchange while he said something I couldn’t understand. Had he been an American in the U.S., I would have likely averted my eyes and pulled back thinking, “Why is he still holding onto my hand?” But he just continued to smile with old soul eyes and, as we parted, he blew me a kiss! For me travel is less about the big Eiffel Tower/Pyramids/Vatican imagery, and more these small, magical moments when we have real human contact with people we would otherwise never encounter. Blissful!

Day One was mostly orientation and a few hours of R&R. Globe Aware's local organization is Project Ix-Canaan, founded by Canadian Anne Lossing who came to Guatemala 20+ years ago toward the end of Guatemala’s long civil war. She wanted to empower the local Mayan community to protect their own rain forests, and identified the community first needed health, education and opportunity.

Over the years she and her Guatemalan husband, a doctor, have established a medical clinic and a dental clinic (at left) which is staffed largely by visiting clinicians from the U.S. and other places. (No patients on the weekend, so it was empty.)

They also have established an after-school youth development center and a women’s center, each of which we toured today.

We also visited a school where we’ll be teaching later in the week, and Anne pointed out shards of pottery on the ground – at least hundreds but easily 1,000 or more years old – that can be found in several places in this region called Peten. The Mayans believed that vessels had a kind of spirit and they would break most of their pots during sacrifices or in burials, and also every 40 years to start a new beginning.

A Fresno State lacrosse player shares her eye-opening volunteer travel experience in Peru and living with and learning from the Cuzco community. Enjoy!


 

Two weeks in Peru with Lauren Kiszely

7/24/2019 12:00:00 PM | By: Savannah Stoeckle / Communications Assistant

FRESNO, Calif. - For many college students summer vacation is a prime opportunity to visit with family and friends, go on vacation, attend concerts, make memories and escape from the books and mile high piles of lecture notes.

 

For Fresno State lacrosse junior attacker Lauren Kiszely, summer began with an experience that not many people get the chance to have. The Robbinsville, N.J. native kicked off summer 2019 with an eye-opening two-week volunteer trip to Cuzco, Peru.

 

Kiszely was approached with the idea by a pair of former high school lacrosse teammates who had done the trips before. She was immediately interested and began to pack her bags for the trip.

 

The group traveled to South America with a nonprofit organization called Globe Aware. The organization's ultimate goal for its trips is to encourage people to give back in unique ways. One of the key concepts of the volunteer trips is to understand the cultural differences in these countries and be able to recognize and appreciate the differences that these cultures bring, instead of trying to change them into something that they cannot become.

 

That is exactly what Kiszely learned.

 

"It was very humbling," said Kiszely. "We learned a lot about how people live in these communities. It was a very gratifying experience that I will never forget. It made me appreciate everything that I have here at home."

 

The way of life is different in Peru than it is for a Fresno State student-athlete in California. With a major culture shock, Kiszely learned quickly that things are not the same.

 

"They cook by burning stones and dirt, then they cook their food in the dirt," added Kiszely. "They don't use running water. They don't have bathrooms. All of their clothes are hand-made. Many people use animals as a means of transportation. It was just so different."

 

Globe Aware takes two week trips and sets the first week for volunteer work and the second for exploration of the country.

 

They stayed at a boarding school for the kids who lived in communities that did not have any kind of higher education. Kiszely and the other volunteers spent their time going around to the different schools around Cuzco and learning about their ways of life.

 

During the first week, Kiszely and her group worked on different projects in smaller villages such as building staircases, painting and sanding down supplies that were needed for larger projects. They also had the opportunity to help a family build a stove out of mud and straw.

 

Outside of the hands-on volunteer work, they also helped the local children to enhance their English speaking skills.

 

"At night, we hung out with the kids and taught them English through different games and activities," explained Kiszely. "We also helped them with their homework and we were almost like tutors for them."

 

In the second week, Kiszely was able to explore Peru with her group and see the beauty that the ancient sites had to offer. The junior Bulldog had the opportunity to climb Rainbow Mountain and Machu Picchu, visit a small beach town called Paracas, and go sand boarding in the desert at the Huacachina Oasis. The group capped their trip with a stay at Peru's capital city, Lima, before heading home.

 

In a big, yet small world, Kiszely got the chance to meet up with Fresno State lacrosse senior goalkeeper Laurel Maunder while in the foreign country. Maunder got the chance to study abroad in Peru at the beginning of the summer.

After living in Peru for two weeks, it is safe to say that Kiszely has a new outlook on life and the things that a lot of people often take for granted. Our lives, whether they are in a rural society or in a more advanced one, need to be valued deeply.

 

"I would 100 percent do it again," said Kiszely. "I am already looking to do another one next summer. I highly recommend that if given the opportunity, everyone should go and experience how other countries live their daily lives and see how different the culture is."

 

"Fresno State Athletics: The Pride of the Valley" - The Bulldog Foundation creates championship experiences for Fresno State student-athletes as they strive for excellence in the classroom, in competition, and in life. To become a BDF member, please call 559-278-7160.

Friday, 02 August 2019 16:16

Costa Rica Sea Turtle Rescue

Thursday, 01 August 2019 16:31

Costa Rica Sea Turtle Rescue

Costa Rica has miles of beaches on its east side to the Caribbean and on its west side to the Pacific Ocean. This unique location has attracted for hundreds of years an animal that now finds itself threatened by the actions of humans- from climate change to fishing obstacles, and even erroneous information on the effects of consuming sea turtle eggs.

Join Globe Aware in our fight to help save this magnificent animal. Take a volunteer vacation and help to preserve the habitat of the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Playa Bandera en Parrita, Puntarenas. You will find yourself in one the most unique environments, working to build an ecologically sustainable reforested habitat to give this wonderful animal a second chance. With a volunteer vacation, you can be a part of the solution and help change the fate of sea turtles.

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Volunteer Work Projects

Save the sea turtles from extinction by helping the locals protect them and their environment as well! This volunteer vacation program is geared toward the nature loving volunteer explorer and the majority of program tasks involve work with locals of Bandera Beach. The projects can include:

  • Monitoring the beach at night or early morning to locate the nests and inform the local egg collection committee
  • Remove trash, stones or debris which prohibits the turtles from building their nest
  • Replace and monitor the nests
  • Guide the baby turtles’ as they hatch to prevent their going in direction of rainforest where they would die
  • Build sea turtle nurseries

Projects will vary depending on the number of volunteers, which projects were finished with the prior group, what priorities have changed, weather conditions, which supplies are available, and often the interest and fitness level of the volunteers. For these reasons, specific projects are often not fixed until the week prior to your arrival and can even change upon arrival.

Other Community Work Projects

Because work with the sea turtles is reliant on so many factors, time will be allotted to participate in other community building projects. These projects may include:

  • Cleaning and painting schools
  • Planting coconut palms and almond trees
  • Reforesting
  • Learn about the coconut oil production and other local entrepreneurships

These additional community projects protect and are for the benefit of scarlet Macaws as well as Capuchin monkeys. The entrepreneurship efforts by the citizens allows the community to grow and depend less and less each year on the sale and commerce of turtle eggs. We, at Globe Aware are committed to support the locals of Bandera Beach to bring sustainable market forces that allow the Green sea turtles to live in harmony with the residents.

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Accommodations and Food

Volunteers are housed in a villa-style home very near the project location. Each room has a fan. Western style bathrooms are available, though they are modest and not as nice as what you might be accustomed to. As of 2018, there is now also fairly reliable wi-fi.

Flavorful traditional Costa Rican style meals are cooked fresh, with your help, throughout the day. Abundant, safe drinking water is always available in the home and throughout your working vacation.

Sample Sea Turtle Program Itinerary - Click Here

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Leisure Activities

Costa Ricans know how to relax! You will truly immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture. Life moves at a delightful, slower pace at Bandera Beach. The program begins with a traditional welcoming ceremony followed by a bonfire at the beach, an event the average tourist would never experience. There are plenty of things to do in the area, from walking tours to watching the capuchin monkeys, to fishing tours in the community. Cooking and Latin dancing lessons with locals are also offered.

Arranging Your Volunteer Vacation Airfare

You will need to arrange to be at the meet-up point in San Jose by 12:30pm on the Saturday your program begins. The program ends at 10:00 am the following Saturday and it takes approximately 4 hours to return to San Jose. The airport is one of the return drop-off stops our driver will make. Do not arrange a flight any earlier than 3:30 pm on the return trip.

Special note on transport: You are picked up and dropped off from the airport using a modern van with seatbelts and air-conditioning.

Important Considerations

  • Because it is a sea turtle project, sometimes the nests and turtles monitoring walks could be at night. We will let the volunteers know in advance.
  • Volunteers must be very careful with the ocean and tides even if they are expert swimmers.
  • Working/helping at local primary school needs a little different code of dressing. No short shorts, tank tops or very tight clothing.
  • While making monitoring walks on the beach, be aware that weather conditions can change rapidly.
  • Safety and Security During Your Volunteer Vacation

Health and safety concerns are minimal at this program sites. As always, caution and common sense minimize risks. However, if you decide to travel independently to urban areas such as San Jose, special care should be taken to prevent pick pocketing when in crowded areas. There are on occasion incidents of dengue fever and malaria in Costa Rica, though not common. It is always best to check with your health professional prior to travel.

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