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GHC Spring Break 2015 Costa Rica Trip

 

Where: UGA Costa Rica campus, Monteverde, Costa Rica

When:  GHC Spring break, March 22-March 29, 2015

Cost: $1,395, or four payments of $348.75

 

Contact person: Dr. Bronson Long, blong@highlands.edu

 

Costa Rica has been ranked “the happiest nation on earth” and is known for itsnatural beauty, including its lush cloud forests, unique ecology and beaches. How would you like to find out what makes this Latin American country so happy? The GHC study abroad program has a spring break trip in March 2015 that will take a group of students and faculty to do just that at the University of Georgia’s Costa Rica campus. Our trip will take us to the green, mountainous area of Monteverde, Costa Rica. We will stay at the UGA campus and will participate in many fun activities including:

 

  • Zipling through a cloud forest
  • Chocolate and coffee farm tours
  • A guided walk through the Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Several local hikes with naturalist guides
  • A day and a half on the gorgeous Pacific beach of Playa Samara

Concern for the environment is especially important in Costa Rica. As such, we will take a sustainability tour of the UGA campus and will help with reforestation service work at their greenhouse. We will also get to know locals, including sustainability efforts at nearby farms and by spending one night at the home of a local family.

Come join us on this fun-filled, learning experience in Costa Rica!

 

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

Date

Time

Activity

March 22, 2015

1:00 PM

Delta flight arrives SJO San Jose international airport

Sunday

1:30 PM

Transfer to UGA Costa Rica (private bus)

 

5:00 PM

Arrive at UGACR, check into rooms

 

6:00 PM

Dinner at UGACR

 

7:00 PM

Orientation & Welcome

 

 

Night at UGACR

March 23, 2015

6:20 AM

Cow milking & biodigester tour. Try your hand at milking our cows … then enjoy the milk in your coffee at breakfast! Learn about how our pigs are raised, and how animal waste is converted to cooking fuel in our biodigester. Allow 1 hour.

Monday

7:30 AM

Breakfast at UGACR

 

8:30 AM

Campus tour and Guided natural history hike. Discover the natural history of the

area with one of our trained naturalist guides. Campus tour will include sustainabilty aspects of UGACR. Allow 3 hours.

 

12:00 PM

Lunch at UGACR

 

1:30 PM

Transfer to Monteverde

 

2:00 PM

Chocolate tour at Caburé. Experience the whole chocolate making process, from cacao bean to truffle, and learn about the history of chocolate. Visitors have ample opportunity to sample the chocolate mid-process! Tour takes about 1.5 hours.

 

4:00 PM

Return to campus

 

6:00 PM

Dinner at UGACR

 

7:00 PM

Movie: Biodiversity and Conservation in Monteverde. This documentary film

gives an excellent introduction to cloud forest ecology as well as the area’s history, biodiversity, and current conservation issues. Allow 1 hour.

 

 

Night at UGACR

March 24, 2015

7:00 AM

Breakfast at UGACR and pack lunches

Tuesday

7:30 AM

Transfer to Monteverde

 

8:00 AM

Guided walk at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. First and most-visited reserve in Monteverde. Well-maintained trails of varying lengths. Expert guides add to your experience by sharing their knowledge of local flora and fauna. Allow 2.5 to 3 hours.

 

11:30 AM

Picnic lunch at Monteverde Reserve

 

12:30 PM

Transfer to SkyTrek

 

1:00 PM

Ziplines at SkyTrek

 

4:00 PM

Return to UGACR

 

6:00 PM

Dinner at UGACR

 

7:00 PM

Night hike. Join our naturalists for a walk in the dark forest. Learn about nocturnal

species and behavior, and experience the sights and sounds of the tropical forest at night! Allow 1 to 1.5 hours.

 

 

Night at UGACR

March 25, 2015

7:00 AM

Breakfast at UGACR

 

 

Wednesday

8:00 AM

UGACR Carbon Offset program. Introductory talk about the program, followed by service work in our reforestation greenhouse. Allow all morning.

 

12:00 PM

Lunch at UGACR

 

1:00 PM

Homestay orientation

 

2:00 PM

Optional: Medicinal plant garden tour. Explore our gardens and forest trails, while

learning traditional uses of medicinal plants.

 

4:00 PM

Transfer to Rancho de Lelo, Lower San Luis.

 

 

Dinner at Rancho de Lelo. Lelo’s specialty is fresh-caught tilapia from the ponds

right on the property. Smoked pork & vegetarian dishes also available. Go early and enjoy a game of soccer or relax around the ponds.

 

8:00 PM

Return to UGACR

 

 

Night at UGACR

March 26, 2015

6:20 AM

Optional bird watching

 

7:30 AM

Breakfast at UGACR and move belongings out of student rooms

Thursday

8:30 AM

Walk to Coffee and Sustainable Farm tour. Visit a small, sustainable neighboring farm where coffee, sugarcane, and other crops are grown. Learn how coffee is processed and roasted, followed by a chance to taste & purchase locally-grown organic coffee. Allow 3.5 hours, including walking there and back.

 

12:00 PM

Lunch at UGACR

 

2:00 PM

Depart for homestay

 

 

Dinner at homestay (students); faculty dinner at UGACR

 

 

Night at homestay (students); Night at UGACR (faculty)

March 27, 2015

7:30 AM

Breakfast at UGACR (faculty).

Friday

7:30 AM

Students: Pick up at homestays for return to UGACR

 

8:00 AM

Last minute packing and load bus

 

8:30 AM

Depart for Playa Sámara (private bus). Approximately 4 hours' drive time

 

12:30 PM

Check into rooms at Villas Playa Samara.

 

1:00 PM

Lunch at Villas Playa Samara (included)

 

Afternoon

Free time at beach

 

7:00 PM

Dinner at Villas Playa Samara (included)

 

 

Night at Hotel Giada

March 28, 2015

 

Breakfast at Villa Playa Samara

Saturday

 

Free day at beach, activities and lunch on own

 

 

Lunch at Villas Playa Samara (included)

 

 

Dinner at Villas Playa Samara (included)

 

 

Night at Hotel Giada

March 29, 2015

 

Breakfast at Villa Playa Samara

Sunday

8:00 AM

Depart for LIR LIBERIA airport

 

12:40 PM

Delta #356 departs Liberia airport for Atlanta

 

To request a student application for this trip, please contact Dr. Bronson Long or one of the faculty trip leaders. For information on how to pay for this trip as well as a detailed itinerary, please see the information below:

 

 

Paying for the Costa Rica spring break trip

 

 

The GHC Costa Rica spring break trip cost $1,395 per student. This includes round-trip flight, ground transportation, almost all meals, lodging and activities. Students will need to purchase traveler’s insurance, a small amount of spending money and $29 in cash to pay for a Costa Rica exit tax. However, these are minor expenses and the $1,395 trip cost is almost entirely all inclusive.

How to pay for the trip:

Students should pay for the trip at the GHC Business Office, which has locations on each GHC campus. Please be sure to give your name and student identification number when you pay for the trip. Students may pay with a check, debit card or credit card, although there is a 2.75% transaction fee for credit cards.

Students may pay for the trip all at once ($1,395), or make payments. Payments can be made on the following schedule:

 

1st payment: Friday, November 21, $348.75

2nd payment: Friday, December 19, $348.75

3rd payment: Friday, January 16, $348.75

4th payment: Friday, February 13, $348.75

 

The Business Office also allows students to debit their checking accounts on a monthly basis to pay for the trip. For more information on that payment option, please see the Business Office or Director of Study Abroad.

Students can also choose to use financial aid to help pay for the trip. To choose this option, please indicate it on your student application or contact the Business Office or the Director of Study Abroad

Please note that the Business Office is open until 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Fridays. Students who enroll late in the trip may still make payments, although they will need to pay in full by Friday, February 13.

 

Grants for the Costa Rica spring break trip

 

The college has ten grants of $500 for students for the Costa Rica spring break 2015 trip. The GHC Foundation will make a brief online application available for students in early October. The deadline for grant applications is Sunday, November 30. The college anticipates awarding these grants to students before it closes for the holidays on Friday, December 19. Students will receive an e-mail notification of awards. Students will not receive a check, rather the $500 will be applied to their balance for trip. 

 

Paying for the trip with Financial Aid:

 

If you would like to use your financial aid to pay for the trip or some of the trip, please complete the student application and sign the section on the bottom of the second page that authorizes the college to use your financial aid for the Costa Rica spring break trip.

 

Cancellation and Refund policies

 

 

The college has contracted through a travel agency for airfare accommodations. It has also contracted with UGA Costa Rica for ground transportation, lodging, meals and activities. As a result, the college has to make payments in a timely manner for these services. This requires students to do the same. Students can pay for the entirety of the trip ($1,395) upfront. They can also choose to make payments per the payment schedule above. To wit, students can pay four payments of $348.75, with payment deadlines on Friday, November 21, Friday, December 19, Friday, January 16 and Friday, February 13. Again, please note that the college closes at noon on Fridays.

 

Students who miss payments may be dropped from the trip. This is especially the case for the first payment deadline of Friday, November 21. Because the college has to pay for the expenses related to this trip and there is a high demand for the trip with other students who wish to go, it is essential that students who are enrolled meet payment deadlines if they would like to remain enrolled in the trip.

If at any time a student who is enrolled in the trip would like to cancel his or her enrollment, the student in question should contact the Business Office or Dr. Bronson Long, blong@highlands.edu, the Director of Global Initiatives and Study Abroad. If students would like to receive a refund for payments they have made towards the trip, it is imperative that they contact the college prior to payment deadlines to cancel their enrollment and arrangement for a refund.

 

Refunds for cancelations per the payment deadlines are as follows:

 

Cancelations before the first payment deadline (Nov. 21): Full refund

Cancelations before the second payment deadline (Dec. 19): $100 cancelation fee

Cancelations before the third payment deadline (Jan. 16): $350 cancelation fee

Cancelations before the fourth payment deadline (Feb. 13): $900 cancelation fee

Cancelations after Friday, February 13: No refund

 

 

 

 

 

Page last updated: October 21, 2014