Learning AFAR Costa Rica ICE 2017


Learning AFAR Costa Rica ICE 2017 

Learning AFAR / ICE

Costa Rica

Adventure, Sustainability, Environment

Departure Date:
July 10, 2017

Return Date:
July 20, 2017

Free for all scholarship recipients

Program Overview

No Barriers Youth, in partnership with AFAR Media and other generous donors, are excited to invite you to be part of an amazing educational travel program: Learning AFAR.

No Barriers and our aforementioned partners share a similar vision: to make the life-changing power of authentic, experiential travel available to all students regardless of their economic background. No Barriers is providing nearly 100% support for a total of 10 low-income I.C.E. high school students and 2 educators to participate in the 2016 Learning AFAR program. We will be sending the selected students on a 10-day expedition to Costa Rica. We are seeking students of low-income backgrounds with no previous travel experience. Successful student applicants will portray academic merit and/or leadership potential and the desire to improve their lives.

On this trip students will:

  • Personal growth opportunities abound through adventures like zip-lining or kayaking
  • Service projects result in an understanding and appreciation of differences.
  • Adventure, beauty, captivating culture, and rich biodiversity in Costa Rica

Join us for an educational expedition unlike any other that will leave you inspired and forever changed!


Day 1

Morning/Afternoon: Travel to Costa Rica (eat lunch during layover); arrive at 7:56 PM

Evening: Dinner at hotel, Overnight hotel Robledal

Day 2

Morning/Afternoon: Early breakfast and NBY Opening Ceremony, Depart 9 am for Rancho Quemado (approx. 6 hrs)

Evening: Welcome orientation in town & night hike with local community guide. Overnight Rancho Quemado

Day 3

Morning:  Rainforest hike with picnic lunchOvernight Rainforest Ecolodge in Sarapiqui

Afternoon: Rancho Quemado service project – Mural building on community library

Evening: Community soccer game. Overnight Rancho Quemado

Day 4 - 10

To view the full itinerary as a pdf please click here.

Pre-Trip Resources

What's Included

What’s Included

  • No Barriers Expedition Leader with the group from arrival in the country to departure from the country
  • Private ground transportation the entire length of the program
  • All lodging and accommodations
  • All group meals and bottled water throughout the trip
  • Professional English-speaking local guides with group each day
  • Cultural/educational presentations and activities
  • Entrance and activity fees
  • Comprehensive Emergency Medical Insurance (with $0 deductible)
  • Political, Security, and Natural Disaster Evacuation Insurance
  • International airfare
  • Airline and baggage fees
  • Passport, visas

What’s Not Included

  • Immunizations
  • Optional travel / trip cancellation insurance
  • Personal spending money and souvenirs
  • Personal expenses (such as laundry at the hotel)
  • Tips and gratuities

Passport Information

Please make sure you have a valid passport with blank pages available. You will also need to make sure you have six months of validity on your passport from the date you return home.

Visit the US State Department online for more information on applying for a passport.

Visa Information

American citizens do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica.  For more information on visa requirements please visit the Costa Rican Embassy online.

For additional questions or concerns please contact your Group Leader or the No Barriers office.

Safety Information

Safety and security are a primary concern for everyone at No Barriers and No Barriers Youth. Our Expedition Leaders are trained in advanced first aid and risk management procedures.  For more information on our safety protocols please click here.

Responsible Travel Agreement

Travel Responsibly Agreement

No Barriers and No Barriers Youth believe in helping young people learn how to travel responsibly.  In doing so, the following commitment statement, or code of conduct, outlines the expectations that No Barriers Youth has for participants in each program.  Every participant’s acceptance is based on our expectation that he or she will abide by the program’s goals as well as certain boundaries set by No Barriers and No Barriers Youth.

In the spirit of creating a positive community environment, we view this document as a statement of assurance from each participant that he or she agrees to live by these standards and be a trustworthy and understanding member of the group. It is designed for the benefit and safety of the individuals and the group, as well as for the host community and all of the people that the group will encounter.

While Traveling:  
  1. I will be culturally sensitive and alert. I will act with integrity, kindness and respect for my host country and community, my fellow participants, No Barriers Youth, and my school and trip leaders. If I have any questions as to what is within the realm of appropriate behavior, I will speak with No Barriers Youth staff.
  1. I will act in a safe and responsible manner and will be careful to not endanger the health and safety of myself or others. I understand that verbal or physical abuse or harassment towards others will not be tolerated.
  1. I will comply at all times with the program itinerary and those of my host country and community, No Barriers Youth, and my school and trip leaders I will engage in every aspect of the work, study and cross-cultural experience and I will not leave the group unless I have received prior permission from No Barriers Youth and a school trip leader.
  1. I will not possess or handle firearms or weapons of any kind.
  1. I will not use or possess tobacco or any drugs or substances, including alcohol, which are illegal under the laws of the United States. I will refrain from any behavior that is not legal for someone my age in the United States or any country to which I travel.
  1. I will not jump, dive or swim in any body of water without explicit permission from No Barriers Youth and a trip leader from my school.
  1. I will refrain from engaging in any romantic relationships and sexual activity for the duration of the program.
  1. In order to create an inclusive and immersive travel experience No Barriers Youth recommends that trip leaders regulate cell phone use to air travel and long in-country bus rides or ground transportation. Regardless of the policy set forth by my school, in conjunction with No Barriers Youth, I will abide by the rules regarding the use of cell phones and all electronic devices.
Dress Code  – Culturally and environmentally appropriate clothing

Wearing appropriate clothes is essential as we travel, both to respect the local culture and customs, as well as to protect ourselves from the sun, heat and bug-bites. For mosquitoes, it’s more important to be sure to cover your legs than arms, although covering both is a good way to prevent any bites at all.

As a participant, you are required to dress modestly during our travel portion of the program. This is because the clothing that we bring and wear demonstrates respect for the local community and culture. Shirts should not be low-cut and need to fall to the waist (belly should not be exposed). Tight tops, tops that show the midriff area, and short shorts and skirts are not allowed. It is important to dress modestly as a guest throughout a homestay, including modest nightgowns.

Should any activities such as service projects or field trips involve significant work outside and physical labor, it is important to dress in a way that will prevent injury. On the worksite, participants are required to wear t-shirts (that completely cover the shoulders, have high necklines and fall below the waist) and long pants. It’s also important to protect your feet on the worksite, so participants must wear closed-toed shoes, preferably a sturdy pair that also provides ankle support (sneakers are fine). Hats are required and sunglasses are recommended.

Pre- or Post- Travel
  1. I will work with No Barriers Youth and my school to ensure that participation on this trip will not interfere with my regular studies. I will complete all assignments for my regular school workload by the deadlines given me by my school.
  1. I will attend all orientations, both virtual and in-person, prior to the travel component of the trip.
  1. Through the support of No Barriers Youth and staff, after travel and upon my return home, I may create and carry out a social action project to the best of my ability if one is incorporated into my travel program.
  1. I will return all necessary documents and information to No Barriers Youth by the deadlines stated.
  1. I may be encouraged to respond to evaluative surveys, write blog posts and other reflective pieces as required by this program.

If you cannot agree and abide by all the items contained in this agreement please contact No Barriers Youth and your trip leader to discuss your specific situation and your overall ability to participate in this program.

Packing List

The key to traveling comfortably is packing wisely.  You will receive a detailed packing list when you are accepted but remember, “when in doubt, leave it out.”

Curriculum & Content

Please check back as we update this section.

Post-Trip Engagement

Check back here for post trip news, updates and links to photo sharing sights.

I would like to say ‘Thank you No Barriers Youth!’ for organizing everything for this amazing trip. I will definitely remember this trip to India for the rest of my life.

Eric B., Student

Getting immersed in the culture of India and getting to know and love the children was the greatest. When the students would cling to me at the end of class, and tell me how much they enjoyed having me there was heartbreaking.

Rachel W., Student

We are so grateful to you for helping give our daughter her wings to fly!

Kim M., Parent

There is so much life, happening all the time. It's crazy to think that, after only three weeks, I feel like I've become accustomed to so much of how the world move.

Saul S., Student