I loved the article in the New York Times about Costa Rica – it was about how Costa Rica appeals to different types of travelers, for different reasons. As someone who has been to Costa Rica over 10 times, the article really resonated with me.
The begining of the article talked about its appeal to eco-tourists who want to learn more about biodiversity and ecology. It even says that Monteverde is the holy grail for people interested in ecology. This is the exact location where we based the GLA program “Costa Rica: Tropical Ecology and Service“. Nice to have your program location validated by the NY Times!
However, the article omitted one group that Costa Rica attracts – those interested in volunteering and learning about the local culture. Often, people in the USA think of Costa Rica as a perfect tropical paradise (this myth is also perpetuated by the Costa Rica Ministry of Tourism). However, like all countries, Costa Rica has its share of social issues – increase in drug use, domestic violence, homelessness, and sexual exploitation of minors.
Because Costa Rica is such a safe country (low levels of violent crime), it is often the first choice for high school students who want to travel somewhere and volunteer. Our program “Costa Rica: Spanish and Service Adventure” is focused on community service and learning about the rich local culture. It also includes a Spanish language training component.
As more and more travelers discover Costa Rica, more will begin to go deeper into the country, away from the resorts, and discover the warm and vibrant culture of Costa Rica. Global Leadership Adventures will be there to offer safe, meaningful experiences for those intrepid travelers.