Reviews provided by an independent third party
Reviews are compiled and evaluated by an independent third party, BazaarvoiceTM, the No. 1 provider of customer reviews. Reviews are never edited or deleted unless the content does not comply with EF and Bazaarvoice's™ terms and conditions, which prohibit the use of such things as personal information and inappropriate language.
Unforgettable ExperienceThis was my favorite tour so far! There were so many chances to speak Spanish, see wildlife, and learn about Costa Rican culture. Our guide and bus driver were amazing! Also, our guide, and conservation project leader were extremely knowledgeable and supportive. There are so many opportunities to learn and personally grow on this trip as well as have fun! I highly recommend it!
Inspiring!This opportunity allowed my students to learn about a new culture and how even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference in the world. This was certainly a trip of a lifetime!
Overall great experienceOverall it was a fantastic experience. Our tour guide and bus driver were both exceptional, and did very well at connecting with our students and group as a whole. The only complaints I have are these: the hotels were adequate, but nothing more than that. One hotel didn't have hot water and there were bugs in all of them. I wish EF would have invested a little more money into finding suitable hotels for our group. Secondly, it seemed like we were just randomly killing time on certain days in order to work around our guided tours. Were these not scheduled months in advance? Although most days were very well orchestrated, it was still frustrating to feel like we were wasting time doing random things like stopping at the local mall for an hour, just to be unnecessarily rushed later in the day. I don't mean to sound too negative, but those are the things I would recommend for improvement.
Life changingThis trip was an amazing experience. We saw beautiful sites, stopped at mesmerizing locations, saw wildlife as we were driving and more! I got to feed a wild monkey and eat a starfruit. This trip opened my eyes to new and exciting things!
Experience of a lifetimeAn amazing experience! Activities were amazing, tour guides were amazing! There was not a single thing that didn't enjoy! It was great that we re able to give back with the Mangrove project, and it is something i would do again!
Tico Life Up CloseThis was a fantastic tour! The kids loved planting mangroves even though it was very hot out; they really felt like they were making a difference. They also loved visiting a local school and playing with the kids. This was the most intimate tour I've ever taken with my students (this is my 8th tour) and I feel like the students walked away with a great understanding of what life is like in Costa Rica and what people's priorities are. My students have grown to value conservation and they appreciate the various habitats they got to see during the trip. Zip-lining and swimming are always favorites too. This tour is perfect to tie together subjects like science, Spanish, and social studies. I highly recommend it! And the optional excursions are well worth it--the D.J. farm and the chocolate farm were interesting and fun! I'm so grateful for this experience.
Whirlwind Costa RicaBracketed by overnights in San Jose, we did a three day service learning project at Playa Palo Seco, working to conserve the mangroves, and then spent three days in Arenal being tourists. It was great experience for the children, some of whom had never travelled out of the US before, and our guides were knowledgeable, intelligent and very patient with our young and spirited travellers.
I liked the mangrove project. I thought it was very well planned and divided into manageable segments. It was a bit difficult to convince the children that they couldn't swim in the ocean in their free time, but the rural area was a great introduction to Costa Rica.
Some of the tourist attractions at Arenal were not to my taste, but I asked several of the children what their favorite part of the trip was, and they all mentioned different attractions at the volcano: zip lining, the hot springs, the chocolate tour. We visited a school and interacting with the local children was a highlight for some: playing soccer, playing games, dancing, and jump roping.
On the our last day, we went to a restaurant in San Jose. While the restaurant was lovely, we arrived back at our hotel at 9:30 pm and then had to be ready to go to the airport at 2:30 am! That seemed a real stretch for many of the kids. I realize international travel often includes crazy schedules, but I felt that we could have made it an earlier night if the time couldn't be changed.
I can't say enough about our guides. They really made the trip personal, and were a wealth of information and support. I'm so glad I was able to get to know them and benefit from their experience and connections. This was my first guided tour. I usually travel very inexpensively, and I was leary of the value of having guides. I was very pleasantly surprised and enjoyed myself immensely.
Costa RockaI went to Costa Rica with my high school in the spring of 2015, and it was incredible! I had a great time; the tour director was amazing, the group we were paired with were super nice, and everything ran smoothly. It was an awesome experience to be able to help the locals of Costa Rica prevent erosion by planting mangroves, and I truly felt immersed in the Costa Rican culture wherever I went. However, not only did we help the environment, but we also got to experience some amazing sights while there. The food and culture of Costa Rica are amazing! The only downside to the food was the fact that we ate rice and beans every day for every meal, but we were able to easily look past that due to all the other experiences we had. I made some lifelong friends on this trip, and I would definitely recommend this trip to others!
Great experience, but wanted more serviceLet me start off by saying the experience was great. I felt as though my students were completely immersed and got a lot out of the trip.
With that being said, our main goal was the service-learning. Although we did help replant red mangroves and were able to spend time with the elementary school, we left feeling as though we didn't make much of a difference. There also seemed to be a lot of down time. We wanted to spend more time working.
Despite that, the overall trip was great. Our group leader was very flexible and was able to modify the tour as conditions required. We enjoyed visiting the markets and living a "simpler" lifestyle. After polling my students, very few had any complaints at all, aside from wanting to work more.
If you are looking for a vacation, this is not it. Although there were parts that are more "tourist-y", this is not meant to be all fun and games. Electricity, WiFi, and A/C were spotty. TVs were not always available. Expect a lot of beans and rice. For us, however, that is exactly what we wanted.
Work hard, play hard!Students, teachers, tour directors all worked hard in heat, humidity and voracious insects. After a few days of sweat and itching, we all got a few days to play in kayaks, ziplines, nature. The timing was perfect: just enough work and just enough play.
Biggest complaint: too American! Students should experience more of Costa Rican life by eating their foods and speaking at least a bit of their language.