San Ramón, Costa Rica

The land of presidents and poets, as they say in Costa Rica, is known for its near-perfect weather and lush coffee-growing conditions. San Ramón will become a fond memory of your time spent in this tropical highland. Take a step off the beaten tourist track and discover what makes Costa Rica the pearl of Central America. At the same time, you’ll see firsthand what challenges the education sector still struggles to overcome.

Upon arrival, you’ll spend a night in San José and briefly tour the city the next morning before heading an hour northwest to San Ramón. Most tourists would drive straight through the city on their way to the rainforests to the north, or to the beaches to the west, but here is where your group will hunker down at Hostel Sabana and pair with teachers in local schools for five days of professional development. You’ll also explore San Ramon’s surroundings, hike its forests, taste its coffee, and visit its museums, all while saving energy for a zip line excursion and relaxation in the Arenal volcano hot springs. You’ll also take advantage of a free day to plan your own adventure. The trip will end in San Ramón with transfers to the airport the following day.

Trip Itinerary

Sunday, July 30 — San José 

You’ll fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) where you’ll be greeted by an easily identifiable, local representative. You’ll learn that the town you’re closest to is called Alajuela. You’ll take the hotel shuttle approximately 10 miles into the capital and get settled in for a good night’s sleep.

Monday, July 31 — San José

Meet the team at the hotel breakfast for a meal of gallo pinto (rice and beans), eggs, tortillas, and other local specialities. The morning will continue with a quick loop through the downtown area where you’ll have the chance to walk the renowned pedestrian walkways, tour the markets, and visit some of the well-known monuments.

Afterwards, the team will take Highway 1 for an hour northwest and arrive in San Ramón in time for lunch. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring the town and possibly touring the schools.

Tuesday, August 1 — San Ramón

This morning we’ll visit our partner schools, Escuela Monsenor Juan Vicente Solis Fernandez (K-6) and Colegio Tecnico Profesional de Piedades Sur (7-12), where we’ll make any remaining introductions. You will pair off to observe the  classroom and get to know your partner. We’ll enjoy a welcome lunch followed by afternoon workshops and icebreakers. In the evening, we’ll tour a coffee-processing plant and learn how coffee is prepared for consumption and export.

Wednesday, August 2 — San Ramón

Every year on August 2, Costa Ricans recognize Virgen de los Angeles Day. Although it is a Roman Catholic holiday, many people participate in a pilgrimage of some sort to get exercise and spend time with each other. If you choose to take part in this cultural event, the walk will be approximately five miles. You can ride one of the plentiful taxis and buses to get back to San Ramón.

Thursday, August 3 — San Ramón 

Today you’ll have an opportunity to share your teaching practices with your partner’s class.  After lunch the group will come together for workshops and sharing. After today’s work is complete we’ll re-energize ourselves on the dance floor, sampling the popular rhythms of salsa, merengue, and bachata.

Friday, August 4 — San Ramón  

In the morning you and your partner will co-teach the class, implementing strategies from previous workshops and observations. The afternoon will be spent reflecting and planning future lessons. In the evening, we’ll visit the nearby farmer’s market to learn about all the crops cultivated in the San Ramón region.

Saturday, August 5 — San Ramón and La Fortuna

Today’s adrenaline rush is sponsored by the San Luis canopy tour. Located just north of the city, this zip line will carry you on a variety of cables of different lengths and heights to give you a bird’s eye view of the rainforest. If aerial acceleration is not your thing, hanging bridges are thoughtfully provided.

For lunch we’ll visit a campesino family farm and truly eat local. Afterwards we’ll continue onto La Fortuna to relax in the hot springs. You may choose to spend the night in La Fortuna (for an extra charge) or return with the bus to San Ramón.

Sunday, August 6 — San Ramón or La Fortuna

If you’re in La Fortuna, you may choose from a variety of educational or adventure tours, such as whitewater rafting, rapelling, hiking, or horseback riding.

If you returned to San Ramón, take the day to do what locals do: grab your swimsuit and head for the seashore. You can reach the ocean in under an hour and pick from a selection of beaches not too much farther.

Monday, August 7 — San Ramón

Last day with our host schools and your teacher. You will wrap up any final issues, then make a despedida (farewell) from the school. Tonight’s celebratory group dinner will officially close the trip.

Tuesday, August 9 — Return to the U.S. 

Now fully loaded with coffee, lizano sauce, and other souvenirs, you’ll board the airport shuttle en route to your home city.

Accommodations

While in San José, you will stay at the Parque del Lago Boutique Hotel. A twenty-minute drive from the airport, this hotel is next to the 72-acre “Central Park” of the city. 

Lodging in San Ramón will be in the charming Hostel Sabana, a small, locally-run family business. Located on the outskirts of downtown, it is within quick walking distance to the town square and minutes from the University of Costa Rica. Up to five participants may share a room, depending on the size of the team. If you prefer a single room, please let us know in advance.

Breakfast will be served daily at the hostel and both lunch and dinner will be catered by local cook Xinia Castro. She will serve a variety of Costa Rican dishes, from the traditional casados to delicious soups. If you prefer more familiar options, pizza and burgers can be found within walking distance.

Wifi is available at the hostel, and all rooms come with a private bath, cable TV, and a fan (air conditioning is not necessary at this altitude). Sheets, pillows, soap, and towels are provided. Laundry is available at the hostel for an additional cost.

Alcohol and smoking policies will be discussed with you before departure.

double bed in front of windows
bunk beds in large room

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