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Welcoming Program

AEC Spanish Institute has put together a Welcoming Program so that our students have the easiest possible transition into the Costa Rican culture. Instead of flying into Costa Rica the day before your language program is to start, you fly in three days earlier. We pick you up and take you to our AEC Spanish Institute House in San Jose or to a local B&B. The four days you spend with us will be filled with different tours, activities and experiences designed to show you the Costa Rican people and culture. We want to limit the amount of culture shock that can occur when first traveling to another country.

We have found that students who have arrived early for their programs have had an easier time adjusting to their host families and make better use of their first few days of classes.
Our program acts like a buffer for our students and is intended to make their first few days in Costa Rica, days they can relax and enjoy in a comfortable environment. We recommend this program to all travelers, experienced and non-experienced alike. It is a fun and inexpensive way to get to know the country and its people.

PROGRAM ITINERARY

Thursday
Airport pickup including transportation to the AEC Spanish Institute Student House allowing time to settle in and relax. For those who arrive before 6 pm, there will be a welcoming dinner at one of Costa Rica's best restaurants.

Friday

“Observatory Tour”

Approx. Time: 7-8 hours | Departure: 6:40 am leave San Jose
Includes: Poas Volcano, Lunch, Coffee Farm Tour & Butterfly Observatory

On your way to Poás Volcano National Park travel past picturesque country towns, dairy farms, coffee plantations and highland forests. On the cool summit of the volcano at 2575 mts. (8445 ft.), walk through an exuberant, primeval cloud forest, laden with epiphytes, giant leaves and ferns, elfin forests and colorful blossoms. After a short walk, witness one of the largest and most spectacular active craters in the world, surrounded by lush vegetation and treasuring a steaming sulfur lagoon at its center. If weather permits and you’re in good shape, after the crater take a 15 min. hike up to the lagoon or you can visit the volcano’s museum and the visitor’s center.

After the volcano, continue past beautiful rolling hills and spectacular views stopping for lunch at Doka Estate, a working coffee farm where you’ll visit a coffee plantation, a processing plant, a coffee roasting area and also get a chance to sample or buy Doka’s award winning coffee at factory prices in the arts and crafts store. Also, visit their new Butterfly Observatory where you’ll be able to mingle with hundreds of beautiful tropical butterflies and learn about their amazing life cycle. Be back in San Jose by mid afternoon.

BRING: light jacket, rain-gear and good walking shoes

Saturday
Students can select from one of the two tours:


1. River Rafting on the Rio Pacuare
Approx. Time: 11.5 hours | Departure: 6:30 am
Students are picked up at about 6:30 a.m. and transported by minibus to the Rio Pacuare. On the way there is a stop for breakfast at a country restraurant. At the river students receive a half an hour of training in how to raft, along with safety tips and emergency procedures. Once on the river, students will experience some of the best rafting in Costa Rica over the class three and four rapids. This is the perfect trip for both beginners and seasoned rafters alike. The countryside and deep gorges are awesome. The total time on the river is about five hours with a stop in the middle for a picnic lunch. After the ride is finished, there will be an opportunity for students to purchase photos of the days rafting. Students will return to San Jose around 6 p.m.
*Please note that dinner is not included.


2. Tortuga Island Tour
Approx. Time: 13 hours | Departure: 6:00 am
For students that do not want to go river rafting, we also have the option of the Tortuga Island Tour. This one day cruise to the island of Tortuga is one of the most popular tours in Costa Rica. Students will be picked up at 6:00 a.m. and transported in a luxury bus down to the Pacific coast town of Puntarenas where they will board an 80 foot catamaran. The Manta Ray is equipped with a full bar, two Jacuzzis, Calypso band and plenty of room for over 100 passengers. After cruising around a number of different islands in the Gulfo Nicoya for two hours they arrive at Isla Tortuga, which is a National Preservation Area. On the island students will be able to swim, snorkel, kayak, play beach volleyball or just lounge around for five hours. During which time you will have a gourmet lunch along with a delicious ceviche appetizer. At around 3 in the afternoon passage re-board the catamaran and return to Puntarenas and then back by bus to San Jose, arriving around 8 p.m., depending on the traffic.
*Please note that dinner is not included.

Sunday

Breakfast in the morning gallo pinto and fruits. Those students attending classes at our Turrialba, Arenal or Dominical will be taken to their respective bus stations and send on their way. Those students going to Dominical will be taken to the Musoc bus station and they will go to San Isidro and then a taxi from San Isidro to Dominical (they will have to pay the taxi driver directly to him) because there is no direct bus to Dominical.

Arenal and Turrialba Students, host family will wait for them at the bus stop and take them home. AEC-Dominical will greet students on Sunday's from 3 pm. to 6 pm.

We will coordinate this part for you, all you need to do is to show up at time that we told you.

 
Program Cost
Turrialba
$350 - Shared lodging with River Rafting
$395 - Shared lodging with Tortuga Island Cruise
Dominical / Arenal
$390 - Shared lodging with River Rafting
$435 - Shared lodging with Tortuga Island Cruise