Project Passport Costa Rica- 2024

Details regarding Project Passport Costa Rica (Updated 6-17-2024)

  • What are the flight details for Project Passport Costa Rica?

    Leave June 19 and return June 26.

    We will be meeting at the LA at 11:30 am on June 19.  We will take GRCS’ Bussie to O’Hare.

    The flight from Chicago to San Jose, Costa Rica is American Airlines Flight # 578 and connecting in Dallas to Flight #2205.  The flight takes off at 3;10pm and lands in Costa Rica at 10:35pm.

    We will return from Costa Rica on Avianca Flight 630 departing Costa Rica on June 26 at 5:45am.  We will connect through Guatemala City and take Avianca Flight #630 and arrive in Chicago at 2:40pm.   We will have to go through passport control and customs so we anticipated being back in Rockford around 5:30pm at the Lower Academy.

  • Hotel Information

    Since we will be traveling around the country, we will stay in a variety of hotels.

    June 19– Rincon del Valle in San Jose

    June 20– Estacion Las Tortugas in Matina

    June 21 and June 22–  Atlantida Hotel in Cahuita

    June 23 and June 24– Veragua Rainforest

    June 25- Palma Real

  • What should I pack for the trip?

    Please also be aware that we will be walking a lot.  We will average 5 miles a day and maybe more.   Please make sure scholars have a comfortable pair of shoes.  We will at times be hiking either in the rainforest or along the coastline.

    The temperature will average 75+ degrees but will be cooler at night so a light jacket is recommended.

    What a scholar should bring:

    1. Basic toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo etc.)*
    2. Sun block 30+ SPF (lotion not spray)
    3. Non-DEET insect repellent (lotion not spray)
    4. Clothes for seven days- a few extra shirts and socks are recommended as we do anticipate getting wet. 

     -All clothes should be appropriate and respectful of the culture. (No revealing clothing no prints with inappropriate slogans etc.)

                 -2 pants

                 -3-4 shorts

                 -socks and underwear with at least one extra pair

                 -hat (sun protection)

    1. One piece bathing suit and towel
    2. A rain jacket or poncho  (not required but a cheap poncho may help if we get caught in the rain)
    3. Two pairs of athletic shoes- in case one pair gets wet or pair of hiking boots
    4. Sandals (optional- only for the beach)
    5. Camera device as long as non-internet 
    6. Book to read – the plane ride is long
    7. Journal and pen (Provided by GRCS)
    8. You can bring some healthy snacks for the plane but no drinks (even in closed bottles) are allowed through airport security. 
    9. Water bottle (Provided by GRCS)- we will not buy plastic, disposable water bottles.


    • Whatever the scholar brings they will be responsible for carrying it at all times.
    • Only one checked bag in addition to a small carry-on can be brought on this trip.
      1. *If a scholar brings a carry-on bag only, the toiletries must be no bigger than 3 ounces and must be stored in a see through plastic bag.
    • GRCS staff will hold onto all scholar passports during the trip.  We will also make copies.

    Money to bring-

    There will be times a scholar may want to buy a drink or food at the airport or when we are traveling.  Additionally, a scholar may want to buy some souvenirs.

    Basic Prices

    • T-shirts $15-$20
    • Bags of Costa-Rican Coffee $8
    • Signs or posters $10
    • Other items $5-20
    • Water/gatorade $1-$3

    We recommend no more than $100.  Scholars will be responsible for maintaining their own money.  We will convert to Costa Rican Colones in Costa Rica.

  • Can my scholar bring a phone or electronics?

    As discussed in our orientation meeting, we want scholars to be in the moment and fully immerse themselves in this educational adventure.   Therefore, phone and electronics are not permitted.  Please review the policy here: Communication and Electronics -Project Passport 2023.

    Scholars may bring cameras as long as they do not have internet connectivity.

    The chaperones will send out a daily WhatsApp text and photos to all parents.  This will provide parents with and update while still ensuring that scholars are focused.

    You can download the WhatsApp application here. 

  • Who is chaperoning on Project Passport- Costa Rica?

    Mr. Michael Lane, CEO, Ms. Camacho and Ms. Kettelhut will be chaperoning the trip.  This will be Ms. Camacho’s first Project Passport chaperoning role.  Ms. Kettelhut has previously chaperoned two Project Passport Africa trips.  This means the ratio of scholars to GRCS staff will be 3:1. Additionally, there will be a Costa Rican guide and driver traveling and supporting the scholars.


    TBA will be our US based contact and all questions should be directed to them at TBA.


  • What will scholars do to prepare for Project Passport Costa Rica?

    Scholars are required to attend classes to prepare for the trip.  The classes will take place after dismissal on TBA.

    Geography– Scholars will be expected to be able to identify the countries of North and South America.  Scholars can practice doing this at Seterra Geography Games 

    Journalling– Scholars will be expected to journal every day on the trip.  In order to get ready for this, scholars will also journal each Wednesday.  Scholars will be provided a small journal.

    Spanish Language Acquisition- Depending upon a scholar’s Spanish ability, scholars will either receive basic Spanish instructi0n every other Wednesday or be assigned to an advanced book club.   The book club will read El Arquero by Pablo Cuehlo.  All scholars, regardless of Spanish ability, will also be expected to do ten language lessons a week on Duolingo.   GRCS has set up a school account on Duolingo which can be accessed at home.

    Burpee Museum Partnership– Galapagos has partnered with the Burpee Museum to provide educational activities related to the flora, fauna and environment found in Costa Rica.  Scholars will attend two classes at the Burpee Museum.  The classes will be held on Wednesday, May 15 and May 22.  Scholars will be shuttled to Burpee after Spanish and then they will be brought to the LA for pick-up at 4:15pm.



  • What is the agenda for Project Passport Costa Rica?

    Day 1 June 19- Depart Chicago (see flight info above) and arrived in San Jose.

    Day 2 June 20- Leave San Jose for the Caribbean coast. Arrive to Turtle Project by bus and boat.

    Orientation on turtle conservation.

    Night turtle patrol of beach

    Day 3 June 21- Travel to Cahuita and the National Park.  Spend time at the beach and swim in the Caribbean Sea.

    Day 4 June 22- Visit an indigenous Bri-Bri village.  Learn about local customs and traditions. 

    In the evening we will go to Puerto Viejo for dinner and souvenir shopping.

    Day 5 June 23- Travel to Veragua Rain Forest. 

    -Cable car ride into the rain forest followed by day hike

    -Nature night hike

    Day 6 June 24- Veragua Rain Forest.  Activities

    -Amphibian project with local biologists


    Day 7 June 25- White water rafting.

    Day 8 June 26– Fly back from Costa Rica, anticipated arrival at the Lower Academy is 3:30pm

  • Are there vaccination requirements?

    Yes, all GRCS scholars and chaperones must be fully vaccinated with the most recently available vaccines for the appropriate age group.   

  • When and how can I get a passport for my scholar?

    Please apply for your child’s passport over winter break.  There are a variety of place to go but the US Post Office is one of the main locations to get your passport. 

    The process of applying for a passport requires you to submit a filled-out application form, proof of citizenship and identity, a passport-sized photograph (get at Walgreens or CVS), and the required fees at the Anniston Post Office. It is important to note that you should not sign the DS-11 application form until the post office worker handling your application tells you to do so.

    The process to get a passport has several steps, but the employees at the ROCKFORD POST OFFICE are there to guide you from start to finish. Make sure you have all the required documents and details ready before you visit to ensure a smooth application process.

    Note: For Appointment Call (815) 229-4807

    Please see the following forms for more assistance.

    Passport form DS11

    8 Steps for a Child’s Passport

  • How much does the trip cost?

    The cost of the trip is well over $2,000 but GRCS fund-raises the majority of this cost.  The cost to families is $200.

    The first payment of $50 is due on December 21, 2023.

    The second payment of $50 is due on January 21, 2024.

    The third payment of $50 is due on February 21, 2024.

    The final payment of $55 is due on March 21, 2024.


  • Are there ways scholars and families can fundraise for the trip?

    Yes, you can fund-raise for this trip. Galapagos offers three different types of coffee that can be sold to friend, family and co-workers.

    Each bag of coffee costs $12.99.  For each sales of coffee, the scholar raises $5 to go towards the cost of the trip.  So, if you sell 20 bags of coffee, you earn $100 towards the trip.

    Fundraising is not required.

    The types of coffee we have are:




    Buy coffee here!