Project Passport Info (Costa Rica 2023)

Details regarding Project Passport Costa Rica (Updated 2-15-2023)

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

    This information is still being worked out.  We anticipate travelling from June 9 to June 16, 2023.

    June 9, 2023 (Going to Costa Rica)

    We will leave the Lower Academy at 5:15am.  All scholars will take Bussie to O’Hare.

    Our flight departs from terminal 5 at O’Hare on Copa #236 landing and connecting in Panama City, Panama.

    We will then connect to Copa flight #116 at 3:48pm for a very short flight to San Jose, Costa Rica arriving at 4:10pm. 

    June 16, 2023 (Coming home)

    We will leave the San Jose Costa Rica at 12:20pm on Avianca flight #632. 

    Our flight is connecting through Mexico City, Mexico

    We will then connect at 6:32 pm to Aeromexico flight #682 at 6:35 pm.   We will arrive at O’Hare at 11:49pm.   We will have to clear customs which will take up to an hour.   We anticipate arriving home at the Lower Academy at 2am- yep, 2am.


  • Hotel Information

    June 9- Hotel Palma Real in San Jose.

    June 10– Estación Las Tortugas (turtle station).  These are primarily small cabins near the ocean (cell phone and internet signals are very weak in this area).

    June 11 and 12- the Atlantida Lodge in Cahuita.

    June 13 and 14– We will stay in cabins in the Veragua Rainforest (cell phone and internet signals are very weak in this area).

    June 15– stay at the Hotel Palma Real in San Jose

    June 16-Fly back to the USA.

  • 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
    3. Non-DEET insect repellent 
    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, and Ms. Kim Plaster (f current third grade instructor) will be chaperoning the trip.  This means the ratio of scholars to GRCS staff will be 4:1. Additionally, there will be a Costa Rican guide and driver travelling and supporting the scholars.

    Ms. Kenney will be our US based contact and all questions should be directed to her (779) 423-5855.


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

    Scholars are required to attend Wednesday classes to prepare for the trip.  The classes will take place after dismissal on Wednesdays.   Scholars will take Bussie to the Lower Academy and will complete the class at 2:15pm.  Scholars will need to be picked up at the Lower Academy.

    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 approximately eight classes at the Burpee Museum.  Scholar will leave from the Upper Academy on the following Wednesdays and complete their programming at the Burpee at 3pm.

    February 1stCosta Rica-A historical overview.

    February 15thLandscape Ecology and Conservation. Burpee Museum

    March 1stBirds. Burpee Museum

    March 15thMammals. Burpee Museum

    April 5thPlants Burpee Museum

    April 19th Reptiles and Amphibians Burpee Museum

    May 3rdInsects Burpee Museum

    May 17thFreshwater Ecosystems Burpee Museum 

  • What is the agenda for Project Passport Costa Rica?

    This is our anticipated agenda.   It is possible that some items may be added or removed.

    June 9 -Arrive in Costa Rica and transfer to the Hotel Palma Real.

    June 10– Drive through the Braulio Carrillo National Park on the way to the Estación Las Tortugas (turtle station).   We will transfer from a bus to a boat.

    Scholars will learn about the mating habits of leatherback turtle before going on evening beach patrols to spot mother turtles.

    June 11– Travel to Cahuita and Cahuita National Park.  We will stay at the Atlantida Lodge.   We will visit the national park and have time to swim in the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea.)

    For dinner we will drive to Puerto Viejo and have time to do some souvenir shopping.

    June 12– We will bus, boat, bus, hike, boat, hike until we reach the isolated, indigenous Bri-Bri village.  We will learn about their culture, religion, medicine and food.  The Bri-Bri also believe that chocolate is sacred.  We will learn about the way that they make chocolate.  We will play games with younger Bri-Bri.  Hopefully, we will not lose in soccer for the fifth year in a row.

    June 13 and 14– We will travel to the Veragua Rainforest and stay in cabins in the rainforest.  During our time at Veragua we will visit their butterfly garden, learn about reptiles and amphibians.  We will hike the rainforest, work with biologists on building habitats for frogs.   We will end our time in the rainforest ziplining through the canopy.

    June 15– We will drive to Sarapiqui where we will go white water rafting.  In the evening we will drive back to San Jose and stay at the Hotel Palma Real.

    June 16-Fly back to the USA.


  • 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.