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World of Hyatt, AFAR, and No Barriers USA are helping Chicago-area students experience life-changing travel this summer. Here’s a look at what’s in store!

Learning AFAR, an award-winning program from AFAR and non-profit organization No Barriers USA, and World of Hyatt are helping Chicago-area students expand their world by traveling to Costa Rica in July 2017.

Inspired by the belief that travel is a spectacular form of education, this program will make it possible for these students to take part in a life-changing experience as they immerse themselves in Costa Rica’s rich culture, history, and natural beauty.

For the first time, World of Hyatt members were given the opportunity to contribute their points to help fund participation in the Learning AFAR program. Thanks to a number of generous member contributions, an additional student will be able to join the trip this summer, bringing the total number of students to eleven. Here’s a preview of their upcoming trip.

A quetzal at Selvatura Park

Outdoor Adventures
These big-city students will get to experience the lush rainforests, fresh air, and colorful wildlife that make Costa Rica a top ecotourism destination. For starters, they’ll take a rainforest hike and float down the Sarapiqui River. They’ll also spend some time exploring Arenal Volcano and hiking through the Cloud Forest at Curicancha Reserve. On their last full day, they’ll get their adrenaline pumping on a zip line ride at Selvatura Park.

Community Service Projects
The students will begin their first full day in Costa Rica with a morning service project and lunch at the Linda Vista School, during which they’ll engage with local students. They’ll also participate in a project with Sarapiqui Rural Education Tourism at a school. They will help with grocery shopping for an orphanage and spend a night at Don Juan’s Educational Farm. They’ll have the opportunity to dine at a family’s home near Curicancha Reserve and will complete a final service project in San Luis with the Neighborhood Development Association.

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Pineapples at Finca Corsicana

Immersive Activities
A trip to Costa Rica wouldn’t be complete without getting to know its cuisine and culture. Students will start with the country’s sweet side—tours of a pineapple farm and an organic chocolate farm (tastings included). They’ll learn about the coffee production process on a tour of Finca La Bella and get a crash course in traditional dishes during a cooking class at a local home. The students will also spend one evening taking a Latin dance class and the following afternoon at CASEM Artisan Co-Op.

Check AFAR.com later this summer to find out how the trip went! We’ll share first-hand reports of the students’ impressions and most memorable, transformative moments.