Everyone deserves the chance to travel. Yet, all too often, seeing the world is a privilege reserved for the global elite. At Elevate Destinations, we bridge the divide. Our goal is to connect local youths to their own environments, as travelers and as stewards.
Through our innovative Buy a Trip, Give a Trip model, your trip purchase creates fun, new travel opportunities for local kids. For the first time, they experience nearby natural and cultural wonders. They see the sites, have fun, and make the kind of travel memories that we take for granted.
Here’s just one example of Buy a Trip, Give a Trip in action:
The big day:
Wednesday April 22, 2015 (Earth Day!)
16 kids, in grades 4-6, from a local school in Playa Panama, Costa Rica. A teacher and the school’s principal also joined the trip
A boat ride along the Palo Verde River for nature and wildlife viewing
A group of grade schoolers from a rural school in Playa Panama, Costa Rica had been studying hard. From their textbooks, they’d learned about Costa Rica’s rich wildlife and natural history in their science classes. They’d been quizzed on the nation’s prized national parks in their social studies classes. As a reward for good grades in their classes, they were selected to experience these wonders firsthand.
To celebrate Earth Day, the school planned an excursion to nearby Palo Verde National Park. Their classroom lectures came to life as they boarded the boat and began to cruise along the water. The naturalist guide, with his well-trained eye, pointed out different kinds of jungle habitats and their animal residents. They came across an entire cast of jungle characters, including iguanas, lizards, white-face monkeys, and crocodiles! The national park is home to all kinds of bird life, too.
- Witnessing an endangered ecosystem. Palo Verde contains tropical dry forest – one of the rarest ecosystems in Central America
- Peering through binoculars to get a more up-close view of jungle creatures
- Eating a fancy lunch at the tourist restaurant at the end of the tour
Escuela Cacique is located in Playa Panamá, Guanacaste – Costa Rica. This is a tiny school on the coast, and in a very poor, rural community. Although tourism is flourishing all around them, they had never had the benefit of a guided tour before. The new experience painted the big picture of tourism. The schoolkids gained insight about the river ecosystem as well as the forest, learned why monkeys and wildlife in general should never be fed, and saw firsthand how a locally-owned company has been able to grow and thrive by protecting nature. Now the students have a better understanding about the role of tourism in their community and environment, and they can imagine a tourism-based livelihood for themselves in the future!