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:
In the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, thirteen children from the 5th and 6th grades of the Cacique School in Playa Panamá, along with two teachers, took part in an exciting and interactive excursion.
To celebrate World’s Nature Protection Day, the children joined naturalist guide José Sáenz, and Ms. Andrea Carboni, representative of the environmental education association of Eco-Coco, for a boat tour on the Bebedero river, along Palo Verde National Park.
Palo Verde is a national park in the province of Guanacaste, and it protects the tropical dry forest, river, and mangrove ecosystems. It’s well-known for bird watching, and it’s home to an array of wild animals, including monkeys and crocodiles, that can be seen with relative ease.
Even though Palo Verde National Park is moderately close to their community, this was the first time the children had the opportunity to be on a professionally guided tour and their first visit to the national park – for both the teachers as well as the students! Not only did they learn about the cultural and natural history of Guanacaste, participants learned first hand about the role tourism plays in their province, gaining insight into the importance of being a responsible traveler.
The day was full of sun, warmth, riddles, and laughter, but not everything was fun and games. As part of their tour, the students learned about responsible waste management (the four Rs, proper waste disposal, the trash cycle, and how it affects nature). Everyone committed not only to be mindful of how they manage their trash, but to also be vigilant at school and home.
Of course, seeing so much wildlife was the highlight of the day! The students were able to use all of their senses to spot different species of birds, such as blue herons, osprey hawks and kingfishers, as well as monkeys, iguanas, basilisk lizards, and bats. For some of them, this was the first time they had seen a crocodile!
The children were very interested in conservation and especially concerned about how inappropriate disposal of trash would affect the animals they just saw. They wanted to know more about what is being done, so the boat operator, Aventuras Arenal, showed them some videos about their efforts to keep the river and its banks free of the trash. The group also took a plastic cap collector from Dona Tapa to put in their school. Dona Tapa is a non-profit organization that collects the non-recyclable bottle caps and turns them into plastic bricks to build wheel-chair accesses to the beach. And now the students from the Cacique School are part of this nation-wide initiative!
After the boat tour, Don Jesús and his son, Andreys, met with the group especially to teach them about traditional pottery made in Guatil along with a demonstration. They explained about the specific materials, where to find them, the process, and how long it takes to create each piece. Most importantly, they educated the group about the cultural value and significance of this type of art in Guanacaste.
To finish off this exciting day of adventure, the children received compostable straws and re-usable coffee mugs to take home, along with everything they learned about conservation and taking care of the beautiful nature that surrounds their home.
This excursion was made possible through a collaboration with many helpful partners, including Eco Coco, Cacique School of Playa Panama, and Unique Adventures of Costa Rica.
Have a read of more Buy A Trip, Give A Trip experiences.