Nicaragua & Costa Rica 2018 Blyth Academy International Summers Program

About This Program

Nicaragua’s cool surf towns, gorgeous coastal beaches, lush rainforests, and volcanic peaks make it one of the must-see places in Latin America. Compared with its well-traversed neighbour to the south, Costa Rica, Nicaragua offers visitors a less touristy experience, with destinations and sights not overcrowded with other travellers.

Beautiful colonial architecture dots two of the oldest cities in the country, León and Granada. Home to both monuments and historical places, León plays host to the Basílica de la Asunción, the largest cathedral in Central America, and the 214-year-old National Autonomous University of Nicaragua. Granada, Nicaragua’s beautiful colonial city and the first European city in mainland America, offers breathtaking buildings and loads of culture, with museums, restaurants, and infinite photo opportunities.

Experience a slower pace in the laid-back beachside town of San Juan del Sur, where a wide brown-sugar beach is the perfect backdrop for relaxing in the sun, playing beach volleyball, taking a surfing lesson, and catching glorious sunsets that illuminate the beach.

Nature lovers will have ample time for outdoor thrills, including zip lining through the Nicaraguan treetops, diving in the swimming hole at Ojo de Agua, taking a boat trip to the Isletas de Granada, and hiking through the cloud forests of Ometepe Island to spot howler monkeys, birds, and more than 1,700 petroglyph rock carvings. Students will have the option to board down the slopes of the Cerro Negro Volcano, a thrill of a lifetime that will make for amazing Instagram moments they can remember forever.

In our second month, we’ll move to the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, which offers among the best and most easily accessible diving sites in the country, an abundance of marine life, and vast expanses of tropical dry forests that often line the darker sandy beaches that lend Playas del Coco its name.

Playas del Coco seems like a sleepy seaside town at first glance, but once you’ve familiarized yourself, you’ll find that it’s a friendly and lively place where tourists easily mix with locals and other travellers from around the globe. At night, the central plaza fills with people, food, laughter and dancing in the true pura vida spirit.

The beachside town and its private villas give students easy access to a variety of excursions, experiences, and natural wonders. Students will have the opportunity to hike inland trails, zip line above treetops and swim along the idyllic coastline. Because Playas del Coco sits in a natural horseshoe-shaped bay, the waves here are easier to swim and snorkel in than other parts of the country, where the surf pounds the shore.

For those who want to get closer to nature and learn about its inner workings, this area is an ideal spot to get an up-close look at an array of animals, including many species of seabirds and monkeys. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve provides the opportunity to learn about cloud forest ecology and the thousands of species connected to it. Nighttime hikes offer the chance to uncover nocturnal animals not visible during the day. Life Monteverde.

No visit to Costa Rica would be complete without a stop in Arenal to see the famous Arenal Volcano; one of the world’s most active volcanoes. At over a mile high, it is studied by seismologists to chart the profound changes in our climate and the environment.

From micro to macro, Costa Rica is an exotic oasis that will enrich both knowledge and perspective.

Included in your program

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Hike a volcano
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Visit the Cloud Forest
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Night hike
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Boat Excursion to Isletas de Granada
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And more!

WHAT ELSE IS INCLUDED IN YOUR PROGRAM:

  • Round-trip group airfare from Toronto, arranged by Blyth Academy
  • Group airport transfers at location
  • Transportation for moves between cities with the group
  • Accommodation
  • Financial and material donations to local community partners
  • Community service materials
  • Breakfast and dinner daily
  • Farewell Banquet
  • Supervision
  • Pre-departure briefing and materials
  • Designated outings and activities
  • City orientation tours
  • Use of free Internet, where available*
  • Access to Blyth Academy Travel Journal
  • Access to Vidigami photo sharing
  • Regular exercise activities
  • And much more!

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR PROGRAM:

  • Departure taxes, fees, and surcharges
  • Registration fee of $195
  • Medical insurance / cancellation protection
  • Travel visas, where applicable
  • Lunch, except at select volunteer projects
  • Additional food / beverages
  • Optional Excursions

Flight Details

Flight details for 2018 will be updated when available.

Groups are required to meet at the airport 3 hours prior to departure

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Please note: Flights are subject to change by the airline.

Are you flying into Toronto Pearson International Airport to join the group?

Blyth Academy airport staff will meet students flying into Toronto Pearson International Airport from any city with same-day connections to Blyth Academy group flights at no additional charge. Once your student is registered, please email studentservices@blytheducation.com no later than Friday, June 1st and request an “Airport Meet-and-Greet in Toronto”.

Are you making your own flight arrangements?

Students who make their own flight arrangements for this program can be met individually by Blyth Academy staff at the destination airport and transferred to our accommodation at no additional charge. Once your student is registered, please email studentservices@blytheducation.com no later than Friday, June 1st and request an “Airport Meet-and-Greet in destination”.

Optional Excursions

The following are examples of optional excursions our students went on last year, and are subject to change. Please take a look and don’t forget to check back soon for the final list of excursions, and your chance to register!

Volcano boarding at Cerro Negro, León

Have you ever dreamed of climbing an active volcano then surfing down its slope?

This excursion isn’t for the faint-hearted. You will travel from León, approximately 1 hour to the Cerro Negro volcano. This active volcano last erupted in 1999, but don’t worry! Its activity is carefully monitored.

First, you will hike for about an hour to reach the summit of the volcano. The ascent is steep, and tough, but the views are rewarding. The absence of trees provides fantastic scenery, and upon reaching the top visitors have a 360 degree view of the area.
Then the fun begins as you slide down the 728 meter high volcano and the speed, well it really depends on how fast you want to go!

In order to participate, you must be able to hike a steep, rocky path. Long pants and hiking shoes are required.

Price: $70
 
Volcano Boarding Cerro Negro Nicaragua - Nicaragua Optional Excursion

Surfing, San Juan del Sur

Come Hang Ten! What better place to take a surf lesson than in Nicaragua’s famous surf town, San Juan del Sur?! Boasting beautiful beaches, perfect waves for beginners and knowledgeable instructors, this half-day excursion will be truly unforgettable.

All equipment included.

Price: $95
 
Surfing San Juan Del Sur - Optional Excursions Community Service Nicaragua

Masaya Volcano Lava Rock Evening Tour, Granada

Experience the mysterious sights and sounds of the Masaya Volcano by night. Feared by both indigenous people and Spanish conquerors, the Masaya Volcano was baptized “La Boca del Infierno” or “The Mouth of Hell” by the Spanish.

Just before sunset we set off to the volcano where we hope to get a glimpse of green ‘chocoyos’ (parakeets) returning to their nests inside the volcano crater. These birds have amazingly adapted to withstand the sulfurous fumes emitted from the volcano. While the parakeets are returning home, the bats are just leaving their caves in their masses. What a remarkable sight!

We’ll don helmets and take a flashlight to explore the underground tunnel and rock formations formed by lava streams, before we end our visit to this majestic volcano with a hike to a viewpoint giving fantastic vistas of the crater mouth, which is continuously emitting smoke and sulfur gases, and allowing us to see a crater created by lava activity as recently as 2006!

Please wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring with you insect repellent, bottled water and a light jacket.

Price: $95
 
Massaya Volcano Tour Granada - Optional Excursions Community Service Nicaragua

Canyoneering, La Fortuna

Explore the mountainous terrain and the breathtaking Costa Rican waterfalls near the Arenal Volcano in a way you have only imagined. Led by skilled guides, you will jump in and out of pools and follow the rivers upstream until you arrive at a breathtaking waterfall.  Once you are briefed, you will gear up and descend down the waterfall. Following your wild adventure, you will be treated to a well-deserved scrumptious lunch. Prepare to get wet and experience a waterfall like never before.

Price: $190
 
Canyoneering

Treetop Zip Lining

Gain a new perspective of the world on this afternoon excursion by viewing Costa Rica’s lush landscape from treetop platforms. Joined by tropical birds and monkeys, students will glide along zip lines with fellow students, teachers, supervisors and safety guides. Enjoy this safe and fun experience that will have you reaching new heights.

Price: $130
 
Zip lining Costa Rica - Optional Excursions Community Service Costa Rica

Surfing in Tamarindo, from Playas del Coco

Costa Rica has long been a popular destination for surfers worldwide, and famous Tamarindo is one of the most coveted beaches for wave riders of all levels on the Pacific Coast. Located in Las Baulas National Park, Tamarindo is a long white-sand beach offering stunning views of the surrounding natural marine park, which has been carefully preserved as it is a nesting site for huge leatherback turtles. The quiet beach is also an ideal destination to learn surfing as it is rarely crowded and provides consistent and rideable waves with perfect left and right peaks.

We will depart our Villas for a short ride through coastal towns before arriving at Tamarindo. There we will be greeted by our surf instructors, who will provide equipment and go over the basics of surfing this famous beach safely. Each student will receive individual attention and instruction before having the opportunity to conquer the waves on their own. Hang ten, and look out for those swells! A delicious lunch is included for all participants.

Price: $180
 
Surfing in Tamarindo - Optional Excursions Community Service Costa Rica

July 3 – August 21, 2018*

Travel Services
$4,270
Appx. Taxes & Fees$600
Tuition & Supervision$3,725
Total:$8,595**

or use your Aeroplan Points***

Nicaragua Courses (July)

Grade 11
  • English (ENG3U)
  • Biology (SBI3U)
  • Visual Arts: Photography (AWQ3U)
Grade 12
  • English (ENG4U)
  • Biology (SBI4U)
  • Recreational Leadership (PLF4M)
  • Visual Arts: Photography (AWQ4M)

Costa Rica Courses (August)

Grade 11
  • English (ENG3U)
  • Biology (SBI3U)
  • Functions (MCR3U)
Grade 12
  • English (ENG4U)
  • Biology (SBI4U)
  • Advanced Functions (MHF4U)
  • Mathematic of Data Management (MDM4U)
  • Recreational Leadership (PLF4M)

Itinerary

  • Leon: 5 days
  • San Juan Del Sur: 7 days
  • Ometepe Island: 4 days
  • San Juan Del Sur: 3 days
  • Granada: 6 days
  • Playas Del Coco: 10 days
  • Monteverde: 4 days
  • Arenal: 1 day
  • Playas Del Coco: 8 days

Accommodations

A final list of Accommodations for 2018 will be updated closer to the program date.

Testimonials

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*All dates are subject to change.

**Plus $195 registration fee. Includes group airfare arranged by Blyth Academy and an estimated $600 in airline and departure taxes, local taxes and fees.. Please visit www.blythsummers.com/fees for an explanation of our departure taxes, fees, and surcharges, and when these fees will be invoiced. All itineraries, excursions, dates, departure taxes, fees, and surcharges are subject to change.

***Please visit www.blythpoints.com for more details on funding your program through Aeroplan points.