Over the past 20 years, we have led diverse teams of students and educators on educational adventures all over the world. Now, it’s your turn! Due to COVID-19, we are limiting 2021 travel to a single international destination: COSTA RICA. Interested in other destinations? We’ll post a more diverse suite of offerings for 2022 in September 2021 (learn more).
This program is based in the remote Pacuare Reserve, situated on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast. It is home to the longest-running leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) conservation program in the Caribbean region, six Central American feline species, three of the four species of primates found in Costa Rica, and more than 200 bird species, including the elusive agami heron. It’s also led by extraordinary guides and leaders who challenge and support you and your students as you grow throughout the adventure.
By traveling to a single, relatively remote location at a privately managed reserve, we minimize risks associated with COVID-19. Moreover, Costa Rica has a long history of providing safe experiences for tourists. While our travel partners enforce strong onsite safety protocols, Costa Rica’s healthcare infrastructure is always available in case of an emergency. Our travel partner for this Costa Rica experience is Ecology Project International (EPI). Read more about why we chose Costa Rica and our COVID-19 protocols here.
Students learn to foster hope and optimism as they pursue purpose-driven conservation work at the Pacuare Reserve. We combine our proven framework for building resilience with meaningful and local service, local ecological studies, cross-cultural experiences, and much more. Our goal is to inspire students to push outside their comfort zones and passionately pursue something they care about. The principles we teach before, during and after the expedition are described in our bestselling book What’s Within You.
I just wanted to take a moment to formally thank you for another unbelievable and life changing trip. No Barriers made it all possible and took the guesswork out of a potentially nerve wracking and complicated task.
Amanda, Trip Leader
Upon arrival, we set our intentions for the experience, talk about how the team will work together and establish ground rules for success.
This trip is designed to introduce students and educators to people, projects and places that will inspire students to discover their why. At No Barriers, we believe that kids need to explore purpose and vision so they can begin to define what makes them tick. VISION is the fuel that drives us through the best and worst of times. In Costa Rica, we focus on conservation issues because they are such an important topic to the planet and to local Costa Ricans. As students engage with meaningful work, we’ll ask them to explore and define their own passions both individually and in teams.
As we dive into the rainforest, students learn about interdependence, fragility and strength of ecosystems. At the same time, we explore how students can begin to build their own team to support them through the ups and downs of their lives.
One key to success as a leader is to regularly push beyond our comfort zones to try new things. We’ll do just that as we also explore why it’s so hard to get outside our comfort zone, the pros and cons of change and uncertainty, and what excites us to stretch and do big things.
After a closing ceremony that ties our learnings together and bonds us as a team, we set our intentions around a meaningful return to our daily lives. This includes a personal and sometimes team pledge to fulfill a goal when we return home. No Barriers leads you through a post-return process to help make those pledges come to fruition.
Now, more than ever, our students need to remember that What’s Within Us Is Stronger Than What’s In Our Way. Using our proven No Barriers educational philosophy for unleashing student potential, we use travel to help students build hope and optimism for a future that they will help create. By exposing them to extraordinary cultures, diverse leaders and thriving ecosystems, we push them outside their comfort zone to learn more about themselves in one week than a traditional classroom can accomplish in one year. The result: 95% of our participants say their lives were changed forever after their No Barriers expeditions.
We believe that student travel is enhanced by three things: thoughtful preparation, transformative experiences, and setting meaningful intentions upon return. During the preparatory process, we introduce students to the No Barriers philosophy. The travel experience brings these principles to life on an extraordinary adventure. In many ways, the final phase – the meaningful return – is the most important element of the No Barriers program. Participants return home and are faced with the questions “So now what? How did this experience impact me and what am I going to do about it?” In Phase III students reflect on their experience and engage with their local and global community to execute their Global Impact Project and help create positive and sustainable change.
No Barriers is not a big box retailer of educational travel. We are a nonprofit organization working to fulfill your educational goals and our mission of unleashing the potential of the human spirit. We work with partners to create prices that are inclusive of nearly every imaginable expense including airfare. If you don’t know this, that’s unusual in the student travel business. Many companies promise a low price at first only to add on costs over time. Moreover, we don’t cut costs by combining groups nor do we use large tour buses – again, common practices in many of the largest youth travel companies. In short, when we agree on an itinerary and a final price, you can trust it not to change and to be all-inclusive.
Our partners are committed to creating payment plans that help you manage the uncertainty of the COVID-19 travel situation. The last thing we want is for you to end up paying for a trip that cannot happen. We can walk you through the details of how we’re managing payments and dealing with refunds in the unlikely event that we (or you) have to cancel due to the evolving situation with COVID-19.
From immunizations to food and lodging, we are here to help. Our staff will assist educators and parents with all of the details. Check out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions here:
Ecology Project International (EPI) is our key partner in delivering this adventure travel experience. No Barriers founders have been aligned with EPI since our organizations’ humble beginnings in early 2000. We have always admired EPI’s approach to engaging with local communities, focusing on real conservation impact via partnerships with scientists, and providing safe and transformative travel experiences for students. Upon booking, the EPI team arranges the detailed logistics of the travel experience. Our No Barriers team focuses on your pre- and post-educational experiences and the delivery of transformational educational content on expedition.