Picture of stone formations in the Israel desert
SUMMER EXPERIENCES

Trek Pan-America

Discover the rich bio-diversity and immerse yourself in all Costa Rica has to offer. Continue on to embrace your adventurous spirit, exploring the bustling cities and breathtaking national parks of the Western USA.

Head for the cloud forests and tropical beaches on Trek Costa Rica to explore a country rich in natural beauty and bio-diversity. This experience combines outdoor exploration and cross-cultural adventure in the heart of Central America. Experience Shabbat with the local community, search for jungle wildlife on a nighttime safari, and explore your Jewish identity through the lens of life in Costa Rica.

Then continue on Trek West USA  where you’ll hike, kayak, raft, and ride horseback through the stunning terrain of the American West. Destinations include Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks as well as the bustling cities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Give back during a series of service projects, and gain a brand new appreciation for America’s natural grandeur.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Trek Costa Rica and Trek West USA are designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. The outdoor activities on this program are only meant to complement the overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim is to provide teens with a more active way to experience different countries through the beauty of their terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Explore Monteverde’s cloud forests and swim under waterfalls
Hike to an active volcano and take a dip in a hot springs thermal pool
Search for jungle wildlife on a nighttime safari
Get up-close with crocodiles, iguanas, lizards and more on a boat tour on the Tarcoles River
Go ocean kayaking on the Pacific Ocean and relax on the beach
Stay at a ranch and learn ecologically friendly farming practices
Meet with local Costa Rican teens and take part in meaningful service projects
Celebrate Shabbat together with San Jose‘s Jewish community
Raft down the roaring rapids of the Pacuare River!
Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley and CSUN.
Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park
View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon
Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park
Experience life on a western dude ranch
Feel the energy of Las Vegas and see a Blue Man Group show
Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank
Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles
Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands
Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe
Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Trek Costa Rica + Trek West USA. Trek Pan-America #1 is the combination of Trek Costa Rica #1 + Trek West USA #2 and countries will be visited in that order. Trek Pan-America #2 is the combination of Trek West USA #1 + Trek Costa Rica #2 and countries will be visited in that order. At the end of the first program, those making the connection will continue on to the second program via a designated supervised flight (not included). A supervised hotel stay-over will be available if needed (included). Your first day on the second program features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting a new. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive.

NOTE: While the above order is the default for the program, the order may be switched to accommodate group size.

One Happy Camper

one happy camperThis BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for up to a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary including confirmed accommodations is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday |  Arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Evening: Welcome to Costa Rica! Get to know each other with fun, interactive icebreakers
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Along the Pacific Coast

  • Kayak the Pacific coastline in Jacó
  • Drive to Playa Azul to help clean up the beach
  • Get up-close with crocodiles, iguanas, lizards and more on a boat tour on the Tarcoles River
  • Travel to our hotel in Jacó and check-in to our accommodations
  • After dinner, visit Jacó’s Market to work as a team and pack our lunches for Thursday’s picnic
  • Overnight: TBA – Jaco, Costa Rica

DAY #3 | Thursday | Manuel Antonio

  • Explore the expansive beaches and evergreen forest of the Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch in the beautiful nature of the park
  • Evening: Relax after a long day with a delicious BBQ dinner back at the hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Jaco, Costa Rica

DAY #4 | Friday | The Canopy

  •  Ziplining through the canopy of Los Sueños
  • Lunch, folkloric show and volunteer activity with the residents of the senior citizens home in
    Quebrada Ganado
  • Depart to San Jose
  •  Check-in to accommodations and prepare for Shabbat
  • Shabbat services at Shaare Zion Congregation
  • Shabbat dinner at Aish Hatorah
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat in San Jose

  • Shabbat programming and lunch with the Jewish community of San Jose
  • Enjoy an afternoon of sports at the Costa Rica Tennis Club
  • Celebrate Havdalah – the start of a new week
  • Spend the evening jumping on trampolines at Sky Jump
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #6 | Sunday | Rafting on the Pacuare River

  • Wake up early and travel through Turrialba en route to the Pacuare River
  • Begin a full-day of white water rafting on the rushing rapids of the Pacuare River
  • Independent dinner and shopping time at the mall
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #7 | Monday | Punta Arenas

  • Spend time volunteering with “Boy with A Ball”, an organization that works to better cities by
    reaching young people and equipping them to be leaders
  • Travel to Punta Arenas
  • Visit the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary, home to Macaws being rehabilitated
  • Travel to Monteverde and check-in to our accommodation
  • Overnight: TBA – Monteverde, Costa Rica

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Selvatura Park

  •  Explore the hanging bridges, amphibians and reptiles exhibit at Selvatura Park
  • Walk through the picturesque village of Santa Elena
  • Ecological night tour of the cloud forest. Walk through the forest looking for nocturnal wildlife
  • Overnight: TBA – Monteverde, Costa Rica

DAY #9 | Wednesday | La Fortuna

  • Check-out of our hotel and head to La Fortuna
  • Drive around the largest lake of Costa Rica – Lake Arenal
  • Pilgrimage walk with local students on Don Juan Farm
  • Descend to the base of La Fortuna waterfalls and cool-off in the river
  • Check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – La Fortuna, Costa Rica

DAY #10 | Thursday | Los Chiles

  • Keep an eye out of wildlife while on our boat ride on Rio Frio
  • After lunch, return to La Fortuna
  • Rest and rejuvenate in the Baldi Hot Springs
  • Overnight: TBA – La Fortuna, Costa Rica

DAY #11 | Friday | Arenal National Park

  • Explore Arenal National Park – Hike to the base of an active volcano for a stunning view!
  • Depart to Rancho Margot, orientation to the eco-lodge Ranch and everything it has to offer
  • Afternoon activity – your choice of horseback riding or ranch tour!
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner at Rancho Margot
  • Overnight: TBA – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Rancho Margot

  • Morning yoga class at the ranch
  • Horseback riding or ranch tour (whichever you did not do the previous day)
  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Tour Rancho Margot and its beautiful nature trails
  • Choice of afternoon activities including yoga, soccer and relaxing at the pool
  • Welcome in the new week with Havdalah
  • Enjoy a dance performance by a local dance group
  • Overnight: TBA – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

DAY #13 | Sunday | San Jose – the Capital of Costa Rica

  • Check-out of our hotel and head to the Oxcart Factory for shopping
  • Hike to the waterfall of Los Chorros
  • Lunch and free time in Alajuela
  • Travel to San Jose and check-in to our accommodations
  • Closing ceremony and a soccer game with the kids from “Boy with the Ball”
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #14 | Monday | Arrival in Phoenix

  • Depart from San Jose Airport
  • Pick-up at Phoenix airport and transfer to accommodations in Scottsdale
  • Program orientation and icebreakers
  • Evening: Enjoy pizza dinner and swimming in the pool
  • Overnight: TBA- Phoenix, Arizona

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Backcountry Arizona

  • Check-out and begin traveling north through the heart of Arizona to Flagstaff
  • Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park
  • Check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Sedona

  • Experience a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park
  • Explore downtown Sedona and view the local mesas
  • Dinner in Flagstaff
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #17 | Thursday | Grand Canyon

  • Rim hike along the edge of the Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail
  • National Geographic Visitor Center & IMAX Movie
  • Evening: View the wonders of the night sky at the Lowell Observatory
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #18 | Friday | Travel to Zion/Lake Powell

  • Wake up early and begin to travel north towards Utah
  • Picnic at Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell
  • Explore Glen Canyon Dam during a guided tour (dependent on heat level)
  • Check-in to Ponderosa Ranch and prepare for Shabbat
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness overlooking Zion National Park
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat on the Ranch

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Pool time, sports, and relaxed afternoon at the Ranch
  • Havdallah Ceremony – Followed by Rodeo & Barn Dance
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #20 | Sunday | Bryce Canyon

  • Leave the ranch and head toward Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Visit the Bryce Amphitheater and walk part of the canyon’s rim
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • Swim in Navajo Lake
  • Evening: Ice cream sundae making and a movie
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #21 | Monday | Las Vegas

  • Early morning hike to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park
  • Nature walk to see the breathtaking scenery of the Emerald Pools in Zion National Park
  • Head to Las Vegas and stop for a picture at the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and M&M World
  • Overnight: TBA – Henderson, Nevada

DAY #22 | Tuesday | Las Vegas

  • Tour of the Hoover Dam’s power plant at Lake Meade
  • Walk “The Strip” in fabulous Las Vegas – see the Bellagio Fountains, Streetmosphere at
    Venetian, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, and more
  • Experience a Las Vegas Show – Blue Man Group at the Luxor Hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Henderson, Nevada

DAY #23 | Wednesday | Crossing the Desert

  • Travel westwards from Nevada, through the Mojave Desert National Preserve, to California
  • Learn about human rights through a tour of the Museum of Tolerance of Los Angeles
  • After dinner, stroll along Hollywood Boulevard
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #24 | Thursday | Los Angeles

  • Stroll the Arts District of LA
  • Attend a Los Angeles Sparks basketball game
  • Take a tour of LA and do some LA sightseeing
  • Enjoy dinner nearby the Staples center
  • Visit the Venice Beach outdoor market
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #25 | Friday | Malibu

  • Take part in a service project at the Los Angeles Food Bank
  • Relax on the beach and in Santa Monica
  •  Return to campus for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #26 | Saturday | Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Evening: Group night out at Santa Monica Pier
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #27 | Sunday | Northwards through the Central Valley

  • Visit the Hollywood Museum
  • Have a picnic lunch during our Hollywood hike
  • Travel North to Yosemite National Park
  • Stop in Fresno for dinner
  • Arrive to Curry Village, Yosemite
  • Overnight: TBA – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #28 | Monday | Yosemite National Park

  • Giant Sequoias Ranger program at Mariposa
  • Day hike up the Mist Trail to the backside of Half Dome
  • Evening: Evening program in the Yosemite Lodge
  • Overnight: TBA – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #29 | Tuesday | High Sierra

  • Continue traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains north to Tahoe
  • Stopping en route at Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake
  • Dinner at the famous “Forest Buffet” at Harrah’s overlooking the Lake
  • Overnight: TBA – Carson City, Nevada

DAY #30 | Wednesday | Lake Tahoe

  • Spend the day outdoors around Lake Tahoe
  • Take a tram ride through Squaw Valley
  • Tour of the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics sites
  • Drive to Sacramento
  • Overnight: TBA – Vacaville, California

DAY #31 | Thursday | California’s Central Valley

  • Begin traveling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area
  • Visit the Nimbus salmon hatchery on the American River
  • Lunch on own in Old Town Sacramento
  • Stop en route for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory
  • Evening: Group night out exploring San Francisco
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #32 | Friday | Marin County

  • Stroll Haight District, Divisadero Street, take pictures at Alamo Square and relax at Buena
    Vista Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • See the sunlight shining through the enormous redwood trees of Muir Woods
  • Return to campus to prepare for your final group Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat service at Chabad house in Berkeley
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #33 | Saturday | Shabbat in Berkeley

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch
  • Explore the town of Berkeley, including its festive farmers market
  • Guided tour of the University of California Berkeley campus
  • Group evening out on Berkeley’s Telegraph Street
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #34 | Sunday | San Francisco

  • Take a walk across Golden Gate Bridge
  • Enjoy free time and shopping on Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Tour the historic Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison from the 1930s
  • Ride the city’s famous cable cars through the windy, hilly streets of San Francisco
  • Enjoy your final dinner and ice cream sundaes
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #35 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Travel day – flight from San Francisco

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
An optional supervised flight is offered. This flight often departs from the New York area, Atlanta, or Miami. You are responsible for your transportation to and from this location. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets using miles or points that correspond to our supervised flight itinerary, or book separate flight itineraries entirely. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in several different types of accommodations – including 3-star hotels, college dormitories, ranch-style lodging, and more rustic eco-lodges in the rainforest. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that teens pack should be lightweight and comfortable in hot temperatures. When the group is outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. These rules are strictly enforced because overexposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

Costa Rica is a tropical country but the weather varies greatly from region to region. In the highland areas you can expect cooler weather in the 60s to 70s. Along the lowland coast, the weather is typically in the 80s or even 90s during the day. June and July fall within Costa Rica’s rainy season. This means that rain is common, often occurring in the late afternoon or evening.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on Trek West USA is 30 teens and our average group size in Costa Rica is 25 teens.Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline. Historically, 50% of the Trek Pan-America group is current 8th graders and 50% is current 9th and 10th graders

  • There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. In Costa Rica, expect to eat seasoned rice, beans, tropical fruit and veggies, plantains, and much more. Vegetarians will have no problems eating well on the trip. In the U.S., you can expect to enjoy meals dining in various local restaurants.

Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport – good news! – you don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica.

Will I need any vaccines?
BBYO Passport requires its participants to be up-to-date with most vaccines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can check our immunization policy. There are no additional immunizations required aside from regularly mandated routine immunizations. However, vaccine guidelines vary by country and are continually evolving.We recommend that you consult with your teen’s physician as well as the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery.

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Trek West USATrek Costa Rica. At the end of your first experience, those making the connection will continue on to their second experience via a designated supervised flight (not included). A supervised hotel stay-over will be available if needed (included). Our first day in our new location features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting new. Trip connections are always supervised. Learn how connections work.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

We know you'll love a BBYO Passport experience. But don't just take our word. Check out these real reviews from our past travelers and families.

 

Head for the cloud forests and tropical beaches on Trek Costa Rica to explore a country rich in natural beauty and bio-diversity. This experience combines outdoor exploration and cross-cultural adventure in the heart of Central America. Experience Shabbat with the local community, search for jungle wildlife on a nighttime safari, and explore your Jewish identity through the lens of life in Costa Rica.

Then continue on Trek West USA  where you’ll hike, kayak, raft, and ride horseback through the stunning terrain of the American West. Destinations include Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks as well as the bustling cities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Give back during a series of service projects, and gain a brand new appreciation for America’s natural grandeur.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Trek Costa Rica and Trek West USA are designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. The outdoor activities on this program are only meant to complement the overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim is to provide teens with a more active way to experience different countries through the beauty of their terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Explore Monteverde’s cloud forests and swim under waterfalls
Hike to an active volcano and take a dip in a hot springs thermal pool
Search for jungle wildlife on a nighttime safari
Get up-close with crocodiles, iguanas, lizards and more on a boat tour on the Tarcoles River
Go ocean kayaking on the Pacific Ocean and relax on the beach
Stay at a ranch and learn ecologically friendly farming practices
Meet with local Costa Rican teens and take part in meaningful service projects
Celebrate Shabbat together with San Jose‘s Jewish community
Raft down the roaring rapids of the Pacuare River!
Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley and CSUN.
Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park
View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon
Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park
Experience life on a western dude ranch
Feel the energy of Las Vegas and see a Blue Man Group show
Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank
Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles
Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands
Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe
Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Trek Costa Rica + Trek West USA. Trek Pan-America #1 is the combination of Trek Costa Rica #1 + Trek West USA #2 and countries will be visited in that order. Trek Pan-America #2 is the combination of Trek West USA #1 + Trek Costa Rica #2 and countries will be visited in that order. At the end of the first program, those making the connection will continue on to the second program via a designated supervised flight (not included). A supervised hotel stay-over will be available if needed (included). Your first day on the second program features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting a new. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive.

NOTE: While the above order is the default for the program, the order may be switched to accommodate group size.

One Happy Camper

one happy camperThis BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for up to a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary including confirmed accommodations is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday |  Arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Evening: Welcome to Costa Rica! Get to know each other with fun, interactive icebreakers
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Along the Pacific Coast

  • Kayak the Pacific coastline in Jacó
  • Drive to Playa Azul to help clean up the beach
  • Get up-close with crocodiles, iguanas, lizards and more on a boat tour on the Tarcoles River
  • Travel to our hotel in Jacó and check-in to our accommodations
  • After dinner, visit Jacó’s Market to work as a team and pack our lunches for Thursday’s picnic
  • Overnight: TBA – Jaco, Costa Rica

DAY #3 | Thursday | Manuel Antonio

  • Explore the expansive beaches and evergreen forest of the Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch in the beautiful nature of the park
  • Evening: Relax after a long day with a delicious BBQ dinner back at the hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Jaco, Costa Rica

DAY #4 | Friday | The Canopy

  •  Ziplining through the canopy of Los Sueños
  • Lunch, folkloric show and volunteer activity with the residents of the senior citizens home in
    Quebrada Ganado
  • Depart to San Jose
  •  Check-in to accommodations and prepare for Shabbat
  • Shabbat services at Shaare Zion Congregation
  • Shabbat dinner at Aish Hatorah
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat in San Jose

  • Shabbat programming and lunch with the Jewish community of San Jose
  • Enjoy an afternoon of sports at the Costa Rica Tennis Club
  • Celebrate Havdalah – the start of a new week
  • Spend the evening jumping on trampolines at Sky Jump
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #6 | Sunday | Rafting on the Pacuare River

  • Wake up early and travel through Turrialba en route to the Pacuare River
  • Begin a full-day of white water rafting on the rushing rapids of the Pacuare River
  • Independent dinner and shopping time at the mall
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #7 | Monday | Punta Arenas

  • Spend time volunteering with “Boy with A Ball”, an organization that works to better cities by
    reaching young people and equipping them to be leaders
  • Travel to Punta Arenas
  • Visit the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary, home to Macaws being rehabilitated
  • Travel to Monteverde and check-in to our accommodation
  • Overnight: TBA – Monteverde, Costa Rica

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Selvatura Park

  •  Explore the hanging bridges, amphibians and reptiles exhibit at Selvatura Park
  • Walk through the picturesque village of Santa Elena
  • Ecological night tour of the cloud forest. Walk through the forest looking for nocturnal wildlife
  • Overnight: TBA – Monteverde, Costa Rica

DAY #9 | Wednesday | La Fortuna

  • Check-out of our hotel and head to La Fortuna
  • Drive around the largest lake of Costa Rica – Lake Arenal
  • Pilgrimage walk with local students on Don Juan Farm
  • Descend to the base of La Fortuna waterfalls and cool-off in the river
  • Check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – La Fortuna, Costa Rica

DAY #10 | Thursday | Los Chiles

  • Keep an eye out of wildlife while on our boat ride on Rio Frio
  • After lunch, return to La Fortuna
  • Rest and rejuvenate in the Baldi Hot Springs
  • Overnight: TBA – La Fortuna, Costa Rica

DAY #11 | Friday | Arenal National Park

  • Explore Arenal National Park – Hike to the base of an active volcano for a stunning view!
  • Depart to Rancho Margot, orientation to the eco-lodge Ranch and everything it has to offer
  • Afternoon activity – your choice of horseback riding or ranch tour!
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner at Rancho Margot
  • Overnight: TBA – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Rancho Margot

  • Morning yoga class at the ranch
  • Horseback riding or ranch tour (whichever you did not do the previous day)
  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Tour Rancho Margot and its beautiful nature trails
  • Choice of afternoon activities including yoga, soccer and relaxing at the pool
  • Welcome in the new week with Havdalah
  • Enjoy a dance performance by a local dance group
  • Overnight: TBA – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

DAY #13 | Sunday | San Jose – the Capital of Costa Rica

  • Check-out of our hotel and head to the Oxcart Factory for shopping
  • Hike to the waterfall of Los Chorros
  • Lunch and free time in Alajuela
  • Travel to San Jose and check-in to our accommodations
  • Closing ceremony and a soccer game with the kids from “Boy with the Ball”
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #14 | Monday | Arrival in Phoenix

  • Depart from San Jose Airport
  • Pick-up at Phoenix airport and transfer to accommodations in Scottsdale
  • Program orientation and icebreakers
  • Evening: Enjoy pizza dinner and swimming in the pool
  • Overnight: TBA- Phoenix, Arizona

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Backcountry Arizona

  • Check-out and begin traveling north through the heart of Arizona to Flagstaff
  • Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park
  • Check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Sedona

  • Experience a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park
  • Explore downtown Sedona and view the local mesas
  • Dinner in Flagstaff
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #17 | Thursday | Grand Canyon

  • Rim hike along the edge of the Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail
  • National Geographic Visitor Center & IMAX Movie
  • Evening: View the wonders of the night sky at the Lowell Observatory
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #18 | Friday | Travel to Zion/Lake Powell

  • Wake up early and begin to travel north towards Utah
  • Picnic at Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell
  • Explore Glen Canyon Dam during a guided tour (dependent on heat level)
  • Check-in to Ponderosa Ranch and prepare for Shabbat
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness overlooking Zion National Park
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat on the Ranch

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Pool time, sports, and relaxed afternoon at the Ranch
  • Havdallah Ceremony – Followed by Rodeo & Barn Dance
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #20 | Sunday | Bryce Canyon

  • Leave the ranch and head toward Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Visit the Bryce Amphitheater and walk part of the canyon’s rim
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • Swim in Navajo Lake
  • Evening: Ice cream sundae making and a movie
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #21 | Monday | Las Vegas

  • Early morning hike to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park
  • Nature walk to see the breathtaking scenery of the Emerald Pools in Zion National Park
  • Head to Las Vegas and stop for a picture at the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and M&M World
  • Overnight: TBA – Henderson, Nevada

DAY #22 | Tuesday | Las Vegas

  • Tour of the Hoover Dam’s power plant at Lake Meade
  • Walk “The Strip” in fabulous Las Vegas – see the Bellagio Fountains, Streetmosphere at
    Venetian, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, and more
  • Experience a Las Vegas Show – Blue Man Group at the Luxor Hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Henderson, Nevada

DAY #23 | Wednesday | Crossing the Desert

  • Travel westwards from Nevada, through the Mojave Desert National Preserve, to California
  • Learn about human rights through a tour of the Museum of Tolerance of Los Angeles
  • After dinner, stroll along Hollywood Boulevard
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #24 | Thursday | Los Angeles

  • Stroll the Arts District of LA
  • Attend a Los Angeles Sparks basketball game
  • Take a tour of LA and do some LA sightseeing
  • Enjoy dinner nearby the Staples center
  • Visit the Venice Beach outdoor market
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #25 | Friday | Malibu

  • Take part in a service project at the Los Angeles Food Bank
  • Relax on the beach and in Santa Monica
  •  Return to campus for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #26 | Saturday | Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Evening: Group night out at Santa Monica Pier
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #27 | Sunday | Northwards through the Central Valley

  • Visit the Hollywood Museum
  • Have a picnic lunch during our Hollywood hike
  • Travel North to Yosemite National Park
  • Stop in Fresno for dinner
  • Arrive to Curry Village, Yosemite
  • Overnight: TBA – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #28 | Monday | Yosemite National Park

  • Giant Sequoias Ranger program at Mariposa
  • Day hike up the Mist Trail to the backside of Half Dome
  • Evening: Evening program in the Yosemite Lodge
  • Overnight: TBA – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #29 | Tuesday | High Sierra

  • Continue traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains north to Tahoe
  • Stopping en route at Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake
  • Dinner at the famous “Forest Buffet” at Harrah’s overlooking the Lake
  • Overnight: TBA – Carson City, Nevada

DAY #30 | Wednesday | Lake Tahoe

  • Spend the day outdoors around Lake Tahoe
  • Take a tram ride through Squaw Valley
  • Tour of the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics sites
  • Drive to Sacramento
  • Overnight: TBA – Vacaville, California

DAY #31 | Thursday | California’s Central Valley

  • Begin traveling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area
  • Visit the Nimbus salmon hatchery on the American River
  • Lunch on own in Old Town Sacramento
  • Stop en route for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory
  • Evening: Group night out exploring San Francisco
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #32 | Friday | Marin County

  • Stroll Haight District, Divisadero Street, take pictures at Alamo Square and relax at Buena
    Vista Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • See the sunlight shining through the enormous redwood trees of Muir Woods
  • Return to campus to prepare for your final group Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat service at Chabad house in Berkeley
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #33 | Saturday | Shabbat in Berkeley

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch
  • Explore the town of Berkeley, including its festive farmers market
  • Guided tour of the University of California Berkeley campus
  • Group evening out on Berkeley’s Telegraph Street
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #34 | Sunday | San Francisco

  • Take a walk across Golden Gate Bridge
  • Enjoy free time and shopping on Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Tour the historic Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison from the 1930s
  • Ride the city’s famous cable cars through the windy, hilly streets of San Francisco
  • Enjoy your final dinner and ice cream sundaes
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #35 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Travel day – flight from San Francisco

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
An optional supervised flight is offered. This flight often departs from the New York area, Atlanta, or Miami. You are responsible for your transportation to and from this location. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets using miles or points that correspond to our supervised flight itinerary, or book separate flight itineraries entirely. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in several different types of accommodations – including 3-star hotels, college dormitories, ranch-style lodging, and more rustic eco-lodges in the rainforest. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that teens pack should be lightweight and comfortable in hot temperatures. When the group is outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. These rules are strictly enforced because overexposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

Costa Rica is a tropical country but the weather varies greatly from region to region. In the highland areas you can expect cooler weather in the 60s to 70s. Along the lowland coast, the weather is typically in the 80s or even 90s during the day. June and July fall within Costa Rica’s rainy season. This means that rain is common, often occurring in the late afternoon or evening.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on Trek West USA is 30 teens and our average group size in Costa Rica is 25 teens.Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline. Historically, 50% of the Trek Pan-America group is current 8th graders and 50% is current 9th and 10th graders

  • There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. In Costa Rica, expect to eat seasoned rice, beans, tropical fruit and veggies, plantains, and much more. Vegetarians will have no problems eating well on the trip. In the U.S., you can expect to enjoy meals dining in various local restaurants.

Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport – good news! – you don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica.

Will I need any vaccines?
BBYO Passport requires its participants to be up-to-date with most vaccines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can check our immunization policy. There are no additional immunizations required aside from regularly mandated routine immunizations. However, vaccine guidelines vary by country and are continually evolving.We recommend that you consult with your teen’s physician as well as the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery.

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Trek West USATrek Costa Rica. At the end of your first experience, those making the connection will continue on to their second experience via a designated supervised flight (not included). A supervised hotel stay-over will be available if needed (included). Our first day in our new location features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting new. Trip connections are always supervised. Learn how connections work.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

Trek Pan-America

Discover the rich bio-diversity and immerse yourself in all Costa Rica has to offer. Continue on to embrace your adventurous spirit, exploring the bustling cities and breathtaking national parks of the Western USA.

Trek Pan-America

Discover the rich bio-diversity and immerse yourself in all Costa Rica has to offer. Continue on to embrace your adventurous spirit, exploring the bustling cities and breathtaking national parks of the Western USA.

Head for the cloud forests and tropical beaches on Trek Costa Rica to explore a country rich in natural beauty and bio-diversity. This experience combines outdoor exploration and cross-cultural adventure in the heart of Central America. Experience Shabbat with the local community, search for jungle wildlife on a nighttime safari, and explore your Jewish identity through the lens of life in Costa Rica.

Then continue on Trek West USA  where you’ll hike, kayak, raft, and ride horseback through the stunning terrain of the American West. Destinations include Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks as well as the bustling cities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Give back during a series of service projects, and gain a brand new appreciation for America’s natural grandeur.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Trek Costa Rica and Trek West USA are designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. The outdoor activities on this program are only meant to complement the overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim is to provide teens with a more active way to experience different countries through the beauty of their terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Explore Monteverde’s cloud forests and swim under waterfalls
Hike to an active volcano and take a dip in a hot springs thermal pool
Search for jungle wildlife on a nighttime safari
Get up-close with crocodiles, iguanas, lizards and more on a boat tour on the Tarcoles River
Go ocean kayaking on the Pacific Ocean and relax on the beach
Stay at a ranch and learn ecologically friendly farming practices
Meet with local Costa Rican teens and take part in meaningful service projects
Celebrate Shabbat together with San Jose‘s Jewish community
Raft down the roaring rapids of the Pacuare River!
Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley and CSUN.
Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park
View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon
Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park
Experience life on a western dude ranch
Feel the energy of Las Vegas and see a Blue Man Group show
Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank
Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles
Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands
Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe
Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Trek Costa Rica + Trek West USA. Trek Pan-America #1 is the combination of Trek Costa Rica #1 + Trek West USA #2 and countries will be visited in that order. Trek Pan-America #2 is the combination of Trek West USA #1 + Trek Costa Rica #2 and countries will be visited in that order. At the end of the first program, those making the connection will continue on to the second program via a designated supervised flight (not included). A supervised hotel stay-over will be available if needed (included). Your first day on the second program features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting a new. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive.

NOTE: While the above order is the default for the program, the order may be switched to accommodate group size.

One Happy Camper

one happy camperThis BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for up to a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary including confirmed accommodations is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday |  Arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Evening: Welcome to Costa Rica! Get to know each other with fun, interactive icebreakers
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Along the Pacific Coast

  • Kayak the Pacific coastline in Jacó
  • Drive to Playa Azul to help clean up the beach
  • Get up-close with crocodiles, iguanas, lizards and more on a boat tour on the Tarcoles River
  • Travel to our hotel in Jacó and check-in to our accommodations
  • After dinner, visit Jacó’s Market to work as a team and pack our lunches for Thursday’s picnic
  • Overnight: TBA – Jaco, Costa Rica

DAY #3 | Thursday | Manuel Antonio

  • Explore the expansive beaches and evergreen forest of the Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch in the beautiful nature of the park
  • Evening: Relax after a long day with a delicious BBQ dinner back at the hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Jaco, Costa Rica

DAY #4 | Friday | The Canopy

  •  Ziplining through the canopy of Los Sueños
  • Lunch, folkloric show and volunteer activity with the residents of the senior citizens home in
    Quebrada Ganado
  • Depart to San Jose
  •  Check-in to accommodations and prepare for Shabbat
  • Shabbat services at Shaare Zion Congregation
  • Shabbat dinner at Aish Hatorah
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat in San Jose

  • Shabbat programming and lunch with the Jewish community of San Jose
  • Enjoy an afternoon of sports at the Costa Rica Tennis Club
  • Celebrate Havdalah – the start of a new week
  • Spend the evening jumping on trampolines at Sky Jump
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #6 | Sunday | Rafting on the Pacuare River

  • Wake up early and travel through Turrialba en route to the Pacuare River
  • Begin a full-day of white water rafting on the rushing rapids of the Pacuare River
  • Independent dinner and shopping time at the mall
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #7 | Monday | Punta Arenas

  • Spend time volunteering with “Boy with A Ball”, an organization that works to better cities by
    reaching young people and equipping them to be leaders
  • Travel to Punta Arenas
  • Visit the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary, home to Macaws being rehabilitated
  • Travel to Monteverde and check-in to our accommodation
  • Overnight: TBA – Monteverde, Costa Rica

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Selvatura Park

  •  Explore the hanging bridges, amphibians and reptiles exhibit at Selvatura Park
  • Walk through the picturesque village of Santa Elena
  • Ecological night tour of the cloud forest. Walk through the forest looking for nocturnal wildlife
  • Overnight: TBA – Monteverde, Costa Rica

DAY #9 | Wednesday | La Fortuna

  • Check-out of our hotel and head to La Fortuna
  • Drive around the largest lake of Costa Rica – Lake Arenal
  • Pilgrimage walk with local students on Don Juan Farm
  • Descend to the base of La Fortuna waterfalls and cool-off in the river
  • Check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – La Fortuna, Costa Rica

DAY #10 | Thursday | Los Chiles

  • Keep an eye out of wildlife while on our boat ride on Rio Frio
  • After lunch, return to La Fortuna
  • Rest and rejuvenate in the Baldi Hot Springs
  • Overnight: TBA – La Fortuna, Costa Rica

DAY #11 | Friday | Arenal National Park

  • Explore Arenal National Park – Hike to the base of an active volcano for a stunning view!
  • Depart to Rancho Margot, orientation to the eco-lodge Ranch and everything it has to offer
  • Afternoon activity – your choice of horseback riding or ranch tour!
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner at Rancho Margot
  • Overnight: TBA – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Rancho Margot

  • Morning yoga class at the ranch
  • Horseback riding or ranch tour (whichever you did not do the previous day)
  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Tour Rancho Margot and its beautiful nature trails
  • Choice of afternoon activities including yoga, soccer and relaxing at the pool
  • Welcome in the new week with Havdalah
  • Enjoy a dance performance by a local dance group
  • Overnight: TBA – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

DAY #13 | Sunday | San Jose – the Capital of Costa Rica

  • Check-out of our hotel and head to the Oxcart Factory for shopping
  • Hike to the waterfall of Los Chorros
  • Lunch and free time in Alajuela
  • Travel to San Jose and check-in to our accommodations
  • Closing ceremony and a soccer game with the kids from “Boy with the Ball”
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #14 | Monday | Arrival in Phoenix

  • Depart from San Jose Airport
  • Pick-up at Phoenix airport and transfer to accommodations in Scottsdale
  • Program orientation and icebreakers
  • Evening: Enjoy pizza dinner and swimming in the pool
  • Overnight: TBA- Phoenix, Arizona

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Backcountry Arizona

  • Check-out and begin traveling north through the heart of Arizona to Flagstaff
  • Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park
  • Check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Sedona

  • Experience a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park
  • Explore downtown Sedona and view the local mesas
  • Dinner in Flagstaff
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #17 | Thursday | Grand Canyon

  • Rim hike along the edge of the Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail
  • National Geographic Visitor Center & IMAX Movie
  • Evening: View the wonders of the night sky at the Lowell Observatory
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #18 | Friday | Travel to Zion/Lake Powell

  • Wake up early and begin to travel north towards Utah
  • Picnic at Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell
  • Explore Glen Canyon Dam during a guided tour (dependent on heat level)
  • Check-in to Ponderosa Ranch and prepare for Shabbat
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness overlooking Zion National Park
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat on the Ranch

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Pool time, sports, and relaxed afternoon at the Ranch
  • Havdallah Ceremony – Followed by Rodeo & Barn Dance
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #20 | Sunday | Bryce Canyon

  • Leave the ranch and head toward Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Visit the Bryce Amphitheater and walk part of the canyon’s rim
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • Swim in Navajo Lake
  • Evening: Ice cream sundae making and a movie
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #21 | Monday | Las Vegas

  • Early morning hike to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park
  • Nature walk to see the breathtaking scenery of the Emerald Pools in Zion National Park
  • Head to Las Vegas and stop for a picture at the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and M&M World
  • Overnight: TBA – Henderson, Nevada

DAY #22 | Tuesday | Las Vegas

  • Tour of the Hoover Dam’s power plant at Lake Meade
  • Walk “The Strip” in fabulous Las Vegas – see the Bellagio Fountains, Streetmosphere at
    Venetian, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, and more
  • Experience a Las Vegas Show – Blue Man Group at the Luxor Hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Henderson, Nevada

DAY #23 | Wednesday | Crossing the Desert

  • Travel westwards from Nevada, through the Mojave Desert National Preserve, to California
  • Learn about human rights through a tour of the Museum of Tolerance of Los Angeles
  • After dinner, stroll along Hollywood Boulevard
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #24 | Thursday | Los Angeles

  • Stroll the Arts District of LA
  • Attend a Los Angeles Sparks basketball game
  • Take a tour of LA and do some LA sightseeing
  • Enjoy dinner nearby the Staples center
  • Visit the Venice Beach outdoor market
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #25 | Friday | Malibu

  • Take part in a service project at the Los Angeles Food Bank
  • Relax on the beach and in Santa Monica
  •  Return to campus for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #26 | Saturday | Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Evening: Group night out at Santa Monica Pier
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #27 | Sunday | Northwards through the Central Valley

  • Visit the Hollywood Museum
  • Have a picnic lunch during our Hollywood hike
  • Travel North to Yosemite National Park
  • Stop in Fresno for dinner
  • Arrive to Curry Village, Yosemite
  • Overnight: TBA – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #28 | Monday | Yosemite National Park

  • Giant Sequoias Ranger program at Mariposa
  • Day hike up the Mist Trail to the backside of Half Dome
  • Evening: Evening program in the Yosemite Lodge
  • Overnight: TBA – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #29 | Tuesday | High Sierra

  • Continue traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains north to Tahoe
  • Stopping en route at Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake
  • Dinner at the famous “Forest Buffet” at Harrah’s overlooking the Lake
  • Overnight: TBA – Carson City, Nevada

DAY #30 | Wednesday | Lake Tahoe

  • Spend the day outdoors around Lake Tahoe
  • Take a tram ride through Squaw Valley
  • Tour of the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics sites
  • Drive to Sacramento
  • Overnight: TBA – Vacaville, California

DAY #31 | Thursday | California’s Central Valley

  • Begin traveling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area
  • Visit the Nimbus salmon hatchery on the American River
  • Lunch on own in Old Town Sacramento
  • Stop en route for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory
  • Evening: Group night out exploring San Francisco
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #32 | Friday | Marin County

  • Stroll Haight District, Divisadero Street, take pictures at Alamo Square and relax at Buena
    Vista Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • See the sunlight shining through the enormous redwood trees of Muir Woods
  • Return to campus to prepare for your final group Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat service at Chabad house in Berkeley
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #33 | Saturday | Shabbat in Berkeley

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch
  • Explore the town of Berkeley, including its festive farmers market
  • Guided tour of the University of California Berkeley campus
  • Group evening out on Berkeley’s Telegraph Street
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #34 | Sunday | San Francisco

  • Take a walk across Golden Gate Bridge
  • Enjoy free time and shopping on Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Tour the historic Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison from the 1930s
  • Ride the city’s famous cable cars through the windy, hilly streets of San Francisco
  • Enjoy your final dinner and ice cream sundaes
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #35 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Travel day – flight from San Francisco

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
An optional supervised flight is offered. This flight often departs from the New York area, Atlanta, or Miami. You are responsible for your transportation to and from this location. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets using miles or points that correspond to our supervised flight itinerary, or book separate flight itineraries entirely. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in several different types of accommodations – including 3-star hotels, college dormitories, ranch-style lodging, and more rustic eco-lodges in the rainforest. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that teens pack should be lightweight and comfortable in hot temperatures. When the group is outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. These rules are strictly enforced because overexposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

Costa Rica is a tropical country but the weather varies greatly from region to region. In the highland areas you can expect cooler weather in the 60s to 70s. Along the lowland coast, the weather is typically in the 80s or even 90s during the day. June and July fall within Costa Rica’s rainy season. This means that rain is common, often occurring in the late afternoon or evening.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on Trek West USA is 30 teens and our average group size in Costa Rica is 25 teens.Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline. Historically, 50% of the Trek Pan-America group is current 8th graders and 50% is current 9th and 10th graders

  • There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. In Costa Rica, expect to eat seasoned rice, beans, tropical fruit and veggies, plantains, and much more. Vegetarians will have no problems eating well on the trip. In the U.S., you can expect to enjoy meals dining in various local restaurants.

Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport – good news! – you don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica.

Will I need any vaccines?
BBYO Passport requires its participants to be up-to-date with most vaccines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can check our immunization policy. There are no additional immunizations required aside from regularly mandated routine immunizations. However, vaccine guidelines vary by country and are continually evolving.We recommend that you consult with your teen’s physician as well as the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery.

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Trek West USATrek Costa Rica. At the end of your first experience, those making the connection will continue on to their second experience via a designated supervised flight (not included). A supervised hotel stay-over will be available if needed (included). Our first day in our new location features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting new. Trip connections are always supervised. Learn how connections work.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

We know you'll love a BBYO Passport experience. But don't just take our word. Check out these real reviews from our past travelers and families.

 

Head for the cloud forests and tropical beaches on Trek Costa Rica to explore a country rich in natural beauty and bio-diversity. This experience combines outdoor exploration and cross-cultural adventure in the heart of Central America. Experience Shabbat with the local community, search for jungle wildlife on a nighttime safari, and explore your Jewish identity through the lens of life in Costa Rica.

Then continue on Trek West USA  where you’ll hike, kayak, raft, and ride horseback through the stunning terrain of the American West. Destinations include Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks as well as the bustling cities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Give back during a series of service projects, and gain a brand new appreciation for America’s natural grandeur.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

While Trek Costa Rica and Trek West USA are designed for active teens, the program is appropriate for most. Do not worry about needing to be super outdoorsy to enjoy yourself. The outdoor activities on this program are only meant to complement the overall touring (most of which is still bus-based). The ultimate aim is to provide teens with a more active way to experience different countries through the beauty of their terrain. See you on the trails!

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary

Explore Monteverde’s cloud forests and swim under waterfalls
Hike to an active volcano and take a dip in a hot springs thermal pool
Search for jungle wildlife on a nighttime safari
Get up-close with crocodiles, iguanas, lizards and more on a boat tour on the Tarcoles River
Go ocean kayaking on the Pacific Ocean and relax on the beach
Stay at a ranch and learn ecologically friendly farming practices
Meet with local Costa Rican teens and take part in meaningful service projects
Celebrate Shabbat together with San Jose‘s Jewish community
Raft down the roaring rapids of the Pacuare River!
Experience a taste of college life staying on the campus of UC Berkeley and CSUN.
Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park
View the shear majesty of the Grand Canyon
Hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park
Experience life on a western dude ranch
Feel the energy of Las Vegas and see a Blue Man Group show
Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society rehabilitation center or at a LA Food Bank
Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood in Los Angeles
Participate in a native species restoration project in the Marin Headlands
Hike to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite and kayak on Lake Tahoe
Tour Alcatraz, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Trek Costa Rica + Trek West USA. Trek Pan-America #1 is the combination of Trek Costa Rica #1 + Trek West USA #2 and countries will be visited in that order. Trek Pan-America #2 is the combination of Trek West USA #1 + Trek Costa Rica #2 and countries will be visited in that order. At the end of the first program, those making the connection will continue on to the second program via a designated supervised flight (not included). A supervised hotel stay-over will be available if needed (included). Your first day on the second program features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting a new. Trip connections are always supervised and all-inclusive.

NOTE: While the above order is the default for the program, the order may be switched to accommodate group size.

One Happy Camper

one happy camperThis BBYO Passport summer experience is eligible for up to a $1,000 grant from One Happy Camper. The grant is available in select communities to teens participating in their first Jewish overnight summer experience. Learn more and see if you qualify for One Happy Camper.

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary including confirmed accommodations is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday |  Arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Evening: Welcome to Costa Rica! Get to know each other with fun, interactive icebreakers
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Along the Pacific Coast

  • Kayak the Pacific coastline in Jacó
  • Drive to Playa Azul to help clean up the beach
  • Get up-close with crocodiles, iguanas, lizards and more on a boat tour on the Tarcoles River
  • Travel to our hotel in Jacó and check-in to our accommodations
  • After dinner, visit Jacó’s Market to work as a team and pack our lunches for Thursday’s picnic
  • Overnight: TBA – Jaco, Costa Rica

DAY #3 | Thursday | Manuel Antonio

  • Explore the expansive beaches and evergreen forest of the Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch in the beautiful nature of the park
  • Evening: Relax after a long day with a delicious BBQ dinner back at the hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Jaco, Costa Rica

DAY #4 | Friday | The Canopy

  •  Ziplining through the canopy of Los Sueños
  • Lunch, folkloric show and volunteer activity with the residents of the senior citizens home in
    Quebrada Ganado
  • Depart to San Jose
  •  Check-in to accommodations and prepare for Shabbat
  • Shabbat services at Shaare Zion Congregation
  • Shabbat dinner at Aish Hatorah
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat in San Jose

  • Shabbat programming and lunch with the Jewish community of San Jose
  • Enjoy an afternoon of sports at the Costa Rica Tennis Club
  • Celebrate Havdalah – the start of a new week
  • Spend the evening jumping on trampolines at Sky Jump
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #6 | Sunday | Rafting on the Pacuare River

  • Wake up early and travel through Turrialba en route to the Pacuare River
  • Begin a full-day of white water rafting on the rushing rapids of the Pacuare River
  • Independent dinner and shopping time at the mall
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #7 | Monday | Punta Arenas

  • Spend time volunteering with “Boy with A Ball”, an organization that works to better cities by
    reaching young people and equipping them to be leaders
  • Travel to Punta Arenas
  • Visit the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary, home to Macaws being rehabilitated
  • Travel to Monteverde and check-in to our accommodation
  • Overnight: TBA – Monteverde, Costa Rica

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Selvatura Park

  •  Explore the hanging bridges, amphibians and reptiles exhibit at Selvatura Park
  • Walk through the picturesque village of Santa Elena
  • Ecological night tour of the cloud forest. Walk through the forest looking for nocturnal wildlife
  • Overnight: TBA – Monteverde, Costa Rica

DAY #9 | Wednesday | La Fortuna

  • Check-out of our hotel and head to La Fortuna
  • Drive around the largest lake of Costa Rica – Lake Arenal
  • Pilgrimage walk with local students on Don Juan Farm
  • Descend to the base of La Fortuna waterfalls and cool-off in the river
  • Check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – La Fortuna, Costa Rica

DAY #10 | Thursday | Los Chiles

  • Keep an eye out of wildlife while on our boat ride on Rio Frio
  • After lunch, return to La Fortuna
  • Rest and rejuvenate in the Baldi Hot Springs
  • Overnight: TBA – La Fortuna, Costa Rica

DAY #11 | Friday | Arenal National Park

  • Explore Arenal National Park – Hike to the base of an active volcano for a stunning view!
  • Depart to Rancho Margot, orientation to the eco-lodge Ranch and everything it has to offer
  • Afternoon activity – your choice of horseback riding or ranch tour!
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner at Rancho Margot
  • Overnight: TBA – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Rancho Margot

  • Morning yoga class at the ranch
  • Horseback riding or ranch tour (whichever you did not do the previous day)
  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Tour Rancho Margot and its beautiful nature trails
  • Choice of afternoon activities including yoga, soccer and relaxing at the pool
  • Welcome in the new week with Havdalah
  • Enjoy a dance performance by a local dance group
  • Overnight: TBA – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

DAY #13 | Sunday | San Jose – the Capital of Costa Rica

  • Check-out of our hotel and head to the Oxcart Factory for shopping
  • Hike to the waterfall of Los Chorros
  • Lunch and free time in Alajuela
  • Travel to San Jose and check-in to our accommodations
  • Closing ceremony and a soccer game with the kids from “Boy with the Ball”
  • Overnight: TBA – San Jose, Costa Rica

DAY #14 | Monday | Arrival in Phoenix

  • Depart from San Jose Airport
  • Pick-up at Phoenix airport and transfer to accommodations in Scottsdale
  • Program orientation and icebreakers
  • Evening: Enjoy pizza dinner and swimming in the pool
  • Overnight: TBA- Phoenix, Arizona

DAY #15 | Tuesday | Backcountry Arizona

  • Check-out and begin traveling north through the heart of Arizona to Flagstaff
  • Explore Sedona and enjoy Slippery Rock Park
  • Check-in to our accommodations
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #16 | Wednesday | Sedona

  • Experience a natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park
  • Explore downtown Sedona and view the local mesas
  • Dinner in Flagstaff
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #17 | Thursday | Grand Canyon

  • Rim hike along the edge of the Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail
  • National Geographic Visitor Center & IMAX Movie
  • Evening: View the wonders of the night sky at the Lowell Observatory
  • Overnight: TBA – Flagstaff, Arizona

DAY #18 | Friday | Travel to Zion/Lake Powell

  • Wake up early and begin to travel north towards Utah
  • Picnic at Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell
  • Explore Glen Canyon Dam during a guided tour (dependent on heat level)
  • Check-in to Ponderosa Ranch and prepare for Shabbat
  • Experience Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness overlooking Zion National Park
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #19 | Saturday | Shabbat on the Ranch

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Pool time, sports, and relaxed afternoon at the Ranch
  • Havdallah Ceremony – Followed by Rodeo & Barn Dance
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #20 | Sunday | Bryce Canyon

  • Leave the ranch and head toward Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Visit the Bryce Amphitheater and walk part of the canyon’s rim
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • Swim in Navajo Lake
  • Evening: Ice cream sundae making and a movie
  • Overnight: TBA – Orderville, Utah

DAY #21 | Monday | Las Vegas

  • Early morning hike to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park
  • Nature walk to see the breathtaking scenery of the Emerald Pools in Zion National Park
  • Head to Las Vegas and stop for a picture at the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and M&M World
  • Overnight: TBA – Henderson, Nevada

DAY #22 | Tuesday | Las Vegas

  • Tour of the Hoover Dam’s power plant at Lake Meade
  • Walk “The Strip” in fabulous Las Vegas – see the Bellagio Fountains, Streetmosphere at
    Venetian, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, and more
  • Experience a Las Vegas Show – Blue Man Group at the Luxor Hotel
  • Overnight: TBA – Henderson, Nevada

DAY #23 | Wednesday | Crossing the Desert

  • Travel westwards from Nevada, through the Mojave Desert National Preserve, to California
  • Learn about human rights through a tour of the Museum of Tolerance of Los Angeles
  • After dinner, stroll along Hollywood Boulevard
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #24 | Thursday | Los Angeles

  • Stroll the Arts District of LA
  • Attend a Los Angeles Sparks basketball game
  • Take a tour of LA and do some LA sightseeing
  • Enjoy dinner nearby the Staples center
  • Visit the Venice Beach outdoor market
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #25 | Friday | Malibu

  • Take part in a service project at the Los Angeles Food Bank
  • Relax on the beach and in Santa Monica
  •  Return to campus for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #26 | Saturday | Shabbat in Los Angeles

  • Shabbat programming, lunch, and free time for sports and relaxation
  • Evening: Group night out at Santa Monica Pier
  • Overnight: TBA – Northridge, California

DAY #27 | Sunday | Northwards through the Central Valley

  • Visit the Hollywood Museum
  • Have a picnic lunch during our Hollywood hike
  • Travel North to Yosemite National Park
  • Stop in Fresno for dinner
  • Arrive to Curry Village, Yosemite
  • Overnight: TBA – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #28 | Monday | Yosemite National Park

  • Giant Sequoias Ranger program at Mariposa
  • Day hike up the Mist Trail to the backside of Half Dome
  • Evening: Evening program in the Yosemite Lodge
  • Overnight: TBA – Yosemite National Park, California

DAY #29 | Tuesday | High Sierra

  • Continue traveling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains north to Tahoe
  • Stopping en route at Grover Hot Springs and Mono Lake
  • Dinner at the famous “Forest Buffet” at Harrah’s overlooking the Lake
  • Overnight: TBA – Carson City, Nevada

DAY #30 | Wednesday | Lake Tahoe

  • Spend the day outdoors around Lake Tahoe
  • Take a tram ride through Squaw Valley
  • Tour of the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics sites
  • Drive to Sacramento
  • Overnight: TBA – Vacaville, California

DAY #31 | Thursday | California’s Central Valley

  • Begin traveling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Bay Area
  • Visit the Nimbus salmon hatchery on the American River
  • Lunch on own in Old Town Sacramento
  • Stop en route for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory
  • Evening: Group night out exploring San Francisco
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #32 | Friday | Marin County

  • Stroll Haight District, Divisadero Street, take pictures at Alamo Square and relax at Buena
    Vista Park
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch
  • See the sunlight shining through the enormous redwood trees of Muir Woods
  • Return to campus to prepare for your final group Shabbat
  • Attend Kabbalat Shabbat service at Chabad house in Berkeley
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #33 | Saturday | Shabbat in Berkeley

  • Shabbat morning program and lunch
  • Explore the town of Berkeley, including its festive farmers market
  • Guided tour of the University of California Berkeley campus
  • Group evening out on Berkeley’s Telegraph Street
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #34 | Sunday | San Francisco

  • Take a walk across Golden Gate Bridge
  • Enjoy free time and shopping on Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Tour the historic Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, a maximum-security prison from the 1930s
  • Ride the city’s famous cable cars through the windy, hilly streets of San Francisco
  • Enjoy your final dinner and ice cream sundaes
  • Overnight: TBA – Berkeley, California

DAY #35 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Travel day – flight from San Francisco

You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
An optional supervised flight is offered. This flight often departs from the New York area, Atlanta, or Miami. You are responsible for your transportation to and from this location. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets using miles or points that correspond to our supervised flight itinerary, or book separate flight itineraries entirely. Learn more about our supervised flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in several different types of accommodations – including 3-star hotels, college dormitories, ranch-style lodging, and more rustic eco-lodges in the rainforest. When booking our accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are sent out approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation email series. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to families before departure. Learn more about our staff team.

What’s the summer weather like?
Temperatures range from hot to hotter during a summer in the American West. Daytime temperatures range from the 80s to 100s. The clothing that teens pack should be lightweight and comfortable in hot temperatures. When the group is outside for an extended period of time, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. These rules are strictly enforced because overexposure to the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburns. The good news is that the heat is mostly dry – there is very little humidity. So the higher temperatures may feel more comfortable than what you are used to at home.

Costa Rica is a tropical country but the weather varies greatly from region to region. In the highland areas you can expect cooler weather in the 60s to 70s. Along the lowland coast, the weather is typically in the 80s or even 90s during the day. June and July fall within Costa Rica’s rainy season. This means that rain is common, often occurring in the late afternoon or evening.

How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.

What are the typical group dynamics?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size on Trek West USA is 30 teens and our average group size in Costa Rica is 25 teens.Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two, and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline. Historically, 50% of the Trek Pan-America group is current 8th graders and 50% is current 9th and 10th graders

  • There will be a way for teens to communicate with each other before the program in late spring.

What’s the food like?
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, specially catered meals and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. Some meals that we provide outside of Israel may be certified kosher, but most meals are not. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian or pescatarian options available, but we will also not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice. Some meals may be provided via an allowance system whereby teens will be given cash to purchase the food of their choice. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options, and teens can choose the food of their liking. In situations where time is of the essence, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds, including non-kosher orders. When the group eats at non-kosher restaurants with a pre-ordered menu, the options will only consist of vegetarian or pescatarian dishes. Participants with special dietary situations (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program. In Costa Rica, expect to eat seasoned rice, beans, tropical fruit and veggies, plantains, and much more. Vegetarians will have no problems eating well on the trip. In the U.S., you can expect to enjoy meals dining in various local restaurants.

Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport – good news! – you don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica.

Will I need any vaccines?
BBYO Passport requires its participants to be up-to-date with most vaccines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can check our immunization policy. There are no additional immunizations required aside from regularly mandated routine immunizations. However, vaccine guidelines vary by country and are continually evolving.We recommend that you consult with your teen’s physician as well as the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery.

How the Connection Works

As a connected experience, this program combines Trek West USATrek Costa Rica. At the end of your first experience, those making the connection will continue on to their second experience via a designated supervised flight (not included). A supervised hotel stay-over will be available if needed (included). Our first day in our new location features plenty of rest and relaxation before starting new. Trip connections are always supervised. Learn how connections work.

 

PROGRAM REVIEWS

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