Participate in an educational trip to Costa Rica!

Are you interested in a unique opportunity that combines the principles of sustainable tourism and educational travel with international community-based library service work? 

This trip, hosted by the ALA International Relations Office, is designed for librarians at all stages of their careers. The program combines grassroots, community-based service work on three library projects in the Monteverde Zone in Costa Rica, and a full itinerary of travel activities centered around understanding both the natural and cultural environments of this spectacular country. Travel dates will be June 21-29, 2014. 

costa rica image 1

The trip will be led Laurie Kutner, Library Associate Professor, University of Vermont, who for the last six years has direct an on-site internship with Syracuse iSchool students building community-based digital collections in Monteverde.  Laurie’s subject expertise is environment, anthropology, geography, and global studies.   

Joining Laurie for the tour will be the experienced Eric Gomez, owner of Costa Rica Green Adventures. CRGA’s philosophy is to provide opportunities that have a positive cultural impact on both environment and people.

The cost for the trip is $2,000

It includes all in-country transport, lodging, activities, and food, with the exception of 2-3 meals.  It does not include air travel to and from Liberia, Costa Rica. Participants are responsible for booking and covering the additional cost of their own airline tickets. 

A small portion for the tour cost will go to help ALA further its international efforts.

If possible, please express interest by March 1.

For interest in participating and more information please email


Your Trip Itinerary:

June 21:

You will be met at Liberia Airport by Laurie Kutner, trip leader, and Eric Gomez, owner of Costa Rica Green Adventures, who will be with you for the duration of your trip. 

You will travel from the airport to Arenal Volcano, and will be staying at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.


June 22:

Begin your introduction to this spectacular country by walking the Arenal Hanging Bridges, to learn about the primary rain forest and local environment.  You may expect to see toucans, poison dart frogs, howling, spider, and white-faced capuchin monkeys.  You’ll have lunch at a local organic farm and educational center.  Later on, you’ll visit a family-owned local hot-springs, for relaxation and a home-style dinner.


June 23 – 26:

Before traveling to Monteverde, the group will hike the lava flow trail at Arenal Volcano National Park, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding forests, mountains, Arenal Volcano, and Lake Arenal, The group will arrive in Monteverde in the afternoon, and you’ll be staying at the Fonda Vela Hotel from June 23 – 26.

Monteverde is a small community in the high elevation cloud forest with a unique social, cultural, and environmental history.  The main focus of our time in Monteverde is to engage on a deeper level with life in this small community, learning about Monteverde as place, while participating in community-based library service projects.  You will work at the following locations for part of each of the days we are here:


costa rica image 2Monteverde Institute Library

1) a very small lending library in a new community center in San Luis that was just constructed with country development funding  (San Luis is a small community in the Monteverde Zone)

2) Monteverde Institute Library  (academic oriented) 

3) Monteverde Friends School library 

costa rica image 3 Monteverde Community Library

You will spend half-days doing library service work, and the other half of the day exploring the area to understand the larger context of the place. While in Monteverde, you will attend talks and presentations by local experts, who will cover the subjects of local history, sustainable community development, ecosystem biodiversity, challenges the area faces, and more.  Laurie will deliver content and context of libraries in Costa Rica.

You will hike the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; other possible activities include: going on a guided forest night hike, ziplining (Monteverde is the birthplace of ziplining!), visiting a coffee farm, and more.  Monteverde is a renowned international ecotourist destination.

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 The Monteverde Institute will host us while we are here, acting as our base of operations.

June 27 – 28:

We will leave Monteverde and head down to the North Pacific coast, where we will spend our last days on the beaches at Avellanas.   Accommodations will be at Cabinas Las Olas.


June 29:

One final swim, and then transfer to Liberia Airport.


For interest in participating and more information please email