Arcos Journeys Abroad High School Programs

Arcos Journeys Abroad

Why choose Arcos Journeys Abroad?

Arcos Journeys Abroad is the division of Arcos Learning Abroad dedicated to working with and serving participants under 18 years of age. The Arcos family of programs is a global education community committed to positive change through transformative international education experiences. Arcos provides intentional study abroad programming with the participant at heart.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Oaxaca 2024: a Trip Leader's Perspective

Our high school has had two very successful trips so far with Arcos, the first to Granada and most recently to Oaxaca. While there is lots to like about the organization - prices, flexibility, efficiency, communication etc. - what really stands out is the personnel they have working on the ground when you arrive. In the case of Oaxaca the site director was a long time local whose knowledge and connections to the area and the people led to some really unique excursions that felt intimate and "off the grid" compared to what the average touring school group might see. We requested a food focus, for example, and did we ever get it: we found ourselves in family kitchens making tamales, grinding cacao beans in a Zapotec village, tossing homemade tortillas onto a hot comal, learning about the Milpa agriculture from food activists, and more.

Similar to our previous experiences, the directors and assistants interact with and care for the students in a way that feels authentic and genuine, and this makes a big difference if you're a small school that can't afford to send lots of extra chaperones on a trip. In a similar vein, the willingness and efficiency with which the directors handle the logistics makes you feel "taken care of" so that you can focus on your students' experience and enjoy the trip *with* them rather than vicariously *through* them.

Another really big perk of this trip that our students report having enjoyed is the structured freedom they are granted to test their language skills and grow their independence in a new environment. In Oaxaca, as in the Granada program, students are expected to learn to transport themselves between language classes and home stays. Granted, in Oaxaca, this experience proved to be a little more challenging given the size of the city and distances between home stays, meeting points, and activities (host families were always willing to help out with rides when logistics, traffic or other factors got in the way). Still, the instances where students were able to self-transport provided them with built-in microopportunities to shop, grab coffee, interact with vendors, and experience the richness of their environments without the looming gaze of adult helicoptering.

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Yes, I recommend this program


Mexico was really fun and exciting, I really enjoyed the hot springs and going downtown. The hotel was good, the food was the same every breakfast but that’s ok. The pool was good and it was perfect weather, not too hot and not too cold. I really liked that we could room with our friends, it was really fun. Maybe something I would change is letting us chose out food and what we should eat, because some of the food was new and I would prefer to eat food that I feel comfortable with. The food there would be good if we got to choose.

What would you improve about this program?
Have is get our own food
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Yes, I recommend this program

Very fun and educational experience!

I loved my trip to Costa Rica with Arcos, I found the activities such as zip lining, cooking, dancing, etc. super fun and helpful to appreciate the culture. The family I stayed with for the majority of the trip was super sweet and accommodating to me even though communication was a challenge(I don’t speak Spanish). The trip was very well organized, with the group leaders Catalina and Laura always being on top of everything and perfectly timing activities. The volunteer work was rewarding in itself and felt productive.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Arcos Parent Review

Our 17 yo son participated in Arcos' program on the Camino de Santiago last summer, and he had a great experience! The Arcos staff are top notch-- from our early Zoom informational meeting, to the post-program follow-up, the staff was knowledgeable and attentive every step of the way. Our son was well-prepared for the program, and was encouraged to challenge himself along the way. The small-group experience was especially meaningful, with lots of time to get to know the other participants and the leaders.
Thank you, Arcos!!!

  • Knowledgable staff
  • Thoughtful itnerary
  • Amazing location
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Yes, I recommend this program

Found a new family in Costa Rica

Our daughter attended the Arcos trip in Costa Rica for 4 weeks, doing two homestay programs focused on language and culture. We did not know anything about the company, but were provided with endless contacts to call and all our questions were followed up with by the company so we decided to give them a try after overwhelmingly positive feedback. Our daughter had a wonderful time. I do think much of it was because of her first host family; they were a wonderful match. She stayed with a family and several kids from the program as it was a small session. They embraced our daughter and made her feel truly at home so much so that months later they still talk on a regular basis. The second home stay in a different area was not a good fit, but Brent and his team swiftly took action and the rest was wonderful as well. I really valued how accessible the team was especially on this and one other item that came up. Things happen, but how a company deals with it matters. My daughter had real opportunities to work on her Spanish with the teachers, but we stressed to Brent that that was a priority. I think the excursion trips and travel timing could be spaced a bit better, but I love that in each session the kids went somewhere else. My daughter had plenty of food and chances to shop and eat out with other students. It was a great program and good value for the cost, but it is really what the right child makes of it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
This is for mature teens that want to really make the effort to embrace the opportunity. This in not a luxe teen tour. There is down time and the activities are what is available locally, but Arcos did a good job varying up the options. Go in with an open mind and heart and you may find a new family in another country.
  • Great families
  • Responsive team to issues
  • Chance to experience local area and language
  • Excursions are far given region so spacing them in trip better or maybe even having kids fly out of a different area worth considering
  • Team could be a bit more organized day to day on the ground
  • Asked to share a bed on hotel excursions. (but addressed immediately when we called)


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

César Auguso Velasquez

Job Title
Resident Director - Peru
César Velasquez was born in Callao, the first harbor in Peru and the most important in South America. He studied Economy at the USMP University, and also studied English in the TRANSLEX Institute in Lima. He is very proud of his country and culture and that's why his passions include leading study abroad programs and sharing his country’s mysteries and wonders. César has many years of experience as an onsite director for US universities and study abroad programs in Peru. He also loves to be involved in volunteer activities to help the local community; both individually and in teams. He is passionate about supporting causes that are important to building a more just and equitable society.
César Auguso Velasquez


What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite memory is seeing the admiration and joy in the eyes of my students when they discover the wonders of Cusco, the capital and birthplace of the Inca empire. I always treasure the memories of watching my students interact with local students and professors in Lima, making friends, and learning Spanish, all while appreciating the rich culture and cuisine of Peru.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working with Arcos has changed my perspective. I have a new understanding of what it means when people come to visit my country. It makes a big difference when students truly want to immerse themselves in Peruvian culture and share it internationally. Arcos has allowed me to continue to develop my knowledge of Peruvian culture and history, and share it with students who really appreciate it.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Most students start their stories with food. As you may have heard, Peruvian food is known as one of the most delicious cuisines in the world and has so many flavors to discover. Students also talk about the colors. From the moment our students step off the plane, they are surprised by the rainbow of colorful crafts, sweaters and ponchos. Machu Picchu and all the sacred sites in Cusco leave you breathless. What often sticks with students is the mysteries surrounding their construction and how advanced the Inca civilization was to have created such astounding cities and societies.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I am drawn to Arcos' Ancestral Flavors: A Oaxacan Culinary Journey. Like Peru, Oaxaca, Mexico has a strong and deep Indigenous culture that infuses the food with unique flavors, traditional spices and local ingredients. I would love to try the Oaxacan ceviche to see how it is the same or different from Peruvian ceviches. I have heard that mole is also delicioso!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Arcos stands out from the crowd because of the level of personalized attention the directors give to each student. We offer exciting programs full of meaningful cultural activities and excursions. I am especially proud of my team when unexpected situations arise. Our team has the experience and attitude to adapt and be flexible. Sometimes those unexpected changes lead to learning and on-the-spot problem-solving, which is one of the greatest lessons of travel abroad.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The biggest factor in success is integrity. We deliver the highest quality in our programs. We design our calendars with the growth and learning of our students in mind. We put in the care and effort necessary to give our students the opportunity to explore as they learn about themselves and the world.

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