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JAKERA Adventure

About

Jakera has been running student programs and delivering travel solutions to clients in Central & South America since the mid-1990s.

We like to give our clients authentic experiences that bring you into contact with people and environments in your host country. We believe in the value of full cultural immersion, beginning with language tuition but also covering an understanding of how communities adapt to their political, economic and natural environments and how this shapes how we live.

We know how much of a privilege and commitment travel opportunities are, so please ask us any questions so we can help you optimize your plans. Most of our visitors are solo travelers but we welcome groups also so let's start a dialogue!

Website
www.jakera.com
Founded
1998
Headquarters

Mtrs 500, Santa Tereas
Santa Teresa
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
60111
Costa Rica

Reviews

Default avatar
Sandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really enjoyed my time in Cuba and I have Jakera to thank for that! The staff makes you feel very welcome and you get to be a part of the Jakera family very quickly. As a solo traveler, it's so nice to feel that you have people around you that you can trust and also have fun with. Leonel and Leandro are super kind and helpful, they will help you with anything you need. The rest of the staff are also very nice and as a tourist it's nice to get to know and spend time with the local people. I also had so much fun with the other "clients" that I met there. I enjoyed the spanish lessons I had with Laritza, she really pushed me to talk spanish and gave me the confidence that i needed. I would absolutley recommend others to visit Jakera Cuba!!

What would you improve about this program?
I really enjoyed the cultural walks and i wish that some of them would be longer. I felt that some of them were too short while others were perfect when it comes to time, the locations and the information the guide would give us.
Also, i found the dancing teachers at Casa del son to be unprofessional with the girls. That was upseting for me to hear since I was serious and actually was there to learn the dance. Some girls were offended and didn't want to go back there.
Default avatar
Ida
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This place is so great. The staff, the teachers, food, housing and overall experience. I learned so much and met so many great people. This is truly a paradise.
Spanish lessons are so good and if you start from scratch or already know some it will improve your skills. Laura and Peggy are very good at teaching.

All the staff is great as well as the other people who live here. Pablo, Mellie, Brandon, Sindy, Maikol, Chris, Ada and so on will all make your stay feel like a small home.

The city of Santa Teresa is small but good. Beach is beautiful and there´s many things to do. Jakera will also help organize great trips. ATV and isla tortuga were so great.

Cirenas, Monteverde and Natuwa are great things to do and you will learn a lot about animals, recycling and so much more.

Default avatar
Ofra
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The hostel was really nice and in the heart of Havana. The staff explained everything really well and you dive right into the Spanish and dance classes. The culture walks were also a really nice way to explore the city with your new friends. The spanish teachers will also do the culture walks which creates a really nice bond with them, they are really a part of the experience as well. Everything was arranged very well! If you are travelling further trough Cuba the staff is very helpfull in arranging whatever you need. This can be very handy when you visit Cuba and your spanish is not so good. The program is quite flexible, adaptions are possible.
Overall, it was a really great time with so many wonderful people! Really an unforgetable experience!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't hesitate just go for it! The experience will be really good
Mel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Camp in Jakera is a very nice place that is situated between palms, trees and a river. Next to the family's two lovely dogs and a cat, howler monkeys, squirrels, iguanas, all kinds of birds and many animals more are your direct neighbors. The Host-family and staff is very cheerful, caring and happy to help with everything. The best thing though is the great food that is freshly made every day and is of great variation and flavour. Shoutout to chef Maikol who wouldn't miss the chance to swing the spoon with a little dance move!
In the 4 weeks Program, I experienced a lot of unique things that I haven't done before, such as surfing on beautiful playa hermosa, practising yoga at the beachfront or volunteering at the local community and recycling center. One of the highlights was the 4-days trip to Monteverde, where we saw the raw beauty of the cloud forest and got our adrenaline kicks at the longest ziplining cable in Latin America. In the turtle project, we rescued several hundres of turtle eggs from thieves and could even touch the wild turtles, an experience that I will never forget.
I enjoyed myself a lot during the last four weeks and am happy to have collected so many nice memories of this beautiful country. Whoever wants to learn some spanish, do something nice for the enivornment and the community and experience an unforgettable time is totally right at Jakera Costa Rica.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I advise all future travelers to bring a good level of english skills to be able to communicate with the other volunteers who are coming for all over the world to this Camp. Being open-minded in regards to a new culture seems important too but the Ticos are very friendly and the place in Santa Teresa is safe.
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Janil
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From researching and travel planning to our arrival and departure we had an awesome time! Tim and his staff were professional and responded quickly to our concerns. Our casa particular & señora Amy (love love love) you'll become family before you leave. Casa jakera: awesome cooks, food was amazing! Met some new friends from all over the world! Classes were great and helped refreshen my Spanish speaking skills. Overall the city is beautiful the staff is awesome amazing music art food scenery. Loved the culture and can't wait to go back!

**Prices were VERY reasonable compared to other companies**

What would you improve about this program?
N/A

Programs

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8
JAKERA Adventure
Learn Spanish - Cuba - 1 or 2 Weeks
Cuba
9.43 •30 reviews

Learn Spanish in Old Havana – a UNESCO World Heritage Site bursting...

JAKERA Adventure
Learn Spanish & Volunteer - Costa Rica - 1,2 or 4 Weeks
Costa Rica
9.5 •2 reviews

Learn Spanish & Volunteer in Santa Teresa – a jungle surf camp hidden...

JAKERA Adventure
Learn Spanish, Dance - Cuba - 1 or 2 weeks
Cuba
8 •1 review

One or two weeks combining Spanish language tuition and dance lessons...

JAKERA Adventure
Costa Rica Traveling Adventure - 8 weeks
Costa Rica
10 •1 review

Learn Spanish, Surf, Yoga, Volunteer, Turtles & Adventure in Costa...

JAKERA Adventure
Learn Spanish, Surf or Yoga, Volunteering, Turtles & Adventure - Costa Rica - 4 weeks
Costa Rica
9 •1 review

Learn Spanish, Surf or Yoga, Volunteer & Adventure in Santa Teresa – a...

JAKERA Adventure
Learn Spanish & Dance or Culture - Cuba - 2 or 4 Weeks
Cuba
10 •1 review

Two or Four week full cultural immersion based in Old Havana. Spanish...

JAKERA Adventure
Learn Spanish & Surf - Costa Rica - 1 or 2 weeks
Costa Rica
9 •1 review

Learn Spanish & Surf in Santa Teresa – a jungle surf camp hidden in...

JAKERA Adventure
Cuba & Costa Rica Traveling Classroom - 8 weeks
Costa Rica

We love adventure travel, immersing in other cultures, spending time...

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Aleida Oskam

Aleida is from Holland and volunteered in Venezuela from March 15, 2010 to May 10, 2010.

Venezuelan school

Why did you decide to volunteer with Jakera Adventure in Venezuela?

Aleida: We (me and my friend) decide to go to Venezuela because we liked the description of the program in Venezuela that we read in a brochure from a Dutch travelling organization. It told us it would be adventures and that we would do volunteer work at the same time. That’s mainly what attracted us to choose it.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Aleida: Once at Jakera we found out that the program was a little different from what we thought it would be. Jakera does offer the opportunity to volunteer but only in the their 3 months or 6 months program. We choose the 2 months program which unfortunately didn’t contain any volunteer work. At first we we’re a little disappointed but we got over it quite soon.

So our day to day activities where mainly adventures activities. The program was split up in weeks. Weeks of staying in base camp. And weeks of going abroad in the country. The first 2 weeks we stayed in base camp where we mostly started the day with a hike up the mountain close to base camp. After that we had breakfast and we we’re left with some free time. Mostly in the mornings but sometimes in the afternoons as well we received Spanish lessons from a local Spanish teacher that was hired by Jakera. Some days we also trained for the trips we made. Like training to kayak and to climb and abseil. We had to buy lunch our selves but dinner was made for us. We regularly had kitchen duty. We either had to cook or do the dishes. And sometimes there was time for a party or a merengue class or any other fun activities.

The trips were all little different. There were days of all day long kayaking on our trip to Orinoco Delta. Or just part of the day and than have Spanish lesson from one of the teachers that went with us on the trip. On other trips we went hiking or sightseeing. We mainly got up early and had a day full of activities and went to bed early as well.Also during the trip we had kitchen duty just like in base camp. On some trips we slept in hammocks and on others we just slept in tents.

So to make a short list of the activities we did I’ll sum them up:

  • Kayaking on the Orinoco Delta
  • Going to Caripe to hike and do some sightseeing and climbing
  • Going to La Gran Sabana to hike up the mountain Roraima

These are the big trips. We also did some little once but you’ll find out once you choose to do the program.

What made this volunteer experience unique and special?

Aleida: It think what made it special were several things together. First off, Venezuela is a beautiful country. Loads of beautiful nature to see and nice people who live there. Our group was amazing as well. We all had a click somehow so we’ve had loads of fun during our stay. I think that helps a lot. But also the guides are important during the trip. They know so much about the country and are willing to tell you all about it. We’ve had 2 different guides during the trips because the guide that the owner wanted to guide us couldn’t always come with us cause there was another group to. Both guides were good though. So it didn’t really bother me.

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

Aleida: I can say that I’ve learned the cross my boundaries during this trip. Some days weren’t always as easy. You need to be a little bit physical. I’m not saying that you won’t make it if you’re not but it would help. I also learned how to survive back to basic. We learned how to tie knots, make fire and prep your own dinner.

Staff Interviews

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

Melina Horst

Job Title
Operations Manager
Where the comfort zone ends, the adventure begins, so Meli dared to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Soon, her Swiss habits were complemented by a lot of flexibility and spontaneity found in Latin American culture. It turned out that she likes this lifestyle better for the moment. Fortunately, she came to JAKERA on her journey and got stuck there where she is today helping that everything rolls as it should.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I think I’m experiencing it right now. Every day here is a new adventure. Some of the highlights were definitely the diving in Mexico with the Bullshark, the surfing here in Costa Rica where you can regularly see whales or turtles while catching the last rays of sunshine of the day, or the safari with the TucTuc in Sri Lanka where we could watch elephants, buffalos, crocodiles and an almost frightening amount of birds at close range when they dared to get out of the shade after sunset.

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

From the very beginning, I could grow into a family and its businesses, which welcomed me with open arms. Every day I learned something new and quickly my strengths and weaknesses were put to the test and challenged. One never knows in the morning what the day will bring. This can be exhausting, challenging but also incredibly enriching, but in the end, everyone is pulling in the same direction, and that is worth every effort.

The contact with all the different characters of the Jakera Family, the trust which is given to me here, the naturalness to belong and the chance to move something let me grow every day.

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

So many... I think the best stories are lived and not told =)

A really good one was when two students could not find their casa particular in Trinidad, Cuba and they were lost. Luckily a couple of friendly Cubanos helped them to find the apartment again, but only after taking them to several other locations first, including their own house for a coffee. For the next 4 days, everywhere the girls went, these two guys popped up to make sure they were ok, they said, and so they wouldn't get lost again!!

The moral of this story; getting lost in Cuba is a great way to meet friendly locals.

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

I would do the 8-week Traveling Classroom Program Cuba and Costa Rica. The combination of these two destinations and the mix of adventure, beach, culture, surfing, dancing, and Jakera is absolutely unique. Four weeks in both destinations is a good time to get to know peoples and its surroundings and let it have its effect on you.

In Costa Rica, you are quickly inoculated with the Pura Vida lifestyle and experience 4 weeks of adventure and action and still, you have enough time to relax.

In Cuba, one is in the middle of the old town of Havana in absolutely typical Cuban culture, which immediately gets you into the vibe and wanna dance the night away.

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

The family and the courage to make a difference. No matter in which country Jakera settles, something is always done for the community. Especially the children who don't have the possibilities are given attention. Not only through the Jakera Club Foundation, but also through weekly support arranged by our students and family.

Whether teaching English, handicrafts, playing, learning about sustainability and recycling or simply interacting with tourists, these children are fulfilled and inspired for more every day. Many of these children have grown up without any culture for waste or recycling and we can share our knowledge with them and give them something on their way into the future.

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

Not to commit oneself to things which others do wrong in one's own eyes, but to promote all members individually and to encourage them to want more. Giving everyone the opportunity to integrate themselves into the company in their own way allows it to grow in different directions. Everyone has different talents that are encouraged and supported. This unique and different competence is irreplaceable.

Success is to do what you love - but everyone has to love what they do.

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