Middle School

Island Culture + Ecology

February 2019 | 8 days | $2,000 + flights (2 teachers at no additional cost)

Get ready to explore the different environments of Curaçao. We spend our days engaged in activities that expose us to Curaçaoan culture, history, and the environment and participate in interactive lessons designed to connect us to the places we visit and the people we meet. Develop strong bonds with your fellow travelers and deepen connection to global environments.


This program was designed for a middle school that provides extensive travel opportunities to its students. Students have often traveled outside of the country before and faculty are trained on leading off-site programs. The accompanying Broadreach instructors took a primary role in curriculum support, group development, risk-management and logistical planning. This program is a favorite of the students and has been run in partnership with them for several years!

Learning Objectives

This course is designed to provide a real-world understanding of unique island ecosystems, engage in research and participate in efforts to conserve the local biodiversity. We learn about Curaçao’s fauna and flora through our various activities like hiking and snorkeling. We also stay at a research station and participate in projects that enhance our understanding of the scientific method while learning about biology. Most importantly, we hope to gain a greater appreciation for the connection between communities and the environment and how local customs and conservation initiatives impact those efforts.


Group Goals

There are many challenges associated with traveling and learning in new environments, and the success of the experience depends on individual efforts and the cohesion of the group. Individuals are encouraged to assume leadership roles and become active participants in making decisions that help guide the direction of the program. However, it is important to recognize that independence and control are reduced when working as a team towards a collective group experience. An important goal of the program is to develop greater cultural awareness and become open to learning about new topics, environments and customs. When traveling in a close knit community, respect for one another, the environment and all the people we encounter is the cornerstone to being responsible global citizens.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore a unique side of the Caribbean as you hike to hidden caves, climb a volcanic mountain and kayak through mangrove forests
  • Participate in hands-on biology projects at a research station
  • Snorkel in the warm, crystal blue water of Curaçao among vibrant marine life
  • Engage with local guides and learn the island’s colonial history


Days 1-3: Caribbean waters

The warm air of Curaçao welcomes us after spending most of the day traveling to the Caribbean. We ride across the island to our accommodations, where we settle into our rooms and begin the program over a delicious meal and orientations.The next day we complete our orientations and head out for our first adventure! We make our way to a national park where we watch the surf roll into the rocky caverns along the coast. In the afternoon, grab snorkels and discover the diversity of marine life lurking beneath the waves. Bravely swim above the drop-off for stunning views of coral and sponges and look out on the horizon for a view of Curaçao’s native flamingos.

No visit to Curaçao would be complete without a hike to the highest point on the island, Christoffel National Park. So we hike, looking out for endemic flora and fauna like wild orchids, barn owls, and maybe even a white tailed deer. Then, we visit a former plantation house, now a museum, to explore the history of humans’ interaction with the island and the interdependence between humans and the environment. Next, we go on a kayak adventure to experience the magic of the afternoon sun in an underwater cave. Snorkeling and swimming here is an unforgettable experience.

Learning Themes: Orientations; Coral Reefs & Marine Environments; Geological, Archaeological & Natural History

Days 4-6: Service learning

Explore another unique aquatic ecosystem, mangroves! Team up with local guides and students as we kayak through the mangrove forests while learning about their unique and beneficial properties. Together, we contribute to this incredible forest by working with the locals to plant more mangrove trees. After exploring so much of Curaçao’s natural beauty, we also visit the capital city, Willemstad and explore how it gained its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Capture photos of the brightly colored store fronts while experiencing the blend of Caribbean and Dutch culture.

We’re starting to fall into a routine and love interacting with the environment we learn about. Swim among sea turtles at a local fisherman’s beach and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at a research station before heading out on a night snorkel at sundown where we meet a whole different cast of underwater characters.

Learning Themes: Service Learning, Culture & History; Mangrove Ecosystems; Marine Biodiversity

Days 7-8: Course closing

Our program comes to a close with some exciting final adventures. Prepare a cookout with our new friends from the local school, spend a morning dissecting lionfish and paddle board on calm waters. Visit the island aquarium and soak up as much of this unique experience as we can. Our last day is spent learning new and unexpected things while reflecting on all we have experienced. We share our favorite stories over dinner and during our course closing activities. As we travel home from Curaçao we reflect on the stories we want to share about our personal successes, group achievements, and wild ecosystems of Curaçao! How will we apply what we learned back in our lives at home?

Learning Themes: Reflection & Transference; Course Closing


This itinerary is flexible and subject to change based on weather, group, availability of activities or other conditions. A more detailed daily itinerary will be provided upon enrollment.  

Next steps:

  • Students submit their deposit checks.
  • Once deposits are received, group flight details and cost is confirmed.
  • Families are invited to the pre-departure website that will have more information about the program including a packing list, health information, itinerary, etc.
  • November: Final payment is due. Payments can be made by check, or by using an e-check on the Broadreach website (Optional: a credit card can be used for a 3% fee).
  • December: Complete all paperwork and prepare to travel to Curaçao.
  • February: Students fly to Curaçao!


Program inclusions:

  • Broadreach staff to facilitate and support the group for the entire program. Broadreach staff will have advanced medical training (WFR or EMT) and be your partner in creating a successful program for all.
  • Professional Liability Insurance ($1,000,000 in aggregate).
  • Detailed pre-departure material and website for students, parents and teachers.
  • 24-hour emergency and logistical support.
  • All group accommodations in Curaçao.
  • All meals in Curaçao (breakfast, lunch, dinner and most snacks).
  • All pre-planned activities, guides and tips.
  • All cultural workshops and guest speakers.
  • Entrance fees for excursions and parks.
  • All group ground transportation cost in Curaçao.
  • A group medical kit, access to local cell phones and other gear/supplies.


What is not included?

  • International airfare to/from Curaçao. We are happy to help you make group flight arrangements.
  • Airline baggage fees and departure taxes.
  • Personal emergency medical travel insurance.
  • Personal clothing – a detailed packing list will be provided.
  • Personal expenses – passport, immunizations, travel not in Curaçao.
  • Incidentals – souvenirs, snacks, medical expenses, etc.