Who is CrioYa Global Movement

We are a collective of multicultural travelers who are committed to social justice, equity, spirituality, balance, harmony and wellbeing. We are committed to connecting with Mother Earth and all our relations. We believe in the importance of transcending all barriers and borders that inhibit deep connection. We are life longer learners, who are curious and fascinated by the world around us. We have joined together because we have been looking for a way to travel and connect like this.


What was the motivation for Crioya?

Travel has shaped who I am and a woman, a mother and an educator. Now, as an entrepreneur. With CrioYa global movement we are mixing our passions and skills in both education and travel to provide Delightful and incredibly useful experiences for teachers and their friends. 

I have tried to leave teaching many times, but it is a calling and a gift so the decision to bring teaching together with my passion for travel, exploration and exchange makes so much sense. The possibilities to inspire and empower ourselves, our students and the world our endless.  I am excited to help you strengthen your classroom instruction, earn credits that will enhance your resume, accelerate your career and make the most of your experience traveling abroad with us.

Why the name CrioYa?

CrioYa stands for: Creating Real Initiative and Opportunities for Youth in America

The name was conceived as I was leading tours throughout Mexico and Central America and I was learning so much about the African diaspora in the Americas in ways that I never did while in school. It was also conceived because I wanted to travel with more people of color. Since conception, CrioYa has grown to an educational travel company that helps teachers enrich and enliven their craft and strengthen ties  with other teachers around the world. We also understand that we are all teachers/learners and offer customized support for Retreat leaders who want to LEAD trips. We can customize a trip for your groups needs!


Do you offer custom trips?

Yes! While we have planned excursions we are happy to help you create a custom trip itinerary so you can make the most out of your vacation. Simply check "Custom Trip" on our contact form and we'll collaborate on crafting a dream getaway!


What are trips like?

We understand that the world is our classroom and our playground and we want to help you explore it and share it with your students. We offer group trips with teachers in mind. Our trips are customized to provide plenty of time to connect with other teachers, create instructional plans and materials, learn more about how to share your experience with your students and community, and plenty of time to connect with nature.

Trips: Our trips are 7 to 23 days in length. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, as well as educators’ guests. Our trips have a focus on the African diaspora in the Americas, as many of these stories are not present nor easily accessible to educators nor our students. We are also very interested in supporting teachers who are committed to environmental protection. Our trips focus of sharing stories of resistance and creativity as communities work together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Our experiences are affordable and will enhance your professional development. We will also create a database of critical and social justice lesson plans, tools, images, books and more that you can use to enhance your educational experiences and strengthen our connection as educators.

Lasting Impact: Community of teachers, we want to build a strong community of educators that support each other. We have created a database of lesson plans, resources, graphics, books and more, a Facebook group and are working on a publication to share our thoughts, resources and more with one another.

Service: We are committed to Global education and will support our multicultural book drive. Inspired by Adventures in Reading, my mother’s African American Independent children’s bookstore in Chicago, we have decided to take flight. We have created Adventures in Reading, International for her grandaughter’s grandaughters.

We Collect Books from the African Diaspora and share books with libraries and communities around the world, starting in the Americas. Encouraging African descendant people to write engaging books is also part of our work and we host literacy and writing workshops too. Currently, we are creating a book list of the top 10 books for the African Diaspora in the Americas and starting to distribute books every time we travel. We are looking for books that have female protagonists, themes related to social justice, solidarity and liberation. Books that encourage us to imagine, dream, fly, create and connect. Books that share creativity and resistance.


What are your accommodations like?

On our trips we choose accommodations that are 3-4 stars. During local festivals we prefer accommodations that are locally owned and offer a unique cultural experience. We also prefer hotels that support local youth initiatives.

We have two primary accommodations that offer connection to the ocean and the jungles:

➤ Penkas Eco-Friendly Hostel and Guesthouse
Penkas is a guesthouse excited about sharing local culture and reforesting bocas. By staying with us at Penkas we will plant a tree in your name. We offer a guesthouse directly over the Caribbean sea for up to 10 guests.

 GrateFul Heart Healing Quilombo Guesthouse and Garden
Our Jungle property is in Bastimentos and is a nice peaceful healing space for artists, couples and those interested in experiencing ocean views, jungle hikes, chocolate farm and beautiful beaches. Grateful Heart Healing Quilombo is connected to Jamie’s Butterfly garden and Abundance micro-farm where medicinal herbs are being nurtured. One day, we hope to create a healing spa there as well.


Are your trips good for groups?

All of our trips are small group trips max of 15 people in a group with one leader. We believe small group travel provides a more intimate experience with the group and the host community. If more people want to join, we will maintain the 15:1 collective members to leader ratio. We focus on stories of resistance and have a profound interest in the African diaspora throughout the world.


Do you offer local tours?

Yes! We are Adventure Specialists for Bocas del Toro and beyond. We specialize in tours that explore the natural and cultural beauty of these Caribbean Islands. We can plan a custom trip for you in BOCAS and offer the following activities./tours that you can book directly with us.

TOUR 1
Bahía de los Delfines, Cayo Coral, y Isla Zapatilla
Price: $25.00 and $10.00 for park entrance.

TOUR 2
Bahía de los Delfines y Red Frog Cayo Coral
Price: $25.00 and $5.00 for park entrance.

TOUR 3
Boca del Drago, Playa Estrella, y Isla Pájaro
Price: $25.00

TOUR 4
Isla Solarte Deep Boarding under the sea
Price: $39.00

TOUR 5
Walking tour of BOCAS and BASTIMENTOS
Unique Afro-Panamanian cultural tour, meet local chefs, learn history and the best places to eat and enjoy.
$10 per person


Can I get educational credits?

Yes! Our trips are created with Educators in mind. Teaching is one of the most challenging and rewarding professions. We work tirelessly, designing and redesigning our curricula in order to inspire and engage our students with the world around them. We search for creative ways to activate our student’s imaginations and help them think more critically about the world and their role in it.  At CrioYa, we work closely with teachers and global educators who are passionate about how travel can enliven the educational experience.

We understand first hand the support you need, how brilliant you are and how a supportive space that allows you to flourish, create and share with one another will greatly enhance your experience as an educator. And ultimately, the experience of your students and school community.  Follow the steps below to join us and learn one way you may earn professional development credit or graduate credit.

1. Book a trip with us.

2. Contact Dominican University for online educational travel course 9841 or similar for approximately $155 to earn Continuing education credits or Graduate Credit. You can discuss your specific travel plan with the professor for greater clarity. A sample course syllabus can be provided.

3. Create an action plan for your trip complete with Before, During and After activities that you will take. We can provide you with sample action plans as well. This will help you get the most out of your experience and keep you accountable to your learning and teaching goals.

4. Contact your tax professional to discuss what exactly is tax deductible and what type of documentation you will need, find out if you are eligible for the lifetime learning credit.

5. Review the suggested reading list for the upcoming trip, join our Facebook group and start connecting with other teachers to begin work on your action plan.

6. Upon completion, share your final projects with the group via online hangout meeting.

7. Stay connected and share how the trip has enhanced your experience as an educator.

8. Let us know if you need a certificate of completion.

Do you offer products for Airbnb Hosts?

Yes, We offer a new line of luxury soaps called Grateful heart Soaps. In our guesthouses you will find these soaps. We started because as an Airbnb Host and owner of a guest house, We understand the need to provide quality soaps and gifts for our clients, so we started to sell luxury soaps to other airbnb hosts, that can be recycled for more soaps or for charity. Our soaps are made with love with the highest quality ingredients. Our soaps are gifts from the heart for our guests and are packaged beautiful with intentional, positive messages to bathe our guests in joy, comfort and pleasure.

How can we purchase the soaps?

Contact us and we will create a custom order for you.

Who is Leslie Gueno?

Leslie Gueno was born on the South side of Chicago, with creole roots. As an educator, she believes that knowledge is power.  She is passionate about actively building bridges between African descendants. She may do this work in the foreign language classroom teaching from a social justice lens, bringing voice and visibility to the people and struggles in Latin America or organizing a group of youth to travel abroad to connect the global struggle for environmental justice and land rights or she may be quietly gathering children’s books from the Diaspora to share with young people.

She holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from University of Michigan and a M.A. in Multicultural/Multilingual education from Florida State University. Recent travels and connections with collectives and individuals in Mexico and Central America have led her to fuse her passion for travel and education and create educational experiences that liberate.

At the core, she understands that it is important to transcend borders and barriers to imagine and create a new world. Leslie has been an educator in NYC, FL, DC, and IL schools for over 10 years. She is also enjoys, being a new mother, playing in the kitchen, writing poetry and taking pictures. Traveling and cross-cultural exchange have always been a huge part of Leslie’s educational experiences and she believes in the power of travel to connect and empower.

In 2010, after working in the tourism industry with adventure travel leader G Adventures, voted the best adventure travel company on Earth, for two years, she founded a grassroots tour company, CrioYa Global Movement, to highlight the beauty and struggles of people of African descent in Latin America. In 2011, Leslie Co-founded Libertad Youth Collaborative in Chicago, to build an alternative model in which youth can create, protect, and sustain a vibrant lifestyle and community.

Leslie Gueno was born on the South side of Chicago, with creole roots. As an educator, she believes that knowledge is power.  She is passionate about actively building bridges between African descendants. She may do this work in the foreign language classroom teaching from a social justice lens, bringing voice and visibility to the people and struggles in Latin America or organizing a group of youth to travel abroad to connect the global struggle for environmental justice and land rights or she may be quietly gathering children’s books from the Diaspora to share with young people.

At the core, she understands that it is important to transcend borders and barriers to imagine and create a new world. Leslie has been an educator in NYC, FL, DC, and IL schools for over 10 years. She is also enjoys, being a new mother, playing in the kitchen, writing poetry and taking pictures. Traveling and cross-cultural exchange have always been a huge part of Leslie’s educational experiences and she believes in the power of travel to connect and empower.

Our vision is being realized through community and school partnerships, educational enrichment, healthy lifestyle programs and job creation initiatives. In 2011, she began to assist youth who were interested in strengthening their local activism by connecting the struggles to a larger global movement. As a result of the collaboration of many, the Power to Panama project was started and the first group traveled to Panama in 2012 to share struggles and resistance of indigenous and Afro-Panamanian people.

In 2013, she relocated to Bocas del Toro, Panama and offered educational experiences for the children of the local community and in 2014 began leading tours in Costa Rica again with Tucan Travel, another industy leader. Since then, she has been hosting guests at her family guesthouse and planning trips for teachers and others that which to host trips in Panama, became a mother to the sweetest little bundle of Joy.

Currently, she is looking forward to assisting over a million people travel throughout the African Diaspora building stronger ties of solidarity as we imagine and create a new world together.