Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica

Study Abroad in San José: Cultural Excursions

Included in your program fee is a range of activities which will take you outside San José and deepen your social, historical and cultural understanding of Costa Rica.

Arenal Volcano, Hot Springs Spa and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
(3 Days)

Included in program fee

Afternoon departure by bus to a small town called La Fortuna where the great Arenal Volcano is located. Once settled into the hotel visit the hot springs where you can bathe in the warm and naturally heated waters. Afterwards enjoy dinner with your friends and fellow students.

On day two, enjoy the vista of Arenal Volcano and the wide variety of birds and mammals that take refuge in Arenal Lake as well as a hike down to La Fortuna Waterfall. Then travel by boat across Arenal Lake to the small town of Monteverde, a major ecotourism destination in Costa Rica. There you will have the opportunity to go horseback riding, take a night tour through the forest and then enjoy a delicious dinner.

Finally head to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, ‘the jewel in the crown’ of cloud forest reserves. Enjoy the flora and fauna and have a go at zip-lining through the trees of the stunning cloud forest.

Includes accommodations, transportation, entrance fees, breakfast and dinner on the first night.

Manuel Antonio National Park (3 Days)

Included in program fee

Afternoon departure by bus to Manuel Antonio National Park, which has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Central Pacific coast. Once you have checked in to the hotel, head out with the group and enjoy live music and Latin dancing.

After breakfast at the hotel, go on a hike to the national park where you will be able to sink your feet into the white sandy beaches, enjoy swimming in the warm water and explore the flora and fauna of the park which includes monkeys, sloths, raccoons and many species of exotic plants and flowers.

On day three, enjoy the beach or the pool at the hotel before heading back to San José.

Includes accommodations, transportation, entrance fees, breakfast and dinner on the first night.

Cartago Coffee Tour and La Marta Wildlife Refuge (Day trip)

Included in program fee

Start the day with a visit to a coffee plantation. After learning about the history of coffee you will learn how coffee is farmed and harvested prior to the milling and roasting process which is sustainable and certified, ensuring that the coffee is produced in harmony with the environment in a socially responsible way. You will witness the transformation of the coffee cherry into a ready to roast bean and sample different types and qualities of coffee.

Later visit La Marta Wildlife Refuge which borders La Amistad International Park to the south, and the Tapanti-Macizo de la Muerte National Park to the southeast. With about 60% of its territory devoted to primary forest, it is the first private wildlife refuge in the country. There are 17kms of trails that cross the forest and take the visitor to lookout points and ponds. You will have a chance to swim in the natural pools, view the waterfalls and be amazed at the array of flora and fauna including mammals such as anteaters, kinkajou and if you are very lucky wild cats.

Fee includes transportation, entrance fees, lunch and a local guide.

Optional Excursion to Sarapiquí – Hiking and Rafting (2 days - $215)

Leave San José early on Saturday morning for Sarapiquí. Afternoon guided hike through the rainforest to a cacao growing area. The artisanal process by which cacao fruit is transformed into chocolate will be demonstrated followed by the opportunity to taste many different varieties in the traditional way. After dinner there will be a night hike with a local naturalist. At night a whole new world awakens and with the help of our expert guides you will explore the nocturnal wildlife including tree frogs, kinkajous and bats. On Sunday morning take a rafting trip down the Sarapiquí River before heading back to the lodge for lunch and an evening return to San José.

Fee includes accommodation, transportation, activities, dinner on the 1st night and breakfast and lunch on day 2. If a minimum enrollment of 10 students is not met the excursion may be cancelled.

Optional Excursion to Granada, Nicaragua (3 days - $575)

Not available on the Fall 12-Week Program

Depart San José for Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America. Continue on to Granada, a beautiful town south of the capital Managua which oozes colonial charm. The first day visit the city on the way to the dock to take a boat trip to the islets of Granada located in Lake Nicaragua. These islets are of volcanic origin, formed when the Mombacho volcano blew much of its cone into the lake thousands of years ago, thereby creating the archipelago. The fort of San Pablo is located on the islets and was built to protect the city of Granada from pirates in the 18th century.

The second day, visit Mombacho volcano and walk to the top. It is one of the most famous volcanoes in Nicaragua due to several factors: its location just 10 kilometers from the city of Granada, its access infrastructure and, above all things, the mystical cloud forest that occupies much of its sides and top. After visiting the volcano, continue on to the Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve (Laguna de Apoyo) to spend the rest of the day lounging in the water and sun. The lake is one of Nicaragua’s most beautiful natural wonders!

On the third day visit Los Pueblos Blancos (The White Towns) where the cooler temperatures of a hilly environment are a pleasant change from the heat of Granada. This group of villages is formed by an indigenous population known for its pottery industry. You will also visit Masaya city and artisan market, followed by a visit to Masaya Volcano or Cailagua Petroglyphs.

Fee includes transportation, accommodations, breakfasts, all visits and tours and the services of a local guide. A minimum enrollment of 10 students is required for the excursion to run.

Dates and itineraries of all excursions and day trips are tentative and subject to change.