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 (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 or take a night tour through the forest.
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.
Horseback riding, night tour and additional meals not included.
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 to explore the local area.
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 and breakfast.
Poas Volcano, Doka Coffee Tour and Grecia & Sarchi Artisans (day trip)
Included in program fee
This tour takes us to the unforgettable Poas Volcano; across coffee plantations and scenic vistas, and then into the heart of the artisans´ workshops in Sarchi. As we ascend towards the Poas Volcano we will stop to learn more about our golden bean, which is a term used to describe the unique and savory coffee of Costa Rica. Then we will continue our trip through the fern, flower and strawberry farms taking in the scenic vistas along the way. There is a noticeable change in temperature and vegetation, so be prepared to experience the cool and exuberant cloud forest of Poas Volcano National Park.
After visiting the volcano, we will have time to enjoy a delicious lunch at Doka Coffee Estate, where we will have a coffee tour in an actual coffee plantation where we will learn the ancient techniques used by the experts to produce some of the best coffee in Costa Rica and around the world.
Then we will continue to Grecia, a very typical and traditional town, where we will admire the metal church, a building that has a rare architecture, with high ceilings, ornate stained-glass windows, and classical lines. Next, we will visit the town of Sarchi, known as the birthplace of Costa Rica’s Artisans. In Sarchi, you will be able to appreciate many of the art crafts and souvenirs that Costa Rica has to offer, as we visit a factory and souvenir shop managed by the local artists. Also, you will see the world’s largest ox cart according to the Guinness Book.
Includes transportation, entrance fees, lunch and a local guide.
Optional Excursion to Sarapiquí – Hiking and Rafting (2 days - $245)
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 first 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 Bocas del Toro, Panama (4 days - $575) (16-week program students only)
Depart on Friday morning for Bocas del Toro (known colloquially as Boca Town), a community on the Caribbean coast known for its colorful clapboard houses and friendly and relaxed atmosphere. It’s a great place to explore the region’s beautiful beaches or to just slow down and soak up the Caribbean vibes. Upon arrival, you will check into the hotel and then enjoy dinner together.
On Saturday, explore such areas as Bahía Delfines, a lagoon that hosts bottlenose dolphins for most of the year, and Isla Pájaros, a famous tropical bird sanctuary with a large number of native and migratory birds that nest on the island, and the only place in Panama to see the red-billed chub, famous for its long tail feathers. You will then have time to relax at Playa las Estrellas, a white sand beach with beautiful, clear waters that gives visitors the chance to swim among the many starfish that call the area home. At Cayo Coral you will have lunch and be able to snorkel in the calm, clear waters and see the beautiful coral reefs which can only be reached by boat. The group will then return to the hotel to enjoy dinner together.
On Sunday, you will start your day at Cayo Zapatilla. At this national park, you can snorkel in the turquoise Caribbean Sea and relax on the golden sands of one of the archipelago’s most beautiful beaches. After that, have lunch at Playa Red Frog and spend time on the white sandy beach, which is completely surrounded by rainforest. If you look closely, you may be able to spot one of the rare and beautiful red frogs for which the beach is named. The day ends with a group dinner at the hotel.
On Monday, you will tour Canenero Island, one of the best surf spots in the area, before having lunch at the hotel and heading back to San Jose.
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. Students must enroll and pay for the optional excursions in the U.S. by the final payment deadline. Once paid for excursions are non-refundable except in the event of cancellation.