Science Trip to Costa Rica
11 days from £1,965pp
based on a group size of 26 students and 3 teachers (free places)
Just like its misty tree tops – Costa Rica gives an impression of peaceful tranquility as a haven for yoga lovers, but beneath the canopy there is also a wild side, full of animals, birds and adventure to be discovered.
Costa Rica has always been on the cutting edge of ecotourism. With such biodiversity to maintain, it has been paramount to ensure that their natural attractions are protected, while also providing opportunities for local people.
On this trip students will see contrasting landscapes, from the countries capital San Jose, to hot springs, waterfalls, rainforests, beaches and volcanoes. Costa Rica provides excellent learning opportunities for many science topics including ecosystems, energy and more…
Welcome to San Jose
The flight time from London to Costa Rica is just under 11 hours. Upon arrival in San Jose, your students will have a chance to enjoy some traditional food and possibly explore a bit of the city before getting a good nights’ sleep ahead of a busy first full day in Costa Rica.
Poas Volcano and Monteverde cloudforest
Leave the noise of the city and head just one hour into the verdant rainforest towards Poas volcano. The volcano itself steams and smokes from the main crater following an eruption in 2017. Students will be able to view the main crater and its colourful crater lake to witness this geothermal activity.
Your group will continue on to explore Monteverde Cloud Forest, one of the most magical spots in Costa Rica. Monteverde translates as Green Mountain and was so called by Quakers, who began the first conservation efforts here after leaving the US during the draft for the Korean War.
Biologists will be fascinated to observe the thick cloud cover and humidity which has led to the establishment of such a diverse ecosystem.
Monteverde wildlife walking tour and Canopy zip-lining
To learn more about the cloud forest, your group will embark on a wildlife walking tour. They will cross bridges suspended in the trees and enter this fantastical and bountiful rainforest.
Biologists have been fascinated with Monteverde since the 1960s when they first noticed the unique ecosystems within the forest. There are over 2,500 plant species (including 500 different species of orchid), 161 species of amphibians and reptiles, over 100 species of mammals and 400 bird species.
Once you have seen the forest from this perspective there is only one thing to do: head to one of our most adventurous activities, the zip-line, to see it all from a new angle!
There is a series of 10 cables spanning 200 metres to 800 metres in length. Each cable offers a different experience – crossing canyons, observing waterfalls, over the tops of trees or leaping from an 18 metres high observation tower.
Arenal National Park and Baldi Hot Springs
In the morning you’ll drive north to the town of La Fortuna, a popular tourist destination and gateway to Arenal National Park.
The national park is a great opportunity to discuss a variety of scientific topics. Of course, there is plenty of examples of volcanic activity, including lava fields and secondary forests but in addition, the park is a key centre for renewable energy production including hydroelectric, geothermal and wind power plants.
After exploring the park, you will relax with a soak in the Baldi Hot Springs complex which features more than 30 spring-fed pools of various temperatures.
Tirimbina Biological Field Station
On Day 5 your students will visit the Tirimbina Biological Field Station. Tirimbina protects 345 hectares of tropical rainforest and only a third of this is used for their ecotourism and educational purposes.
Your students will take a guided rainforest walk where they will have the chance to spot birds and animals in the lush rainforest. Your expert guide will help students understand the composition of the rainforest and identify the wildlife.
Field studies and twilight rainforest tour
There are a variety of field study programmes available at Tirimbina.
Choose the Rainforest Composition programme to identify the various elements which include the vegetable structure of the tropical forest, and how these characteristics compare with other ecosystems.
Or choose Ecology and Diversity to measure the diversity of plants in the forest and evaluate how this information can help to make decisions in respect of managing natural areas.
In the evening your students will see how the forest changes after the sun has set, with a twilight rainforest tour.
White-water rafting on the Pacuare River
The Pacuare River is one of the most popular destinations for white water rafting in the world for both its thrilling rapids and stunning scenery.
Students will get back to nature at a rustic overnight stay within the Bajo Tigre rainforest. This unique accommodation features tents on stilts and the students will sleep among the sounds of the forest.
Pacuare Leatherback Turtle
Students will have a chance to explore the rainforest on a guided hike before heading off to towards the coast.
You will journey to Playa Grande by boat, which will be your base for the next two nights.
Since prehistoric times, Playa Grande has been one of the world’s principle nesting beaches for the Giant Leatherback sea turtle but the beach is also home to Green sea turtles. The Leatherback nesting season runs from October to February but Green turtles nest all year round.
Pacuare Leatherback Turtle Reserve
Depending on the time of year that you visit the Pacuare Leatherback Turtle Reserve there will be different ways that students can get involved in conservation.
From March-July students will join the turtle census and witness the nesting process.
In June-September you will help thousands of baby Leatherback turtles hatch.
Whatever time of year you visit the Pacuare Reserve you will find hundreds of species of animals along the banks of the river and in the surrounding canals. Boat trips can be arranged to get closer to the wildlife.
Pacuare Leatherback Turtle Reserve and San Jose
The Pacuare Reserve is sure to become one of your students’ favourite places to visit, but it is time to say goodbye to the beach and the ocean and head back to San Jose for a farewell dinner on your last evening in Costa Rica.
Irazu volcano, San Jose Gold Museum, Cachi HEP station and home
There is still time to see some exciting attractions before you leave Costa Rica.
Your group will leave the city and drive into the Cordillera Central mountain range where they will find the Irazu volcano, the highest active volcano in Costa Rica.
From the viewpoint your group will notice the crater lake has an unusual green colour (or occasionally a rust red colour), which is affected by the minerals along the crater walls dissolved by rainfall.
Your group will also learn more about local culture in the San Jose Gold Museum, which displays a large collection of indigenous gold art.
Costa Rica has made a big commitment to sustainability and uses its unique landscape and resources to run on renewable green energy. As evidence of this your students will visit the Lake Cachi hydro-electric power plant.
After this wonderful last days’ adventure, with a heavy heart your students will return to the airport and head home.