Costa Rica: Exploring Biodiversity

This spring break, students will travel to Central America to experience the rich biodiversity of Costa Rica. Through scientific observation, outdoor adventure, and immersion in place, students will spend time near the ocean, mountains, volcanos and national parks of Costa Rica to deepen their understanding of flora and fauna of this region.

Beginning in the capital city of San José, students will build a contextual understanding of how culture and biodiversity intersect in the country with visits to local farms, markets, and gardens. They will then travel to the coast with a stop at Poas volcano, before traveling down the coast, visiting a number of national parks near the ocean to whale watch, hike, observe tidal pools, snorkel, swim, and more. Their journey will culminate in an experience at Campanario Research Station where they will be introduced to a number of science research projects designed to explore and catalog the biodiversity of the fauna of the Osa region.  Throughout the trip, students will capture their observations and impressions with a field journal, and return to Deerfield having grappled with the meaning and value of biodiversity, conservation, and the role students can and should play as travelers, students, and global citizens.

This trip is open to all students, with preference given to students who have a demonstrated interest in scientific inquiry and are excited for outdoor adventure, including hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and staying in rustic accommodations. All interested students are encouraged to apply by November 4. Financial aid is available for all trips with priority for students who have not previously received aid for a Deerfield trip.

Proposed Itinerary:*

March 7: Travel to Costa Rica

March 8: Transport to Ciudad Colón

  • Introduction to Costa Rica
  • Visit with local farmers and markets

March 9: Poas and Manuel Antonio

  • Hike a volcano
  • Visit coastal region of Manuel Antonio, go on a whale watch

March 10: Visit Uvita National Park

  • Spend the day in the tidal region of Costa Rica’s famous “Whale’s Tail”

March 11-14: Stay at Campanario Biological Station

  • Participate in ongoing science research projects, including cataloging flora and fauna through animal cameras, insect captures, data collection and entry
  • Snorkel to observe marine ecology of Osa
  • Hike local forest and observe diverse habitats

March 15: Travel back to USA through San José

* Itinerary subject to change

Program Notes:

  • Families are responsible for transportation from U.S.-based airport to the student’s destination for the remainder of March break.
  • This is an “unplugged” trip where students will not have access to cell phones or internet for the duration of their time in the Costa Rica. Students and faculty leaders will update families and friends at home through our Notes from Abroad blog
  • During this trip, students will stay in hotels, inns, cabins, and lodges. Many of the accommodations will be rustic. At the research station, students will stay in bunk rooms or cabins, with limited electricity and no AC. They will be asked to be mindful of conserving both power and water during their stay. Meals will be shared at accommodations and restaurants.

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