-FIELD COURSE ORIENTATION. Following our arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside of San José, we will be met by our Costa Rica Field Course Staff and transferred to our hotel in Las Juntas. After dinner, there will be an orientation session to our Costa Rica Field Course. Overnight Las Juntas. (D)
July 17 PALO VERDE NATIONAL PARK-TEMPISQUE RIVER TRIP. Early this morning, we will depart for 6,800 acre Palo Verde National Park. Located on the northeastern banks of the Tempisque River and at the head of the Gulf of Nicoya, Palo Verde contains a wide variety of habitats. These include swamps, marshes, mangroves, lagoons, grasslands and tropical dry forest. The Park goes through major climatic changes throughout the year….December to March is usually very dry, while during the rest of the year, rain can be frequent and large areas become flooded. The lowlands are best known for having one of the largest concentrations of waterfowl and shorebirds in Central America. These include a variety of herons, ducks, geese, jabiru storks, black-crowned night herons and roseate spoonbills, to name a few. During our trip to Palo Verde, we will also travel by boat, down the Tempisque River, keeping an eye out for crocodiles, huge iguanas, howler monkeys and a great variety of birds. Late this afternoon, participants will return to Las Juntas for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
July 18 SANTA ROSA NATIONAL PARK. After breakfast, we will depart for famed Santa Rosa National Park. Established in 1971, Santa Rosa is one of the oldest National Parks in Costa Rica. It covers much of the Santa Elena Peninsula in northwestern Costa Rica and encompasses more than 20,000 acres. It was the site of the famous 1856 battle between Costa Rican forces and Tennessee's William Walker, along with his band of mercenaries. The Costa Ricans defeated Walker at the Santa Rosa Ranch, establishing this as a symbol of Costa Rican freedom. Santa Rosa is also extremely important for ecological reasons, as it protects the largest remaining stand of tropical dry forest in Central America. Along the Pacific coast, it is home to some of the most important nesting sites for the endangered Pacific olive Ridley's sea turtle. Santa Rosa serves as an important model for conservation, while at the same time attempting to maintain the region's culture. Many local people have been actively involved in efforts to protect the Park and expand its' boundaries. Santa Rosa is visited by a great number of scientists and students throughout the year, as they continue to unravel the complexities of tropical ecology. Following lunch, we will travel to the coast, where our group will hike and take a refreshing swim in the ocean. In the late afternoon, we will return to Las Juntas for dinner and overnight. (B L D)
July 19 ARENAL VOLCANO LAVA FLOWS-LA FORTUNA WATERFALLS-LAKE ARENAL-MONTEVERDE CLOUDFOREST RESERVE. Following breakfast today, we will spend the morning hiking on the hardened lava flows that make up Arenal's lower slopes. Here our group will observe the remains of the volcano's more active past. We will also hike to the beautiful La Fortuna waterfalls. After lunch, we will take a brief look at Lake Arenal, the largest in Costa Rica. A hydroelectric dam at one end produces 75% of the electricity used in Costa Rica. It is also well known for its' windsurfing and freshwater fishing. Our group will then travel to the village of Monteverde, where we will visit the famed Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica. At present, Monteverde is comprised of 27,000 acres and run by the Monteverde Conservation League. The Reserve is cool, due to its' elevation and lush vegetation. Incredible biodiversity here includes 400 species of birds, 100 kinds of mammals, 500 butterfly species and 2500 different types of plants. Three species of monkeys, tree sloths, coatimundis, kinkajous, the spectacular resplendent quetzal, three-wattled bell birds, red-eyed tree frogs and blue morpho butterflies are just a few of the animal highlights. Dinner and overnight Monteverde. (B L D)
July 20 ARENAL VOLCANO-BALDI HOT SPRINGS. Early this morning, we will depart for Arenal Volcano. One of the most active volcanoes in the Western Hemisphere, Arenal has been in a constant state of activity since it last erupted in 1968. Located on the southern shores of the Lake Arenal, it is a spectacular site, with its perfect conical shape rising from the surrounding hills. Following lunch, we will visit Baldi Hot Springs, located at the base of Arenal. Steaming waters from the Río Tabacón form waterfalls and natural therapeutic pools that we can soak and relax in. The hot springs found here are surrounded by brilliant vegetation, while Arenal serves as a stunning backdrop. After the sun sets, we will with some luck, observe the activity of Arenal. On a clear night, one can see bursts of fire and red-hot molten lava shooting hundreds of feet into the sky, whereas during the day only smoke and the volcano's roar are apparent. Explosions typically occur every couple of hours. Overnight near Lake Arenal. (B L D)
July 21 TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK. After breakfast, participants will travel through the canals of Tortuguero National Park to observe some of the lush surrounding rainforest. Some call this "Costa Rica's Amazon", as eleven different life zones have been identified. Wildlife found here include three species of monkeys, river otters, three-toed sloths, caimans, iguanas, freshwater turtles and more than 320 species of birds, including all 6 species of New World kingfishers, 3 species of toucans and 8 species of parrots. Aside from its' diverse flora and fauna, Tortuguero is a beautiful and tranquil spot, with palm-lined beaches stretching off as far as the eye can see in both directions. Five of the world's eight species of sea turtles species breed offshore and nest on the beaches of Tortuguero. Participants will have the opportunity to observe tagging and measuring of turtles, as females come ashore to lay eggs. Some nests are created below the high tide line and eggs laid here have little or no chance to develop and hatch. In an effort to increase survivorship, some of these nests are relocated to higher ground. Our presence on the beach, especially at night, is also a great deterrent to poachers, who collect and eat or sell the eggs. Dinner and overnight Tortuguero. (B L D)
July 22 TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK. Group members will also be involved in daily activities of CCC Research Staff and Volunteers. These include beach clean-up, which helps to remove debris that may hamper female turtles from coming ashore or hatchlings from making their way to the ocean. Debris includes plastic goods, aluminum cans or logs brought ashore by sea currents. While walking the beach, we will also be on the look out for hatchlings attempting to make an early departure for the ocean. These will be brought back into a hatchery and released just before sunset to increase their chances of survival. Dinner and overnight Tortuguero. (B L D)
July 23 BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK-CAHUITA. After an early breakfast, we will depart for Costa Rica's Caribbean slope. On route, we will stop and hike in Braulio Carillo National Park, one of the most biodiverse regions in Costa Rica. Six different life zones are present in the Park. Our group will then drive to the Caribbean and pass through the port city of Limón. It was here that Christopher Columbus first landed in 1502. Following lunch, we will drive on to the village of Cahuita, access point to Costa Rica's only Marine Reserve, famous for its' coral reef and adjacent rainforest. Following our arrival, we will settle into our hotel and have dinner. Overnight Cahuita. (B L D)
July 24 SNORKELING CAHUITA NATIONAL MARINE RESERVE-RAINFOREST HIKE. Following breakfast this morning, our group will have an introduction to snorkeling. The remainder of the morning will be spent snorkeling in the Cahuita National Marine Reserve. We will return to the mainland for lunch and have a follow-up session about our marine experience. In the afternoon, our group will hike into the rainforest of Cahuita National Park. Dinner and overnight Cahuita. (B L D)
July 25 SNORKELING CAHUITA NATIONAL MARINE RESERVE. Following breakfast this morning, we will return to snorkel in the Cahuita National Marine Reserve. Later today, we will depart Cahuita and travel to San Jose. Dinner and overnight San Jose. (B L D)
July 26 POÁS VOLCANO-SARCHÍ MARKET. Following breakfast, we will depart for Poás Volcano. Poás is known for having one of the largest craters of any active volcano on earth. While here, we will also have a chance to hike in a very unique high altitude cloudforest near the volcano. After lunch, our group will visit Sarchí Market, one of the best places in Costa Rica to see and purchase traditional handicrafts. Local artisans will talk about the building and painting of famed Costa Rican ox-carts. Participants will also get a chance to observe as carts are painted. In the afternoon, we will leave for Cabanas Chacon.
July 27 CABANAS CHACON. Open day of travel via the Pan American Highway with stops along the way to observe local habitats and culture.
July 28-30 CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK Corcovado National Park is located in the southwestern corner of the spectacular Osa Peninsula. It protects 103,200 acres of shallow lagoons, marshes, mangrove swamps, rivers, lowland tropical rainforest, low altitude cloudforest and 29 miles of sandy coastline. This region has the greatest biodiversity of any protected area in Costa Rica, including more than 500 species of trees, 140 different kinds of mammals, 367 bird species, 40 types of freshwater fish, 117 species of amphibians/reptiles and an estimated 6,000 insect species. It is also home to large mammals, such as jaguar, tapir, ocelot, peccaries and Costa Rica's largest population of scarlet macaws. Its' great biodiversity and pristine condition have long attracted tropical ecologists and their research. Corcovado is certainly one of the highlights on any visit to Costa Rica. Overnights at Luna Lodge. (B L D)
July 31 SAN JOSÉ-FAREWELL DINNER. Following breakfast, we will fly back to San José for our Farewell Dinner and overnight. (B L D)
August 1 DEPARTURE. After an early breakfast and farewells to our Costa Rica Field Course Staff, you will be transferred to Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside of San José for your return flight home. (B)
Note: Due to weather conditions and circumstances beyond the control of Field Course Staff, certain activities may be changed or done on different days in the best interest of the group

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This page was last updated on January 10, 2002.
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