Overview Description Requirements Outline Itinerary Cost Application Instructor Rainforest And Reef Penn State Lehigh Valley Biology - Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlin
Day 1
F Dec 27
ARRIVAL SAN JOSÉ-ORIENTATION. Following your arrival at Juan Santamaría International Airport, outside of San José, you will be met by our Costa Rica Staff and transferred to your hotel. After dinner, there will be an orientation session to our Costa Rica Signature Tour. Overnight San José. (D)
Tropical Dry Forest
Day 2
Sa Dec 28
FARM-CANOPY EXPERIENCE. Following breakfast, our group will 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. Following lunch, we will have a guided tour through a local butterfly farm. Here we will observe hundreds of spectacular butterfly species found in Costa Rica, learn about their complex life cycle and importance in the wild. Our group will then finish a busy day by going up into the canopy of Monteverde cloudforest. Here, we hope to observe flora and fauna that are found in this unique and diverse life-zone. Dinner and overnight Monteverde. (B L D)

Note: The CLOUDFOREST CANOPY EXPERIENCE is completely safe, but due to heights involved, may not be recommended for all participants.
Day 3
Su Dec 29
HIKING MONTEVERDE CLOUDFOREST RESERVE-ARENAL VOLCANO-BALDI HOT SPRINGS. Following an early morning hike in the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, 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. Overnight near Lake Arenal. (B L D)
Day 4
M Dec 30
ARENAL VOLCANO LAVA FLOWS-LAKE ARENAL-TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK-CARIBBEAN CONSERVATION CORPORATION (CCC). 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. 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. Following lunch, participants will journey to world-famous Tortuguero National Park. Following our arrival on the shores of the Caribbean, we will travel by boat through an inland waterway to the Park and the John H. Phipps Biological Station. Upon arrival, participants will be welcomed by Research Staff and given an orientation session about the Station, its’ history and work that is being done here by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC). After dinner, we will assist CCC Staff and Volunteers in their sea turtle conservation efforts. Five of the world’s eight species of sea turtles species breed offshore and nest on the beaches of Tortuguero. Participants may 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)

Note: Turtle breeding and nesting are seasonal and often unpredictable.
Observation of sea turtles or research on live sea turtles is NEVER guaranteed.
Day 5
Tu Dec 31
CANALS of 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. 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)
Day 6
W Jan 1
Tortuguero National Park-Banana Plantation-Cahuita. After an early breakfast, we will depart for the Caribbean village of Cahuta. Enroute, we will pass through the port city of Limón. It was here that Christopher Columbus first landed in 1502. Prior to our arrival in Cahuita, our group will stop at a nearby banana plantation. Here, we will learn how bananas are raised and processed in Costa Rica. The history, economic importance and ecological impact of the banana industry will also be considered. 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)
Day 7
Th Jan 2
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 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)
Day 8
F Jan 3
CAHUITA-TALAMANCA RAPTOR MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM-BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK-SAN JOSÉ-FAREWELL DINNER. Early today we will learn about and take part in the nearby Talamanca Raptor Migration Monitoring Program. Here, organizations, such as Association ANAI, the Nature Conservancy, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary of Kempton, Pennsylvania USA, the Kéköldi Indigenous Community and many others have contributed in counting birds of prey as they migrate through this region. It is one of three sites in the New World to break the one million mark for raptor sightings during recent yearly migrations. While at the "raptor center", our group will have a presentation on raptors of the region, hike and then take part in a raptor count from a viewing platform. We will also be treated to a traditional Kéköldi indigenous lunch. In the afternoon, we will return to San José for our Farewell Dinner and overnight. Enroute, we will stop and hike in Braulio Carillo National Park (time permitting), one of the most biodiverse regions in Costa Rica. Six different life zones are present in the Park. (B L D)
Day 9
Sa Jan 4
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.
Note: Due to weather conditions and circumstances beyond the control of our Costa Rica Staff, certain activities may be changed or done on different days in the best interest of the group.

Overview | Description | Requirements | Outline | Itinerary | Cost | Application | Instructor

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This site was last updated on September 9, 2002.
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