Tours and Field Studies for Puntarenas, Costa Rica
USAC encourages every student to participate in these tours or field studies; however, they are optional and have an additional fee. Destinations may change at the discretion of the Resident Director.
The following are possible destinations, view term calendars for specifics.
Cuba Field Study
You must be registered in the 1-credit Cuba Field Study course to participate. After an on-site orientation and lectures at Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica, you’ll travel to Cuba with USAC staff and stay in Old Habana, one of the best-preserved colonial Spanish complexes in the Americas. Walking tours, museum visits, and guest lectures coupled with cultural activities and meals will provide you the opportunity to interact with Cubans and learn firsthand their perspective of our common histories. This Field Study will focus on various aspects of Cuban culture and society; including possible visits to the Fine Arts Museum, Malecón, Casa de Africa, José Marti Institute, and Guanabacoa Museum, activities and interactions with local students, and, of course, experiencing the cuisine, music, and dancing for which Cuba is famous. The course will explore the impact of its African roots on Cuban culture and religions as well as the present-day political and economic factors Cuba faces in its future. You’ll also visit a tobacco plantation, cigar factory, and a beach resort to experience the full range of Cuba’s agricultural history and present tourism economies, as well as discovering Cuba’s natural beauty. This fee includes the 1-credit Field Study course, a pre-departure orientation in Costa Rica, round-trip airfare between Costa Rica and Cuba, mandatory health insurance, ground transportation, lodging, entrance fees to scheduled visits, and most meals.
Southern Costa Rica Tour
The Tour typically begins with a trip by bus to the Sierpe River for a boat ride to Drake Bay Wilderness Resort. Legend states that Sir Frances Drake buried a treasure somewhere along this coast in the 1570s. We will explore the pristine environment surrounding Bahía Drake, which includes a river, beaches, mangrove swamps, and amazing wildlife. Hikes, snorkeling, and a jungle river trip are planned, along with a trek through Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica’s Little Amazon. You will also spend a free day at the beach, where you may choose to participate in activities such as horseback riding, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The fee includes bus transportation, boat ride, guide, breakfast, dinner, lodging, and entrance fees to parks.
Caribbean and Bocas del Toro, Panama Tour
We will visit Tortuguero and explore its natural network of scenic and navigable waterways. This is one of the most exotic and beautiful regions of Costa Rica, as well as the most important green sea turtle breeding grounds in all of the Caribbean. We will head to Sixaola on the Costa Rica/Panama border and take a boat ride to Isla Colón—Bocas del Toro, Panamá. Bocas del Toro is rich and diverse in natural resources. We will visit the first National Marine Park and tour Zapatilla Key and Hospital Point where you can enjoy sunny islands, beautiful beaches, coral reefs in crystal clear water, and mangrove islets in lake-like scenery. This fee includes bus transportation, boat ride, guide, breakfast, lunch, dinner, room, and entrance fees to parks.
Northern Costa Rica and Southern Nicaragua Tour
We will visit the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, with a canopy tour and a horseback ride to hot springs, then head to Granada City on the north shore of Lake Nicaragua. Granada is the oldest city in Central America, founded in 1524. We can view the city’s old colonial architecture in a horse-drawn carriage ride and enjoy a boat ride around the Granadas’ Isletas. We will then visit Masaya Volcano National Park, which has an exotic and sometimes eerie ambiance due to its formation by old eruptions and lava flows. Finally, we will enjoy a boat ride around the San Juan del Sur Gulf and a free afternoon at the beach. This fee includes bus transportation, boat ride, guide, breakfast, lunch, dinner, room, and entrance fees to parks.
Monteverde Cloud Forest
this is an overnight trip that includes a walk through the cloud forest of Reserva Biologica de Monteverde and a visit to Selvatura Adventures Park for a canopy tour that covers 15 cable lines and 18 platforms for a unique exploration of the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Southern Costa Rica and Panama Tour
We will head to Paso Canoas on the Costa Rica and Panama border, then continue to the city of Boquete and explore this beautiful, natural region. There we will zip line, cross hanging bridges and take a coffee tour. We will then continue to Panama City, where we will do a city tour of Casco Antiguo, the famous Panama Canal, and take a boat to Taboga Island, a beautiful beach on the Pacific coast. We will go from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean by train to explore Portobelo Beach, a beautiful Caribbean beach. We will head back to Costa Rica to spend two days at the Ballena Beach National Park, where we will take a boat ride for whale sightseeing and snorkeling. The fees includes bus transportation, boat rides, guides, room and board, and entrance fees to parks.