If you are planning where to take your school trips in Costa Rica, here is a short guide to the most interesting types of educational trip for colleges and universities.
Costa Rica is a true natural paradise where there are lots of possible research trips you can go on, in its national parks and protected areas, where you can enjoy an educational and entertaining day.
This is one of the most interesting excursions you can go on in Costa Rica. There you can visit the impressive parque de los puentes colgantes with its impressive suspension bridges over 45 metres high. There is an observatory with a seismograph where you can observe seismic activity, a small museum where you can learn about the history of the volcano and there are numerous interesting trails for walking.
This small town located between the sea and the jungle accessible only by boat or plane, and it has the most interesting sea turtle observation programme in the country. Here you can learn about the sea turtles’ nesting process, and the many trails on both land and water provide a unique opportunity for observing at first hand the huge diversity of flora and fauna. Never has a biology class been so interesting!
Monteverde National Park
This is a typical cloud forest and there are lots of facilities that allow you to take part in environmental education programmes. Observing birds and animals in their natural habitats in the Galería de Colibrís, the Serpentarium or the Butterfly Garden, going hiking on the Tiger Trail or in the Santa Elena Reserve, having a unforgettable experience flying over the jungle on zip lines or crossing the hanging bridges will make for an educational trip that will always be remembered.
Manuel Antonio National Park
This is the most visited protected area in Costa Rica. There are different types of habitat here: beach, mangrove swamps and tropical forest. All are home to a broad diversity of species, so encounters with monkeys, raccoons and other animals that have lost their fear of human visitors are frequent. On the beaches you can go snorkelling and see the corals and the sea life.
Corcovado National Park
The wildest and most biodiverse national park in Costa Rica. Visits must always be arranged with a guide, but the experience of a nature walk here will surpass the dreams of any apprentice biologist. It’s a good idea to choose accommodation within the limits of the park, as in this way you’ll have more time for your research trips.
When you’re thinking of things to do in Costa Rica, you immediately think of its natural treasures, but the cultural wonders of the cities shouldn’t be underestimated.
Costa Rica’s capital has some great architecture, for example the building that is home to the National Theatre of Costa Rica, the jewel of colonial neo-Renaissance that is the Post Office Building and the neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral. There are also several interesting museums such as the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, which offers interactive learning experiences, or the Children’s Museum where the kids can learn in a fun and entertaining way.
Located on the slopes of the Irazú volcano, Cartago was the first capital of the country in colonial times, and still retains that splendour today. The main attractions are the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, a beautiful Byzantine-style temple, and the Lankester Botanical Gardens. This centre for research at the University of Costa Rica allows visitors to familiarise themselves with orchids, epiphytes and countless plant species.
From Cartago we recommend you take a day trip to the Durán Sanatorium, an abandoned asylum of great historical and architectural interest.
The Guayabo national monument
Here are the most important pre-Columbian archaeological remains in the country. Wandering through the remains of aqueducts, roads, tombs, stairways and other architectural features, you can enjoy a living history lesson.
The valley where this small town is located is overwhelmingly beautiful, and its picturesque colonial church is very interesting because it’s a perfect example of colonial architecture as well as being the oldest church in the country.
Food tours in Costa Rica
The typical Caribbean cuisine provides some clues to the country’s history and culture. So gastronomic tours in Costa Rica are another great idea! Among the dishes that are essential to understanding the mestizo culture and the philosophy of Costa Rican life are the ‘casado’, a dish that combines rice, beans, fried plantain, vegetables and meat or fish, and the ‘gallo pinto’, a mixture of rice with beans served with vegetables, egg and the essential ‘Lizano’ sauce. These dishes, influenced by pre-Columbian, African and Spanish cultures are a testimony to the cultural mix and the rich history of the country.
Of course there are also opportunities for lots more educational trips in Costa Rica. But this would be our choice of the essentials to be able to gain a deeper understanding of country, to make the visit a truly educational experience, and of ‘pura vida’!