- Photograph monkeys, sloths, rare birds, and other wildlife
- Swim beneath a waterfall and explore pristine beaches
- Interview leatherback turtle researchers on the coast
- Learn about the local coffee trade while working on an organic farm
Choose one of these projects and delve further into your area of interest:
Itinerary 12 Days
Costa Rica has protected nearly a quarter of its land from development, creating a refuge for countless species and ensuring that its cloud forests, steaming volcanoes, and pristine beaches will be around for generations to come. From the rain forest to the coast, discover Costa Rica's incredible biodiversity. Through an On Assignment project of your choice—Photography, Wildlife & Conservation, or Community Service—set out to investigate and document Costa Rica's stewardship of its diverse ecosystems.
Monteverde and San Luis
6 days.The program begins in San Luis—a beautiful, self-sustaining village located on the southern edge of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve—our base as we explore this unique ecosystem.
A typical day begins with an exercise focused on your On Assignment project—an early morning photo shoot of toucans as they flock to feed in the papaya trees, a workshop on medicinal plants, or a visit with local farmers to learn about their daily lives and help out in the fields.
We'll spend our afternoons discovering the region on field assignments and active excursions. Swim under the spray of the spectacular San Luis waterfall, which emerges from the jungle mists and tumbles some 300 feet. Explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest from top to bottom: hike the trails in search of the elusive quetzal, glide through the canopy on a zip line, and ride horseback deep into the forest to find untouched primary growth. Visit a local coffee cooperative or volunteer to plant trees with the biological corridor project. Learn to cook traditional Costa Rican staples such as gall pinto, tamales, and tortillas; and play soccer with the local schoolchildren. In the evenings, participate in discussions with local naturalists and our National Geographic expert.
6 days.From the mountains of Monteverde, head west to Costa Rica's beautiful Pacific coast. Using a marine research station as our base, spend five days exploring the coastal ecosystem and the tropical dry forests of Guanacaste. Meet with conservation biologists to discuss the endangered leatherback turtle, and spend a morning participating in reforestation projects in a nearby primate biological station. Spend an afternoon at the beach and catch a wave on one of Costa Rica's premier surfing beaches.
Wrap up your On Assignment projects and share them with the group on the final night.
Note: Students who select the Community Service On Assignment project will spend an estimated 20-30 hours on service projects.