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Excursions & Travel

Get ready to dive into Costa Rican culture! There are plenty of cultural activities planned throughout the semester, including traditional Costa Rican dance classes and cooking lessons, as well as excursions and guest speakers.

A highlight of the Costa Rica program is a five-day excursion to Nicaragua, which gives you a broader perspective on ecotourism and conservation in Central America. You’ll see several of Nicaragua’s colonial cities and unique geological and geographic points, including Lake Nicaragua and two of the oldest biological reserves in the country, Masaya Volcano National Park and Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve. Read more about the Costa Rica program field trip to Nicaragua.

In the past, students have also traveled throughout Costa Rica to explore the chocolate-making process at La Tirimbina rainforest center, visit the Llano Bonito coffee plantation, and volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity project in San José. Other trips to the country’s Central Pacific region and the Cartago Province have exposed students to everything from quiet rainforests to a Roman Catholic basilica.

Class excursions are designed to help you understand your role in the social, environmental, and economic development of Costa Rica. With ACM’s connections in Costa Rica and the country’s tradition of openness, you will also have opportunities to meet and network with national and international experts in fields related to politics, economics, education, conservation, humanities, and public health. 


Personal Travel

Many students choose to stay in Costa Rica after the program ends to visit new sites and unwind after an eventful semester. However, you don’t have to wait until the end of the term to go exploring! Fill your weekends with activities and mini-trips to see new places in Costa Rica.

For the most part, transportation in Costa Rica is easily accessible, with buses serving almost every village that can be reached by a passable road. Many students find that bus and taxi fares are affordable for their budgets, which allows students to branch out beyond the main program site.

You don’t have to go far to find fascinating and fun places to explore. Right in the heart of San José, you can see concerts and shows at the National Theatre of Costa Rica, learn about new plant and animal species at the Simón Bolívar Zoo, and get up close to beautiful ancient artifacts at the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.

It’s no surprise that Costa Rica has a collection of beautiful beaches along its Pacific shoreline. You can take a weekend and travel to Montezuma, a small, laidback beach town famous for its waterfalls. Sámara is also a popular beach destination with plenty of fun activities, so you can either choose to relax or go on an adventurous kayak tour!

Many ACM students also enjoy taking a day trip to Poás Volcano National Park, where you can follow extensive walking trails through lush forests and inactive craters. The Poás Volcano, however, is still active and you can see its turquoise lake from observation decks.Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Manuel Antonio National Park, located in the Central Pacific. Though small, it contains a variety of animal species, including sloths and monkeys, and its white sand beaches and hiking trails give you the chance to unwind and enjoy the landscape.

Throughout the semester, keep an eye out for festivals and cultural events happening near you. La Nación daily newspaper lists music, movies, and other events for the weekend, and the University of Costa Rica weekly newspaper, Seminario Universidad, also carries cultural announcements.