Costa Rica Wildlife & Biology School Trip

Costa Rica's luxuriant cloud forests provide the perfect habitat for so many unique species while its coastal waters are rich in marine life including the unique species of sea turtles that come ashore to nest and lay their eggs.

costa rica hanging bridge

School Biology Trip to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is in so many ways the perfect destination for a school biology tour. The country sits between the Caribbean to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west with the volcanic uplands of the American Continental Divide forming the backbone. These uplands are covered in luxuriant forests where a combination of prevailing weather and local geography cause the build-up of clouds and thus the cloud forests which provide the perfect habitat for so many unique species. The country's coasts are rich in marine life including the unique species of sea turtles that come ashore to nest and lay their eggs, while its National Parks such as Monteverde and Arenal offer exciting experiences including canopy walks and thrilling ziplines.

Suggested Itinerary

The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.

Day 1

Fly to Costa Rica

Flight to Costa Rica: On arrival you are met by your local guide and transfer to your hotel close to the city of San Jose where you have time to relax before dinner at your hotel.

Day 2

Poas National Park, La Paz Waterfall and Doka Coffee Estate

Poas National Park: This morning you travel up into the mountains to the Poas Volcano National Park. Poas is an active volcano and one of the most popular day excursions from San Jose. Poas is a striking sight with acidic crater lakes near to the summit, and there are occasional fumaroles venting sulphurous gases.

La Paz Waterfall Trail: You continue to the waterfall at La Paz. Paved trails lead into the forests where you can see hummingbirds, orchids and colourful tree frogs. There is also the largest butterfly farm in the world where the butterflies can soar freely amid their natural habitat.

Doka Coffee Estate: In the afternoon you visit the Doka Coffee Estate where your guide will show you the production process from start to finish. You see the cherries on the plants and then learn about the picking, sorting and roasting of the beans. You can sample a cup of coffee and there is a small shop where you can buy the roasted beans to take home. In the afternoon you return to San Jose and dinner this evening is at your hotel.

tree frog

Day 3

Sarapiqui River Boat Trip, Tirimbina Rainforest Centre and Night Hike

Sarapiqui River Boat Trip: This morning you drive from San Jose to the Sarapiqui River where you have a river boat trip in search of wildlife. You have the chance of seeing monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, otter and caimans as well as a great diversity of bird species.

Tirimbina Rainforest Centre: In the afternoon you visit a chocolate producer at the Tirimbina Rainforest Centre where you can see the entire process unfold, from harvesting beans though to the final product. Your guide will show you how cacao fruits are broken open, exposing their beans. A fermentation process of the beans soon begins, and eventually the beans are dried and ground down before being turned into chocolate that you can eat. Tasting is optional but encouraged!

Night Hike: After dark, your guides will lead you on a night hike into the forest in search of nocturnal creatures including bats. Dinner this evening is at your hotel.


Day 4

Educational Project Work, Arenal Volcano Hike and Eco Thermales Hot Springs

Educational Project: This morning you take part in a half day educational project at the Tirimbina Reserve where there is an ongoing environmental education programme. The project will teach you about the ongoing conservancy efforts and the obstacles the centre faces.

Arenal Volcano: After lunch you travel to the town of La Fortuna in the shadow of Arenal volcano where you hike the Mirador Trail to the Mirador viewpoint where you can see the lava flows from the last eruption in 1968.

Hot Springs: In the late afternoon you head back towards La Fortuna and to the Eco Thermales Hot Springs. This is a small and intimate venue with about 10 different baths of varying degrees of heat, and where numbers are limited, making for a more relaxed experience. Dinner this evening is at your hotel.

arenal volcano

Day 5

Maleku Community Visit and Sloth Sanctuary

Maleku Community Visit: This morning you visit a native Maleku community who, despite modern progress, keep alive their ancestral traditions and culture including their polytheistic religion. You will visit a traditional house, learn about their diet and herbal medicines, and observe the performance of one of their traditional rituals involving dance. The tour ends with a typical Maleku lunch, after which you can look at the handcrafts that they produce.

Sloth Sanctuary: In the afternoon you visit a local Sloth Sanctuary in the Arenal area which provides care and rehabilitation for animals which have been injured or otherwise cannot be returned to the wild.

sloth sanctuary

Day 6

Monteverde Cloud Forest Hike

Travel to Monteverde: This morning you travel by road from the Arenal area to Monteverde National Park. This is a wonderfully scenic drive as we travel around the shoreline of Lake Arenal with superb views of the volcano. Monteverde is one of the largest National Parks in the country cloud forest provides a wealth of opportunities to explore and learn about the unique ecosystem that is found here.

Monteverde Forest Hike: In the afternoon we go on a hike in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest of Monteverde. The ‘clouds’ that swirl around the forest are actually a continuous mist created by extreme humidity. With this constant cover, the forest below is always moist which makes it ideal for the wealth of plants that grow here. The forest is also home to an astonishing number of animals including Spider Monkeys and Sloths.

monteverde national park

Day 7

Hanging Bridges Tour, then travel to Playa Bejuco

Hanging Bridges Tour: This morning you do the famous Hanging Bridges Canopy Tour. This involves a series of suspension bridges and walkways which go through the canopy allowing you to get up close to the upper elevations of the forest. Your guide will point out lizards, frogs, birds, snakes and monkeys and give you a great history and biology lesson at the same time.

Travel to Playa Bejuco: After lunch you travel south to Playa Bejuco on the Pacific coast. The journey takes most of the afternoon and on arrival you check into your hotel for rest and relaxation before dinner.

hanging bridges

Day 8

Manuel Antonio National Park and Damas Mangrove Swamps Boat Tour

Manuel Antonio National Park: This morning is spent in the famous Manuel Antonio National Park which adjoins the Pacific Ocean. You will walk through the forests and see the wildlife unique to this area. Despite being one of the smallest national parks in Costa Rica, the variety of wildlife and scenery is extraordinary and includes tropical forests and pristine white sandy beaches.

Damas Island Mangrove Tour: In the afternoon you have a boat tour which explores the lagoons and mangrove swamps of Manuel Antonio. This is the perfect way to get close up to the animals that live in the forest.

iguana manuel antonio national park

Day 9

Depart from Costa Rica

Flight Home:  This morning you transfer from Playa Bejuco to the airport in San Jose for your afternoon flight back home.

Day 10

Arrive Home

Arrive Home:  Your flight arrives back home today

Explore Costa Rica

Our biology study tours to Costa Rica discover the incredible wealth of biodiversity that can be found in the Cloud Forests and Coastal Reserves. At the Caribbean we can see the giant leatherback turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs, while in the forests of Monteverde we may see the elusive sloth. There is a huge variety of bird life throughout, while a night hike at Arenal will show us many nocturnal creatures including the distinctive tree frog.


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