Study Abroad in Costa Rica (UW Exploration Seminar)

Looking for a field experience in the tropics? Join us on our annual Exploration Seminar to Costa Rica this September! We travel for nearly a month from highlands to coast and you get 5 UW credits! Apply via the UW’s Study Abroad Program (we’re listed as an Autumn Quarter Exploration Seminar) BEFORE FEB 26!!

Come experience the breath-taking natural beauty and rich cultural history of Costa Rica. You will explore a range of tropical ecosystems: from the beaches of the Pacific Ocean, to the lush humid rainforests of the Osa Peninsula, and up into the mighty oak trees of the Savegre cloud forest at Cierra de la Muerte. Proud of their reputation for protecting and preserving their incredible biodiversity, our experienced Tico guides and naturalists will share their deep love for their country’s natural heritage and show you places most foreigners never get to venture. Feel what it’s like to be a research scientist and conservationist working in the field. Go on night hikes to collect and protect endangered turtle eggs, screen videos of camera traps tracking the wild cats, search the forests for troops of monkeys, and help repair and restore damaged forests through restoration activities. Immerse yourself in the local culture in rural villages at Mastatal and the highland coffee region of Santa Elena. Staying with local families, you will gain first-hand knowledge of sustainable agriculture and coffee production, make (and taste) chocolate straight from the cacao trees, hike to waterfalls for an afternoon swim, and participate in service learning activities giving back to the communities. No Spanish? No hay problema, beginning and advanced speakers alike can build their skills with daily lessons from a Spanish teacher.

Explore the connection between modern society and the natural world through activities centered at the intersection of nature, commerce and tourism. Investigate the pros and cons of ecotourism as a tool in the conservation of nature, and the ways in which foreign visitors and corporations have influenced, for better or worse, the socioeconomic dynamics on the Pacific coast communities of Costa Rica. Deepen your own understanding of the effect of human activities in shaping nature through lessons in the identification and natural history of native flora and fauna, ecosystem structure and function, and sustaining the balance between the instrumental and intrinsic value of nature.

Professor John Marzluff ( or Teaching Assistant Robert Tournay ( if you have any questions.