Costa Rica: Geology and Biodiversity

June 2-10, 2014

February 21, 2014

Costa Rica, a landmass encompassing only .03% of the earth’s surface, contains 5% of earth’s biodiversity- a density that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Its thick forests, vast wetlands, and misty mountains teem with life. Hundreds of these species are endemic to Costa Rica, and exist nowhere else on earth. Additionally, the region of Costa Rica is a tectonically active region, including volcanoes, earthquakes, high relief, and mass wasting. Participants, expect to get your hands (and feet, and clothes) dirty as you board canal boats, kayaks, rafts and ziplines to get an up-close look at ever-changing landscapes and unparalleled animal and plant life. Bring sturdy shoes and a healthy sense of adventure, because discovering all that Costa Rica has to offer means getting out of the bus and venturing head-on into the unknown.


Participants may enroll in any one of the following courses:

  • BIOL299-001: Biodiversity in Costa Rica
  • BIOL298-0H1: Honors Biodiversity in Costa Rica
  • GEOL299-001: Geology of Costa Rica
  • GEOL298-0H1: Honors Geology of Costa Rica


  • $2,392 for 4 travelers to a room (automatic for travelers under age 30)
  • $2,632 for 2 travelers to a room (automatic for travelers age 30 and over)
  • Anyone may upgrade to 2 or 1 traveler per room for an extra cost

The program cost includes hotels with private bathrooms, airfare to and from Costa Rica, in-country travel, most meals, and most entry fees.

*The cost does NOT include San Juan College tuition, travel insurance, transportation to and from Albuquerque for flight departure and arrival, optional whitewater rafting in Sarapiqui ($60), canopy tour in Sarapiqui ($50), passport fees, medications or immunizations, phone calls and other incidental expenses in Costa Rica.

This program is open to anyone over 18 years of age. You do not need to be a current SJC student to apply. If you’re not already an SJC student, it’s easy to become one. Anyone over 18 years of age is eligible. Visit the Enrollment Services Home Page for more information.


Download and fill out the travel study application and turn it into the address provided on page 2 of the application before the application deadline.


If you already have scholarships or other forms of financial aid through SJC for the spring 2014 semester, your financial aid should apply as usual for your tuition and fees. 

If you are a current full-time, degree-seeking, financial aid eligible student at SJC, you may be eligible to apply for scholarship funds through the San Juan College Foundation. Contact Cynthia Rapp Sandhu ( for more information.

If you are a current SJC Honors student who has already successfully completed an Honors course and you are taking an Honors course as part of a travel study program, you may be eligible to apply for a $300 scholarship through the Honors Program. Contact John Burris ( or Cynthia Rapp Sandhu ( for more information.

Faculty teachers for this trip will be Jennifer Lewis and John Burris. Jennifer has a BA in Biology from the College of Wooster and an MS in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Wayne State University. She has taught at San Juan College for 10 years. John Burris has a BA in Geology from Miami University, an MS in Geology from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. in Geology from Michigan State University. He has been teaching at San Juan College for 9 years. Jennifer and John most recently co-led a trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands in the summer of 2012.

For additional information, please contact:

•Jennifer Lewis – (505) 566-3118 or
• John Burris – (505) 566-3325 or


Day 1: Fly to Costa Rica
Day 2: Braulio Carrillo National park, visit a banana plantation, and take a boat ride to Tortuguero
Day 3: Explore Tortuguero National Park, including a canal boat ride along beaches, canals, lagoons, and wetlands of Tortuguero
Day 4: Travel to Sarapiqui, and take a canopy tour of the rainforest
Day 5: Travel to Arenal, whitewater rafting, and take visit hot spring fed by nearby Arenal Volcano
Day 6: Kayak on Lake Arenal and hike to la Fortuna Waterfall
Day 7: Travel to Guanacaste and visit Rincón de la Vieja National Park and the Blue Lagoon
Day 8: Free day at the beach in Guanacaste
Day 9: Depart for home

EF College Study Tours:

This program will be using EF College Study Tours as their guide while in Costa Rica. EF Tours will provide a Tour Director from Costa Rica that will be available 24/7. For more information, please visit