Costa Rica: Osa Peninsula Rainforest Discovery – Student Adventure!
Various (spring break, summer)
Various (spring break, summer)
Moderate Physical Activity
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Rainforest Discovery is expedition to wild Costa Rica designed to immerse students in rainforest ecology. This is not a typical tour. It is an adventure to a part of Costa Rica few tourists ever experience and one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth.
With its diverse landscape of volcanoes to beaches, Costa Rica is celebrated as one of the Earth’s most biodiverse locations. The heart of this biodiversity lies in the Osa Peninsula and surrounding areas. Located in the southern part of the country and extending into the Pacific Ocean, the Osa Peninsula is bordered by the Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Water”) to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
The first part of our Costa Rica science students tour takes place in the San Jose area. Students will be introduced to Costa Rica’s cloud forests and animals at the La Paz Waterfall Garden and Poas Volcano. On the same day, a fun and educational visit to a coffee plantation (one of Costa Ricas’ major industries) will help students understand coffee production from the bean to the cup.
The real adventure begins on this Costa Rica science students tour when we hop on a prop plane and fly 45 minutes down to the Osa Peninsula to Puerto Jimenez. From here, we take a boat across the Gulfo Dulce to the edge of the Piedras Blancas National Park. We spend 2 nights here. Daily adventures will take us by foot, paddle, and snorkel to see and learn about animals and plants of primary rainforest, mangroves, and the Gulfo Dulce.
To reach our next destination on the Costa Rica science students tour, we take a boat back across the Gulfo Dulce to Puerto Jimenez, then take 4 x 4 taxis two hours to the end of a dirt road. To access our next eco-lodge, we need to walk 2 miles through the rainforest! At this location, we will hike on the trails near the Corcovado National Park. We’ll even climb onto platforms in a 130 ft tall Garlic Tree using ropes and harness to learn about ecology in the treetops.
The morning before the students depart from our Costa Rica science students tour, we explore the town of Sarchi, learn about it’s history, and participate in an art project.
The images below show the glamping cabins. The left and center photo is Saledero’s glamping cabin near Piedras Blancas National Park. The far right is the raised platform cabin at La Leona near Corcovado National Park.
Costa Rica science students tour is an active adventure. Students will be hiking up to 2 miles 1-2 times per day, depending on the activities. Most activities are easy to moderate for healthy teens. Students who are not very active should consider a walking program before the trip to get prepared for their adventure. It will be hot, and you will get sweaty. Anyone can do this trip, but the more prepared the students are, the more enjoyable the experience will be on our Costa Rica science students tour and adventure.
Explore the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a haven for injured wildlife and a beautiful place learn more about Costa Rica’s animals and plants.
See a working coffee plantation and learn about the coffee harvesting process.
Visit a sulfur volcano at the Poas National Park.
Wildlife in the wild! See and learn about monkeys, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
Hike primary rainforest trails and black sand beaches.
Feed sloths and shake hands with a spider monkey at a wildlife sanctuary.
Learn about lowland rainforest ecology. – Hint, the plants steal the show!
Glamp at the edge of two National Parks in raised platform tents at eco-lodges.
Explore mangrove swamps by kayak in search of crocodiles.
Fly in a prop plane over Costa Rica’s wild coastline.
Explore the town of Sarchi for shopping and participate in a cultural art project.
Your Tour Guides
Guide / Costa Rica
Meet Pepe, your guide and future life-long friend! Pepe is a master naturalist and will reveal the story of the rainforest to you one character at a time. Instead of a few dry facts about animals you find on the trail, Pepe will teach you how every plant, monkey, bird, insect, and reptile is connected to one another via the delicate and intricate community within the rainforest. Pepe is Costa Rican and proud of his beautiful country. His passion for sharing his knowledge of the Tico culture and the amazing symbiotic life of tropical flora and fauna is evidence of how much he loves Costa Rica. Since 1997, he has been guiding people into the rainforests of Costa Rica and Panama. Our guests are shocked by now much Pepe knows! — It’s almost super human!
►Day 1: Welcome to Costa Rica
Groups will arrive from the U.S. at Juan Santamaria International Airport in Costa Rica’s in late afternoon. A 10-minute taxi ride will take us to the neighboring city of Alajuela and to our hotel. After dinner, we have an introductory meeting, and go over the plan. Dinner at Hotel Brilla Sol.
►Day 2: Poas Volcano Area Highlights
This is a full day exploring a nice mix of places outside of San Jose. The day starts with a visit at a working coffee plantation where you will have a hearty breakfast and drink local coffee after learning about coffee harvesting and production. The next stop is to enter the clouds and see an active volcano. Finally, you will end your day at the waterfall garden. The waterfall garden has amazing trails that wind through animal exhibits and along huge cascading waterfalls. Lunch is served at the waterfall garden. Dinner at Hotel Brilla Sol.
►Day 3: Piedras Blancas National Park
We will depart from San Jose in the early morning and enjoy a scenic 50-minute flight over mountains blanketed in thick forest to Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula. We will take taxis to the nearby dock to meet our boat for our water taxi across Gulfo Dulce to Saladero Eco-lodge. Along the way we will likely encounter dolphins and sea turtles.
Upon arrival, we will meet the owners and friendly staff, have lunch in the open-air dining room, and take an orientation tour of the gardens where most of the food for our meals comes from. Later, when it gets a bit cooler, we will begin your introduction to the rainforest on one of the Lodge’s trails adjacent to Las Piedras Blancas National Park. Dinner a Saladero. Evening presentation Saladero Eco-Lodge.
►Day 4: Habitats of Gulfo Dulce
Your alarm clock will be Howler Monkeys at about 3 am. With the monkeys and the birds making all sorts of noises, the stirrings of the rainforest make it easy to start the day early! After a 7 am breakfast, we will begin our activities.
The kayaks are pulled up the river into a thick mangrove habitats. Your guide will help you exploring this ecosystems by kayak. Here, huge mangroves are home to brackish water species like crabs, birds, and crocodiles. The trip is timed with an outdoing tide and you ride drift back downstream.
We will kayak or take a boat down to a neighboring beach to snorkel on the shallow reef. Here we can see hard corals, schooling fish, and other invertebrates.
Garden night hike to find amphibians, reptiles, and other creatures of the night.
►Day 5: Wildlife Sanctuary Transfer to Corcovado National Park Area
Breakfast at 7am. We will travel by boat to the Fundacion Santuario Silvestre de Osa (Osa Wildlife Sanctuary) for a 1.5-hr tour. Here, we will learn about the efforts to rescue and care for orphaned wildlife or those that have been victims of the animal trade. If we are lucky, we may be visited by one of the free-roaming spider monkeys that call the Sanctuary “home.”
We leave the Wildlife Sanctuary and enjoy the 45-minute boat ride back to Puerto Jimenez. We will stop in town for a snack and travel 2-hours by taxi through agricultural land, over gravel hills, and traversing rivers. Once we ride as far as the taxi can take us, we will drop our backpacks off with the horse cart that and continue on foot to La Leona Eco Lodge. The hike is 2 miles in distance along the picturesque volcanic black sand beach where the rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean to La Leona Eco Lodge. Dinner at La Leona.
Evening presentation: Garlic Tree Science Projects
►Day 6: Ridge Hike & Garlic Tree Climb
After a hearty breakfast, we will explore the ecosystem behind La Leona Lodge which boarders the Corcovado National Park. Be on the lookout for poison dart frogs, bats snoozing in leaves, and any of the four species of monkey who frequent the area. At the top of the ridge, the guides will dress participants for a thrilling adventure in a 130 ft Garlic Tree. Using ropes, pulleys, and harness, students will climb up three platforms to see the rainforest from the treetop, 80 feet up. This tree was first used for scientists to study the nocturnal habits of rainforest animals. A new species of moth and arboreal porcupine were discovered in this tree!
Night hike around the property.
Dinner at La Leona.
►Day 7: Return to San Jose
Morning / Afternoon:
After breakfast, we will enjoy our final hours at La Leona with a hike or group meeting to work on projects. After breakast, we will hike back up the beach to meet our taxis and return to Puerto Jimenez. There will be plenty of stops for wildlife watching along the way. If time allows, we will do some shopping in town, look for caimans in the nearby wetland and then catch our flight back to San Jose. Dinner and Overnight Hotel Brilla Sol.
►Day 8: Sarchi Visit & Flights from San Jose back to the U.S.A.
The town of Sarchí is most widely recognized for its colorful and decorative oxcarts that have been made here for over a century. Students will learn about the cultural importance of the ox carts and paint a wheel of their own using a traditional pattern.
There will be time for shopping before heading to the airport.
** Please note: The activities, lodging, guides, and schedule may change without notice as practical considerations arise during program development or onsite. **
Inclusions & Exclusions
- All scheduled activities listed on this page.
- Local guide & naturalist
- Ground transportation
- Domestic flight
- Airfare to San Jose. This will be added to the package once the group has been confirmed.
- Personal spending money
- Travel insurance
- Baggage fees
- $80 gratuity per person.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Price: $2350 plus airfare.
Installments: Equal monthly installments. Final payment is due 30 days prior to travel or May 15th whichever comes first.
Spots Available: 14/14
A passport valid for 6 months with 1 page for an entry stamp. Notarized permission to travel form.
All payments are non-refundable. In the unlikely event that Green Edventures is unable to fill the trip, a full refund will be given.
Travel insurance is available and recommended.