International Trips 

Ecotourism Destinations - Costa Rica

Ohio University Education Abroad January 2-11, 2014

More information can be found at the Education Abroad website
Group at Waterfall

The Outdoor Pursuits Program and the Recreation Studies department at Ohio University are sponsoring this exciting winter study abroad experience to the adventure and eco-tourism capital of Latin America, Costa Rica. This course (REC 4901) will explore ways in which ecotourism enterprises relate to the general concepts of sustainability, including environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts. From a conceptual and operational point of view, we will explore the concepts of sustainability and sustainable developmentwith an emphasis on community-based sustainable development. Students will engage in this exploration through a firsthand ecotourism experience in the world renowned ecotourism destination of Costa Rica.

Course Itinerary

Thursday, January 2: Arrival Day – Students will fly in separately to the San Jose airport where we will meet as a group and join our Autentico Adventures guides for a short shuttle to our overnight stay at Hostal Toruma, the former mansion of one of Costa Rica's most influential presidents. Enjoy an evening rest in sight of the central mountain rainforest region.

Friday, January 3: Santa Maria Tour- After an early start, we drive to the coffee growing region and city of Santa Maria. We will visit their streets and shops as well as take a tour of the city's coffee processing facility.We will also enjoy our first family homestay in Santa Maria as our overnight accommodation.

Saturday, January 4: Las Rejas to Cruce de Tonito - Our first day of trekking! We depart Santa Maria and drive to the Las Rejas trailhead over rugged mountain roads using four wheel drive vehicles.Our hike will take us up and through both the rain and cloud forest zones alive with monkeys, cascading waterfalls, lush vegetation, and countless colorful tropical birds. This challenging but rewarding hike covers seven miles of pristine forest and will end at a mountaintop campsite near Cruce de Tonito

Sunday, January 5: Magdelena House - Wake up to warm sun and sounds of rainforest wildlife while we enjoy our trail breakfast. We continue our trek for another four miles to our second homestay location at Magdalena house. After shedding boots and cleaning up we'll share lunch with our host and rest tired feet. In the afternoon, tour Magdelena's farm to learn how the fruits, plants, and animals sustain this mountain family's life. We will spend the night here before continuing our trek.

Monday, January 6: Lopez House - After an early breakfast, we don our boots and    backpacks again for short two mile downhill trek through open fields and pastures to the Lopez family house in Piedras Blancas, near the headwaters of the Rio Savegre. After meeting our hosts we will leave our backpacks and pick up harnesses and helmets to rappel the exhilarating 8o foot waterfall on the Lopez farm property. We will finish the day by resting, eating, and getting to know our hosts. We spend the night at the Lopez house, under the mountain sky and stars.

Tuesday, January 7: Caves and Sugar Making - Begin the day with the Lopez family enjoying a traditional Costa Rican breakfast to power our day of exploration. Bringing just the basics, we'll trek through the village of Piedras Blancas, past hillside fields of black beans to explore nearby mountain caves and the fascinating life that resides inside. On our return we'll enjoy a swim in the brisk mountain waters of the Savegre before heading back to our host house. In the afternoon we join in the process of making sugar from sugarcane grown on the farm, learning more about the life of the farming families of the mountain region. The day ends with dinner and another restful night in the mountains.

Wednesday, January 8 - After our rest day, we continue our descent into the Savagre river valley with a seven mile trek to our next homestay where we will spend the rest of the day and stay overnight before continuing.

Thursday, January 9 - We will start our last leg of our mountain trek, a three mile journey through the mostly flat river floodplain terrain to the edge of the village of Brujo where we meet our rafting guides.The rest of the morning and into the afternoon we'll raft 15 miles of the Rio Savegre, a pristine waterway alive with rapids, rugged scenery and prolific wildlife. We end our river trip with a night in Silencio to rest and prepare for our final day of activities.

Friday, January 10 - Depart Silencio by shuttle bus for the ride to Manuel Antonio Park and the Pacific Ocean. Manuel Antonio is known for its incredible blue waters and ideal conditions for new surfers to try their skills. We will dedicate the rest of the morning and into the afternoon riding the waves and enjoying the stunning beach scenery and wildlife. We depart for San Jose in late afternoon and return to our starting point to stay at Hostel Toruma. The day ends with a final dinner out in San Jose with our Autentico guides.

Saturday, January 11 - Departure from San Jose airport , Costa Rica and return to Athens.