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  • Locations: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Spring Break
  • Budget Sheets: Spring Break
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Study Abroad Adviser: Cornell, Jodi Program Director: Adelman, James, Dinsmore, Steve
Housing Options: Hotel/Tourist Lodging Language of Instruction: English
Host Country Language: Spanish Online Course Catalog Available: No
Sponsor: Iowa State ISU Course: NREM 496, NREM 596
Program Description:


Group Picture

Friendly Face

Informational Meetings:
Check back soon for more information

Program Description:

This course is an introduction to Costa Rica and the country's biodiversity. You will become informed about the contexts --- ecological, social, and political --- in which the natural resources exist and the challenges they face. You'll have an opportunity, during the travel portion of the course, to see some of them first-hand. You'll also have an opportunity to become somewhat of an "expert" on one species or group of species and present that to the class.

More Info: 

Costa Rica is a Central American country, bounded on the north by Nicaragua and on the south by Panama, lying wholly within the tropics.  It is a comparatively tranquil haven among turbulent neighbors.  It has the most "pure" and longest-surviving democracy in the region, has no standing army, a well-educated and warm, friendly populace of about 3.3 million people.  Because of its location and topography, the biodiversity is amazing:  some 560 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles, 850 species of birds, 130 species of freshwater fish, and at least 9,000 plant species.  They occur in no less than 12 life zones from sea coast to montane.

Yet, like many developing countries, there are many problems.  The long-term economic progress of developing countries depends upon the recognition of the importance of natural resource policies that are both ecologically and economically sustainable.  Despite its often-touted national park system that ostensibly preserves some 19% of the country's total land area, Costa Rica has one of the highest deforestation rates in the western hemisphere.

Group Leaders: Dr. Stephen Dinsmore , and Dr. James Adelman ,


ClickCosta Rica_2010.pdf for more information regarding the past program from 2010.

Travel Dates: March 11-20, 2016, class will meet during the spring 2016 semester.

Natural Resource Ecology and Management: NREM 496 (3 credits), NREM 596 (3 credits), undergraduate and graduate credit available.

Tentative Itinerary:
11 March   Des Moines, IA to San Jose, CR (1 night)
12 March   San Jose to La Selva Biological Station (3 nights)
15 March   La Selva to Las Cruces Biological Station (3 nights)
18 March   Las Cruces to Carara (2 nights)
20 March   Carara to San Jose to Des Moines



Keel-billed Toucan

Selection and Prerequisites:

Selection will be based on completion of the online application (including the essay included in the application), and an interview with course instructors.

Students must be in one of the biological sciences.  Preference for students to be at least sophomores, but will consider freshmen if the course is not filled by the deadline.  Graduate students are welcome and the course may be taken for minor graduate credit.  Because of the course's subject matter, graduate students in the Wildlife Ecology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology majors will be given preference.  3.0 GPA or higher preferred.


Green Spiny Lizard (male)

Program Fee: $2,385.07 (airfare, lodging, in-country transportation, some meals, CISI health and emergency insurance, entrance fees)

Other Fees - 1) $10 program application fee to the Ag Study Abroad office; 2) $105 study abroad administrative fee charged by Study Abroad Center.

Out of Pocket Personal Cost - 1) passport which costs $135 if you don't already have one; 2) spending money for some meals and incidentals estimated at $150, 3) other personal costs, such as souvenirs, 4) preventative travel medicine (if applicable, varies), etc.

Program fee, and the $105 administrative fee will be applied directly to your Ubill in spring 2016.

Eyelash Viper

Group at La Roca

If you are a student in the College of Ag and Life Sciences and do not have a passport, contact Jodi at to find out how you can have the cost of your passport reimbursed.


This program is currently not accepting applications.