Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

Costa Rica

From exploring San Jose, to wildlife in Corcovado, beach time in Puerto Viejo and the incredible scenery in Monteverde and La Fortuna, Costa Rica is a dream destination. The lush, jungle paradise with an abundance of wildlife, adventure activities and nature experiences, is the perfect location for ecotourism enthusiasts and people who love an adventure!

Our first stop is the bustling capital city of San José. In the city, there are a number of museums on offer to show you the history of Costa Rica including the Museo del Oro Precolombino (Pre-Columbian Gold Museum), which is home to more than 1,600 artefacts of Pre-Columbian gold from 500 AD, and the National Coin Museum which has a collection dating back to 1236.

From San José, we explore the natural world of this unique country. Costa Rica is arguably the  number one ecotourism destination in the world, with an estimated 6% of the Earth’s plant and animal species, even though its landmass only takes up 0.03% of the planet’s surface. Over a quarter of the country’s landmass is devoted to national parks and reserves and much of the tourist industry has a sustainable ethos – from stunning eco-lodges, environment-friendly tours and schemes.

The first place to visit is Corcovado National Park. Corcovado National Park is one of the world’s top destinations for spotting wildlife in their natural habitats. One of the most biologically rich national parks in Costa Rica, Corcovado’s rainforest and mangrove swamps are home to big cats like the jaguar, tapirs, giant anteaters and macaws, while its river shelters crocodiles and bull sharks. If you want to feel like you are living in a nature documentary, this is the place to go!

Then head to the Cloud Forests in Monteverde. The lush Cloud Forests are magical – where low hanging mist and clouds sit on the upper canopy of the trees. In Monteverde there are numerous ways to explore the Cloud Forests – from walking the Sky Walk (crossing 6 hanging suspension bridges), to taking the sky tram gondolas. You can even soar over the tree canopy at 600 feet and swing through the rainforest like Tarzan on Central America’s longest zip-line. It is one of the best ways to see the country and its spectacular scenery!

One of the most impressive sights you will see in Costa Rica is the looming 5,743ft (1,670m) perfectly conical peak of Arenal Volcano. You can hike in the national park to see the lava rocks and trails from past eruptions and spot for Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife!

Go to Tortuguero National Park, where the Caribbean Sea collides with lush rainforest. The endangered green turtle comes here to lay her eggs, as do the hawksbill, loggerhead and leatherback varieties. You can go on a night walk along the beach to see them dragging themselves up the beach or witness the tiny hatchlings making their way into the water for the first time. It is a truly magical sight.

Costa Rica is famous for coffee and chocolate production. Close to Monteverde is El Trapiche, a family run coffee, sugar cane and cocoa experience where you can have a tour of the grounds with plenty of information about coffee and cocoa production as well as a few tasting sessions along the way!

Your final stop is the most famous beach in Costa Rica, Playa Tamarindo. Embrace the ‘Pura Vida Life’ and lounge around on the beach, surf the waves and enjoy some of the local cuisine at its beach cafes and restaurants. The perfect way to end your eco-tourism adventure.