Integrated Management of Tropical Crops - Costa Rica

Type of Travel: 
Costa Rica
Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Entomology
Departure Date: 
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 to Saturday, March 23, 2019
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, November 1, 2018

This program provides an introduction to production of a wide variety of tropical crops (coffee, banana, pineapple, mango, sugar cane, cut flowers, vegetables, papaya, etc.) from the perspective of Costa Rica. The class also explores Costa Rican ecology, history, and culture. Close cooperation with University of Costa Rica faculty allow many unique opportunities during the class visit.

Program Goals and Outcome
1) Enable students to develop a three-dimensional impression of modern tropical agriculture, with emphasis on Costa Rica
2) Learn about innovations in tropical agriculture with possible application to Iowa.
3) Increase appreciation for the customs, history, and people of Costa Rica.
4) Reflect on issues of personal identity and interdependence in a global context.

By the end of the program, students will:

  • Understand how tropical crops are grown
  • Understand the challenges of tropical agriculture over a range of operational scales from small-scale subsistence farms to large-scale exporters.
  • Gain an appreciation for the variety of ways of life of Costa Rican urban and rural people.
  • Recognize the similarities of agricultural sustainability issues between the U.S. and Central America.

Participant Selection Criteria

Program Prerequisite

  • Understanding of general biology/agronomy/horticulture preferred.
  • Preference will be given to graduate students and upper-level (junior/senior) undergraduate

Additional skills and requirements

  • Ability to tolerate stresses of group travel in the tropics; e.g., lengthy bus rides on curving mountain roads, tropical heat and humidity, strenuous walks and ability to carry own belongings,  "togetherness" of group travel
  • Being without wifi for several hours or even days.

Note:  Due to international quarantine restrictions service animals cannot be accommodated on our study abroad programs. For more information, please contact the Iowa State University Student Accessibility Services Office

Course Information
You will earn a total of 3 credits for Plant Pathology/Entomology/Horticulture 511 during spring 2019 semester

  • Plant Pathology/Entomology/Horticulture 511 - This course has a pre-departure course component and a travel component.
  • For Pre-departure part of the course, class will meet during the spring semester at a location and time TBD. This course will
    • Set the tone for the program
    • Discuss academic portion 
    • Lay out expectations and procedures 
    • Answer your questions and concerns
    • Cover topics about itinerary, accommodation, meals, safety, health, logistics, travel documents, finances and more.
  • Travel portion of the course will take place during spring break.

Students must take both the on campus course and complete the travel component

Program Fee
$2,659 ( includes roundtrip airfare, ground transportation, housing, entrance fees and many meals, CISI required emergency insurance)

Other Fees
$105 study abroad fee that is from the Study Abroad Center in 3224 MU

Tuition, fees and program fees will be automatically charged to student U-bills

Out-of-Pocket Expenses
$150 incidentals
$50 meals
$175 passport*

*If you are a first time traveler in CALS and need a passport, click here to find out how you can get the cost of your passport reimbursed

There are study abroad scholarships available through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences study abroad office in 0018 Curtiss Hall. Scholarship application details are served to CALS students in the learning content section of the study abroad program application. Application deadline for Spring term scholarship applications is November 1st, 2018

Other Scholarship Resources

Office Of Students Financial Aid

Affording to go

Iowa State University Student Affairs Scholarships

Application Process
To be considered in the selection process, applicants should have completed the program application in its entirety before the application deadline of November 1, 2018.

  • Once the selection process is complete, you will be notified about the decision.
  • If you are accepted to the program you will be required to commit or decline participation.
  • Typically you will be given 7 to 10 days with a specific commitment date to finalize your decision.

Once you commit to the program, you are officially a participant in the program and will be responsible for all the program cost outlined in the budget. If you withdraw your participation after committing to a program, you will be responsible for all non-refundable payments that were made on your behalf and these charges will be charged to your U-bill.

Tentative Itinerary

Wednesday, March 13 
Depart Bessey Hall loading dock (3:00 am)
Depart Des Moines airport (6:00am) UA6115
Arrive San Jose (12:25 pm) UA1096

Thursday, March 14   
In-field study of Organic Vegetable Production
Visit University of Costa Rica, Agronomy Department
Dinner with UCR Faculty and Students

Friday, March 15
Tour Volcano Poas
Tour El Corso Dairy Farm & Greenhouse
Tour Peruvian groundcherry and other student research projects at Fraijanes       

Saturday, March 16 
Tour Farmers Market (Guadalupe)
In-field study of mango production and processing
In-field study of melon production and processing

Sunday March 17
Visit beach and marine biology at Manuel Antonio National Park 

Monday, March 18
In-field study of oil palm production and processing

Tuesday, March 19
In-field study of pineapple production, harvesting and packaging
In-field study of banana production and processing        

Wednesday, March 20 
Tour of composting and vermiculture facility
In-field study of papaya production and processing
In-field study Dracaena propagation, production and marketing

Thursday, March 21
Sightsee at Braulio Carrillo (cloud forest) Nat'l Park
Lecture and Lab Tour at CICAFE Coffee Research Center
In-field study of coffee production

Friday, March 22  
Lecture and Lab Tour at CORBANA (banana research facility)
Tour sugar cane production and processing
Dinner with UCR Students

Saturday, March 23 
Depart San Jose hotel (8:00 am)
Depart San Jose airport (10:45 am) UA2012
Arrive Des Moines (8:50 pm) UA6027
Arrive Ames (10:00 pm)

Country Taxonomy: