Soils and Crops of Costa Rica

Type of Travel: 
Costa Rica
Program Director(s): 
Departure Date: 
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 to Saturday, March 23, 2019
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Field examination of the soils, crops and water use systems of Costa Rica via visits to active farms, ministry field sites, and processing plants. Discussions led by practicing professionals including Enrique Villalobos (UCR, Professor-Emeritus) and Lee Burras.

See program brochure here

Program Prerequisites
All students are welcome to apply with priority given to a balance of year in school and gender balance with additional considerations regarding academic major (slight "preference" for Agronomy, Environmental Science, & Global Resource Systems)

AGRON 496 or EnSci 496  or Globe 496 (3 credits)

Program Fee
$3500 (approximate - includes round trip airfare, bus transportation to the airport, most meals, lodging, ground transportation, entrance fees, required international health and emergency insurance)
$105 Study Abroad Center administrative fee

Out of Pocket Expenses
$30 (approximate) some meals
$150 (approximate) incidentals, souvenirs
$145 Passport*
$35 Costa Rica departure tax

*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

Scholarships are available through the Agronomy Dept (contact group leader or 1126 Agron Hall), as well as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (0018 Curtiss Hall, due NOVEMBER 1)

Program Goal
The goal of this course is to learn about the soils, crops and environment of Costa Rica while gaining respect for and appreciation of Costa Rica culture and nationalism as well as the Spanish language.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Appreciate and understand the culture of Costa Rica at least well enough to contrast and compare its major aspects to the USA
  2. Value language and recognize the importance and beauty of Spanish
  3. Know the major soils, crops and cropping systems of Costa Rica and be able to compare and contrast them with Iowa and the central USA
  4. Know how elevation and proximity to coasts affects the climate of Costa Rica and be able to compare and contrast the same with Iowa and the central USA
  5. Be conversant about water availability and quality in central and northern Costa Rica

Tentative Program Itinerary

Wednesday, March 13
Arrival Hotel Irazú

Thursday, March 14
7:00 a.m. Coffee Tour (Santa María de Dota, Gabriela Ureña 8938-1098)
2:00 p.m Avocados, Highland Fruits (Copey, Olman Serrano 8808-9829)
6:00 p.m. Return to Hotel Irazú

Friday, March 15
7:00 a.m. Departure to San Carlos
11:00 a.m. Lunch at El Tucano Hotel
12:30 p.m. Banana Tour (Zurquí Farm, Sarapiquí, Carlos Gamboa)
5:30 p.m. Back to San Carlos (Ericka &Fernando, Hotel Tucano)

Saturday, March 16
8:00 a.m. Pineapple Tour (Comercializadora Fertinyc, Wilberth 8890-2077)
Welcome cocktail and lunch at the farm.
4:00 p.m. Return to Hotel Arenal Manoa

Sunday, March 17
8:00 a.m. Organic Horticulture (Juan J. Paniagua 8853-0990)
12:00 p.m. Lunch at Ceci’s Restaurant (2463-3344)
2:00 p.m. Dairy Farm (milk production in the tropical highlands)
4:00 p.m. Return to Hotel Arenal Manoa, La Fortuna

Monday, March 18
7:00 a.m. Departure
9:00 a.m. Orange Production (Los Chiles, Fernando 8705-7426)
1:00 p.m. Lunch at Restaurante CUCA
Cassava, plantains, papaya (Hotel Arenal Manoa, La Fortuna)

Tuesday, March 19
7:30 a.m. Departure to Guanacaste (Irrigation Agriculture, Cañas)
12:00 p.m. Lunch at Rincón Corobicí Restaurante (2669-6262)
2:00 p.m. Mujica Farm (Irrigation Project, Marvin Barrantes 8831-5991; Rice Production, Hernán Rodríguez, 8307-2525)
5:00 p.m. Departure to Liberia (Allan, Hotel Hilton)

Wednesday, March 20
7:00 a.m. Departure to Azucarera El Viejo, Filadelfia
9:00 a.m. Sugar Cane Production (Fermín Subirós, 8361-6331)
12:00 p.m. Lunch at La Casona Restaurante
2:00 p.m. Departure to Jacó (Stephanie, Hotel Jacó Beach)

Thursday, March 21
8:00 a.m. Oil Palm Production (Alvaro Carmona, 8832-3363, Palma Tica)
12:00 p.m. Return to Hotel Jacó Beach

Friday, March 22
Morning free
2:00 p.m. Return to San José, Hotel Irazú
3:00 p.m. Handcrafting and souvenir shop (optional)

Saturday, March 23
Departure to Ames

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

Important Note Regarding Missing Classes.  Please note that participation on some travel courses may require you to be away from campus for some school days. The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences tries to minimize the number of days missed for this purpose, but in some events, the inflexibility of the travel schedule prevents us from working completely within our breaks. Should you choose to enroll in a travel course that requires missing some class(es) on campus, you will need to contact your instructor directly to inquire whether or not arrangements can be made to make up class work and/or exams. The CALS Study Abroad office can provide you with a letter explaining the dates of the trip. However, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor to determine the potential impact on your grade before signing up for a Study Abroad program. The instructor is responsible for determining the impact of any absence from class.

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