Sea turtle-saving, dolphin-watching, cloud-forest hiking conservation awesomeness!
(Download flyer) On this trip of a lifetime, American Academy eighth grade students will travel to Costa Rica to learn about and participate in some of the on-going conservation efforts so important to preserving marine and rain forest ecology in Costa Rica. The goal of this STEM trip is to put students to work with real conservationists and researchers, and give them the experience of working “in the field.”

Photo credit: American Academy

DAY 1 - Flight to San Jose

DAY 2 - Travel to Playa Blanca (Osa Peninsula) and the Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) conservation station.

DAYS 3-4 - Playa Blanca (in-water sea turtle conservation and mangrove preservation)

DAY 5 - Highlands of Cerro de la Muerte (cultural experience and cloud forest introduction)

DAY 6 - Los Quetzales National Park (cloud forest science and conservation)

DAY 7 - Los Quetzales National Park and return to San Jose

DAY 8 - Flight to Denver


The trip fee will cover all student travel expenses including airfare, and is NON-REFUNDABLE. Trip fees may vary from year to year depending on the cost of transportation and lodging, programming, and student participation.

Late April - early May

2016-2017 travel dates: May 7-14, 2017

DAY 1: Students will arrive in San Josa, Costa Rica, and overnight just outside the city at Don Francisco's Lodge before the next leg of the journey.

DAY 2: Students will travel to Playa Blanca on the Osa Peninsula, one of the world's hotspots for biodiversity, for an orientation with Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST), an on-the-ground conservation group working to help the scientists ensure recovery and management of sea turtle populations in Costa Rica. Our students will be participating in the In-Water Osa Project.

DAYS 3-4: The students will then spend the next few days with LAST conservationists on boats helping to catch and analyze sea turtles and evenings doing mangrove resotration and turtle clinic voluteer duties as needed.

DAY 5: Students travel to the highlands of Cerro de la Muerte for a Boruca community visit and mask-painting workshop and end the day's travels with an evening lecture on cloud forest biodiversity.

DAY 6: At San Gerardo de Dota, students will start the day with a guided morning nature hike at Los Quetzales National Park, participate in an afternoon STEM workshop, and end the day with a guided night hike.

DAYS 7-8: Students will wake to one more beautiful morning hike through the cloud forest before traveling back towards San Jose. Along the way, they will stop for a visit at the Toucan Rescue Ranch, a licensed Costan Rican rescue facility, to observe up close these beautiful birds, along with many other wildlife species receiving care at the facility, including sloths, owls, monkeys, and various Costa Rican mammals.They will then spend the night once again at Don Francisco's Lodge before heading out in the morning for the San Jose airport.



What if my student doesn’t like mud and bugs?

You’d be surprised what kids will tolerate when you challenge them to do it! Overall, though mosquitos and other bugs are part of any trip to the rain forest, kids attending this trip learn to just deal with it as a part of the experience. There can be some startled screaming at the beginning of the week but by the end, that surprise is frequently accompanied by laughter. Even the students who start out afraid of bugs find tolerance during the week. We all wear lots of bug spray and long pants and long sleeves to keep bites to a minimum, and by the end of the week, the whole bug thing is generally not much of a problem.


What do they eat on this trip and where?

Clean, safe drinking water is always available for our students via the traveling fresh water supply at each location and on our travel bus for the week, and students are constantly encouraged filling up their water bottles so that they are never without. The food we eat at each location is delicious and fresh and safe! Meals tend to consists of a protein (typically chicken), lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and a combination of seasoned rice and beans called “pinto.”

At each facility, on-site cooking staff prepare consistently delicious and healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for our students. Meals are often served family style or cafeteria-style. As we travel between sites, we visit local restaurants that have been chosen for us by our guides.


Where do the kids sleep at night?

Though this is not a luxury tour, students will be spending the nights in clean, safe hotels or lodges throughout the trip where they will supervised by charperones who will be lodged in rooms next to them. In San Jose at either end of the trip, they will stay at Don Francisco's Lodge. On the Osa Peninsula during their time with LAST, students will spend the nights at Delfines del Golfo and Cedrela EcoLodge.

Event Calendar
Aug 27 - Sep 1
MB - STEM trip (Grd 7): Catalina Island Marine Institute
Sep 3 - Sep 8
CP - STEM trip (Grd 7): Catalina Island Marine Institute
Sep 17 - 22
CP - STEM Trip (Grd 6): Olympic National Park
Apr 22 - 27
MB & LM - STEM trip (Grd 6): Olympic National Park
Apr 29 - May 6
CP & MB STEM Trip (Grd 8) Costa Rica