Costa Rica to Panama

Faculty: Melanie Mock and Jill Beals
Class meeting time: Tuesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Trip Dates: May 2nd through May 22nd, 2022

Students hiking up a mountain in Costa Rica

Trip Highlights

This course will explore the culture and history of Costa Rica and Panama, with a specific focus on the natural environment in these two countries. Costa Rica in particular offers a great deal in terms of ecotourism with fully one-quarter of its land devoted to national parks and wildlife reserves; the same is true in Panama, which has in its small land mass 14 national parks, a dozen forest preserves, and 10 wildlife refuges.

While we will spend ample time engaging with rich cultures in these two countries, including indigenous cultures, a great part of the trip will be enjoying the spectacular outdoors, with lots of hiking, snorkeling, biking, boating, exploring, and lingering on beautiful beaches.

The trip will also include opportunities to see wildlife in both countries. Costa Rica is a haven for bird watchers, and is known for its sloth and monkey populations; in both Costa Rica and Panama, there are numerous other creatures we will witness during daytime and nighttime hikes.

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in San Jose
Day 2 Visit San Jose’s National Museum, National Theatre and Central Market
Day 3 Travel to La Fortuna’s hot springs
Day 4 La Fortuna: Zip-lining, canyoning, night safari
Day 5 La Fortuna: Hiking and biking at Volcano Arenal
Day 6 Monteverde: Jeep/boat tour, coffee tour, bungee jumping
Day 7 Monteverde to Montezuma: waterfall canopy tour
Day 8 Montezuma: beach time, snorkeling, and kayaking
Day 9 Travel to Uvita: Waterfall adventure
Day 10 Corcovado National Park: boat trip from Uvita, hiking in the nature reserve, spend a night sleeping in the middle of a jungle
Day 11 Travel to Boquete: cross border to Panama
Day 12 Boquete: Summit Volcan Baru
Day 13 Boquete: white-water rafting
Day 14 Travel to Bocas del Toro
Day 15 Bocas del Toro: snorkeling and kayaking
Day 16 Panama City: Panama Canal, Casco Viejo
Day 17 Panama City: Chagas Rainforest and Embera Indian Village
Day 18 Travel to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica: Cahuita National Park, beaches
Day 19 Travel to Limon: Animal rescue safari
Day 20 Limon: White water rafting trip
Day 21 Return to San Jose, fly home to Portland