Activities

We encourage you to participate in the many activities available in the San Luis and Monteverde areas during your stay at UGA Costa Rica. Our 62-hectare (153 acre) campus includes 50 hectares (123 acres) of forest and a network of about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) of maintained trails—an ideal environment for educational and recreational hikes! Please remember to stay on trails (whether on our campus or in one of the local reserves) as this helps to minimize both your impact on the environment and your risk of injury.

Menu of academic and recreational activities offered by UGACR campus faculty and staff to non-UGA programs. See attached list and description of activities.


Activities Included in the Daily Rate – OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Our activities are led by the campus academic staff. The following activities are free for guests and students. Additional fees apply for day visitors.

Activity

Description

Notes

UGA Costa Rica Campus Tour

Get to know our campus while hearing about UGA CR and its history, sustainability goals, and operations.

Allow approx. 1.5 hours



Sustainability Tour of UGA Costa Rica Campus

Tour focused on specific aspects of sustainability

Allow approx. 1.5 hours

Guided Natural History Hike

Discover the natural history of the area with one of our trained naturalist guides.

Allow approx. 2 hours

Bird Watching

Observe the birds of San Luis in their habitat, and learn their natural history and behavior.

Allow approx. 1 hour

Night Hike

Join our naturalists for a walk in the dark forest. Learn about nocturnal species and behavior, and experience the sights and sounds of the tropical forest at night!

7:00 PM, daily. Approx. 1 hour

Cow Milking & Biodigester Tour

Try your hand at milking our cows … then enjoy the milk in your coffee at breakfast! Learn about how our pigs are raised, and how animal waste is converted to cooking fuel in our biodigester.

6:20 AM, daily. Approx. 1 hour

UGA Costa Rica Integrated Farm Tour

See our organic farm in action! Learn what’s being grown and get a close up look at sustainable agriculture in action.

Allow 1.5 hours. The farm is about a 20 minute hike from the Dining Hall on our forest trails.

Botanical & Medicinal Plant Garden Tour

Explore our gardens and forest trails; common edible crops; and traditional uses of medicinal plants.

Allow 1-2 hours for tour, depending on interest. Guests are also welcome to explore the garden on their own.



Activities Included in the Daily Rate – TALKS & WORKSHOPS

Our lectures and workshops are given by the campus academic staff. The following activities are free for guests and students. Additional fees apply for day visitors.

Activity

Description

Notes

Orientation & Introduction

General introduction to Costa Rica, San Luis and the UGA CR campus.

Allow 30-60 minutes

Rhythms in the Clouds:

Biodiversity and Conservation in Monteverde

This documentary film gives an excellent introduction to cloud forest ecology as well as the area’s history, biodiversity, and current conservation issues.

Allow 1 hour.

Introduction to the Birds of San Luis, and How to Identify Them

A great introduction for beginning birders and those who want a refresher on Costa Rican avifauna.

Allow 1 hour.

Introduction to Mammals

Overview of the mammal diversity and natural history

Allow 1 hour.

Introduction to Bats

Ecology and diversity of bats

Allow 1 hour.

Insect-O-Rama! Insect Workshop

Learn about the wonders of insect biodiversity, behavior and general classification. Try your hand at collecting insects, and take a look at our specimen collection!

Allow 2 hours

Plant-O-Rama! Plant Workshop

Dive into the world of tropical plants! Participants will learn about the diversity, common characteristics, and classification of common tropical plant families.

Allow 2 hours

Plant Communities of Costa Rica

Major plant communities of Costa Rica: natural history, biogeography and taxonomy.

Allow 1-2 hours. Monday-Friday, 8AM to 4PM, reservations required.

UGA Costa Rica Carbon Offset Program and the Bellbird Biological Corridor

Learn about the effect of forest fragmentation and the initiatives to restore the landscape ecology

Allow 1 hour. Talk is available at no charge; fee of $25/person for participation in Carbon Offset program. Reservations required.

Ecotourism as a Tool for Conservation

Learn how ecotourism has provided an opportunity to use tropical forests sustainably.

Allow 1 hour. Monday-Friday, 8AM to 4PM, reservations required.

Current Research at UGA CR

Topics vary depending on researcher availability.

Allow 1 hour.

Introduction to Costa Rican History and Culture

Discover the history of Costa Rica as well as that of Monteverde, and better understand how Costa Rica has become the nation it is today.

Allow 1 hour.

Dance Workshop

Learn the essentials of Latin dance, including meringue, cumbia, and salsa!

Allow 1.5 hours. Groups only. Reservations required.



Off-site Activities Not Included in Daily Rate – SAN LUIS

All activities in this section require reservations; some require translation. Contact the Academic Programs Manager for more information.

Activity & Fee

Description

Notes

Carbon Offset Program ($25/person)

Minimize your carbon footprint by having trees planted, or plant them yourself! Includes an optional talk on the UGA Costa Rica Carbon Offset Program and the Bellbird Biological Corridor.

Allow 1 hour for talk; time for service (greenhouse work or tree planting) varies. Reservations required. Tree planting depends on season and availability of seedlings.

Finca La Bella Coffee & Sustainable Farm Tour

($9/person)

($8/person for student groups)

Visit a small, sustainable neighboring farm where coffee, sugarcane, and other crops are grown. Learn how coffee is processed and roasted, followed by a chance to taste & purchase locally-grown organic coffee.

Allow 3 hours. Reservations and translation required. Finca La Bella is about a 25 minute, moderate hike from UGACR.

Minimum 2 participants.

Café San Luis coffee tour ($9/person)

($8/person for student groups)

Visit El Cafetal, a small, sustainable neighboring coffee farm. You’ll learn about how coffee is grown, processed, and roasted, followed by a chance to taste & purchase locally-grown coffee.

Allow 2 to 3 hours. Reservations, translation, and transportation required. Minimum 2 participants.

Cooking with local family

($8/person)

Prepare Costa Rican specialties in the home of a local family. You’ll learn a typical recipe, while meeting some of our neighbors here in San Luis and getting a unique glimpse into their home and daily life.

Allow 2 to 3 hours. Reservations and translation required. Minimum 2 participants.

Lunch or dinner with a local family

($12/person)

Enjoy a meal in the home of a Costa Rican family! Another way to catch a glimpse into the daily life of a family in San Luis.

Allow 3 hours. Reservations required. Translation is not provided. May NOT be combined with cooking workshop. Minimum 2 participants.

EcoBambú paper recycling center

($5/person)

Learn how this community-based paper recycling project got started. Get a first-hand look at the paper-making process, and browse the unique hand-crafted paper products.

Reservations required. Allow 2 hours with transportation; 4 hours without transportation. Minimum 2 participants.

Cosméticos Monteverde

($9/person)

($8/person for student groups)

Visit this small family-run business to learn about the process of crafting natural, locally-sourced soaps and creams.

Allow 1 hour not including transportation. Reservations and translation required. Minimum 3 participants.

Rancho de Lelo family restaurant in Lower San Luis

(Lunch or dinner; prices vary)

Lelo’s specialty is fresh-caught tilapia from the ponds right on the property. Smoked pork & vegetarian dishes also available. Go early and enjoy a game of soccer or relax around the ponds.

Reservations and transportation required.

Zelmi’s Pizza


A 20-minute hike from UGACR, Zelmi’s Pizza is a great place to enjoy a home-cooked pizza.

Reservations required.

Finca Ecológica San Luis

(Entrances $8/student, $10/adult)

Run alongside Zelmi’s Pizza, the farm offers a seasonal swimming hole and network of hiking trails great for avid birders. Birding tours, trapiche demonstration, & camping area also available with prior reservation.

Reservations required.

Homestay


Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture by staying with a host family in the San Luis community. An experience to remember!

Reservations required.


Activities Not Included in Daily Rate – TALKS

Talks may require travel and/or translation. All talks are subject to availability of the guest speaker and require previous reservations. Contact the Academic Programs Manager for more information.

Activity & Fee

Description

Guest Speaker

Principles of Fair Trade Coffee Production ($100)

Learn how farmers organize to produce coffee within a sustainable, fair-trade framework.

Guillermo Vargas, former Director of the Café Monteverde Cooperative

Natural History of the

Three-wattled Bellbird ($100)

Discover the natural history of this unique species, and learn about efforts being made toward its conservation.

Debra Hamilton, Costa Rica Conservation Foundation (FCC)

Cloud Forest Amphibians:

Perspectives on Frog Declines in Monteverde & Worldwide ($150)

A broad look at frog declines worldwide, with special emphasis on the Monteverde area.

Mark Wainwright, natural historian, artist, and reptile & amphibian expert

Introduction to the Natural History of Frog Calls ($150)

A fantastic introduction to frogs and their unique calls.

Mark Wainwright, natural historian, artist, and reptile & amphibian expert

Cloud Forest Mammals ($150)

Natural history of Neotropical cloud forest mammals; natural history, biogeography, and more.

Federico Chinchilla, local mammal expert

History of Conservation in Monteverde ($100)

One of the pioneers of conservation in Monteverde talks about how it all got started.

Eladio Cruz, Monteverde native and local conservation pioneer

The Community of San Luis: Past and Present ($100)

History and culture; education; community organization; impacts of tourism; land use; conservation.

San Luis Development Association (community government)

Round Table with San Luis Community Leaders ($200)

Successes and challenges in community development, quality of life, and environment.

San Luis Development Association

The Children’s Eternal Rainforest: How a fundraising campaign by schoolchildren came to be the largest private reserve in Costa Rica ($100)

Learn about the unique history of the reserve, as well as current challenges in the conservation and management of this exceptional forest–quite possibly one of the most biologically diverse 23,000 hectares on the planet!

Lindsay Stallcup, Executive Director of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest




Off-site Activities Not Included in Daily Rate – MONTEVERDE AREA

All of the activities in this section require transportation; allotted time does not include travel time.

Activity & Fee

Description

Notes

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

$10/student, $20/adult

+ $17-20 person for guide. Minimum 2 pax for guided tours.

First and most-visited reserve in Monteverde. Well-maintained trails of varying lengths. Expert guides add to your experience by sharing their knowledge of local flora and fauna.

Guided walks at 7:30am, 11:30am, and 1:30pm. Duration: approx. 2.5 hours. Reservations required.

Other local reserves: Santa Elena, Bajo del Tigre, Children’s Eternal Rainforest, Curicancha


The Monteverde area offers several other reserves with lovely trails which pass through both premontane rainforest and cloud forest environments. Guided tours available.

Inquire at Reception for more information.

“Zipline” Canopy tour and/or Suspended Canopy Bridges


Fly through the forest canopy on a zipline adventure! Or experience the cloud forest from a bird’s eye view! Suspended canopy bridges allow a view of epiphytes, treetops, and much more.

Reservations required. Inquire at Reception for tour options and prices.

Caburé Chocolate Tour

($15/person)

Experience the whole chocolate making process, from cacao bean to truffle, and learn about the history of chocolate. Visitors have ample opportunity to sample the chocolate mid-process!

Reservations and transportation required. Allow 2 hours for tour plus transportation. (1:00 and 4:00)

Monteverde Bat Jungle

($12/adult)

Designed to introduce visitors to the incredible world of bats! 90 live bats of 8 species fly through a simulated jungle environment. Guided tour takes about 45 minutes.

Reservations recommended; transportation required. Open 9am to 7pm daily.

Butterfly Garden

($12/student, $15/adult)

Get a first-hand look at many species of butterflies, as well as other insects. Guided tour takes about 1 hour. Highly recommended!

Reservations recommended; transportation required. Open daily from 8:30am to 4pm.

Other attractions: Frog Pond, Orchid Garden, Serpentarium

Whether your interests are bats or butterflies, the Monteverde area offers an exhibit for you!

Inquire at Reception for tour options and prices.

Horseback Riding

(Approx. $35/person for 2 hour tour)

Enjoy the natural beauty of Monteverde on horseback! A variety of tour options are available.

Inquire at Reception for tour options and prices.


Important Notes: 

  • Upon requests, academic activities and talks of specific interests may be arranged at local universities. Additional costs may apply.
  • Prices and availability are subject to change. For current information, contact the Academic Programs Manager (progCR@uga.edu)
  • Transportation and off-site hotel fees, when applicable, are not included.
  • UGA Costa Rica is not responsible for payments to other providers. All fees for other attractions and activities must be paid directly to the service provider unless other arrangements are made in advance. 
  • Off-site attractions and activities are provided by third parties. Participants in these activities and attractions release and forever discharge UGA Costa Rica from any liability. 

Cancellation policy: 

If you need to cancel or reschedule an activity, please let us know as soon as possible. For third-party providers (e.g., off-site activities and transportation), refunds will be made according to the cancellation policy of the service provider. Most third-party providers have a minimum 24-hour cancellation policy. “No shows” and late cancellations with be charged full price. 

If you have questions, please ask at Reception. Thank you!