• Service Learning in Costa Rica - Primates, Trees, and Indigenous Traditions

    Costa Rica

  • Academic Field(s)

    Service Learning

  • Destinations

    San José and Osa Peninsula

  • Duration

    11 days

  • Accommodation

    B&B in San José and the foundation’s eco station in Osa Peninsula

Located in the southwestern corner of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula is a priority area for conservation. With 2.5% of the world’s living species relative to its small size of just 700 square miles, it is considered to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.

During the service-learning experience, students will learn about the tropical forest and the importance of primate conservation to preserve natural ecosystems through various lectures and hands-on activities in the forest.

Fundación Saimiri is a Costa Rican non-profit organization, which was founded in 2010 by the biologist Daniela Solano and Ing. Roberto Rodríguez. It is based directly in Osa Peninsula, in a small community called Guadalupe de la Palma, a small village close to the National Park of Corcovado, with a population of about 300 inhabitants. The objective of the organization is to protect Costa Rica’s natural resources and especially the primates of the Osa Peninsula.


    Stay 1 night at a B&B in San José

    • Flight to San José, Costa Rica
      (group flight can be booked separately)
    • Arrival at San José Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO)
    • Check-in at the B&B and orientation session by your CEPA On-Site Coordinator
    • Welcome dinner at a Costa Rican restaurant

    Stay 8 nights at the Saimiri Foundation’s eco station in Osa Peninsula

    • Transportation by private bus from San José to Osa Peninsula
    • Check-in and orientation session with an introduction to the Osa Peninsula’s history by your CEPA On-Site Coordinator
    • Lectures on tropical forest ecology to get an introduction into the forest
    • Guided walk in the forest to explore your new surroundings
    • Cultural/leisure activity, such as kayaking or a trip to the nearby beach
    • Lectures on the trees of the Osa Peninsula and potential threats to the tropical forest
    • Hands-on service-learning activity: Walking in a tropical forest – seeds collection
    • Hands-on service-learning activity: Tree planting – working in a tree nursery
    • Lectures on habitat restoration and conservation of tropical forests

    • Lectures on mammals and primates of the Osa Peninsula
    • Guided walk in the forest, focusing on the primates
    • Night walk to discover the forest by night
    • Lectures on the importance of primates for the rainforest and important trees for the diet of the squirrel monkeys
    • Hands-on service-learning activity: Botany & Taxonomy: ID of important trees
    • Guided tour of the Corcovado National Park, the largest lowland rainforest in Central America and one of the richest and most diverse tropical areas on the planet
    • Lecture on the role of protected areas in conservation
    • Lectures on community conservation and environmental education and indigenous traditions
    • Hands-on service-learning activity: Community Conservation and Environmental Education Practice
    • Time for presentations and reflection on the program
    • Farewell dinner in the local community

    • Transportation by private bus during the day
    • Free time in Manuel Antonio National Park. Spanning several natural habits, this gem boasts more than 109 different species of mammals and 184 species of birds.
    • Check-in at the B&B

    Stay 1 night at a B&B in San José

    • Departure from San José Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO)
  • What’s included in this sample itinerary:

    Lectures and hands-on service-learning experience as described • cultural excursions and field trips with local, bilingual guides • accommodation in a B&B in San José and Saimiri Foundation’s eco station in Osa Peninsula (twin rooms for students) • daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner • special welcome and farewell dinner • local transportation by private bus as needed • on-site coordinator during all planned activities • orientation sessions • time to study, instruct, and explore

  • What’s not included:

    Optional single room supplement (approx. $115 per participant) • entrance tickets to parks approx. $20 per participant

  • Prices are based on a minimum number of 8 paying participants
  • The actual quote for a tailored program will vary depending on different factors, for example: the actual program dates, the final participant number, the duration of the program, the visits and excursions included, as well as varying exchange rates

Interested in running a similar program or building one from scratch?

Let’s get in touch by choosing where you are in the planning process.

I have all the details

You know your exact travel dates and destinations, and are ready to request a formal proposal with quote. (at no charge or committment)

I am just starting

You have great ideas but might have questions, need further advice or want some guidance to bring everything together in an itinerary.