Famous for its stunning landscape and abundant wildlife, Costa Rica lives up to its name as “the rich coast.” In fact, it is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world! It has over half a million species of birds, mammals, fish, and every other kind of animal you can imagine.
Teachers and students will love traveling to Costa Rica. Here are four natural attractions that combine incredible learning opportunities with one-of-a-kind adventures.
La Paz Waterfall Garden
On the slopes of the Poas volcano, you will find La Paz Waterfall Gardens. The gardens sit at an altitude of between 4,000 and 5,000 feet. This means you and your students will actually get to witness the combination of rainforest and cloud forest. What a unique experience! This type of environment allows for a staggering range of biodiversity and breathtaking views.
Here you can also take your students on an incomparable nature hike experience. Start in nature, end in world-class, educational exhibits! Three kilometers (1.8 miles) of paved trails allow you to check out some of the country’s most stunning waterfalls from every imaginable angle. Follow your hike with visits to the Aviary, the Butterfly Observatory, Hummingbird Garden, Serpentarium, Jungle Cats Exhibit, and the Frog Exhibit. Here they can learn more about the unique creatures that inhabit the jungle all around them.
La Fortuna Waterfall
Located 1730 feet above sea level is the Fortuna waterfall. It is surrounded by lush and scenic beauty, located in the Arenal Volcano National Park. A 500-stair trek will take you down to this exquisite water feature. The waterfall emerges out of the dense jungle, plunging 200 ft. into an emerald green pool below.
The non-profit organization Integral Development Association of La Fortuna manages the waterfall and the surrounding area. Chat with your students about sustainable tourism as they take in the natural sights and sounds. Maybe even enjoy a refreshing dip in the chilly waters below the fall. Or perhaps you would prefer the more comfortable temperatures of the nearby thermo-mineral hot springs! Some consider these volcanically heated waters to have special healing properties.
Arenal Volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano, which until recently was active. This tall and imposing cone-shaped volcano dominates the surrounding countryside. You can’t hike up the volcano itself, but your students will be thrilled by the opportunity to take an aerial tram up to the observation point. This point offers incredible panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Following your visit to the volcano, don’t miss a trip to Lake Arenal. It is the driving force behind Costa Rica’s commitment to green energy. This body of water provides the country with 40 percent of its hydroelectric power. Here, students learn first hand about renewable energy sources.
No visit to Costa Rica would be complete without an excursion to at least one of its spectacular islands. No doubt, Tortuga Island is one of the most popular – and for good reason! Accessible only by boat, there is a whole host of activities available. These activities include catamaran tours, lovely beaches, and much more. You will be amazed by the variety and the colors of the fish in crystal-clear turquoise waters.
The more adventurous of your students will also love some of the inland adventures as well. Ziplining adventures are available as part of the thrilling canopy tours. From high up in the trees of the rainforest, you and your students can get a unique perspective on the tropical flora and fauna found across the island.
Costa Rica is a wonder like no other. Whether you want to view the jaw-dropping natural beauty or want to study the diverse ecosystem, you and your students will have the trip of a lifetime!