Type of destination:
Type of accommodation:
Rates: (in US dollars)
$51 – $75
See details about rates below.
The UGA (University of Georgia) Costa Rica project is on a 155-acre (63-hectare) property at 3,608 feet (1,100 meters) above sea level on the Pacific slope of the Tilarán Cordillera, in the community of San Luis de Monteverde. The San Luis Botanical Garden, established by the state of Georgia's Botanical Garden in the United States, is on site and one of a group of beautiful gardens in Latin America.
The property is next to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the Children’s Eternal Rainforest; these, along with Arenal National Park and the Alberto Manuel Brenes Reserve form the Arenal Monteverde Protected Zone, which protects more than 172,900 acres (70,000 hectares) of mainly primary forest. The property is also part of the National Network of Private Reserves, and we are an active member in the development and management of the Pájaro Campana (Bellbird) Biological Corridor, which aims to recover degraded habitat and connect the Monteverde cloud forest with the mangroves on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Nicoya. We are located in a transitional zone between the cloud forest characteristic of the upper Monteverde region and the transitional dry forest characteristic of the southernmost parts of Costa Rica’s northern Pacific region. In addition, since the area is near the continental divide, there are several mountain passes to the Atlantic slope.
The arboretum has trails and gardens with edible and medicinal plants. The trails that are used for natural history hikes and research projects pass through a large part of the property with open areas and primary and secondary forest. The combination of ecological and geomorphological factors existing in the area increases the probability of observing a large number of plants and animals in a relatively short and accessible trip. The activities offered to our clients are led by resident naturalists well-trained in the natural history and ecology of the zone.
Our main campus includes a service area (food, laundry, library, internet), an academic area with classrooms and laboratories, a residential area for students and professors, and a lodge with cabins for families and ecotourists. We also have a loop trail more than two miles long; a botanical garden with medicinal, edible, ornamental, and native plant collections; a carbon-offset reforestation program; a farm production area with organic vegetable production, pigs, and dairy cattle; and an associated biodigester that produces gas for cooking.
Materials that tourists should bring: rain wear, binoculars, plant and animal guide books, and rubber boots or appropriate shoes.
Number of employees: 30
Percentage of local employees: 100%
The University of Georgia's Costa Rica project offers many opportunities for students and responsible tourists to appreciate the great beauty and complexity of the Monteverde cloud forest with a scientific basis and an academic perspective; those who visit our campus have the opportunity to interact directly with the scientists and students working at San Luis.
The project has a water and electricity conservation program, and we encourage our guests to use these resources wisely. We also promote recycling, purchase biodegradable products, and compost organic waste.
Our management policies prohibit feeding of wild animals to minimize our impact on wildlife.
In order to attain an optimal level of sustainability, we make use of the land available to produce 10% of our annual food needs organically and have the goal of increasing our on-site production to meet 33% of our consumption by the year 2015. Moreover, we provide incentives to the local economy by purchasing products from neighboring farmers. We employ 30 people directly and support community tourism and integrated development projects. We also organize home stays with families for students and tourists who come to learn and practice Spanish, which helps to fairly distribute the income from lodging.
The UGA Costa Rica project is more than a simple stopover for naturalists; we work on education, ecotourism and conservation, small-scale production, and research. We offer complete packages that include project activities as well as food and lodging. Visitors can also participate in a carbon sequestration program that we offer to mitigate the emissions of their trip to Costa Rica.
Our main activity is the development of educational programs for groups of national and international students. The University of Georgia offers multidisciplinary courses at our site.
Tourists are invited to participate in our educational tourism programs that are led by naturalists dedicated to the study of the flora, fauna, and ecology of the zone. In this program, tourists can, during the planting season, help with the planting of trees in the biological corridor and in other seasons they can help prepare seedlings in our greenhouse. The participants are given a talk about this program and the biological corridor. We also develop educational vacation programs for families and ecotourists, and we offer a wide variety of activities such as natural history hikes, bird-watching, night hikes, and workshops for the identification of plants, insects, and other organisms.
We have a research program and, along with other governmental and nongovernmental organizations in the area, we aim to learn about the different characteristics of the local environment in detail in order to provide useful and timely information to decision-makers and support education.
$51 – $75
Rates are per person, per night, and include lodging, food, activities, and taxes.
We offer discounts for organized academic groups.
For more information about rates and reservations, visit our website or click on the orange “Contact” button above.
For more information about rates, please visit:
Nearest international airport: San José (SJO); Liberia (LIR)
Travel time to nearest airport: 2 - 2.5 hours (SJO)
UGA Costa Rica is approximately 99 miles (160 km) from Costa Rica’s two international airports in San José and Liberia. The road is paved most of the way, but the last stretch (approximately 16 km or 10 miles) should preferably be traveled in four-wheel drive vehicles or ones with chassis at least 20 cm (8 inches) of clearance.
Tour buses for 25 passengers can enter without a problem. Larger buses can also enter, but may have some difficulty.
UGA Costa Rica won the GoAbroad.com Innovation in Sustainability award at the 2013 NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) convention in Vancouver, Canada. The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge institutions, organizations, and individuals who are creating initiatives to move the field of international education forward and to commend leaders in the community for their efforts to go beyond the conventional.
Fabricio Camacho Céspedes
Director and General Manager, respectively
Universidad de Georgia
700 m este de la escuela de los Altos, San Luis de Monteverde
Apartado postal: 108-5655
Santa Elena, Puntarenas
Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST)
Sustainability level: 4 leaves
Date: September, 2012