WILSON, N.C. — Why not include a trip to Costa Rica in your summer plans? Barton College’s international program is sponsoring a nine-day trip from July 8 – 16 for students, faculty, staff, and friends of the College. Take a well-deserved break from books and work to venture deep into Costa Rica and explore its famously stunning ecological terrain, which includes active volcanoes, forested mountains, and palm-lined beaches.

Travelers will arrive in San José on the first day and begin their week at the Braulio Carrillo National Park touring by aerial tram to view this wildlife preserve that is home to jaguars, ocelots, quetzals and eagles, just to name a few. The tram will transport the group through dense overhanging flora to showcase dramatic views of nearby valleys and volcano craters. There will be miles of hiking trails to explore through the park as visitors wander up and down the sloping terrain, from the misty peaks to the beaches below.
And, a banana plantation tour will provide an insider’s peak into how this Costa Rican staple is harvested and distributed.

Participants will also look forward to visiting Tortuguero Village, accessible only by boat. Founded in the 1930s by Colombians exporting sea turtles and coconuts, Tortuguero Village today is home to just
700 residents and is known as the gateway to the Tortuguero National Park. This national park is recognized as the most important Caribbean breeding ground for the green sea turtles that have lived in this location for more than 100 million years. Next, explore the twists and turns of the Tortuguero Canals by boat. High rainfall and the convergence of freshwater with the Caribbean Sea make the beaches, canals, lagoons, and wetlands of Tortuguero an area of exceptional biodiversity. Howler monkeys, toucans, or caimans may be spotted during this excursion.

Travelers will then make their way to Sarapiquí, an area known for its lush rainforests and incredible array of flora and fauna. Here, strap into safety harnesses and glide from platform to platform to experience a bird’s-eye view of the breathtaking rainforest and indigenous wildlife. The adventure continues the next day with a whitewater-rafting excursion. Those who opt not to participate in the canopy tour or whitewater rafting can enjoy free time in Sarapiquí.

The road to Arenal offers a stunning view of the mile-high Arenal Volcano, active for the past 7,000 years. Feel free to take a dip in the area’s relaxing hot springs, naturally heated by thermal energy, and, the next day, see the volcano up-close on a kayaking excursion across Lake Arenal. Travelers are encouraged to explore the hidden coves and lagoons along the lake, but be sure to keep an eye to the sky, where more than 400 species of bird fly overhead. Then lace up your walking shoes and hike with your fellow travelers through thick forest vegetation to the spectacular La Fortuna Waterfall, a 200-foot cascade that churns the aqua pool below.

After a good night’s sleep, participants will explore Rincoìn de la Vieja National Park on the way to Guanacaste and learn about the area’s remarkable plant and animal life. The highlight of this area is the Blue Lagoon, named for the minerals in the stones at the bottom and fed by a giant waterfall. Guanacaste is surrounded by tall craggy bluffs cloaked in dense forests, and visitors are bound to encounter local cattle ranchers driving oxen carts farther inland.

The last full day in Costa Rica will be a free day at the beach. Guanacaste boasts miles of beaches alongside the glimmering emerald Pacific, making it an ideal setting for divers, surfers, and boaters. Feel your toes in the sand as you experience firsthand the natural wonderland of the region before departing for home the next morning. You’ll return rejuvenated from your exotic adventure and ready for whatever lies ahead. Apart from the photos and stories, new perspectives and flowing confidence, you’ll have memories to carry with you for the rest of your life.

Visit Costa Rica with Barton College, and discover what’s in store for you! Cost for the trip is $2,225 for students and $2,465 for adults. For more information, contact Jason Gipe, assistant vice president for development 252-399-6533 or jmgipe@barton.edu.