For 46 years, OTS has organized academic courses in Costa Rica. With three full- service field stations in the country, extensive staff and decades of experience, OTS is your best option to help you organize your course or field experience. We have assisted hundreds of faculty to arrange for everything from short field trips to full courses. We can help you design and implement your course or simply help you arrange for the permits and logistics that let you focus on delivering your program while we handle the arrangements.
About Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s rich biological diversity, political stability (no army since 1948), and exceptional conservation history make it an ideal place to experience the fauna and flora of the tropics with your class. OTS’ programs are recognized for their academic rigor and for their hands-on field-based approach to teaching tropical ecology, conservation biology, and research design. Costa Rica’s diverse natural setting serves as a living classroom for the courses.
Costa Rica’s protected area and national park system- representing one quarter of the country- has served as a world model for conservation. Its dramatic terrain and tropical climate have created an extraordinary diversity of tropical ecosystems ranging from lowland rain forest to high-elevation Páramo. Our world-renowned field stations offer unique opportunities introduce students to the tropics and to conduct high-level research in three diverse ecosystems.
In which areas can we help?
We can help you with your entire itinerary. Below you will find some of the areas in which we can assist you:
- Predeparture orientation
- International transportation
- Airport pick up
- Introduction to Costa Rica (social, culture, economic, geography, biology, ecology, etc)
- Transportation throughout the country
- Naturalist guides
- Housing & meals
- Access to classrooms, laboratories, computers, science libraries, herbarium specimens, etc
- Booking of facilities
- Obtaining research permits
- Organizing of field problems for the group or individual students
- Biological Faculty and guest lecturers
- Mobile phones
- Fees at national parks and other destinations
- Program design
OTS Biological Stations provide a wide array of opportunities for research in natural and human influenced systems. The stations provide modern research facilities that allow the integration of field-based studies with complementary analyses. Our stations offer you an incredible opportunity to study and live in the most advanced research stations in Costa Rica. Our stations all have extensive trails, laboratories, GIS labs, libraries and high-speed Internet. Your students will have access to decades of research results which provide a strong launching pad for any of their own studies and research.
- La Selva Biological Station: 1,613 hectares of tropical wet forest connected to Braulio Carillo National Park. La Selva is recognized as one of the world’s leading centers for research, education and natural resource management in the tropics.
- Las Cruces Biological Station and the Wilson Botanical Garden: the most important collection of plants in Central America. Las Cruces has an associated 160 hectare tract of old growth mid-elevation forest, surrounded by an agricultural landscape, and much of the research at the station focuses on fragmentation and restoration ecology.
- Palo Verde Biological Station: it provides access to tropical dry forest and wetlands. Palo Verde Biological Station is the heart of Palo Verde National Park, it is surrounded by semideciduous tropical dry forest, an ecosystem considered by some to be the most endangered of all tropical ecosystems.
Other sites in Costa Rica:
- INBio: the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica.
- Monteverde: A world famous cloud forest site
- Cuericí Biological Station: this site is protected as a private reserve.
- Cabo Blanco National Park
- Marino Ballena National Park
- Corcovado National Park
- Arenal Volcano
What can we offer at our stations?
- Individual field projects
- Expert lecturers
- Housing and services at your field site
- Laboratories, libraries, internet
- Online geographic information systems (GIS)
- E-mail and Internet connections
- Meteorological data
- Digital Flora database
- Extensive trails
- Develop an appreciation for the biodiversity and complex biological interactions found in the ecosystems of Costa Rica.
- Develop an understanding of the interaction between the flora and fauna of Costa Rica and the culture, economic needs, and conservation efforts of the people of Costa Rica.
- Gain hands-on experience in developing field projects and testing hypotheses in the tropics.
- Utilize decades of on-site research as background information to guide the studies of your students.
- Access to decades of research to help your students get the background information needed to guide their studies
- Spend more time in the field by living in your study area
- Conduct individual and group field research projects using resources in the field and the lab
OTS will help you create a customized program for your students in Costa Rica. We will work with you and help you create a program that suite your needs and those of your students, while taking care of all the logistic and administrative aspects of the program. You can even choose from these predesigned theme modules:
- Conservation of tropical ecosystems
- Plant taxonomy
- Tropical Rain Forest
- Insects of Costa Rica
- Tropical Dry Forest
- Tropical Mammals
- Tropical Bats
- Tropical Premontane Forest
- Introduction to Birds of Costa Rica
- Tropical Biology
- Reforestation in the Tropics
- Wetland ecosystems
- Impacts of Climate Change in Tropical Forests
Some institutions we have assisted:
- University of California-Berkeley
- University of Chicago
- Cornell University
- Duke University
- University of Florida
- Harvard University
- Howard University
- Michigan State University
- University of Minnesota
- University of Missouri-Columbia
- Oregon State University
- University of Pittsburgh
- Providence College
- Purdue University
- University of Tennessee
- University of Texas-Austin
This is an itinerary example:
Program costs vary depending on the length and location of program, the amount of customized itinerary developed, the number of program participants, and other conditions that are unique to each project. You can save money by using OTS field stations because your students will live and work within their study site. Please contact our office for a program-specific proposal.
For more information about these opportunities contact:
E-mail: ots @ duke.edu
or contact Jonathan Giles: jgiles @ duke.edu
Telephone: (919) 684-5774
Fax: (919) 684-5661
If you already are familiar with our program and want to start planning the course, contact: Go to top
Allan Agüero: allan.aguero @ ots.ac.cr
Telephone: (506)2524-0607 ext: 1332
Fax: (506) 2524-0608