Northern Arizona University (NAU) organizes cultural activities in San Jose and two weekend excursions in the region. Transportation, lodging and admission for planned activities are included in the program fee. Below are the most commonly organized excursions and activities. NAU reserves the right to change planned excursions for destinations of equal value and interest. Excursions may change based on availability, local festivals and interest. Academic year and multiple term students participate on planned excursions during their first term of study.

San Jose

San Jose is the vibrant capital of Costa Rica. The city tour focuses on downtown, which offers Spanish colonial and contemporary architecture. The Jade Museum and Pre-Columbian Gold Museum house dazzling and rare pre-Columbian artifacts.

Puerto Viejo or Manuel Antonio National Park (weekend)

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a town in southeast Costa Rica, on the Caribbean coast. It’s known for the Salsa Brava surf break and beaches like black-sand Playa Negra. The Jaguar Rescue Center rehabilitates wild cats and other animals. Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge has rainforest, wetlands and mangroves. To the north, Cahuita National Park protects a large coral reef and has a shipwreck dive site.

Manuel Antonio National Park, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, encompasses rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches and coral reefs. It’s renowned for its vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife, from three-toed sloths and endangered white-faced capuchin monkeys to hundreds of bird species. The park’s roughly 680 hectares are crossed with hiking trails, which meander from the coast up into the mountains.

Panama or Nicaragua (weekend)

Panama is a country in Central America located on the Isthmus of Panama, the narrow bridge of land that connects North and South America. The tropical nation is renowned as the site of the Panama Canal, which cuts through its midsection. It is equally well known for its natural beauty, for its diverse plant and animal life, including hundreds of bird and tree species, and for its vibrant music and culture.

Nicaragua, set between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is a Central American nation known for its dramatic terrain of lakes, volcanoes and beaches. Vast Lake Managua and the iconic stratovolcano Momotombo sit north of the capital Managua. To its south is Granada, noted for its Spanish colonial architecture and an archipelago of navigable islets rich in tropical bird life.

I have now been in Costa Rica for two weeks. My Spanish professor is great and I have learned more Spanish in two weeks here than I would in a a month at home. Our Spanish class only has four people in it, so we have plenty of opportunities to practice.

Daniella Laplante
Daniella LaplanteNorthern Arizona University

I’ve heard before that Costa Rica is one of the happiest places on earth. And although I have been very few places in my life time, I can’t say I’d disagree. People here are (for the most part) friendly, outgoing, and happy to talk with you.

Kaysie Hogrefe
Kaysie HogrefeNorthern Arizona University

The classes are fantastic. I get a lot of practice daily that has helped my Spanish vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
Read my blog.

Alex Anzar
Alex AnzarNorthern Arizona University