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  • Animal Science
  • Central America
  • MS HS

Costa Rica Dolphin & Ecology 12-Day Adventure

5 Reviews

In just 12 days, venture all across Costa Rica and explore this diverse country just like field biologists and marine conservationists do.

Imagine yourself on a whirlwind biology and conservation adventure, where you and a small group of students work alongside professional biologists, marine conservationists and researchers out in the field. This amazing expedition blends the topics from our most popular three-week science programs into one action-packed adventure. Jump right in with a thrilling rappelling adventure down Diamante Waterfall and spend a night in the breathtaking open air cavern, Casa de Piedras, to kick off the adventure. Start your field work by contributing to an environmentally significant reforestation project that takes place outside Chirripó National Park, an area that had once been clear-cut for pasture. Learn field techniques firsthand: participate in seed collection, germination and tree planting projects and learn about how camera traps work by collecting them and reviewing captured footage. Then, take the adventure off land to help with data collection on dolphins as you learn about their behavior, biology and conservation initiatives out in their natural habitat.

July 10 - July 21 MS12 days$3,980Available
July 24 - August 4 HS12 days$3,980Available
Earn & Learn
Costa Rica Dolphin & Ecology 12-Day Adventure Earn & Learn

Earn & Learn

Broadreach combines your thirst for fun and adventure with tangible skill development, real-world educational opportunities and a genuine commitment to service. While on program, you’ll earn documented community service hours. It’s what we call “Earn & Learn,” and it’s what you’ll take home as evidence of your many accomplishments.

On the Costa Rica Dolphin & Ecology 12-Day Adventure, students earn 15 hours of documented community service.


Course Description

This course is a survey of field biology and wildlife behavior, threats and conservation. While the specific focus will be on rainforest reforestation and wilderness field study in Costa Rica, we will also concentrate on other species that live all over the globe. Coursework will consist of both academic discussions and field work designed to introduce students to the methods and equipment that scientists and researchers commonly use.

Course Objectives
  • Understand habitat recovery and the importance of monitoring reforestation progress
  • Common research and data collection techniques that dolphin researchers use
  • Focus on the distribution, abundance and behavior of dolphins in the Drake Bay area


Through service, gain a more meaningful connection to the cultures and communities you explore while taking an active role to address important global issues at the local level. In Costa Rica, team up with local conservation organizations to collect data on flora and fauna that will contribute to ongoing research and development.

  • Work alongside field biologists and help them with an ongoing reforestation project
  • Learn about reforestation, biodiversity goals, soil quality, drainages and accessibility when planting trees
  • Contribute to an ongoing project of monitoring progress of tree growth
  • Collect data on dolphin species in Drake Bay

15 Service Hours

Costa Rica Dolphin & Ecology 12-Day Adventure Itinerary


eco-travel for teens in Costa Rica

After arriving in San José and spending the first day in Alajuela, we’re off to Las Tumbas to begin our journey as field biologists. Go explore the local flora and fauna on a nature hike with the tropical sounds of the local wildlife as our soundtrack. Jump right into the adventure with a thrilling rappel down Diamante Waterfall, which is guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping, and an overnight stay in Casa de Piedras, a breathtaking experience few will ever have. Go for a swim in the refreshing pools below, and get ready to begin your conservation work in the days ahead.

summer biology programs in Costa Rica

Prepare to be serenaded by the unique sounds of birds in the trees as you travel through the jungle and past remote villages on your way to the nature reserve outside Chirripó National Park. This reserve is home to an abundance of life, and its fertile grounds make it a hot spot for field biology research. Professional scientists will demonstrate the importance of reforestation and we’ll volunteer our time helping to transform an old cattle pasture back into a lush cloud forest. Set up a ‘camera trap’ and hope to catch a glimpse of the elusive ocelot, puma or tapir, and learn about how biologists are using the camera data. At night, kick back and relax in a hammock or take a turn making dinner using the skills you learned in your cooking class. Even go to a trout farm where you’ll catch, grill and eat your dinner. The work you do here is meaningful, not only to long-term rainforest conservation and ongoing research projects, but also to wherever your interest in field biology takes you next.

summer biology program for high school students

For the second half of the program, we make our way to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, where over half of Costa Rica’s 500,000+ animal species reside. A short boat ride through the mangrove forests takes us to a remote island location on the coast that is a wildlife wonderland. Humpback whales, dolphins, anteaters, sloths, spider monkeys, toucans ‘ you name it, Drake Bay has it. Work alongside scientists collecting data on birds and see how many of the 367 species found in Corcovado we can identify. Spend time on boat learning what it’s like to be a marine biologist while collecting data on local wild dolphin species. Learn about their physiology and behavior while experiencing real-world science that has an actual effect on the conservation of the species. Take a break to explore tide pools and snorkel at Caño Island, then prepare to head back to San José for the journey home.

science summer camp in Costa Rica
  • Trip Highlights

  • Study and observe the marine life of the Osa Peninsula
  • Live and research at two working research stations
  • Assist local organizations in preserving biodiversity with reforestation projects
  • Set up cameras to observe and collect data on tropical animals in their natural habitat
  • Rappel down Diamante Waterfall and snorkel at Cano Island
  • Try your hand at cooking a traditional Costa Rican meal
Costa Rica Dolphin & Ecology 12-Day Adventure Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews & Testimonials

Olivia Sackler from Mount Kisco, NY

I learned so much more than I thought I would. This way of learning was engaging, so interesting, and everyone loved it. I’ve grown in so many ways and experienced things I’ve never experienced, even after going on so many of these trips. It’s great for both experienced and inexperienced people. You do so many different activities, will NEVER be bored and get so close to amazing people so fast. I have nothing to complain about!

Faith E from Yardville, NJ

This trip was life changing! I learned a great deal of information, met amazing people, and had a once in a lifetime adventure. We didn’t just fly to another country, but we practically lived in another country. Broadreach is a wonderful program that allows young teens like myself to get a glimpse of the real world and all of the wonderful things that are open to us. Thank you Broadreach for putting together a safe, informational, and unforgettable trip that I will be talking about for the rest of my life!

Angelica Grossbart from Cincinnati, OH

Broadreach is great. Even if you are shy, this is your opportunity to be a new person and whoever you want. We grow together.

Kimberly Murstein from New York, NY

I had a great time on this trip. Originally, I figured it would fly by fast and I would get to do a bunch of cool things, but it was much more than that. I met genuinely nice people and we got along right away. I also had experiences with wildlife that I’ll never get again in life. We got to hold turtles, lizards and frogs. I learned so much through all the lessons as well. I really believe I’ve improved as a person.

Christian Megherby from New Canaan, CT

It was great and it gave me opportunities that I couldn’t have gotten on any other program. Perfect balance of fun and structure

Costa Rica Dolphin & Ecology 12-Day Adventure FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in the tuition cost and what additional expenses should I expect?

Tuition is all inclusive for instruction, food, accommodations, and activities from the time you arrive in country. However, you are responsible for your airfare, spending money (we suggest about $150-200 depending on the program), any required textbooks, and student expenses such as medical fees. Some trips require scuba gear which can be rented, purchased or in some cases borrowed from Broadreach. Finally, for our high school trips that offer college credit, you can elect to receive an official Lesley University credit transcript for approximately $180 per credit hour. For more information about expenses that might apply to your program, click here.

How does travel work?

For most programs, we have a few recommended flights and an arrival time range, and we usually give you the option to book flights on your own or through our travel agency partner. A few programs have required group flights, which we set up in advance. Students travel independently, but often meet up along the way, and we collect student itinerary details. Broadreach instructors will be waiting in the arrivals hall of the destination airport to greet each student, and they’ll be wearing special shirts and holding a Broadreach sign. We also mail students Broadreach shirts to wear while traveling which makes it easy for them to identify each other. Typically, making travel arrangements and the actual travel days go very smoothly.

How many students are in a group? What is the male/female ratio?

The majority of programs will have a maximum of 12 students in a group. We aim for a balance of males and females, but in our experience, the gender ratio plays a small role in the success of each program.

Do most participants come alone or with friends?

Most participants come alone, so there is no need to be concerned if you don’t know anyone else on your program. It’s normal to be a little nervous about not knowing other students in advance, but within a day of starting your program you’ll be laughing and sharing exciting adventures with new friends.

How does Broadreach address safety?

Safety is our top priority, and it is something we evaluate from every angle throughout the year. We’re very proud of our safety record over the past 26 years of running international programs for students. There are so many ways to address how we handle safety, including the extensive experience and training of our instructors, the specific locations we choose to visit, the relationships we have established with our local partners, and the 24/7 support we provide our groups. We have extensive program-specific risk management plans and safety standards that we adhere to. We’d be happy to talk about safety in more detail for the program you’re considering if you’d like to call our office.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?

We require that students have at least $100,000 of emergency evacuation coverage and some kind of international medical coverage, as well as coverage for scuba diving for programs that include diving. We offer two different policy options, or if you already have a policy that meets this criteria, we would just collect those policy details after enrollment.

Our Tuition Protection policy covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state). It’s also a great comprehensive travel insurance policy, including medical coverage, emergency evacuation, travel delay, baggage (loss or delay), etc. The cost of the policy ranges from $319-379 based on the program duration. For more specific coverage details, please call our office.

Will students be able to call home or access the internet?

Students will call home within a few hours of landing in the destination airport to let parents know they have arrived safely and have met up with the group. For most programs, students will have the option to call home once a week, typically on Sundays. Timing for calling home depends on the schedule of the trip and location. Usually, students call home with the in-country instructor cell phones or via Skype if good internet service is available. If you’d like to learn more about our full communication policy, please call our office.

Who will my instructors be?

Broadreach instructors are highly experienced, passionate, energetic and supportive. The average age of our instructors is 28 years old, and depending on the program, they meet specific qualifications (a Master’s degree in the subject area, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certification, foreign language fluency, Wilderness First Responder certification, etc).

Do your programs accommodate food preferences or food allergies?

We do our best to accommodate allergies and food preferences but we consider the situation, country and the program to determine whether it will be a good fit for the specific dietary restriction. It’s important that you let Broadreach know well in advance of any food preferences or allergies so we can determine whether your restrictions will work on your program.

Can I contact Broadreach alumni families for more information?

Absolutely! Just call our office and we can put you in touch with past participants who have joined the programs that interest you. Our alumni families are happy to share their first-person experiences.

How does payment work? Is the deposit or tuition refundable?

We require a non-refundable deposit of $1000 to lock in your spot, and then the final balance can be spread out and paid in a few different ways. The final payment is requested by about 3 months before departure. Our optional tuition protection plan covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and cancellations for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state).

Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?

In the fall, we have a few different early enrollment discounts – please call our office for more information. We also offer a 5% discount on the second enrollment from the same immediate family in a summer. This offer is available to an individual student or siblings. The 5% discount will be applied to the program of lesser cost, and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

We do offer some scholarships through the Broadreach Foundation. Please visit for more information and to apply online for scholarships.

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