Costa Rica has been called “The Happiest Place on Earth,” and it’s not hard to see why. With its stunning natural landscape, hearty food, and friendly atmosphere, this tropical country is an ideal place to spend an action-packed summer. During your ten day Global Prep program, you’ll get to explore rainforests, caves, and beaches, while absorbing Costa Rica’s vibrant culture and history. You and your group will also visit the home of the indigenous Boruca people and take part in some of their traditions. When you return from this life-changing adventure, you’re bound to have lots of amazing stories, lessons, and photos to share!
Your investigation into Costa Rican culture will start with a tour of the capital, San Jose. As you walk around the city, you’ll have time to wander through the Jade Museum. Next, you and your group will learn about the indigenous culture of the Boruca people, who live in the Southwestern part of the country. There you’ll take part in local traditions and attend workshops covering topics like dancing and mask-making. (The Boruca are known for the colorful, handcrafted masks that they wear during their end of the year celebration.) You and your group will also get to see the famous stone spheres at the Ballena Marine National Park. Several myths surround these ancient stone orbs, and their intricate construction and assembly show that their creators must have been skilled sculptors and mathematicians. In fact, one legend holds that at the center of each sphere is a single coffee bean!
During your time in Costa Rica, you’ll be staying in local hostels in rooms reserved exclusively for AFS students. As you settle in, you’ll get to know the other members of your group as you explore Costa Rican culture together. You and your new friends can try some local restaurants, where you might taste delicious dishes like gallo pinto(rice and beans) and olla de carne (beef stew with potatoes, onions, and vegetables).
Exploring the Area
As you travel to some of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations, you and your group will get to appreciate the country’s national parks and rainforests. First you’ll head the Monteverde Reserve, where you’ll take a tour of the spectacular rainforest canopy. Then you’re off to Guanacaste for an interactive visit at the EcoMuseum. Another highlight of your trip is bound to be your day at the Barra Honda National Park. There you’ll walk through the forest and venture below the Earth’s surface into the vast natural caves. After days of cultural exploration, you and your friends will have the chance to relax at the Playa Samara beach on the Pacific Ocean.