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Costa Rica Spring Break


GHC Spring Break 2017 Costa Rica Trip


Where: UGA Costa Rica campus, Monteverde, Costa Rica

When:  GHC Spring Break, Sunday, March 26-Sunday, April 2

Cost: $995*

*This includes ground transportion, lodging, activities in country and most meals. It does NOT include round trip airfare, which students should purchase on their own using instructions below on this page. 

Contact person: Dr. Bronson Long, blong@highlands.edu

Factulty/Staff trip leaders: Alex MacMurdo, amacmurd@highlands.edu,  Christina Wolfe, cwolfe@highlands.edu






Costa Rica has been ranked “the happiest nation on earth” and is known for its natural beauty, including its lush cloud forests, unique ecology and beaches. How would you like to find out what makes this Latin American country so happy? The GHC study abroad program has a spring break trip in March 2017 that will take a group of students and faculty to do just that at the University of Georgia’s Costa Rica campus. Our trip will take us to the green, mountainous area of Monteverde, Costa Rica. We will stay at the UGA campus and will participate in many fun cultural activities. Highlights of the trip include:


  • Zip lining through a cloud forest
  • Coffee farm tour
  • Homestay with a Costa Rican family
  • Guided walk through the Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Visit to the Arenal Volcano and Baldi Hot Springs
  • Several local hikes with naturalist guides
  • Horseback riding
  • A day and a half on the gorgeous Pacific beach of Sugar Beach

Concern for the environment is especially important in Costa Rica. As such, we will take a sustainability tour of the UGA campus and will help with reforestation service work at their greenhouse. We will also get to know locals, including sustainability efforts at nearby farms and by spending one night at the home of a local family.


Come join us on this fun-filled, learning experience in Costa Rica!



For a full schedule of the trip, please see the detailed itinerary below:


Georgia Highlands College Spring Break 2017 Detailed Itinerary




March 26, 2017




11:46 AM

Delta # 900 arrives in San Jose (SJO)


Transfer to UGA Costa Rica (private bus), stopping along the way for late lunch and/or snacks (on own)

5:00 PM

Arrive at UGACR, check into rooms

6:00 PM

Dinner at UGACR

7:00 PM

Orientation & Welcome with UGACR Resident Naturalist. Allow 45 minutes.


Night at UGACR

March 27, 2017




6:20 AM

Cow milking & biodigester tour with UGACR Staff. Try your hand at milking our cows…then enjoy the milk in your coffee at breakfast! Learn about how our pigs are raised, and how animal waste is converted to cooking fuel in our biodigester. Allow 1 hour.

7:30 AM

Breakfast at UGACR

8:30 AM

Campus tour with UGACR Resident Naturalist. Allow ~45 minutes.

9:15 AM

UGACR Carbon Offset program with UGA Resident Naturalist. Introductory talk about the program, followed by short service work session (1 hour) in our reforestation greenhouse. Allow 2.5 hours.

12:00 PM

Lunch at UGACR

1:30 PM

Depart for Coffee and Sustainable Farm tour. Translated by UGACR staff. Visit a small, sustainable neighboring farm where coffee, sugarcane, and other crops are grown. Learn how coffee is processed and roasted, followed by a chance to taste & purchase locally-grown coffee. Bring cash if you'd like to buy coffee. Allow 2.5 hours.

5:30 PM

Transfer to Rancho de Lelo, Lower San Luis.


Dinner at Rancho de Lelo. Lelo's specialty is fresh-caught tilapia fro mthe ponds right on the properrty. Smoked pork, chicken, and vegetarian options also available. Go early and enjoy a game of soccer or relax around the ponds.

~8:00 PM

Return to UGACR


Night at UGACR

March 28, 2017




6:30 AM

Breakfast at UGACR and pack lunches

7:15 AM

Transfer to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

8:00 AM

Guided walk at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. First and most-visited reserve in Monteverde. Well-maintained trails of varying lengths. Expert guides add to your experience by sharing their knowledge of local flora and fauna. Allow 2.5 to 3 hours.

11:30 AM

Picnic lunch at Monteverde Reserve

12:15 PM

Transfer to El Rodeo for horseback riding

1:00 PM

Horseback riding tour. Enjoy the nautral beauty of Monteverde on horseback. Allow 1.5 hours.

4:00 PM

Transfer to UGACR

4:30 PM

Homestay Orientation. Allow 1 hour.

6:00 PM

Dinner at UGACR


Pack up belongings - students will move out of rooms tomorrow morning.


Night at UGACR

March 29, 2017




7:00 AM

Breakfast at UGACR and pack lunches. Students move out of rooms, turn in keys, and load buses both what they will be taking to homestays and the rest of their luggage.The group leaves for next destination directly from homestay pickup tomorrow.

8:00 AM

Transfer to SkyTrek

9:00 AM

Ziplines at SkyTrek. Fly through the forest canopy on a zipline adventure, or experience the cloud forest from a bird's-eye-view on suspended canopy bridges.


Picnic lunch or lunch on own in Santa Elena

1:30 PM

Return to UGACR, passing by CASEM craft cooperative for quick souvenir shopping if desired

3:30 PM

Transfer to homestays


Dinner at homestay (students); faculty dinner in Monteverde/Santa Elena (on own)


Night at homestay (students); Night at UGACR (faculty)

March 30, 2017





Breakfast at homestay (students).

7:30 AM

Breakfast at UGACR (faculty).


Last minute packing and load bus

8:15 AM

Depart UGACR for homestay pickups; continue to Arenal (~4 hours)


Lunch en route (on own)


Check into Baldi Hot Springs


Afternoon open to enjoy hot springs


Dinner at Baldi Hot Springs (included)


Night at Baldi Hot Springs

March 31, 2017




7:00 AM

Breakfast at hotel (included); load bus & check out

8:00 AM

Transfer to Arenal National Park for hiking (1-2 hours) ($15/person; pay cash directly)


Continue on to Playa Potrero (~4 hours)


Lunch en route (on own)


Mid-afternoon check-in at Bahia del Sol in Playa Potrero


Dinner at Bahia del Sol (included)


Night at Bahia del Sol

April 1, 2017





Breakfast at Bahia del Sol (included)


Free day


Lunch & dinner at Bahia del Sol (included)


Night at Bahia del Sol

April 2, 2017





Breakfast at Bahia del Sol (included)

9:00 AM

Depart for Liberia Airport (allow 1 hour)

1:10 PM

Delta # 356 departs Liberia (LIR)


How do I sign up for this trip?


All GHC students in good academic standing are eligible to participate in the Costa Rica spring break trip. To request a student application, please contact Dr. Bronson Long or one of the faculty trip leaders. For information on round trip airfare and how to pay for this trie, please see the information below:


Instructions on Purchasing Airfare


Students need to contact Delta Airlines in order to make their airfare reservations. Students are encouraged to use any frequent flyer miles or other discounts with Delta Airlines that they may have in order to get the best deal. Students should do this as soon as possible in order to get the best rate. Also, students should keep in mind that the flights for this trip will eventually fill up. Ideally, students will have made airfare reservations before the end of fall semester 2016. Students must show proof (e.g. a receipt) to Dr. Bronson Long or Ms. Alex MacMurdo that they have purchased airfare no later than Wednesday, December 14. Students MUST reserve the same flights as the rest of the group as the group for this trip will stay together at all times, including during air travel. As such, the flights that students MUST reserve for this trip are as follows:

Departure: Delta #900, Atlanta, Georgia to San Jose, Costa Rica, Sunday, March 26 at 9:46 a.m., arriving at 11:46 a.m.

Return: Delta #356, Liberia, Costa Rica to Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, April 2, at 1:10 p.m., arriving at 7:05 p.m.


Please note that the group will arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica and will fly out of Liberia, Costa Rica. These are two different cities. Please make sure that you reserve these exact flights and not other flights.

To make your flight reservations, please contact Delta Airlines at 800-241-4141. You can also visit Delta's website and make reservations online, clicking "Book a Trip" and the "Multi-City" tab for these two flights. The link to Delta's website is as follows: http://www.delta.com

Finally, you may also find deals on flights at travel websites such as Expedia.


Paying for the Costa Rica spring break trip


The GHC Costa Rica spring break trip cost $995 per student. This includes ground transportation, lodging, activities in country and most meals. It does NOT include round trip airfare, which students should purchase on their own using instructions below on this page. 

Students will need to purchase traveler’s insurance, a small amount of spending money and $29 in cash to pay for a Costa Rica exit tax. However, these are minor expenses. The most significant expense is the cost of the trip itself and round-trip airfare.

How to pay for the trip:

Students should pay for the trip cost at the GHC Business Office, which has locations on each GHC campus. Please be sure to give your name and student identification number when you pay for the trip. Students may pay with a check, electronic check, debit card or credit card, although there is a 2.75% transaction fee for credit cards. Please note as well that debit card transactions take funds directly and immediately from your bank account.

Students may pay for the trip all at once ($995), or make payments. Payments can be made on the following schedule:

*Proof of airfare deadline: Wednesday, December 14 

1st payment: Wednesday, January 18, $497.50

2nd payment: Wednesday, February 15, $497.50

*Students must show proof that they have purchased airfare to go on the trip


The Business Office also allows students to debit their checking accounts on a monthly basis to pay for the trip. For more information on that payment option, please see the Business Office.

Students can also choose to use financial aid to help pay for the trip. To choose this option, please indicate it on your student application or contact the Business Office or the Director of Study Abroad

Please note that the Business Office is open until 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Fridays. Students who enroll late in the trip may still make payments, although they will need to pay more and will need to pay in full by Wednesday, February 14.


Paying for the trip with Financial Aid:


Students who go on the Cost Rica spring break trip are required to speak with a counselor in Financial Aid to explore their options of possibly using financial aid to help pay for the trip. Students are urged to do this as soon as possible.


Cancellation and Refund policies


The college has contracted through UGA Costa Rica for ground transportation, lodging, meals and activities. It also has contracted through a travel agency for airfare for this trip. As a result, the college has to make payments in a timely manner for these services. This requires students to do the same. Students can pay for the entirety of the trip ($1,836.00) upfront. They can also choose to make payments per the payment schedule above. 

Students who do not pay may be dropped from the trip, particularly those who have submitted an application, but have not purchased airfare or made any payments by the second payment deadline of February 14. Because the college has to pay for the expenses related to this trip and there is a high demand for the trip with other students who wish to go, it is essential that students who are enrolled meet payment deadlines if they would like to remain enrolled in the trip. Finally, students who cancel their reservations for the trip will be given a refund and possibly assessed a cancellation penalty fee, depending on how late they drop from the trip. For more information on cancelations and refunds, see the schedule below.

If at any time a student who is enrolled in the trip would like to cancel his or her enrollment, the student in question should contact the Business Office or Dr. Bronson Long, blong@highlands.edu, the Director of Global Initiatives and Study Abroad. If students would like to receive a refund for payments they have made towards the trip, it is imperative that they contact the college prior to dates below to cancel their enrollment and arrangement for a refund.


Refunds and Cancellations:

Refunds and cancellation penalty fees are based on the schedule below:


Cancellation before the first payment deadline (January 18): Full refund

Cancellation before the second payment deadline (February 14): $400 fee

Cancellation after February 14: $995 fee, no refund







Page last updated: October 20, 2016