Calendario de eventos

Quiero agregar mi propio evento / I want to add my own event

Este calendario se actualiza automáticamente a través de Facebook e información enviada por diferentes usuarios, no nos hacemos responsables por cambios de última hora que no se vean reflejados aquí. Siempre confirme los detalles con el organizador del evento.

Renewable Energy (RETech)
Mar 10 @ 7:00 am – Mar 19 @ 12:00 pm


• Class Description:
Construct or advance your career in the emerging industries of resilient energy generation in this 10 day intensive training. Equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and experience to become a leader in the fields of solar PV, wind and hydro production. From assessment to design to management, our RETech program facilitates the motivated to move our global economy into a distributed, renewable energy operation. All equaling to 52 contact hours of experiential education and 2 transferable academic credits.

t8 Learn-Experience-Develop “LED” Days
tWind, Solar PV, Geothermal & Hydro Assessment & Design Training
tResidential & Commercial Frameworks
tLocal & Global Energy Policy
tDistributed Generation & Micro-Grids
tFinancing & Community
tDevelopment Energy & Social Justice


• Teacher Bios:
Scott Meloeny is the Founder and President of Second Attention Strategies (SAS), an educational programming and system installation business. Scott developed GELT to facilitate risk-­ready entrepreneurs seeking to construct a viable financial livelihood while redefining our physical community. Scott has dedicated his work to facilitate passions, enjoyment and skills of individuals seeking to experience a life worth living. Scott has been featured on CNN’s “360 with Anderson Cooper”, is trained in Solar Photovoltaic (electricity) through Solar Energy International and resides in Lake Arenal, Costa Rica.


• Language class is taught in:

• Cost:
$2,600 for 10 days. $500 deposit required to register and reserve your space. Remaining balance due 30 days prior to program start date.

3 meals/day, housing (hotel), all transportation (not airfare )

— Food Options:
Vegan,Vegetarian,Meat options

Outdoor Activities:
Tailored to group (examples: waterfall and volcanic hikes, kayaking, SUP boarding, hot springs)

• Directions:
Puerto San Luis Hotel, Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

Natural Building Intensive
Mar 20 – Mar 25 all-day

We will be posting more information about this week-long class with a focus on earth building in the coming weeks.

Liz Johndrow of Earthen Endeavor Natural Building will return to Rancho Mastatal to join the Ranch staff in mid-March for 7 days of hands-on and feet-in learning and classroom theory and discussion coupled with slideshow presentations and evening topic discussions. We will cover everything earth, lime, and clay from site selection, foundations and earthen wall systems, to the fine art of sculpting, Moroccan tadelakt, and finish plaster. You will want to join us for this opportunity unlike any other! The Ranch provides years of beautiful and inspiring natural building to emphasize successes and learning curves, beauty and function. And Liz brings expertise, passion, fun, and serious learning opportunities to their workshops.

About the Instructor
Liz Johndrow
Liz is founder of Earthen Endeavors Natural Building and has been building and teaching for several years. She has worked with all kinds of materials and techniques and has collaborated int the past with Kleiwerks International teaching a 4- month women’s natural building apprenticeship. She also co-leads timber framing workshops with Sarah Highland of Highland Artisans and also enjoys all things mud, particularly all types of plasters. She is presently collaborating with women’s organizations in Nicaragua to help increase quality of life through natural building opportunities for locals.  Liz enjoys spaces that bring her in touch with the natural surroundings. As a builder, she was thrilled to discover she could bring that contact deeper into a home experience through the choice of building materials. Since that discovery, she has been exploring the world of cob, strawbale, adobe, earthbag, earthen plasters and floor systems, and timber framing. The simplicity of these systems and materials allow for people of all ages and abilities to participate in some manner. The past several years have taken her further into the role of teacher, facilitator, instructor and co-conspirator. She is increasingly passionate about helping others learn these skills so they in turn can share their vision of beautiful, sustainable, and socially just structures. Her more recent work in Nicaragua with the women and youth in the northern pueblos has been her most challenging and rewarding work thus far. Check out her website for more of her vision and her work.

Students should plan on arriving to Rancho Mastatal the evening before the start of the class.  This night is included in the cost of the course.

Costa Ricans:  $500
Expats in Costa Rica:  $600
Foreigners:  $800

Cost includes 8 nights lodging starting on the night before the start of the class, all meals, course instruction and full access to Rancho Mastatal and its private wildlife refuge.  A $250 deposit will secure your space in the course.

For more information about food and lodging please see our website at accommodations.

Course Payment
Please follow the link for payment options.

To enroll in the class, please go to our Online Registration Form.  For more information please contact Tim O’Hara at and/or call the Ranch at 2200-0920. We have a maximum of 15 openings for this workshop and a minimum of 5 students to run the course.

Jungle Camp
Apr 2 – Apr 5 all-day

The Jungle Camp: A Transformational Summer Camp for Adults
April 2-6
The Punta Mona Center for Regenerative Design and Botanical Studies
Find yourself where the jungle meets the sea….on miles of uninhabited beach… covered in healing mud… with chocolate from cacao grown right on the land…celebrating freedom…. off-the-grid on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast!
A Transformational “Summer” Camp for Adults ~ April 2-6, 2016
At Jungle Camp, we journey deep within ourselves and explore our profound connections with nature all while playing, crafting, moving, learning and dancing with new best friends at the gorgeous Punta Mona Center for Regenerative Design and Botanical Studies.
Disconnect to reconnect
You won’t even miss your devices with our incredible lineup of yoga, workshops, camp activities, music, and more.  While at camp you choose your own activities with workshops on permaculture, meditation,medicinal plants, fermentation, chocolate making, yoga plus some old summer camp standbys all while eating gourmet jungle cuisine, frolicking on the uninhabited beaches, cooling off in the river and going deep with new friends!
The international array of talented teachers and facilitators each bring diverse experience in a myriad of modalities that will  expand your perspective of the world in ways you may never have thought possible!
For more information and an application to attend send us a message to We look forward to seeing you at camp!!

Just a few of the incredible activities we’re working on for Jungle Camp!

Intro to Permaculture
Fermented foods workshop
Chocolate making
Talent Show
Jungle hikes
Mud-Bathing and make your own body scrubs!
Bamboo building 
Natural tattoos 
Sweat lodge
Sing a-longs
Community creation workshop
Dolphin watching
Off the Grid Electronic Music Making 
Campfire Music Jams

and SOOOOO much more

Renewable Energy for the Developing World
Apr 2 – Apr 8 all-day



Hands-on Learning

Learn about renewable energy technologies for the developing world in the developing world! Hands-on learning will occur at Rancho Mastatal, a private nature reserve, and in nearby La Cangreja National Park. 

This workshop provides an introduction to all the major renewable energy technologies with a focus on designing and installing small, rural systems. We’ll get our hands dirty — the majority of the workshop is hands-on field work, and it also includes classroom sessions and the following projects: 1) building and using solar ovens, 2) a solar hot water or solar-electric system, and 3) installing a methane biodigestor. This is an experiential program, with a non-technical, overview focus. These hands-on installations give participants the opportunity to interact with local members of the community, experience both the challenges and satisfaction of working within the developing world, and the opportunity to install systems that can dramatically improve the living conditions of the local people. 

Workshop Topics include:

tSolar Electricity 
tWind Electricity 
tMicro-Hydro Electricity 
tSolar Hot Water

tSolar Cooking and Food Drying (with Sol Verde, a women’s cooperative) 
tMethane Biogas Digesters (with Viogaz) 
tTechnology Transfer and System Maintenance
tSocial & Cultural Issues of Working in the Developing World

tHands-On Installations in the Local Community  

For millions of people around the world, renewable energy can replace dirty, expensive, and inconvenient energy. For those in the developing world, it may provide the first electric lights a family has seen, replacing darkness at sunset with the opportunity to read, study, or recreate after a day of work. This hands-on workshop teaches volunteers how to ensure quality renewable energy assistance to the people who are most in need.

In the classroom portion, students will gain a basic understanding of all the major renewable energy system types, including solar electricity, micro-hydro electricity, and wind electricity, solar cooking, solar hot water, and methane biogas digesters for developing world applications. Participants will learn the components, applications, and limitations for each system type, and will be able to analyze a site and make suggestions on the most appropriate renewable energy technologies.

Participants will join with Sol Verde, a women’s solar cooking cooperative from Guanacaste Costa Rica, to build and use solar cookers. Participants will also help install a small solar-electric system or solar hot water system, and will work together with Central American experts to build a methane biogas digester. These hands-on installations give participants the opportunity to interact with local members of the community and experience both the challenges and satisfaction of working within the developing world.

In our fourteenth year at Rancho Mastatal, this springs workshop builds on the success of our past workshops. Our program is focused on learning through hands-on work. We’ll spend about one-third of our time in the classroom, studying renewable energy technology basics. The rest of our time will be in the field or lab, getting our hands dirty, learning by doing. The course is taught in both English and Spanish. Price includes dorm bed or camping, all meals and in-country transportation. Private accommodation may be available at additional cost (contact Rancho Mastatal). Ask about options for family members not taking the workshop.

US $1,325 includes:
• Instruction, tools, and materials 
• In-country transportation

• Dorm lodging (upgrades may be possible)

• Three delicious meals a day

• Enjoyment of Rancho Mastatal trails, waterfalls, and reserve

Rancho Mastatal

In addition, Rancho Mastatal and the community of Mastatal have fine examples of:

• Sustainable agriculture, forestry, and living
• Small renewable energy systems
• Micro-enterprise and ecotourism
• Composting and biodigester toilet and wastewater management systems
• Nature study and awareness
• Natural building
• Medicinal plants & indigenous skillsRancho Mastatal is an environmental learning and sustainable living center, retreat, and lodge located in the last virgin rainforest of Costa Rica’s Puriscal County. Rancho Mastatal practices and promotes living responsibly in the tropics, while educating its visitors about the significance and majesty of the world’s disappearing tropical forests. The site encompasses 500+ acres of picture-perfect waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, and impressive trees in the transition zone between very wet and pre-montane rainforest in one of Costa Rica’s most undiscovered regions. The property shares a significant border with the splendid La Cangreja National Park, a protected area providing habitat for a number of endangered animals and flora, and containing some 2,000 plant species and varied fauna. Rancho Mastatal owns 19-kilometers of rainforest trails, connecting to a network of footpaths in La Cangreja National Park.On site and in the community, the Rancho Mastatal crew builds using natural techniques, including the use of bamboo and cob, and supports the use of renewable energy systems. In their ongoing commitment to education and instruction, they organize and sponsor a wide array of workshops ranging from alternative design and construction to wilderness first response certification, and work with schools in both the United States and Costa Rica in offering customized educational programs on rainforest ecology, Latin culture, and Spanish and English as a second language. Rancho Mastatal welcomes volunteers, graduate students, interns, and all others in search of a memorable and unique tropical experience.Our schedule is designed to give you time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and people of Mastatal. We try to take a two-hour lunch/siesta/swimming break in the middle of each day. And we take the middle day of the workshop off from our project work, to go on 
recreational or cultural trips in the area. Our past groups have experienced an educational, exciting, and inspiring time while having fun with a great group of people.Lodging & Food at Rancho Mastatal

Your workshop fee includes dorm lodging, all meals (primarily vegetarian, and sumptuous), and in-country transportation. Private or semi-private accommodations may be available at an additional cost—contact Rancho Mastatal.  Ask us about options for family members not taking the workshop.

Please see for more information. Please note that the folks at the Ranch do not check e-mail frequently, so please make your lodging upgrade inquiries well before the beginning of the workshop.

Costa Rica Language and Culture

Costa Rica is a Spanish speaking country. However, in many places you will find people who speak some or plenty of English, and it is quite possible to get along with minimal Spanish. The people are used to tourists, and are very helpful. We recommend that you invest some time in learning at least some basic Spanish to facilitate your journey, and out of respect for the local people. Lonely Planet’s Costa Rica Spanish Phrasebook is an excellent, inexpensive introduction to the language. Our workshop will be taught in English, with Spanish translation for local participants if necessary.

Ticos, as Costa Ricans are often called, are generally easy-going, open, helpful, and fun people. The country’s tranquil nature shows through in all aspects of the culture. Since 1949, the country has been without any armed forces. Costa Rica, despite its relatively small size, has an incredibly diverse geography. A series of volcanic mountain chains run down the center of the country. The highest point is Cerro Chirripó, which reaches 3,820 meters high, rivaling some of the taller mountains in the United States. The variety of flora and fauna found throughout the country is remarkable for a country so small. It is a nature lover’s paradise. The majority of people are white, with smaller percentages of blacks and Indians. Though not quite as “advanced” as the United States, Costa Ricans enjoy a life expectancy similar to that of Americans, perhaps a result of a more laid back lifestyle, and a healthy dose of fish, rice, and beans.

What to Wear & Bring

Mastatal in April will be warm, humid, but relatively dry. We recommend traveling as lightly as possible. Resist the temptation to bring everything you think you might possibly need. Light, long sleeved shirts and pants are recommended for sun, insect protection, and evening use. In the tropical climate, darker clothes will make you hot and attract bugs. Bring plenty of underclothes, and clothes that dry easily. Heavy jeans are thick and take an extremely long time to dry in the humid, tropical climate where you will be staying.

Bring a good hat to shade your eyes and forehead and to keep your head dry if it rains. If you are light skinned or very heat sensitive, bring a wide brimmed hat. You will be in a tropical forest, and we will be doing physical work, so make sure you bring a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Rubber boots are very popular in Costa Rica, and can be purchased in country if necessary. Work gloves will be handy for protection from blisters, stones, dirt, and plants. A local family is available to do laundry for a fee, or folks can do their own in one of the outdoor sinks/basins.

Here is a list of smaller items that you may find useful:

• Small flashlight with spare bulb and batteries (rechargeable)
• Travel alarm clock or watch
• Swiss Army-style pocketknife
• A section of cord or line (clothesline or for a thousand other purposes)
• Sewing kit
• Sunglasses (good ones as the sun is very, very strong)
• Toiletries (use soaps, shampoos and toothpastes that are biodegradable)
• Sunblock (don’t skimp on sunblock, and use the biodegradable type)
• Insect repellent
• Water bottles
• First-aid kit
• Prescription medicines (many are available cheaper in Costa Rica, but don’t take your chances)

We recommend that you carry your gear in a large, internal frame backpack. It’s less tiresome to carry your load on your back, although you have to be aware when in crowded places. Make sure that you choose a good quality pack that won’t rip, break or become damaged in any way as it may get “tested.” In addition, a smaller backpack is useful when doing shorter day hikes.

There is only one public telephone in the town of Mastatal. There is also a police radio in town for emergencies. Internet service is sporadically available in Mastatal in a few different forms, but you shouldn’t count on it. The ranch has a telephone for emergency use. Check with your wireless carrier for voice, text, or data plans. My experience is that voice and data are relatively costly, while modestly priced text plans can keep you in touch with family and friends without absorbing as much of your $ and attention.


For this workshop, we will be meeting and traveling as a group once participants arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica. You will need to make your own arrangements to fly into the Juan Santamaría international airport (SJO) in Alajuela, the primary international airport in Costa Rica, which is approximately 17 kilometers west of San José. If you are willing to carry some gear with you from the states, please contact me.

Participants must by ready to meet outside the San Jose, Costa Rica airport (airport code SJO) by 3:00 p.m. at the latest on Saturday, April 2, 2016, and will be returned to the same airport by 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 10, 2016. Please plan your flights accordingly, with
leeway for the vagaries of travel. Those not at the meeting place at the appointed time on April 2 will need to make their own 
arrangements to get to the ranch.

On our final night in Mastatal, we’ll have a farewell party, and perhaps some entertainment. On the following morning, participants will travel by shuttle bus to the San Jose airport, arriving by 11 AM on Sunday, April 10.  If you need to stay overnight in the San Jose area on either end of your trip, or want ideas for other travel within the country, we can give you advance advice, or talk while we are together in Mastatal.

Register Now!

Cancellation Policy: If a workshop is cancelled (rare), you will receive a full refund. If you cancel more than 90 days before start of workshop, you will receive a 75% refund; 30-90 days before workshop, 50% refund; less than 30 days before start of workshop, no refund.

Program information and logistics:

Ian Woofenden, Workshop Coordinator
  PO Box 1001, Anacortes, WA 98221


Lodging upgrades and local information:

Tim O’Hara, Owner, Rancho Mastatal Environmental Learning Center & Lodge,

Sustainable Homestead Design @ Costa Rica
Jun 22 – Jun 25 all-day


Sustainable Homestead Design
JUNE 22 – JUNE 26, 2016
 Register here →

Learn the tools to design an abundant and harmonious landscape!

This five-day intensive course will introduce participants to the basic skills needed to analyze the landscape and design a sustainable homestead. The course will cover site analysis and mapping, goal setting, and designing to maximize the productivity, beauty, and sustainability of the land. This course is relevant to people who already own a home-site as well as people considering buying land in the future. During a final hands-on project, participants will put their new skills to work on a small-scale design. Students will leave equipped with the skills to more deeply understand their homestead and to design for the challenges and opportunities they encounter. The course will be conducted in Rancho Mastatal’s beautiful naturally built classroom and will mix lectures, drafting, and group work, with mapping and measuring in the field.

Note: Participants with their own property should contact the instructor to see about the potential for using their land during the final design project.

Concepts and skills covered will include:

tKey permaculture principles
tSystems thinking
tUsing the pattern language
tThe design process
tDefining goals
tSite analysis
tCreating a base map
tDrafting tools and techniques
tDesign alternatives and evaluation process

Rachel holds a Masters Degree in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design from the Conway School in Conway, Massachusetts. She has been practicing permaculture in the tropics since 2009, working in both the rainforests of Costa Rica and the dry forests of Nicaragua. She is passionate about creating harmonious, healthy relationships between humans and the landscape. From urban renewal projects in New England to food forests in Latin America, Rachel has used her skills to create integrated, whole-system designs in difficult locations. She has also worked as a garden-based youth educator, art handler, photographer and carpenter and harbors a life-goal of trying as many varieties of tropical fruits as possible.
For more information about food and lodging please see our website at accommodations.

Cost includes 6 nights lodging, all meals, course instruction and full access to Rancho Mastatal and its private wildlife refuge.  A $250 deposit will secure your space in the course. Please follow the link for payment options.
To enroll in the class, please go to our Online Registration Form.  For more information please contact Tim O’Hara at and/or call the Ranch at 2200-0920. We have a maximum of 12 openings for this workshop and a minimum of 4 students to run the course.

Bridge to the Future – Costa Rica @ Costa Rica
Jun 26 – Jul 15 all-day

Costa Rica Summer Program
Costa Rica has been the model for sustainable economic development in Latin America for a generation. On this program, you’ll spend most of your time living in or alongside some of Costa Rica’s most important biological reserves while learning about integrated sustainability initiatives to protect these valuable resources.

In this Sustainable Summer Program…

tYou’ll visit an indigenous community and learn traditional agricultural practices
tYou’ll learn about the implementation of renewable energy at a variety of scales
tYou’ll harvest crops and practice permaculture at an organic farm
tYou’ll develop homesteading skills such as fermentation and soap-making
tYou’ll learn about natural building and work with natural building materials and techniques

Your Sustainable Summer experience will span from Costa Rica’s legendary Pacific beaches to the mist shrouded slopes of the Central Highlands to the tropical rainforest. Our Costa Rica summer program is ideal for high school students with a strong interest in environmental sustainability, and particularly renewable energy and agriculture. Costa Rica is widely considered an ‘easy’ place to travel by developing country standards, and we think this program is also a good choice for students that are looking to get their first taste of ‘adventure travel’ and life in a ‘developing’ country, although we caution that our itinerary is more challenging (in a good way) than many Costa Rica travel itineraries.
Picture yourself living on an organic farm on the edge of a national park, where you’ll help produce the food that sustains the local community. Or on a guided night hike through Costa Rica’s virgin rainforest, when the jungle really comes alive. You’ll feel the rush of rafting Costa Rica’s world famous whitewater, play soccer with local kids, and come to understand why the essential Costa Rican phrase – pura vida – is the perfect embodiment of this beautiful place and the Tico people that call it home.Not sure if this is the right option for you? Use our Compare Programs page to help you assess which Sustainable Summer is the best fit for your interests and comfort zone.

how sustainable energy and agriculture solutions are designed

tropical rainforests, hidden valleys, and pristine beaches

horseback to a towering waterfall in Cangreja National Park and raft Costa Rica’s legendary whitewater

2016 Facilitators *

Remy Franklin

Kiska Kosakowski

Costa Rica Testimonials

Thank you so much for creating and running this amazing program!! I’m so grateful for all that you’ve done to make this organization so awesome!!  Jess,  student from Boca Raton, FL

Read More Testimonials




Costa Rica 9-Day Photos
By Sustainable Summer // September 16, 2015


Costa Rica 21-Day Photos
By Sustainable Summer // September 16, 2015


Costa Rica Student Essay
By Rafael Robert // September 8, 2015


Costa Rican Transformation
By Lily Antunez // September 1, 2015




Costa Rica Student Essay
By Amber Heldreth Miller // September 1, 2015


Costa Rica Student Essay
By Own Shain // September 1, 2015


Costa Rica Student Essay
By Miriam Wahid // September 1, 2015


Costa Rica Student Photo Essay
By Jess Kian // August 16, 2015

Core Curriculum & Program Components

Much More Than A Tour
Amazing destination? Check. Fun and authentic experiences? Absolutely. A smart, down-to-earth group of like-minded teens? Yup. An awesome itinerary and first-in-class lodging are just the start. Our programs prepare teens to become environmental leaders through dynamic place-based learning.

How do “small” and “local” provide a blueprint for a sustainable future? This essential question guides our experience studying sustainability in Costa Rica. Participants – through discussions, workshops, site visits, and fieldwork – will investigate sustainability with the understanding that truly sustainable solutions take into account not only the environment, but also the people, culture and economy of a given place.


Field Studies




Design Thinking


Independent Project


Case Study


Action Plan

Program Tuition

Each program has a tiered tuition rate: standard (full tuition), tuition assistance (83% of tuition), or scholarship (as low as 15% of tuition).HOW IT WORKS


$ 4795

tOur standard course fee, which represents the actual cost of operating our programs, including the administrative costs that are necessary to sustain our organization in the long-term. This is the suggested rate for families living in high cost of living areas with household net assets of greater than $650,000 and/or annual household income of greater than $180,000.


$ 3995

tParticipants at this tuition rate cover only their direct participation costs, including lodging, meals, activities, in-country staff and transportation, and support for local projects. Participation at this level is based on the honor system. It is available to all families – no documentation required. We simply ask families to honestly consider their financial resources and ability to pay the full tuition rate.


$ 720 – 3355

tAdditional scholarship funding is available for students that are unable to participate at either of the other rates. Scholarship participants receive up to an 85% reduction of the standard course fee. Due to the limited availability of scholarship funds, a separate application is required, including a parent financial statement and recent tax return.

What’s Included


in eco-lodges and other locally-owned (and often sustainably-minded) establishments


3 meals daily while in-country. Local cuisine, served family-style, is on order most days. Dietary restrictions can typically be accommodated.

Immersive Activities

Guided activities, from the adventurous to the cultural, are a regular part of the itinerary.

Dynamic Learning Opportunities

Place-based. Interactive. Fun. Our programs prepare teens to become environmental leaders.

Ground Transportation

Once in country, all travel will be by private coach when we are traveling any significant distance, although we may occasionally use other transport when traveling locally. This can range from a cattle truck to the local bus. Traveling like a local is part of the experience!

2 Full-Time Professional Facilitators

Our international field team includes returned Peace Corps volunteers, college professors, seasoned wilderness guides, sustainability graduate students, and similar.

Pre-Program Materials and Support

Students and parents receive comprehensive and prompt pre-program support.

Not Included

Tuition does not include airfare, $95 InternationalSOS membership (required), or personal expenses such as laundry, snacks, souvenirs, and internet or international phone calls, and other incidentals. A $29 Costa Rica exit fee, payable at the SJO airport on departure, is also not included.


We designate a recommended group flight for students. Students, whether arriving on our group flight or independently, will be met at the international arrivals area by our staff. Very detailed travel and booking instructions will be provided to all participants upon enrollment.Our designated round trip group flight:


Escort on Both Outbound and Return Flight

Outbound Flight

June 26

Miami (MIA)
San Jose (SJO)

Return Flight
July 16
San Jose (SJO)
Miami (MIA)


tDo not make any flight reservations until explicitly directed by Sustainable Summer. Enrolled families – please check your MySummer accountfor more information.
tNot all of our group flights have a staff escort. Please see above for specifics and our Flights page for additional details.
tStudents NOT traveling on our designated group flight will be assessed a $35 fee if they arrive on a flight other than our specified group flight and/or a $35 fee for departing on a non-group flight ($70 total). Students must verify BEFORE BOOKING all non-group flight travel itineraries

21-Day Itinerary


Most students will arrive on our chaperoned group flight into the international airport outside San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city. It’s a short drive by private transport from the airport to our hostel in Alajuela, where we will begin our orientation period.Day 1


Orientation at Rancho Margot
The next morning, after breakfast we’ll travel north to Rancho Margot, a stunning eco-lodge on the shores of Lake Arenal. Rancho Margot is the perfect destination to become acquainted with Costa Rica and your fellow students. It is fully self-sufficient, yet at a truly impressive scale – two different micro-hydro turbines provide all their energy needs; chickens, pigs, and cows number in the hundreds, yet exist in healthy, environmentally sustainable way; and the entire property of several hundred hectares has been reforested in the last decade.During orientation, we’ll become familiar with local customs, health and safety protocols, and share our individual and mutual goals for the program.We also will begin our investigation of sustainability as a subject of inquiry, as we learn about the various sustainability initiatives on the farm and consider how the systems and philosophies in place at Margot can inform a shift to more sustainable communities elsewhere in the world. No visit to the beautiful Arenal would be complete without some dedicated to exploring the surrounding countryside. We’ll have some time for a short hike in the area, as well as kayaking on Lago Arenal.Days 2 & 3


The Rainforest
We’ll then move on to the Sarapaqui region, one of Costa Rica’s most important biospheres. We’ll be staying at an eco-lodge on the edge of Costa Rica’s largest National Park, Braulio Carrillo. The surrounding jungle is primary rainforest that serves as a critical ecological corridor. Much important research has been and continues to be conducted in the area. Conservation efforts have maintained the native forest on the southern side of the Rio Sarapiqui, although the numerous pineapple farms that dot the northern side serve as a constant reminder of the threat of development.During our five nights in the area, we’ll conduct biodiversity research with a local scientific organization; take an ethnobotany course from a local expert; go whitewater rafting on the Rio Sarapaqui; and go for a guided night hike through the tropical jungle. It’s not all adventure and sustainability, though. We’ll also take in some with local culture. You’ll learn to make the perfect gallo pinto and friend plantains in a cooking class and polish your Merengue, Salsa, and Cha-Cha skills in a Latin dance class, too.Days 4 – 8


The Cloud Forest
Leaving Sarapaqui, we’ll travel south and up in elevation to Paraiso Quetzal, a beautiful cloud forest lodge situated on a ridge overlooking Costa Rica’s southern valley. After lunch, we’ll have an afternoon hike in search of the elusive Quetzal, seen rarely throughout Costa Rica, but living in abundance in this area.While in this area, we’ll visit a cooperatively owned wind power facility and hydroelectric project and learn how the projects are producing clean energy at fair rates for rural communities that previously had no access to the grid. This segment of the program encourages reflection on the sources, uses, and economics of renewable energy. One of the principle questions we will consider is the size and scope of a project, which we will continue to explore later in the program.We’ll also visit a flower exporter and a coffee cooperative in an effort to better understand both the global supply chain as well as issues of equity and social justice associated with agricultural production and consumption.Days 9 & 10


Winding our way through the craggy, jungle clad valleys of the central mountains, our next destination is Mastatal and Cangreja National Park, one of Costa Rica’s least visited, but most remarkable destinations.We’ll spend a little over a week at Rancho Mastatal, an environmental learning center and eco-lodge situated on the park’s boundary. Rancho Mastatal is a sustainability pioneer that practices natural construction techniques (locally harvested woods and bamboo, earthen structures, etc), sustainable food production, and renewable energy generation.The American operators work closely with the surrounding community on conservation initiatives to help preserve and protect the last remaining virgin rainforest in this region of Costa Rica. Sustainability education of both local and foreign students is an important part of Mastatal’s mission.During our time there, we’ll study many of the initiatives that make Mastatal a stunning example of sustainability, from their use of biodigesters and rainwater catchments to traditional agricultural production methods and reforestation efforts.We’ll visit the Zapaton Indigenous Reserve, play soccer with the local kids, and fill our minds with knowledge about the principles of permaculture, tropical ecology, and other remarkable subjects that are being practiced every day at Mastatal.Days 11 – 18


The Coast
Our final days of the program will be at the beaches of Playa Esterillos, where we’ll reflect on our time in Costa Rica, share our Sustainability Action Plans, and prepare to say farewell.Days 19 & 20


We’ll wake up for breakfast and perhaps a final swim in the Pacific and then it’s about 90 minutes driving by bus back to the airport in Alajuela for an early afternoon flight back to the US.Day 21


An Important Note About Itinerary Changes
Sustainable Summer reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the program itinerary. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in weather or road conditions; to take advantage of a new activity or unscheduled opportunity (such as a local festival or event); to accommodate the health needs of an individual participant; or due to changes in activities or schedules of our local partners and providers.The itinerary shown here is based on previous programs and the anticipated day-to-day activities for this program. However, as with any travel experience, some changes may occur.