photo by Jim Harris

Program details: Delight in the beautiful, diverse flora and fauna of tropical rain forests, the awesome power and impact of plate tectonics, and the warm and friendly culture of Costa Rica as two UVU professors (biology and geology), working with a fun and knowledgeable Costa Rican guide and naturalist, lead you on an educational experience of a lifetime. Learn about the natural history of Costa Rica while you visit the various ecological zones and the geological features of this active volcanic arc system.

Some of our exciting activities include: hiking around volcanoes and lava flows in the famous Arenal region; whitewater rafting on the world-renowned Pacuare River; trekking to gorgeous secluded waterfalls, exhilarating zip lines through the rain forest canopy, and water slides under howler monkeys at Rincon de la Vieja; swimming in the Pacific Ocean and snorkeling over coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea; studying the incredible night insects and reptiles of the forest; observing huge crocodiles in the Tarcoles River; glimpsing the lovely and secretive Quetzal in its native high mountain habitat; and having the rare opportunity to witness sea turtles nesting on the beach. All this, and more! Spectacular flora and fauna will amaze you as you traverse Costa Rica from coast to coast. This trip is intellectually rigorous and physically demanding — and very likely the most fun you will ever have in a college course.

Tentative dates: June 30 - August 15, 2014; tentative travel dates: two weeks during UVU's summer 2014 second block.

Anticipated curriculum: (One of the following, 3 credits): Natural History Excursion (BIOL 204R or GEO 204R), Neotropical Biology and Geology (BIOL 490R), Independent Study (GEO 495R). All majors are welcome to apply.

Estimated program fee: $1,895. Apply by Friday, December 20, 2013 January 31, 2014.

Program fee covers: Classroom and field instruction, lodging and meals, in-country transportation, activity and park entry fees.

Program fee DOES NOT cover: UVU tuition (approx. $160 per credit hour), passport, roundtrip airfare to San Jose, discretionary spending.

Directors: Catherine L. Stephen, associate professor of biology, 801.863.6207,; Daniel A. Stephen, associate professor of geology, 801.863.8584,

Application deadline: Friday, January 31, 2014. Submit online application , two online letters of reference , $195 non-refundable application fee, and $300 program deposit. If you miss the deadline, you are still welcome to apply until the program is full, but please note that the program fee will be higher and space may be limited. Application materials are available at

Tuition Waivers: UVU Employee & Employee Dependent Tuition Waivers may be applied for up to six credits of ISP tuition.

Financial aid: Pell grants and Federal Insured Student Loans may be applied to this program, based on eligibility. 
Applicants must have a current FAFSA form on file at the Financial Aid Office (BA105) and complete all necessary application forms for financial aid.

Scholarships: ISP will provide need-based scholarships to qualified participants.