Monteverde, Costa Rica

Summer Tropical Ecology + Conservation

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Information for term Summer Tropical Ecology + Conservation

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

April 1, 2018

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: April 1, 2018
  • Dates: Jun 14 – Aug 9, 2018 (8 weeks)
  • Credit: 10 semester hours / 15 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Wake up to the sound of howler monkeys at our unique biological station, on the doorstep of the 57,000-acre Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Your classroom? Cloud forest treetops, sandy beaches, lush rain forests, ideal for rigorous study of the incredibly diverse ecosystems of Costa Rica. Your summer adventure includes travel throughout the country, a strong boost for your Spanish language skills, and a satisfying taste of life in rural Costa Rica

Unique Experiences

  • Camp and hike rain forests

    dry forests, mangroves, beaches and more, as you explore protected natural areas.

  • Put new skills into practice

    as you complete an independent research project that gives you an in-depth look at a favorite creature or plant.

  • Live like a local

    during a three-week homestay.

  • species of plants and trees in Monteverde Preserve

  • species of amphibians

  • inhabitants


Location & Culture

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The small community of Monteverde sits on the Continental Divide in the Tilaran mountains. Here, Costa Rica’s treasured rain forest is home of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve – and a staggering number of species that includes pumas, monkeys, quetzal, and the endangered three-wattled bird. From this amazing preserve in the northwest part of Costa Rica, you’ll also travel to the coast and other parts of the country.

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The Culture


  • Explore a lush lowland rain forest in Corcovado National Park, where inhabitants include white-crowned parrots, two-toed sloths, coatimundi, white-faced monkeys, and more.
  • Explore a dry forest recognized for its study of regeneration in Santa Rose National Park.
  • Visit Carara National Park, near the Pacific coast, home of the country’s largest groups of scarlet macaws.
  • See towering Arenal volcano. Dormant for some time, the surrounding park is home to some 850 species of birds and more.


Put your skills to work on an independent research project in tropic ecology or conservation, from observation to a presentation of your findings. At every step, you’ll be guided by an expert faculty advisor. Past projects have explored beetle habitats, hummingbird habits, and the prey of cane toads.
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Daily Life

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  • Biological Station

    For two months, students live in next door to the Monteverde Cloud Forest station at a biological station where they attend classes and sleep four to a room. Rooms have four bunks, a private bath, and hot showers. All meals are provided – family-style. Two teaching assistants are stationed here for guidance and academics, and other staff members plan activities and keep student informed of community events. Field lodging - Students camp or stay in cabins during the field trips with instructors.


    All meals are provided.

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Where You'll Study

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    Getting Around

    Students either walk or pay for transport by taxi.

What People are Saying

  • It was an amazing experience, with everything I was hoping to experience - hiking, camping, learning about animals and plants, culture, language, and independent research. I really could not have imagined a study abroad program I would have wanted to go on more.

    Tamera, Temple University, Summer 16
  • Everything I expected, and I got more out of it than I had expected!

    Patrick, University of Wisconsin, Summer 16

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What you need to know

The program details

This intensive program gives students an incredible introduction to tropical biology and ecology, and allows them to learn more about a specific interest with independent research. Throughout, students also build their Spanish language skills and learn local customs.

Courses are taught by the resident director and local faculty, with guest lectures include resident and visiting biologists. Spanish is taught by instructors from Centro Panamericano de Idiomas.


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    Students learn with other CIEE participants in small, dynamic groups. Lessons are taught in the classroom and in the field, to take full advantage of Monteverde’s amazing biodiversity.


    Students are graded with standard A-F letter grades based on mid-term and final exams, quizzes, field practicals, written reports from field experiments, and participation. Independent study grades are based upon a proposal, manuscript, and symposium presentation.


    Intense and rigorous, yet equally rewarding. SCHEDULE Summer: Mid-June to mid-August.



    Students need to have a GPA of at least 2.5.


    One semester of college-level biology. One semester of college-level ecology, environmental science, or a second biology course is recommended. Some college-level Spanish is recommended.


Program Credit

  • Total credit, summer: 10 semester/15 quarter hours
  • Contact hours: Tropical biology: 60; credit – 4 semester credits/6 quarter hours
  • Other classes: 30; credit – 2 semester credits / 1.5 quarter hours

Taught in English, academics focus on biology, and include classwork, field study, lab work, and observation.

Various levels of conversational Spanish allow students to improve their language skills at the right pace.

Summer 2017 Courses

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Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.


To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.



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Scholarships & Grants

In 2016, we awarded over 1,000 scholarships totaling more than $5 million, helping more students get on planes and live their dreams in faraway places than any other organization. This year's no different. In fact, every year we give this unrivaled amount of funding, because we’re on a mission to help YOU go abroad, too! Explore your options today.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

See more scholarship info

Dates, Deadlines & Fees

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Dates, Deadlines & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
  • Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
  • A two-day orientation in San José to introduce students to Spanish culture, the academic program, and surroundings, plus practical information about living in Costa Rica
  • Full-time program leadership and support in your host country
  • Field trips and cultural activities
  • Overnight excursions
  • Insurance and other travel benefits, with CIEE iNext

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, ask your college or university study abroad advisor if your school charges additional fees for study abroad.

No Hidden Fees


Summer 2018 8 weeks

Application Due

Apr 1, 2018

Start Date

Jun 14, 2018

End Date

Aug 9, 2018

Fees & Housing

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Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel insurance with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300 *

Educational Costs = $6,103 **

Housing = $1,280 ***

Insurance = $167

Total Fees = $7,850

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

International Airfare = $600

Local Transportation = $50

Books & Supplies = $200

Personal expenses = $800

Total Estimated Costs = $1,650

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $5 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, MSI grants, Gilman matching grants, and Pell matching grants.

See Scholarships

This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.

Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

*** includes all meals

round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

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Our Staff

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Get Started

Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
  • 1

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  • 2

    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 

  • 3

    Contact an Advisor

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.