W20 Costa Rica – Pura Vida

During this IFS students will be visiting various hospitality and tourism operations while experiencing the local culture, nature, and related tourism attractions. These tourism operations are exceptional based on their focus areas such as environmental sustainability, business practices, selective marketing approaches, creative accessibility solutions, and the rights of wildlife. Students will participate in cultural activities such as Mascaradas y Cimarronas, traditional dances, and Costa Rican cuisine. These activities are all done in cooperation with local community members. Students will visit an organic carbon-negative working farm and ranch in Arenal, where they will learn about interesting properties of plants such as tobacco. Here they will also get their hands dirty by planting their own plants alongside community members.

Day 1|Depart for Costa Rica!

February 23, 2020

Catch your flight booked out of Toronto Person International Airport and relax, soon we’ll be in beautiful San Jose, Costa Rica! After meeting our local guide, we head over to the Holiday Inn Lindora to drop off our bags and settle in. In the afternoon we will visit Real Inter Continental Hotel where students will learn about green operation by a big airport chain hotel and the country’s national Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program. After hotel visit, students will experience some amazing Costa Rican traditions. We will be interacting with locals during the cultural tour of Mascaradas y Cimarrona that includes a typical Costa Rican home-made local dinner!

Day 2| Arenal

February 24, 2020

Today we will participate in a guided tour of an organic farm at Rancho Margot and learn about its recognition as the first carbon-negative company in Costa Rica. Some of the main attractions include: sustainable food production, energy production, green roofs, and carbon reduced transportation!

Day 3| Arenal

February 25, 2020

Today we will visit Tabacon Resort and Spa to learn about the range of services at this hot springs destination. During our visit students will learn about this Spa Resort with a sustainable level 5 operation (CST level 5). In the evening students will test their dexterity during a traditional tortilla making class!

Day 4| Arenal

February 26, 2020

Today we will examine wide range of available tourism attractions from the perspective of key market segments, and compatible with the national tourism strategy of Costa Rica. We will have the opportunity to experience a choice of popular tourism activities in Arenal such as hanging bridges, canopy walks, zip-lining, or visit to La Fortuna waterfall! During the afternoon we will take part in plant-a-tree activity which offsets the carbon generated by our flight. We will learn about the importance of nature as tourism attraction.

Day 5| Manuel Antonio

February 27, 2020

Today we make our way to Manuel Antonio. With equal efforts dedicated to wildlife preservation and a beach-getaway atmosphere, Manuel Antonio has surely earned its reputation as one of Costa Rica’s most gorgeous locales. A lively resort town sits just north of a national park, where a rain forest teeming with monkeys resides. Here we will enjoy a sunset catamaran and snorkel the local reefs. Overnight at Best Western Hotel Kamuk, Quepos.


Day 6| Manuel Antonio

February 28, 2020

In the morning we will participate in guided walk of Manuel Antonio National Park to learn about the transitional rainforest and its importance to wildlife, with time to enjoy the white sand beach. We will reflect on the creative approaches demonstrated by Costa Rican sectors of hospitality and tourism, spas, food and beverage, and various attractions throughout our field study, especially when operating amidst sensitive natural resources. In the afternoon we will visit Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation which includes 27 acres of agriculture production and 125 acres of primary and secondary rainforest. Cash crops include the country’s major spice – vanilla, plus true Ceylon cinnamon, cocoa, black pepper, allspice, turmeric, and a variety of exotic fruits, essential oils, and medicinal plants.  We will participate in a Spice Plantation Tour in which students will experience the sights, tastes, and aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, pepper and other tropical spices, essential oil plants, and a wide variety of tropical ornamental plants. Among other attractions of this tour, we will take part in new “Flavors of the World” tasting. The in-house pastry chef will prepare variety of flavorful drinks and gourmet spice treats for us to sample.

Day 7| Manuel Antonio

February 29, 2020

After breakfast we will visit an animal rescue center called “Kids Saving the Rainforest” where students will learn about efforts to rescue wild animals and return them to natural habitat – yet another example of coordinated efforts of managing nature as the country’s key attraction. During the afternoon students will tour Hotel Si Como No Resort & Wildlife Refuge (CST level 5) which is the pioneer of sustainable hospitality and the first Greentique Hotel property in Manual Antonio, established more than 20 years ago. This evening we will have a farewell dinner followed by a Latin dance lesson!



Day 8| Depart for Toronto! 

March 1, 2020

Today we leave for Toronto and reflect on the amazing experience that was Costa Rica!


  • Round-trip Airfare
  • 7 Nights Accommodation
  • Mascaradas y Cimmarrona Cultural Tour with Welcome Dinner
  • Tour of Real InterContinental Hotel
  • Rancho Margot Tour
  • Tabacon Resort & Spa Tour
  • Arenal National Park – Selection of Activity
  • Plant a Tree Activity
  • Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Tour
  • Afternoon Catamaran
  • Coral Reef Snorkeling
  • Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation Tour
  • Kids Saving the Rainforest Animal Rescue
  • Tour of Si Como No Hotel
  • Farewell Dinner & Dance Lesson
  • Daily Breakfast, 3 Lunches & 5 Dinners


Second Payment
Third Payment
Final Payment


$449 +/-



*Price may increase or decrease depending on exchange rates, final vendor quotes and number of participants.

2099+/- ($500 BWR grant applied)

TRIP DATE 02/23/2020



Costa Rica


This opportunity is available to all Niagara College students and alumni within 6 months of graduation. Please note that part-time students are not eligible for the Be World Ready Grant.



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Other Important Information

*Note: if we will be flying through the United States of America, you must have permission to enter and leave the United States. If you require a U.S travel visa it is your responsibility to obtain this document and email [email protected] a copy/photo.