Have you been thinking about your study abroad bucket list? You can’t go abroad without at least knowing some of the top experiences you want to have.
While we never think you should tie yourself to a “must complete” bucket list, we definitely believe in knowing the best experience to have in and outside your study abroad host city. That’s why we’re taking the hard work out of bucket list building for you.
If you’re heading abroad to San Ramón, Costa Rica, make sure to cross these 15 things off your list!
1. See the city on the La Piedra Hike
There’s no better way to start your study abroad than to get a look at the city you’ll be spending the next several months in. The La Piedra Hike will take you up some hills in San Ramón to an outlook where you can observe everything this Costa Rican city has to offer.
2. Join the campus soccer team
If you’re wanting to meet local ticos and keep your extracurricular activities flowing, then consider joining the on-campus soccer team. It’s sure to test your skills and provide some quality bonding with other international and local students.
3. Participate in a health-related internship
San Ramón is known for the internship opportunities it provides in the health field. There are a variety of opportunities at the local hospital in medicine, hospital administration and maintenance, microbiology, and pharmacy. At the university, there are additional options such as in the daycare center, Scientific High School, the University Museum and research assistance. There are even opportunities in veterinary clinics, wildlife ecology, biology, and more.
4. Visit the Museo de San Ramón
The Museo de San Ramón features exhibits on local Romanense history and culture. The goal of the museum is to preserve the cultural heritage of the area and preserve the legacy of the community. Spend an afternoon or day exploring the exhibits and learning about Costa Rican history.
5. Meet locals at the Farmers Market
Nothing will have you living the pura vida life more than using the local farmers market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, local products and goods. Chat with the vendors to get a real feel for who they are and what they’re selling and how you can make the most of your time in Costa Rica.
6. Explore Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve
Spend the day exploring this nature reserve that was created in 1975. The reserve is part of the Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area which protects tropical forest areas near San Ramón. The area is mountainous with rivers so be prepared for some outdoor exploration. It’s also home to 57 species, so keep your eyes peeled.
7. Escape to Las Musas Waterfall Park
Located just outside the city, Las Musas Waterfall Park is the perfect day trip to cool off and enjoy nature. The park contains five waterfalls that can be viewed over a 1.5 to 2 hour horseback ride or via hiking. There are also a number of pools, making Las Musas the perfect city escape.
Participate in the following free field trips
8. Arenal Volcano and Hanging Bridges
Take a guided tour to the Arenal Volcano which rises 1,657 meters above sea level and overlooks Lake Arenal—both are part of Arenal Volcano National Park. Arenal is the country’s most active volcano. On this trip, you can circle the volcano and relax in hot springs. The Arenal Hanging Bridges overlook a dense canopy, providing safe and easy access to birds, flowers, and vegetation of the primary rainforest.
9. Jaco Beach Surf Trip
Enjoy the beautiful black sand beaches of Jaco Beach and take an introductory surfing lesson at this world-renowned surfing beach. Once you’ve got your first lesson down, we’ll take a boat tour of the Rio Grande in Tarcoles to observe crocodiles. The boat tour includes a visit to the Mangroves, one of the country’s most fragile ecosystems.
10. Monteverde Cloud Forest
You know all of those photos you see of students ziplining through Costa Rica? Monteverde Cloud Forest is where the fun happens! The forest is created by winds and particular temperature and moisture conditions which combine during the dry season to hold a steady cloud cover along the continental divide, characterized by nearly 100% humidity throughout the year.
11. Tortuga Island
Walk the impeccable white sand beach, swim in the turquoise waters and investigate the marine life. You can explore the island with several activities like sightseeing, snorkeling, sunbathing, banana boat ride, swimming, eating and relaxing.
Take advantage of optional tours
12. Caribbean and Bocas del Toro, Panama Tour
This tour starts with a visit to one of the most exotic and beautiful regions in Costa Rica, Tortuguero. From there you’ll head to Sixaolo on the Costa Rica/Panama border and take a boat ride to Isla Colón—Bocas del Toro, Panamá. Bocas del Toro is rich and diverse in natural resources. You’ll visit the first National Marine Park and tour Zapatilla Key and Hospital Point where you can enjoy sunny islands, beautiful beaches, coral reefs in crystal clear water, and mangrove islets in the lake-like scenery. Even though it’s an additional fee, this tour includes bus transportation, boat ride, guide, breakfast, lunch, dinner, room, and entrance fees to parks. Definitely worth it!
13. Northern Costa Rica and Southern Nicaragua Tour
You’ll start this tour with a visit to the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, with a canopy tour and a horseback ride to the hot springs, then head to Granada City on the north shore of Lake Nicaragua. View the city’s old colonial architecture in a horse-drawn carriage ride and enjoy a boat ride around the Granadas’ Isletas. You’ll then visit Masaya Volcano National Park, which has an exotic and sometimes eerie ambiance due to its formation by old eruptions and lava flows. Finally, you’ll enjoy a boat ride around the San Juan del Sur Gulf and a free afternoon at the beach.
14. Cuba Field Study
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Cuba, doing the Cuba Field Study is a safe and inexpensive way to do so. You must be enrolled in the 1-credit Cuba Field Study course to participate. You’ll travel to Cuba with USAC staff and stay in Old Habana, one of the best-preserved colonial Spanish complexes in the Americas. Walking tours, museum visits, and guest lectures coupled with cultural activities and meals will provide you the opportunity to interact with Cubans and learn firsthand their perspective of our common histories.
15. Southern Costa Rica Tour
The Tour typically begins with a trip by bus to the Sierpe River for a boat ride to Drake Bay Wilderness Resort. You’ll explore the pristine environment surrounding Bahía Drake, which includes a river, beaches, mangrove swamps, and amazing wildlife. Hikes, snorkeling, and a jungle river trip are planned, along with a trek through Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica’s Little Amazon. You will also spend a free day at the beach, where you may choose to participate in activities such as horseback riding, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
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