2017-EMGV Study Tour Costa Rica


2017 NC EMGV Study Tour is SOLD OUT! 

Watch for future international EMGV travel opportunities!

2018 Costa Rica Study Tour

2017 NC Extension Master Gardener Volunteer

International Study Program

February 26 – March 5, 2017

Hosted by

  • Dr. George Wilson, Professor Emeritus, NC State
  • Lisa Sanderson, State Coordinator of the NC EMGV Program

LAND ONLY PACKAGE PRICE (Airfare is not included):

  • Register after September 1-$2,350/person double occupancy
  • $600 upgrade to single occupancy
  • $1,000 deposit holds your reservation with balance due 90 days before travel
  • For more info, contact Kari Laudano at (573) 303-2872 or email at kari@hiddentreasurestours.com

Travel Brochure and Registration Form

Destinations include:

  • Hotel Bougainvillea – after arriving at the Juan Santamaria International Airport, you will have the remainder of the day to relax and take photographs. The Garden Club of Costa Rica recently recognized the the Hotel Bougainvillea as the “Best Garden of Costa Rica” (2 nights and final night)
  • Travel to the slopes of Poas Volcano where you will visit:
  • Freddo’s Fresas:Enjoy local dairy farm and organic strawberry plantation. You will enjoy a tractor cart ride around the farm, stopping to pick strawberries and see how they make their delicious artisanal cheese.
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens

    La Paz Waterfall Gardens

    La Paz Waterfall Gardens : Walk through beautiful orchid and hummingbird gardens on your way to the magnificent waterfalls. Three kilometers of serpentine paved trails allow visitors to experience and photograph the forest as they wind through both cloud and rainforest. It has the world’s largest enclosed Butterfly Observatory covering 18,000 sq ft with many species of colorful native Costa Rican butterflies, plants and animals. In addition you will likely see jungle cats, hummingbirds and other birds, snakes, frogs, monkeys and more.

  • Sibu Chocolates Join us for a trip through time as we taste our way through the history of chocolate.
  • Hotel Sueño Azul– (2 nights) After breakfast visit:
  • La Selva Biological Station, a research station managed by the Organization for Tropical Studies. You will experience the rainforest along with their well-kept trails.
  • Sarapiqui Leisurely Boat Tour – while this is not white water rafting, it is slow water which is perfect for bird-watching and enjoying the view!

    Bananas and Legumes at Earth University Image by A. Robertson

    Bananas and Legumes at Earth University
    Image by A. Robertson

  • Earth University – Visit this School of Agriculture of the Humid Region where a resident guide will take you to their organic banana plantation.
  • On your way to Gayabu Lodge (2 nights) – visit the village of Turrialba with a view to the magnificent and active Turrialba Volcano.
  • CATIE -The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center – experience the “Fruits of the World” tour. You will have the chance to taste tropical fruits from all around the world. Expect some pleasant surprises and in the afternoon, a service-learning project.
  • Farmers’ Market – after breakfast, head back to San José stopping at a Farmer’s Market
  • Ileana Terán’s – visit her home and private gardens – a treat for your last evening in Costa Rica!
One of many butterflies from Costa Rica Photo by A. Robertson

One of many butterflies from Costa Rica
Photo by A. Robertson

Not sure? Read the Reviews from the 2016 Trip to Costa Rica and read below for more information to get ready!

Information on the 2016 Trip

Reviews from the 2016 trip  5 out of 5

  • “Absolutely Phenomenal”
  • “The trip was amazing in every way!”
  • “The best and most fun activities ever! Well planned and executed. . . really hard to choose a best because each outing was so much fun.”
  • “Wonderful! Great learning experience!”
  • “Couldn’t be happier. A wonderful experience. Took just over 1,000 photos”

Begin Preparing Now!

  • Begin saving now.
  • Begin getting is shape for walking up and down hills so you will enjoy opportunities for moderate hikes when we get there.
  • Be sure that your Passport will extend at least six months beyond the return date

Resources to Prepare for the trip

Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: A Guide to Native and Exotic Flora by Willow Zuchowski

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel

Monkeys are Made of Chocolate by Jack Ewing

What to Know Before You Go
Visit your doctor four to six weeks before your trip to ensure you have all the vaccines or medicines you may need.

Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Health Information for Travelers to Costa Rica

Vaccination Needle
Routine Vaccinations

Check with your Primary Care Physician to confirm you have received routine vaccinations:

  • measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine,
  • diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine,
  • varicella (chickenpox) vaccine,
  • polio vaccine, and
  • yearly flu shot

Your Primary Care Physician will advise you on which additional vaccinations are required. Most travelers receive the following vaccinations prior to traveling in Costa Rica.

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid

These are recommended to prevent illness from unlikely exposure to contaminated food or water. We do not anticipate visiting any places with unclean drinking water or exposure to contaminants.


Ask a guide about the water conditions in each area before drinking tap water or eating raw vegetables or food from roadside vendors. Bottled water will be made available to you daily.

What To Pack

Clothes – Comfortable

  • Layers
  • Long sleeve shirt or jacket
  • Long Pants (light weight, quick to dry)
  • Rain Gear (Umbrella, Jacket)
  • Sun Hat
  • Shoes that can be worn in wet places
  • Hiking Boots or other sturdy closed toed shoes for walking


  • 1 Credit Card (Master Card, or Visa)
  • 1 Debit Card
  • NO Travelers Checks
  • Notify your bank that you will be traveling in Costa Rica so they do not put a stop on your card when charges show up that are outside your normal range.
  • Save cash for the $40 Costa Rican export tax you will pay when you leave.


  • Leave a copy with a friend or relative
  • Email a copy to Lucy Bradley, (lbradle[at]ncsu[dot]edu)


  • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards
  • Small Flashlight
  • “Unlocked” cell phone
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Anti-Diarrhea Medicine
  • Day Pack / Fanny Pack
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Portable clothes line, pins and laundry soap
  • Journal

Be sure to leave a list of what you packed at home, in case your suitcase is stolen.


Preparing to Go
U.S. Passports & International Travel, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs

  • Alerts & Warnings
  • Quick Facts
  • Assistance for US Citizens
  • Embassies and Consulates
  • County Description
  • Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws, Special Circumstances
  • Health
  • Travel & Transportation
  • Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

Central Intelligence Agency World FactBook – Costa Rica

  • Introduction
  • Geography
  • People and Society
  • Government
  • Economy
  • Energy
  • Communications
  • Transportation
  • Military
  • Transnational Issues

Things to Expect

  • Some places charge you to use the restroom ($0.80 – $3.00)
  • Sometimes the toilet paper is in the bathroom rather than in the individual stall.
  • Many places request that you put toilet paper in the trashcan rather than in the toilet.


Many people speak English, but everyone appreciates it when you speak Spanish, here are a few useful phrases:

  • Please – Por Favor
  • Thank you – Gracias
  • You are welcome – Con Gusto or de nada or mucho gusto
  • Pleased to Meet you – Mucho Gusto
  • Where is the restroom? Donde esta el bano

There are lots of on-line translators like google translate

Consider brushing up ahead of time with a class or computer program like Rosetta Stone.



  • Many of the places we stay will have WiFi.
  • If you bring an “unlocked” cell phone, for less than $15 you can purchase a sim card in Costa Rica and prepay minutes so you can make calls within Costa Rica (this does not allow you to make calls outside of Costa Rica).
  • If you purchase a Voice over Internet Plan (VoIP) like “Magic Jack”, http://www.magicjack.com/index.html then you can load an App on your phone and anywhere you have access to WiFi you can make phone calls to the continental USA and Canada for free.

Tour being Coordinated in part by Hidden Treasures Tours

For more information, contact Kari Laudano at (573) 303-2872

Or email kari@hiddentreasurestours.com










Written By

Photo of Dr. Lucy BradleyDr. Lucy BradleyExtension Urban Horticulture Specialist (919) 513-2001 lucy_bradley@ncsu.eduHorticultural Science - NC State University
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