Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Costa Rica is where you need to be this summer

ASU students should study abroad in one of the greenest, most sustainable countries this summer

A capuchin monkey in Costa Rica. (Dreamstime)

"Hola amigo, Pura Vida," a taxi driver said to me as I arrived in Costa Rica in the summer of 2016, ready to start a memorable three week journey. I studied abroad in one of the most beautiful countries in Central America, and all ASU students should too. 

I remember waking up on my first morning in Costa Rica wondering where all the slamming noises were coming from. To my surprise, the racket was caused by multiple monkeys throwing fruit from the trees, which hit the roof under which I was sleeping. A warm welcome to Costa Rica, I guess. 

During my time abroad, I took two science courses about each city we visited including Monteverde, San Jose, Sarapiqui, and Cahuita. Our homework assignments were focused on what each of those cities have to offer, particularly about their environmental history.

Studying in Costa Rica is more than just appreciating the great beaches and rivers. Many other countries also offer great beaches and rivers, but not many countries offer the unique environmental features in Costa Rica. 

Among Latin American countries, Costa Rica ranks at the very top as the most eco-friendly. 

Costa Rica is one of the few countries where the majority of its electricity generation comes from using renewable sources. Also, to their credit, only Switzerland is reportedly a "greener" country than Costa Rica. 

Additionally, the unique flora and fauna of the country offer an unforgettable experience. 

One of the things I fell in love with most was a bird that can only be found in Central America and some parts of Mexico, the Resplendent Quetzal. Our tour guide gave us a once in a lifetime view of this rare bird. 

ASU English professor Danielle Alfandre was an instructor for this study abroad program in the summer of 2016. She said that with all the countries she's visited, none compare to what Costa Rica has to offer. 

"Costa Rica is unique in that it's listed by the World Health Organization as one of the happiest places in the world," she said. "The residents of Costa Rica enjoy an unusually high literacy rate and many citizens speak both Spanish and English." 

The food in Costa Rica is also really tasty, although, be prepared to eat a lot of gallo pinto

Gallo pinto is simply rice and beans smashed together. This combination comes with most, if not all plates you will have in Costa Rica. Nevertheless, a good plate. 

ASU marketing junior Emily Hope also studied abroad in the summer of 2016, and she said that this trip gave her perspective about what Americans have, and most importantly, what Americans do not have. 

"The sustainability and the passion they have for the earth is inspiring and I think anybody that has the opportunity to go should definitely follow through with it," she said. 

In this case with Costa Rica, anyone can see how much this country values its environment. Visiting the national parks is one thing, but being guided through them is a life-changing experience. 

You will learn and be inspired about what advances our country can make with the environment, and this great country will be more than happy to send you home with more knowledge on how to value your planet. 

Your visit in Costa Rica will not only provide a valuable eco-friendly perspective, but it will also give you a unique cultural experience. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @chasingsources on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.