CIEE College Study Abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica

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About

Monteverde is a small, international community, nestled along the edge of the cloud forest in the Tilarán Mountains. Drawn to the area’s spectacular beauty and opportunity to see quetzals and monkeys, tourists now contribute the principal revenues to the zone, although coffee plantations and dairy farms still dot the landscape.

Monteverde plays host to Costa Rica’s treasured rainforest, where a staggering number of species – including pumas, monkeys, quetzal, and the endangered three-wattled bellbird – are readily on display, proving the perfect location for studies in biology, biodiversity, sustainability, and conservation.

The campus includes forest and farms against a backdrop of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Facilities include classrooms, residence halls, and recreational areas in a natural setting. There are wet, dry and GIS laboratories, a herbarium, plus organic gardens to support a wide array of STEM studies and research opportunities.

Highlights
  • CIEE Global Institute - Monteverde is located on an extensive 153-acre campus that includes forest and farms against a backdrop of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Study Abroad Risk Free!

In the unusual event we have to cancel your study abroad or internship program due to a health, safety, or security concern, you’re covered with our Program Assurance Advantage.

Scholarships

CIEE Offers More Than $8 Million in Scholarships Every Year!

We know cost is one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At CIEE, we dedicate real resources to help break down the cost barriers so every student who wants to study abroad, can do so.

Value
$500 - $2,500

Popular Programs

CIEE Monteverde Summer Programs

Discover many treasures during your summer abroad in this special country as you explore the world famous Monteverde cloud forest. You’ll be rewarded with unique and life-changing experiences, new knowledge and skills, and inspiration to carry the sustainability movement forward.

CIEE Monteverde Semester Programs

Explore the biodiversity in Monteverde’s Cloud Forest Reserve, beaches, waterfalls, coral reefs, and more – all while building on your Spanish language skills. Take courses on tropical ecology, and a Spanish language course appropriate to your skills at CIEE Global Institute – Monteverde.

CIEE Monteverde January Program

Put on your hiking boots and spend January in the progressive mountain community of Monteverde studying Sustainable Development for the Tropics, surrounded by the region’s breathtaking natural scenery.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.79 Rating
based on 34 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 97.06%
  • 7-8 rating 2.94%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 8.6
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 34
Default avatar
April
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE Monteverde- Tropical Community Ecology

I absolutely loved this program and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The sheer amount of biological diversity that you get to witness and learn about firsthand is unprecedented. The first two weeks you get to go on a field trip all along the pacific coast of Costa Rica and learn about every type of ecosystem that exists. In Corcovado, you wake up to the calls of howler monkeys and Scarlet Macaws out in search of breakfast. The campsite is absolutely beautiful- I would call is glamping because there is a private beach and bar at the place we stay (its called Jungla de Jaguar if you wanna check it out). Here we saw lizards, sloths, toucans, spiders, and someone even had a very up close encounter with a tapir! In Santa Rosa- my personal favorite place, we saw three different species of monkeys on the walk to breakfast alone. We also frequently saw Tamanduas, agoutis, parrots, snakes, frogs, etc. Definitely bring your camera. The teaching staff and TAs are the best people I have ever met in my life, and they will become your best friends. They know the answer to any question you could have, and are the friendliest people in the world. If you love the outdoors, and waking up in paradise, and making amazing friends, 100% do this program!

What was your funniest moment?
The first night camping out in Santa Rosa I was going to the bathroom and a frog jumped on the back of my leg and scared the crap out me (I screamed), but then we all had a good laugh about it. To be fair, I genuinely thought it was a snake, which was why I was so scared.
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

J-term Costa Rica

Even though my time in Costa Rica was only three weeks, I was able to explore and learn about Monteverde and the rest of Costa Rica. The campus is BEAUTIFUL!! You will be able to see lots of wild life and experience incredible sites. The staff was incredible. They were extremely friendly and always there for anyone that needed help. The class was interesting, we were able to have many hands on experiences. I was able to meet a wide range of people, some of them have become my very close friends in such a short amount of time. I highly recommend this program.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be pretend for challenges. Being in the rainforest there will be animals, insects, weather changes, food changes, etc. You have to be easy going and try your best to adjust because it will be an amazing experience, and help you grow.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Ashlyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Welcoming Community and Family

This was my first time traveling outside of the United States, and I think I got really lucky having this experience be my first. I was in Monteverde, Costa Rica, for 6 weeks, and I loved being so secluded in the mountains and Cloud Forest. Also, those 6 weeks were filled with grand experiences, like traveling to Manuel Antonio and hiking through the Cloud Forest, but they were also filled with little special moments on campus, such as eating every meal together and weekly dance lessons in the rec room. The staff was extremely supportive, and any questions or concerns I had were answered and addressed. My roommates became some of my best friends, and many of us students have made commitments to visit each other in the States once we return! I also felt spoiled from having delicious meals 3 times a day with fresh, organic ingredients. Additionally, I made long-lasting connections and gathered valuable knowledge through working on the campus farm, helping the kitchen staff clean after meals, meeting local coffee producers and soap makers, and eating pizza at Zelmi’s! This study abroad experience has felt more than just a study abroad — I truly felt integrated into the community. Though I was sad to leave, I know I can still maintain these connections after my travels.

What would you improve about this program?
The only criticism I have for this program is that the academic structure was not as clear, cohesive, and organized as I would have liked. My class called, “Plants & People,” felt like a poor use of my time due to the contents and objectives being unclear and inefficient lecture time. However, I still succeeded in the class, but it did not meet the expectations I had. I wish we spent more time on actual Costa Rican/indigenous accounts of plant use. I wish it was more anthropological/ethnographical rather than the first 3 weeks that were biological.
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Tabitha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Exploring the Rainforest

CIEE has been an educational experience I will remember and cherish forever. The campus, located in the isolated mountains of Monteverde, became my home for six weeks. I made some life long friends, who seemed to love the experience as much as I did. Only a 30 minute bus ride from the town Santa Elena, our weekends were fun-filled; the town is a hub for tourists interested in exploratory and thrill-seeking adventurists. My group interacted with kind locals who showed us their farms and lifestyles, while we also got to participate in tourist activities like rock climbing, zip-lining, and more. The weather was extreme at times, but this just acted as a reminder that I was far from my home town. I would recommend this program to anyone who is willing to get out of their comfort zone and explore the landscape of beautiful Monteverde.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The weather in Monteverde fluctuates daily, so adequate clothing is a necessity. Rain boots or waterproof hiking boots would be highly recommended. I would recommend bringing active wear as well, as the elevated terrain and mountains are very intriguing to climbers and experienced hikers.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Travis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Call the Tropical Rainforest Home

CIEE Monteverde is an amazing experience for students looking to be adventurous and study the natural environment. Located in tropical rainforest and nearby the cloud forest, there is so much life and biodiversity to see, along with lots of opportunities for adventure-tourism and agri-tourism. Sustainability is a major component of the daily lifestyle and the class offerings at CIEE are very interesting and current-event based. Depending on what you’re interests are, the Monteverde area has plenty of opportunities for you to get outside and try something new! The area surrounding Monteverde also has lots of great opportunities to experience authentic Costa Rican culture and get a taste of what life is like in Costa Rica. If you like being up-close with nature and learning about a different culture, this is a great program to look into!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring a rain jacket and some warm clothes! It rains very frequently here and the weather can be surprisingly chilly at night.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Shayla
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE TEC Program Review

The tropical ecology and conservation program with CIEE left a significant impact on my life. It challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally in the best way possible, and I have grown a great deal because of it. The field trips to national parks opened my eyes to the natural wonders of Costa Rica and the independent project in the natural setting allowed me to exercise scientific critical thinking skills in a fully immersed tropical classroom. This all-encompassing program exposes students in the tropics while enriching our knowledge of another culture and helping us polish our Spanish skills. The staff members go above and beyond and truly make the group feel like family in a short two months. This was an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
The organization of academics could have been better, as most of the course work seemed rushed into the second half of the program. It would have been wonderful to end the experience with a short 2-3 day field trip after completing all the courses.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
John
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Feel like I am a better Biologist

This program really gave me an appreciation for Tropical Ecosystems that you can't get from documentaries or books. It was amazing to experience the plethora of tropical habitats that Costa Rica has to offer, from the highland paramo to tropical coral reefs. This program really covers a wide range of subjects in biology and conservation, and I defiantly feel like a better biologist/ecologist by having this experience. The independent research was interesting and will probably do wonders for my future as a scientist. Besides the academic side I also had a great time exploring the forest and the Monteverde area, and did all the big things in the area: such as seeing quetzals and ziplining. Though I do not have good Spanish at all, I really enjoyed the homestay and felt I got a feel for Costa Rican life

What was your funniest moment?
I fell out of a hammock, but only after fighting with it for minutes.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Hannah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer in Costa Rica :)

This program offers an intense, rewarding experience in a beautiful country. Your schedule will be full - from field trips to homework to exploring to projects and everything in between - and you are really getting the most out of two months abroad. Although based in Monteverde, the field trips allow you to see all of the different ecosystems and areas Costa Rica has to offer. Throughout the summer you are experiencing the culture, but especially during the homestay. The classes are in depth and are beneficial for the future. Personally, I really appreciated the independent research course because it helped me understand the research process, which will benefit my future career pursuits. The staff were so helpful and were willing to go above and beyond to make sure you have an amazing time. Plus, you will make so many new friends and share so many memories. 10/10 would recommend this program!!

4 people found this review helpful.