Eco-Entrepreneurship in Costa Rica

photo of Costa Rica

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Required Remote Week: June 24 – 28, 2024

Onsite Program Dates: June 30, 2024 – July 27, 2024

Pairing entrepreneurship with the beauty of Costa Rica, you’ll be immersed in the local entrepreneurial community, focusing on eco-tourism and conservation. Learn about the responsible interactions between human and natural communities and ensure a long-term and sustainable future. We’ll travel to the capital city of San Jose, and along the western/Pacific coastline, visiting a volcano, hydroelectric dam, eco-hotels, beaches, jungles, and spice and cocoa plantations, in an immersive educational opportunity that goes beyond the typical tourist experience.

Language of Instruction: English 

Courses:  Crown 92G: Social and Creative Entrepreneurship, GE: PE-H (5 units) and Crown 94: Eco Entrepreneurship, GE: PR-S (5 units)

Summer Session: 1

Max Enrollment: 16

Faculty Leader: Nada Miljkovic (she/her/hers), Entrepreneurship Instructor and Project Manager for UCSC’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurial Development


Quick Facts

Location – Various locations in Costa Rica 

Eligibility – Good academic and disciplinary standing, 90 units completed by program departure, minimum age 18

Minimum GPA – 2.3 cumulative GPA or higher 

Application Materials 

  • Passport – A passport valid for at least six months after the program’s end date ordered before application or a receipt indicating that it has been ordered.
  • Financial Agreement – Download, read, and electronically sign the Financial Terms and Conditions document. You will be required to upload it in the application.
  • Personal Statement – Short essay describing your interest in the program


  • San José – San José is Costa Rica’s capital city and is the hub of a nation that charms its visitors with lush landscapes, easy living, and friendly people. Explore its neoclassical architecture as well as its bustling commercial district and be sure to taste some gallo pinto (fried rice and black beans) as you dig into La Pura Vida! 
  • Playa Dominical – In Playa Dominical we’ll visit the Marino Ballena National Park, learning about their whale sanctuary and conservation efforts. We’ll also connect with the local Boruca Indigenous Tribe. 
  • Golfo Dulce – Enjoy this region’s stunning beauty while learning more about the research and initiatives at the Center for Cetacean Research.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park – Explore one of Costa Rica’s most renowned parks independently and on guided tours. In the area, we’ll also visit a local vanilla farm and eco-business. 
  • Rancho Mastatal – We’ll spend a few nights at Rancho Mastatal sustainability education center surrounded by the lush rainforest where we’ll be immersed in sustainable living and permaculture practices. We’ll connect with nature and learn about regenerative agriculture through a blend of hands-on workshops, eco-friendly accommodations, and farm-to-table dining.
  • Monteverde Monteverde is in the Tilarán mountain range. We’ll visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve where immersion in the clouds for long periods of time shapes the architecture and species composition of the cloud forest. In Monteverde, we’ll also visit a sugar farm and mill. 
  • Arenal – The city of Arenal sits in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano. Majestic in its grand stature, the volcano is one of the country’s natural wonders. While the volcano is quiet these days and there are no lava eruptions, you can still see clouds of smoke or ash emanating from the top of the cinder cone. As well, you can enjoy the plentiful hot springs in the area. Along your journey to the town of La Fortuna, at the base of the volcano, you will see agricultural plantations, large ornamental plant nurseries, and cattle farms. Here we’ll enjoy a boat ride, a sloth tour, visit local businesses, and take some free time to explore the area.


Application Fee

  • There is a Non-Refundable $200 UCSC Global Learning Application Fee. It is charged to your UCSC account after March 1, 2024.



Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places in the world and home to vibrant rainforests, active volcanoes, and more than 500,000 species. A national obligation to this biodiversity has earned Costa Rica a reputation as one of the  most progressive countries in the world on environmental policy and sustainability questions. These efforts have attracted scientists, business people, and a large ecotourism industry. Learn more about travel in Costa Rica here. Learn more about identities in Costa Rica here

Host Organization
UCSC has partnered with WorldStrides for this program. Worldstrides is a US-based company and the nation’s largest accredited travel organization. WorldStrides’ higher education division works in partnership with hundreds of US University campuses to facilitate study abroad programs for thousands of students each year. When you arrive in France, you’ll be greeted by WorldStrides’ incredible on-site staff who will support you every step of the way. 

Weather and Climate

During the summer in Costa Rica, you can expect high temperatures in the high seventies and low eighties Fahrenheit with low temperatures in the sixties. Consistent rainfall can also be expected. Read more about the weather in Costa Rica here

Travel Documents Required for US Citizens

Passport required for US citizens. If you are not a US citizen please email to learn about additional travel documents you may need to pursue this program.

Country Information Resources


Costa Rican Colón 

Official Language



Lodging is in double occupancy hotel rooms. 

Please note that elevators, air conditioners, and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.

Breakfast is included at the accommodation each day. Some lunches and dinners are also included. 


Global Seminars are generally accessible, though some locations may present unique challenges regarding mobility. These will be addressed as needed and accommodations can be made. Please email to inquire more about if this program is a good choice for you. 

Students with DisabilitiesIf you need support services abroad, notify your UCSC Disability Resource Center (DRC) Coordinator.

Identities Abroad and Away

UC Santa Cruz Global Learning is committed to inclusion and equity in our various program options as well as striving to make everyone’s experiences abroad enriching, positive, and safe.

Learn more on our Identities Abroad and Away webpage.


Course Descriptions

Crown 92G: Startup Academy Entrepreneurship (a 5-unit, two-week accelerated course) and CRWN 94: Environmental Entrepreneurship Applications (new, 5-unit two-week course)

Crown 92G will be taught in the mornings of the first two weeks with the afternoons involving looking for examples of the lessons and businesses in Costa Rica. Crown 92G fulfills the GE, PE-H Perspectives Human Behaviour. Crown 94 will then apply the concepts learned in Crown 92G to specific eco-based businesses. Crown 94 fulfills the GE, PR-S Practice Service Learning.

Through field trips to businesses and accelerators and meeting with a variety of local entrepreneurs, students will obtain first-hand experience of environmental entrepreneurship.

Throughout this course, students will be evaluated on their ability to produce, discuss, and present their environmental entrepreneurial business projects. At the end of the class and after visiting examples of environmentally oriented businesses, students will analyze and synthesize their team project by presenting business pitches including a business plan with budget and market sales projections.

Sample Syllabi (sample from last year). The 2024 syllabus will be available closer to the program start date.

Course Credit

Students on UCSC Global Seminars earn regular UC Santa Cruz course credit which may be used to fulfill degree, major, minor, and General Education (GE) requirements. UC Santa Cruz students can use UCSC Global Seminar courses to fulfill their academic requirements as listed in the General Catalog. Students from other campuses should consult with the academic advisors from their home campuses to determine whether courses taken on our programs may be used to fulfill their specific academic requirements.