Activities at Campanario

Never a Dull Moment!

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Activities in and around Campanario are numerous!  Some of these excursions and events may already be scheduled for your trip's program, but if not, please write us for the latest availability and costs, as special arrangements need to be made for certain activities.  Here is a list of possibilities for activities during your trip to Campanario.  They are in no particular order.

Caño Island Trip: 
This is a half-day trip to the island for snorkeling off the shore.  Fringing coral reefs can be seen along with a myriad of fish, including white-tip sharks, rays; turtles; dolphins; and whales during certain seasons.

San Pedrillo in Corcovado National Park:  
This is not a long hike in distance, but we take our time to observe and learn along the way.  San Pedrillo is the northernmost ranger station within Corcovado National Park.  The day hike offers a refreshing swimming hole and beautiful waterfall upstream, with a picnic lunch along the way.

Llorona Beach, Corcovado National Park:  
This is a long hike to a spectacular beach and waterfall in Corcovado National Park.  It is recommended that the trip be made on a day when low tide is at mid-day in order to see the waterfall.  This hike is for the serious hiker and is not for everyone.

Sirena Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park: 
Visiting this ranger station located further south in the middle of the park is an hour’s boat trip away.  Hikes through these lesser known trails usually uncover an abundance of wildlife.

Sierpe-Terraba Mangrove Forest Reserve: 
This is a beautiful trip through one of Costa Rica's 12 Ramsar sites, or protected wetlands.  Depending upon the time of year, you'll see mangroves in flower or with their propagules.  For more information about Ramsar sites see:

Kayaks can be arranged for seeing the mangroves up close.  Remember to go silently and keep your eyes open.

Scuba Diving
Diving trips can be arranged for those who already have a license; and for beginners who have finished their classroom and swimming pool training and are ready for their first open-water dives.  The dive masters we contract are licensed PADI instructors.  Diving trips include a trip to the area around Caño Island, two tanks, equipment rental, lunch and dive master.

Dolphin & Whale Watching
These are experiences never to be forgotten.  A boat takes you out beyond Caño Island to search for these spectacular creatures.  Boats remain at a sufficient distance to ensure the animals' and your safety.

Horse Back Riding
These excursions will take you inland to see forested and deforested lands away from Campanario.  You might also visit a local farm.  We stay on established roads.

Deforested Areas: 
A few hours walk north of Campanario, you will find greater human impact on the land and can compare deforested areas to the lush forest of Campanario.  The difference is striking.

Los Planes: 
The 2-3 hour hike to visit the community of Los Planes to have lunch, to visit the general store, to work on a service project at the school, and/or visit a farm is an all-day excursion.  This hike generally shows the first steps along the continuum of development.

Tree Platforms: 
Climbing into the canopy will give you a different perspective on the forest and challenge your nerves as you move from platform to platform.

Bat Cave:  
This short walk is made in the late afternoon when we wait patiently for hundreds of bats to fly out of their day roost in a cave along the rocky coast.

Bird Watching
This is an on-going experience to enjoy every day.  Morning and late afternoon hikes are particularly fruitful.  Click here to see our species lists for possible sightings.

Guided Hiking
Most hikes and walks in the Campanario Biological Station are guided by a member of the staff.  In addition, there are three trails with marked stops and self guided information booklets so you can enjoy the rain forest at your own leisure.  We do ask that you hike with a buddy always.

Night Hikes
Periodically there is an opportunity to hike at night to see what can be discovered, but always with a guide and each person with his/her own flashlight or headlamp.

Workshops, lectures, readings, discussions: 
These activities occur almost daily in one form or another.  Be sure to participate.

Visit to the local school
This is a morning trip to see, but not interrupt, the one-room elementary school which is on the beach just north of Campanario.  For those who are teachers among you, this school has one teacher, children in grades 1 - 6, and is not yet connected to the national electricity grid.  In 2002 we initiated the school's first library.  If you'd like to help, please bring an appropriate book in Spanish to donate.  It would be most welcome.

Service Projects: 
These projects can be of any duration and complexity as dictated by the desires of the participant and the needs of the beneficiary.  Most of Campanario’s service work has been directed toward local schools, however, the possibilities are endless.

Right off the Campanario shore you can find good snorkeling.  There are a few sets of fins, masks, and snorkels at Campanario. Don't forget an underwater camera.

Campanario is blessed with a beautiful and secluded beach,  The waters are usually clear and warm and the surf gentle enough to invite swimming.  We can't offer rough waves for surfing - sorry.

Just Plain Goofing Off
Don't forget the simple pleasures of lying in a hammock, following a morpho butterfly, watching beautiful sunsets, and just goofing off.  That is also allowed!

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Internships and Volunteering

Working hard and loving it . . .

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Proyecto Campanario offers a few unpaid internships for a minimum of 3 months throughout the year in the San José office and/or in the Campanario Biological Station.

Interns must be qualified university students or graduates desiring to live and work with Costa Rican families, to improve their conversational skills in Spanish, and to work in somewhat uncomfortable conditions in the remote biological station and/or in the office.  We make every effort to give the interns a wide variety of experiences and training during his/her months with us.

Each intern is given a specific project to work on and complete, as well as work in other areas, during his/her time with Proyecto Campanario.  Interns may need to pay a minimum for food and lodging depending on his/her situation.

For the San José office, we are looking for interns with journalism and/or marketing background.  Interns gain valuable experience working in tourism, hospitality, design, logistics, accounting, promotion, and fund raising as well as in the Costa Rican culture.  Interns must have good writing skills in English, at least rudimentary conversational skills in Spanish, and be computer literate.

For the Biological Station, we are looking for interns with biology, ecology, or similar backgrounds who are willing to live and work in the tropical lowland heat and humidity and alongside the maintenance personnel and biologist at Campanario.  The intern gains experience in construction and maintenance, environmental education, hospitality, on-going research and conservation issues.  The intern gets to know the rain forest well.  Many experiences depend upon the activities at the time at Campanario.  Once the intern is confident with the details of the Campanario rain forest, it is hoped that he/she can move into a guiding and teaching role when there are student groups visiting.  If a long-term study is being carried out, interns may be considered assistants to the researcher.  Interns must not mind getting dirty, must know how to swim, and must not need the "amenities of civilization" (like TV, radio, ice cream, ice cubes, and soda pop).

Please contact us with a letter of intent describing what you would like to gain from your experience in Costa Rica and with Campanario, along with your curriculum vitae.  We will then send you a lengthy letter describing the internship experience, the last few pages of which contain an application.  Please fill this in and return it along with two letters of recommendation.

Contact us if you’re interested

Note:  Campanario reserves the right to adjust or cancel portions of any itinerary due to bad
weather or dangerous sea conditions.

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Adding to our knowledge base . . .

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The biodiversity of this corner of the world is well respected, yet there is still much to learn.  The third mission of Proyecto Campanario is to support tropical research and studies to not only enrich our understanding of the natural environment, but to encourage sustainable land use on the Osa Peninsula.  Research findings are key to both.  Proposed research may be anything from a formal on-going university-sponsored investigation, to a short-term personal interest study carried out during your stay at the Campanario Biological Station.

We generally encourage collaborative efforts among one or more Costa Rican universities and universities from outside Costa Rica.  In the same manner, you, as a researcher, should consider cross-cultural teams of investigators, assistants, and field personnel.  All researchers wishing to carry out a formal investigation need to submit a written proposal for review and approval to ensure feasibility of the study and to guarantee no negative long-term impacts.  We request that you provide us a copy of research findings generated from your work at Campanario for use in local conservation efforts as well as for distribution to other appropriate Costa Rican institutions.

Please contact the Proyecto Campanario office in San José for details concerning the research approval process, cooperation with Costa Rican universities and scientists, facilities and equipment available at the Station and at the San José office, and costs for budgeting

Contact us for scheduling.

Note:  Campanario reserves the right to adjust or cancel portions of any itinerary due to bad
weather or dangerous sea conditions.

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Hidden Curriculum

Stretching those comfort zones . . .

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As all educators and parents know, there exists a hidden curriculum in any learning environment.  This is particularly true in Campanario’s case.  Given the fact that Campanario is off-the-grid in most every way:  no roads, no national system of electricity or water service, no mail delivery or trash pick-up, no internet service, no washing machines, TVs or air conditioners, etc. etc., living at Campanario is generally a life style change for most.  We adapt to the environment rather than adapting the environment to suit us.  Our goal is to have as small an ecological footprint as possible. 

It’s important for all visitors to recognize their impact on this planet and work to minimize it.  Everyone helps to monitor the use of the solar panels, the disposal of waste, the conservation of water, the conservation of food, etc.  This requires using only the bare minimum of electricity, learning to get around by moonlight, not generating trash, composting anything organic, taking quick showers, washing clothes by hand and then hanging them up to dry in the breeze and sun, etc. etc.  Meals are served buffet style so everyone can serve how much he/she would like and then can go back for a second or even a third helping.  There is always plenty of food, and everyone must eat everything on his/her plate so that no food is wasted. 

Much of the travel and activities are planned around the tides, while waking and sleeping follow the sun.  Days start with sun-up, about 5:30am, and bedtime is generally early, about 8:30 or 9:00pm.  Pleasures are simple and uncomplicated: fresh coconut milk when you're hot and tired, watching a morpho butterfly flit around you during breakfast, and games and story telling in the evenings.  There are no TVs, no texting, no video games.  The technological world is left behind.

Because the Campanario Biological Station is remote, located in a wild corner of the world, the wildlife is ever present.  Many students face personal challenges to overcome their fears of bugs, bats, snakes, mud, the ocean, etc.  Some marvelous transformations have take place. 

Other activities which may be foreign to some students are strenuous exercise; getting hot and sweaty; eating foods different from those at home; monitoring their water intake; not worrying about stylish clothing, makeup, or jewelry; and, certainly, having to walk everywhere (no vehicles). 

For many, this is one of the first times traveling without family members, and just getting organized and keeping belongings together is a new experience.  There is no daily maid service, and students are expected to keep their things orderly, be on time for activities, and have all the proper equipment.  While this may seem obvious and simple, for many it is not.

Any change of routine and habits is not taught as a special program, it is just the way life is at Campanario.  Just living in Campanario becomes the hidden curriculum.  We hope that some of these low-impact habits are transferred home.

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Other Locations and Recreation

Other Locations and Recreation

Member of

Costa Rican Network
of Private  Reserves,
Organization of Biological Field Stations

Call Us

CR Tel: +506 - 2289 - 8694
CR Fax: +506 - 2289 - 8708

Mail Us

Proyecto Campanario
Apdo. 232-1260, Plaza Colonial, Escazú,
Costa Rica

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