Costa Rica

Sustainable Tourism


January 2022


Guanacaste, Costa Rica


Sustainable Tourism



Costa Rica, the ecotourism capital of the world, will be your classroom for this unique immersion program. Surf (or learn to surf) in some of the worlds most friendly and consistent waves  while visiting organizations and entrepreneurs operating to forge sustainable solutions to the ecological and social challenges brought on by surf tourism growth. This program will blur the lines between learning and fun — as lectures, site visits, and adventure activities (such as zip-lining, waterfall hiking, and surfing) are all intertwined into a comprehensive learning excursion that promises to be the highlight of your academic career.



  • Program Tuition
  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Course materials
  • Local tours & excursions

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Airline fees for surfboards
  • International Travel Insurance
  • Surfboard rentals
  • Optional Zipline tour $75
  • Optional SUP river tour $65
  • Lunch, snacks and drinks
  • Unit Registration

Dr. Leon Mach

Academic Advisor

Leon’s passion for surfing has not only led him around the world, but has also guided him through graduate school. He has completed his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy with focuses in environmental justice and international tourism and also earned a Higher Education Certification. Leon has led numerous accredited study abroad programs throughout Central and South America and Southeast Asia and is an energetic advocate for encouraging students to apply what they are passionate about into their studies as he has with surfing and sustainability.

Course Objectives:

  • Outline important historical events related to international tourism and understand the origins of the theoretical shift towards sustainable tourism.
  • Build and appreciation for Costa Rican history and culture through reading and immersion.
  • Determine how cultural differences influence tourist perceptions and satisfaction in the context of surf tourism.
  • Strategize collaborations among diverse tourism stakeholders representing government, business, the local environment, and local communities.
  • Demonstrate interest in living and traveling in ways that promote cultural understanding and environmental sustainability.
  • Evaluate hotel performance based on sustainability criteria and implement their own analysis of tourism providers.
  • Gain skills and become familiar with techniques for using theoretical frameworks to evaluate sustainability at the community level in the field.