Costa Rica

Sustainable Tourism


June 2025


Southern 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 most dinners
  • Some lunches
  • Course materials
  • Local tours & excursions

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Airline baggage fees
  • International Travel Insurance
  • Surfboard rentals
  • Optional Zipline tour $75
  • Some lunches, snacks and drinks
  • Unit Registration

Brad Zaporski

Program Leader / Professor

Brads interest in being an educator started while working as a contracted guide to Medical Aid workers in Papua New Guinea. Brad filled his time there working with the International Education Agency teaching in tribes outside of the capitol city of Port Moresby. Subsequent to this, Brad spent a decade guiding on some of the world’s most powerful and remote rivers before settling in Telluride, Colorado. Those years as a professional river guide took Brad around the globe and ignited a desire to work with the existing forces of nature to develop clean renewable energy in his own community. It was this desire that set Brad on course to work with San Miguel Power Association, where he became the Chief Executive Officer in 2016. Brad is known for helping develop hydro-generation using existing dams and legacy infrastructure from the mining boom in the San Juan Mountains in the late 1800s. He was also the winner of the 2013 Best Solar Collaboration Project from Solar Power Generation USA for, at the time it was built, the development of the nation’s largest community solar project. Yet his attachment to water never waned and Brad sought a new goal and life lessons through the joy of surfing.  Now combining his love for the ocean, decades of professional trip leading experience across 5 continents, and the spark he found as a tribal educator, Brad has found a perfect application for these passions with Sea State. His primary motivation comes from the opportunity to work with the amazing students that SeaState attracts. Brad finds the ocean and the communities that surround it to be a powerful classroom and is committed to applying his passion to the benefit of the students.

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.