Costa Rica - Winter Break

  • Digital Photography
  • Winter Break Minimester
  • Open to all majors
  • Does not satisfy the College of Architecture “Semester Away” requirement.

This program is designed to allow students to see, understand and document the wildlife, culture, people, tourism, landscapes and environments of Costa Rica. Based at the Texas A&M Soltis Center, students take a course during which they will photograph their encounters and create photo presentations and a handbook of “Experiencing Costa Rica.” These creations will be exhibited upon return to Texas A&M so that others will be able to share in the global learning experience. Students will visit many of Costa Rica’s beautiful natural wonders, including the Arenal volcano, the Peñas Blancas River and the Pacific coast. All levels of learners can benefit from the experience, no photography experience needed.

Night view of the dormitories

The Soltis Center lies on 250 acres of rainforest at an elevation of 1,500 feet with an average rainfall of 14 feet per year. The Soltis Center is located in San Juan de San Isidro de Penas Blanca, three hours northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica, and adjacent to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and the Children's Eternal Rainforest. The local economy depends on eco-tourism and subsistence farming. The Soltis Center offers eight bungalows that can accommodate sixty guests, a recreation field, and an academic building with laboratories, infirmary, cafeteria, and lounge.

Activities, in addition to the 3 credit hour digital photography course, include multiple guided hikes into the rainforest, a visit to the Arenal Volcano, a relaxing break in hot springs, a zipline tour of the Cloud Forest, river rafting on the Penas Blancas, and a visit to the town of La Fortuna.

For more information about this program, please visit, or contact Katy Dunn at

ARTS/CARC 311. Digital Photography. Credit 3.

CARC 485. Directed Studies. Credit 1 to 6. 

(CARC 485 only by permission, if needed for honors student scholarship requirements.)