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Planning Courses at Bijagual

The Field Station

For many students on courses that visit the reserve, it is their first experience in a tropical rain forest. The field station is ideally located so that it perfectly blends accessability and seclusion. It is a convenient 3.5-hour drive from San Jose Airport that most courses come directly to the reserve upon arrival. Yet it is isolated enough from disturbances of development that the environment within as well as surrounding the reserve supports the many species of wildlife expected for the region. Signage on maintained trails and maps make exploration around the reserve a safe way to immerse first-time visitors in the incredible diversity of the rain forest. The open design of buildings allows students to interact with nature even when participating in 'indoor' activities. Focus of courses hosted at the reserve have ranged in topics and are not strictly restricted to the biological sciences. The goal of the staff is to help instructors make the best use of the resources available at the reserve and provide an environment for students to experience the forest as a hands-on classroom and outdoor laboratory.


The field station can house up to 28 overnight guests in easily accessible buildings located close to one another.


The main administrative building contains spaces for all the indoor course activities such as presentations and work areas, dining, housing, and relaxing.

In common shared spaces, one can enjoy views of the native species garden surrounding the buildings which attracts animals ranging from birds to monkeys. Wake up to the howling of monkeys and fall asleep to the sound of night jars in the sleeping quarters.



Menus & Dietary Preferences

A cook and assistant (depending on group size) are contracted during your stay. Meals are served buffet style. There are always several dishes served at each meal for variety.
A typical breakfast menu offers the option of srambled eggs, granola/cereal, yoghurt, tortillas, gallo pinto (a Costa Rican rice and beans dish), three types of fresh fruits, and beverages (fresh juices, milk, coffee, and tea).
Lunch and dinner options include a meat dish, vegetarian dish, salad, vegetable side dish, fresh fruits, rice, beans, tortillas and fresh juice followed by coffee and tea with cookies. Fixings to make your own sandwiches are also available at each meal.
Snacks: Fresh fruits and cookies with beverages (juices, milk, coffee, and tea) are typically served.

Allergies & Dietary Preferences: Let us know in advance of your group's arrival if there are any allergies or dietary preferences. We can cater meals to suit these preferences when given ample notice. Please note: Though we can plan a meal around dietary preferences and allergies, we only have a single facility for food prep and cooking so that we are not able to provide strict gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, or kosher environments.


Meal times are scheduled around the course activities. We work with the instructors to assure that no one misses a meal. Options to schedule meals include: requesting specific meal times, offering bagged meals to take to the forest, or putting aside a meal for parts of the group should there be different activity schedules. If no preference is expressed, a typical schedule is: breakfast 7:00am-7:45am; lunch 12noon-12:45pm; and dinner 6:30pm-7:15pm. Snacks are offered at convenient break times in the mid-morning and the mid-afternoon.


Lectures & Presentations

Several options exist for lecture and presentation spaces. With the available extra seating and tables, we can create temporary or dedicated lecture/presentation areas. Spaces are flexible and can be arranged to suit your needs. A chalk board, marker board and a projector (PC and Mac compatible) are available.


We have a dedicated space with picnic tables where students can set up and work during their stay. Ample outlets are available in the room  to meet the course's needs.

Workspace & Demonstration Areas

Several options exist for setting up permanent and temporary demonstration areas. We can use spaces inside the Casa or at the Galeron (an outdoor covered workshop).

Presentations & Workshops

On the day of arrival, we give a 45-minute orientation and safety talk. Timing will be arranged with the intructors. During your stay, we can provide presentations, workshops and guided walks. Below are some examples. Feel free to approach us with other ideas or topics you would find helpful for your course.

Conservation in Costa Rica: The role of the Bijagual Ecological Reserve

45 minutes


A regional view of conservation and specific examples of how the reserve is participating in local conservation initiatives.

Conservation in Costa Rica: Accomplishments and Contradictions

45 mintues


Overview of the history of conservation in Costa Rica and indicators of current environmental health.

Guided Walks

Night walk searching for noturnal animals (1 - 3 hrs)
Hike to bat cave (2 hrs)
Early morning bird watching (2 hrs)
Pre-Columbian history of the reserve (3 hrs)
Geology & land use change 6mya - present (3 hrs)
Walk through 25-ha reforestation poject (3 hrs)
Bat Ecology
University of Kansas 2007 
Xavier University 2014

An introduction to tropical plant families

2 hour to half-day


Learn how to describe and distinguish the principal Neotropical plant families. Hands-on workshop that uses the arboretum as a resource. This activity can be programmed to range from an hour long to a half-day workshop. Offered with a post-workshop quiz (self-graded).

Bird banding

2 hours - 3 hours


An early morning activity that includes mist-netting birds and banding them. The length of activity dependent on time it takes to catch birds. As we wait for the birds, a brief talk is given about the uses of bird banding in science as well as explanations of the mist-netting and banding processes. The reserve is a member of the Bird Banding Network and all data collected during demonstration is shared with the network.

Insect light traps

2 hours - 3 hours


An evening activty to demonstrate use of insect light traps and learn about the insects that are attracted to them. The light trap is set up under the shelter of the Galeron and monitored off and on throughtout the evening for several hours.

Xavier University 2010
Purdue University 2016
University of Evansville 2009
Tecnológico de Costa Rica 2013
Organization for Tropical Studies 2011
University of Evansville 2007

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