Central America is an historic crossroads for North and South America and for Europe and the New World as well. The population is diverse: indigenous people, European, African, and West Indian among others. And the Spanish influence is everywhere – from the central square you’ll find in almost every town to a society based on Roman Catholicism – where the cultural focus is on family. Central Americans are a warm and outgoing people, and you’ll discover that the daily pace here is very relaxed. Costa Rica is a window into the region and of its neighbor countries—though unlike its northern neighbor’s there are no Mayan or Aztec ruins here. Whether your Program Director is a friendly Tico from Costa Rica or a biodiversity specialist, you're sure to see, through their eyes, a region rich in history, culture, and particularly in Costa Rica, in natural beauty. Columbus christened the land "Costa Rica," meaning "rich coast," after being greeted by gold-adorned natives, but the real treasures here are natural: fiery volcanoes, black sand beaches, tropical dry forests and mangrove jungles. You'll encounter up-close the natural wonders of one of the most biologically diverse nations on earth here. Your journey to Central America is sure to be an adventure.