BC to Host Trip to Costa Rica “Blue Zone” With Scholarship Opportunities

"Costa Rica Sunset" by JetPunk.com is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In Spring Quarter 2024, BC students will have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for eight days to explore and to see the lifestyle and environmental habits of some of the longest-living and happiest people in the world: the inhabitants of the Nicoya Peninsula. Additionally, if you take one of the 12 scholarships available, you can do so for free. 

The Nicoya Peninsula is a region in southern Costa Rica which has been designated as a “Blue Zone.” This term, popularized by explorer and author Dan Buettner, refers to one of five locations where Buettner and several researchers observed there to be a high concentration of male centenarians, referring to men who live to be 100 years or older. The reasons that have been proposed as to why this is the case tend to revolve around diet, fitness and happiness, with a sense of purpose, good social connections, regular physical activity and a diet slanted towards vegetables all being proposed explanations.

The trip is the result of a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and the BC Wellness Center, with both groups hoping that those who go will be inspired and influenced based on what they see and will share what they think with others. They have also made a schedule of the trip, which is as follows:

Day One: This is when the travel group will fly into Costa Rica from Seattle and then travel to their accommodations in the town of Tamarindo. 

Day Two: The group will go on a catamaran cruise, do snorkeling and see Sea Turtle nests. 

Day Three: The group will go to the area around the famous Arenal volcano, where they will walk on bridges suspended above the jungle and then experience the local hot springs. 

Day Four: The group will hike on the Arenal volcano and go kayaking in the nearby lake. 

Day Five: The group will visit the Santa Elena Biological Reserve, a lush national park; go ziplining; and then do a night walk in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. 

Day Six: The group will travel to the province of Guanacaste, go on a boat tour and see the beach. 

Day Seven: The group will continue to relax on Guanacaste beach. 

Day Eight: This is the last day of the trip, when the group will return to Seattle. 

To go on the trip, you must be 18 years or older and apply by November 15. In addition, you must either pay out-of-pocket or get a scholarship. If you choose to pay for the trip, the price is $3,346 if you are 18-22 years old and $3,786 if you are 23 years old or older. You must also get travel insurance through BC’s chosen provider. In addition, you must attend all meetings related to the planning of the trip and complete the “Self Support Application”, which, in addition to providing basic personal information, requires that you write an essay describing why you want to go and how you plan to use what you have learned on the trip to help your community, as well as how the trip can help you in your future studies.

If you want to get the scholarship, you must be taking at least 10 credits for Winter Quarter 2024, which does not include the Health 297 class that is taken as part of the scholarship. This class will include researching why the population of the Nicoya Peninsula lives atypically long, and you will be writing an essay concerning how the trip changed your awareness of sustainable practices and your personal lifestyle habits. You also have to volunteer during Earth Week. Finally, you must complete the scholarship application, which includes writing an essay which asks how you will use the trip to reduce your carbon footprint and increase student and employee wellness on campus. You also have to write what learning outcomes you expect from the trip.

If you have any questions about the trip, email Peter Prescott at peterprescott@bellevuecollege.edu.