Graduate Field Course in Rainforest Research


  • It is valuable to do some background reading on tropical biology and on your own potential projects so that we can anticipate equipment and supplies which will be required. Relevant literature and keys to organisms you plan to study should be taken with you.
  • This is possibly the most economical expedition to a rainforest park. However, the financial status of most students makes the trip a difficult burden. Early financial planning is important (see possible funding sources).*Costs, subject to change without notice, vary according to grants and currency exchange among other things, but you should not find it necessary to spend over $1900 for travel and 30-40 days in Costa Rica. Check UT Austin's tuition and fees. Early development of your project proposal will allow you to apply for fellowships and grants through your institution or nationally. Many past students have been able to fund part or all of the field expenses of this course. Start looking for funds early.
  • Reservations to stay at Sirena should be made as early as possible before arrival date. Contact Andres Vega to request reservations.


  • Estimated Daily Costs for Researchers Only
    (355 colones=$1 as of 16 May 02)

    (proposed fee increase in parentheses,
    effective date not yet determined)

    colones US dollars
    park entrance fee 1 day@6520
    2 to 4 days@ 5216
    < week@3912/day
    1 day@$20
    2 to 4 days@ $16
    < week@$12.00/day
    (research fee)
      5.00/3 months

    space for your own tent
    3 meals/day*

    *by advance arrangement only

    652 (978)
    1956 (2608

    2.00 (3.00)
    6.00 (8.00)

  • If you do not have a passport, you should apply for one immediately.
  • Disclaimer:
    A strict permitting process required by the Costa Rican government must be followed. These web pages are not endorsed by the Costa Rican government, rather they are intended to provide the latest instructions and forms to the best of our knowledge. Because regulations are subject to frequent change, the applicant should review these pages frequently for updates.
  • Since all of these areas of preparation entail individual problems, it is generally best to contact L.E. Gilbert directly concerning details.
  • Details of life at Sirena demand a minimum list of personal supplies ranging from rubber boots to insect repellent. Try to anticipate your needs early. Below is a suggested list of items to take with you.
2 sheets# flashlight & extra batteries sunglasses
pillow & cases# 2 bandanas hat
2 long sleeve shirts folding umbrella# Deep Woods Off
3 pair light cotton slacks swimsuit rubber boots#
2 pair hiking shorts 10 pair socks flip-flops
3 T-shirts 6 changes cotton underwear scissors
2 towels & washcloths# tennis shoes & extra laces sewing kit*
clothesline and clothespins Rx in original containers# belt
candles & lighter# Ziploc bags duct tape*
data book, pen, & pencil# pocket knife watch
permanent marking pen extra glasses (for contact wearers) compass
day pack/field pack anti-fungal powder# moleskin
large plastic bags# work gloves binoculars
special project equipment plastic ruler foam pad#
laundry pan & soap# pruning shears dessicant*
appropriate field guides camera & film for entire trip canteen or field water bottle

  • toilet articles (incl. sun block, small first aid kit, with neosporin, bandaids, betadyne, 2x2 pads, papertape, calamine)
  • fishing gear* (handlines only - no fishing poles allowed in park, needle nose pliers, lead head hooks, white grub skirts)
  • 2 snakebite Extractor kits (1 for each puncture of a large snake)
  • It is handy to pack these things in a medium sized Igloo-type cooler because they will stay dry and you'll have something to sit on.
    * optional
    # can be obtained in Costa Rica

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    May 16, 2002
    Lecture Hall at UT Austin
    For further information, contact: