Ecological Engineering in the Tropics

Costa Rica – MSU / UCR – December 27, 2014 – January 10, 2015

Dec. 31/ Jan 1 – Liberia/Earth – Tiffany


December 31st

On the morning of Wednesday, December 31st we will be leaving Tilaran and heading to Liberia. After lunch we will arrive at Earth La Flor, one campus of EARTH University. While there, we will attend a presentation and farm tour given by Carlos Murillo.


EARTH La Flor Campus (2).



Earth La Flor is located in the Guanacaste province near the western border of Costa Rica.


Map of Guanacaste (5).



Liberia is the capital and largest city of the Guanacaste province in Costa Rica and is 215 km (134 miles) away from San Jose (1). It is one of the biggest tourist cities of the country and is also home to approximately 63,000 residents (1). During the month of December the average temperatures are 21 C (70 F) and 32.5 C (90.5 F) for the low and high, respectively (1). During the current dry season, rain should not be expected in Liberia.

Earth La Flor

EARTH University is private, non-profit, international university that was established in 1986 (2). The university offers a four year undergraduate program focused on agricultural sciences and resource management in hopes for students to contribute to the sustainability of their countries (2). Earth La Flor is the second EARTH university campus and is focused on research, development, and innovation (2).


January 1st

On January 1st we will be celebrating New Year’s Day at Playa Hermosa Guanacaste. Playa Hermosa Guanacaste is a grey-sand beach situated in the middle of two mountains (3). Playa Hermosa is less crowded than the neighboring beaches and known for its calm waters and quality relaxation (3).


Playa Hermosa Guanacaste (3).



A typical meal at La Choza de Laurel (4).


After a day of celebration at the beach we are going to have dinner at La Choza de Laurel. A typical meal at La Choza de Laurel could contain rice, beans, mixed chayote and sweet corn, mixed green papaya, sweet plantain, salad, and your choice of chicken or beef (4).





Our Days in Costa Rica!

On the morning of the 31st we woke up and began to make our way to Earth La Flor. Due to light traffic and a little extra time in the schedule we were able to make a spontaneous trip to the waterfall Llanos del Cortez, for some awesome picture opportunities and a quick swim! After getting to experience one of the amazing natural attractions that Costa Rica has to offer we stopped for lunch and grocery shopping before finishing our journey to Earth La Flor.

Group Waterfall

A group shot at the Llanos del Cortez waterfall.


The Llanos del Cortez waterfall.

Once we arrived to the campus, Carlos Murillo, of Earth La Flor, gave us a presentation about how the change in climate is effecting agriculture. Carlos started off the presentation by showing us examples of how the climate has changed in recent history with regards to temperature and carbon dioxide amounts. He then showed us the climate change projections and impacts from climate change that are occurring in Costa Rica. One of the main setbacks at Earth La Flor is their loss of crops due to climate change. Due to increased winds they lose 40-50% of their mango crops because the flowers being blown off the plants during high winds and with the increased temperatures and sun intensity they are losing 30-40% of their pineapple crops to heat burns and sun caused mutations! The presentation was concluded with some ways that people can help to combat the negative effects of the climate changes and some of the possible new businesses to which agriculture could contribute. The idea I found most interesting was that we can potentially mitigate the effects of climate change by simply educating all of the employees of the farms about the changes happening and by taking good care of the resources and soil!

After the presentation Carlos took the group on a quick bus tour of the farms on campus and then a short nature walk back to the location where we would be staying for the night. While on the tour we got to see some of the fields used for farming, the location for the anaerobic digesters, and even the oldest building on campus!

Oldest Building

The oldest building on the Earth La Flor Campus. The house was originally used as stables and as a home for the employees of the farms lands.

Digester Location

The location for the two anaerobic digesters on the Earth La Flor campus.

Sugar Cane Field

Sugar cane fields prepped for a new crop season.


Group Beach

A group picture while hanging out at the beach on New Year’s Day.

On New Year’s Day we spent a relaxing day at the near-by beach, La Playa Hermosa.We had an awesome time as a group laying out in the sun, swimming, and watching an amazing sunset. After a long day at the beach we had some great Costa Rican food and desserts at La Choza de Laurel. Overall, I’d say we had a pretty awesome way to bring in the new year!

Beach Susnet

A shot of the sunset at La Playa Hermosa.


Banana Split

A banana split from La Choza de Laurel. So yummy!!

Volcano Rice

Volcano rice, salad, and french fries from La Choza de Laurel.














Related Sources

1. Liberia, Costa Rica. Accessed December 23, 2014.,_Costa_Rica

2. Murillo, C. Expanding EARTH’s Reach in the Dry Tropics. Accessed December 23, 2014.

3. Playa Hermosa Guanacasta. Accessed December 23, 2014.

4. Typical Food. Accessed December 23, 2014.

5. Welcome to Visit Guanacaste. Accessed December 23, 2014.            

Additional Information


2 thoughts on “Dec. 31/ Jan 1 – Liberia/Earth – Tiffany

  1. So far our stay at Earth University has been great. I originally thought that most of the students would be from Costa Rica but Earth has about 400 students from 33 different countries!


    • I thought that was very interesting too Erica! But it makes sense that few Costa Ricans attend Earth for $15,000 instead of attending UCR at no cost. What I thought was even more interesting is that Earth takes all profits made by their companies and products and donates it to a scholarship fund for their students!


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