Las Cruces Biological Station is a very comfortable field station. In addition to providing housing for researchers (short and long-term), Las Cruces also receives Natural History Visitors (i.e, ecotourists). Given this, the station is able to provide many amenities.
* Please note that not every expedition has couples’ or single's accommodations available. Please call or email Earthwatch to check for availability prior to reserving your space(s) on the team.
The quarters in which the volunteers stay will depend on the size of the group and time of year, and will be assigned by Las Cruces staff according to room availability. The number of participants per room will vary depending on the specific quarters the team is assigned.
Generally speaking, the Wilson House will be used for larger teams, as well as student groups and teen teams, as it provides sleeping and classroom space, and a wonderfully sunny common room in a spacious building located in the center of the botanical gardens. Wilson House accommodations have several comfortable bunk beds per room and ample shared bathrooms, with several toilet and shower stalls on each floor. Smaller teams will more likely be split across various cabins on campus which have 1-2 bedrooms per unit and include twin and bunk beds accommodating up to three people per bedroom. Each cabin has a bathroom and balcony. For comfort, rooms have fans, and windows have either screens or glass. Towels and bedding (e.g., sheets, pillows, light blankets) are provided.
Single and couples rooms can be requested, but whether that request can be accommodated will depend on availability during each team, which is often confirmed by Las Cruces upon arrival.
* Earthwatch will honor each person’s assertion of gender identity, respectfully and without judgement. For both teen and adult teams, where logistics dictate single-sex accommodations or other facilities, participant placements will be made in accordance with the gender identity the participant specified on their Earthwatch Participant form and/or preferences indicated in discussions with Earthwatch.
There are showers at Las Cruces Biological Station, which are supplied with solar hot water - this means there is often hot water available for showers, but not when there has not been a lot of sun. There is also conventional sanitation. Toilet paper is not flushed down the toilet due to the type of septic systems used in Costa Rica. Instead it must be deposited in the small trash bin next to the toilet (in order to avoid clogging).
There is electricity in all the rooms throughout the station. You are welcome to bring electrical equipment. Electrical outlets in Costa Rica are 110v just like in North America. However, although most wall outlets are being switched to
3 prongs, if your device uses a 3-prong plug, we recommend bringing an adapter that converts from 3 to 2 prongs. Power in the rainforest can be unreliable, so come prepared for outages.
All buildings, including bedrooms, have wifi access that is free and available 24/7. You may bring your own laptop, tablet, or smartphone for free-time use.
Please note that personal communication with outsiders is not always possible while participating in an expedition. Earthwatch encourages volunteers to minimize outgoing calls and immerse themselves in the experience; likewise, family and friends should restrict calls to urgent messages only.
FOOD AND WATER
Las Cruces Biological Station provides family-style meals, served at 6:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. When teams are performing early morning observations (before breakfast) or working in a more distant observation site or performing plant surveys after observations, a team may miss a scheduled meal. In this case, volunteers will be provided with box lunches and/or breakfasts prepared by kitchen staff. There is also an area with coffee and tea available throughout the day. Given that Las Cruces has a dedicated kitchen and staff to make meals, volunteers and research staff will not be involved in any cooking, shopping, or cleaning up—other than bussing their dishes.
The kitchen has refrigeration, and refrigeration is also available in some of the cabins, and can be used for storing medications needing refrigeration. Also, if you are accustomed to snacking between meals, please note that this is not a typical custom in Costa Rica so you should plan to bring your own supply of snacks. You may store them in the refrigerator to avoid attracting ants.
Water from all taps at Las Cruces is spring-sourced and safe to drink.
The following are examples of foods you may encounter during this experience. Variety depends on availability. We appreciate your flexibility.
- Breakfast: Dining In: Gallo pinto (rice and beans), eggs, toast, pancakes/arepas, cheese, plantains, fresh fruit, coffee. To Go: Sandwich bag lunch with peanut butter & jelly, or lunch meat and cheese options plus juice, cookies
- Lunch: Dining In: Similar to Dinner. To Go: Sandwich bag lunch with peanut butter & jelly, or lunch meat and cheese options plus juice, cookies
- Dinner: Chicken, beef or fish option, plus steamed vegetables and rice, beans, tortillas or pasta, salad bar, fresh fruit
- Dessert (served w/ lunch): Tres leches cakes, and other pastries, fruit, rice pudding
- Beverages: Fresh juice, water, coffee
SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
Please alert Earthwatch to any special dietary requirements (e.g., diabetes, lactose intolerance, nut or other food allergies, vegetarian or vegan diets) as soon as possible, and note them in the space provided on your volunteer forms.
Las Cruces can provide meals for vegetarians, vegans, lactose intolerance, gluten-free, and other restrictions. They are used to—and enjoy—accommodating diets of researchers and travelers from all over the world. Food allergies or dietary/restrictions should be reported in advance and the kitchen will plan meals that accommodate those requests. If you have made a special request, but cannot tell which meal options on the buffet apply to that request, please feel free to ask project staff (or the very friendly kitchen staff, if you speak Spanish) for guidance.