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Punta Leona, Costa Rica

Program Description

Project-based course examining energy conservation, environmental, and sustainability applications and providing team-oriented project experience.

Addresses energy and sustainability issues associated with economic and social development. Project participation, tours and interactions with resort employees, managers and owners to identify, apply, and provide recommendations to energy, environmental and sustainability related problems. Students will work on various projects at a resort in Costa Rica. Each student will pick a project before arriving in Costa Rica and work to complete it during the three week program. Students will work with advisors and project mentors that include JMU professors and managers of a resort in Costa Rica.

Possible projects: Please note that some of these topics can become your senior thesis project:

  1. Evaluating the performance of the newly installed waste water treatment plant at the resort
  2. Beach accessibility for the physically challenged: foldable ramps, sand wheel chair, etc
  3. Remote monitoring and control of Air-conditioning units and electricity consuming devices
  4. Aquaponics and Hydroponics systems
  5. Internet connectivity: Diagnostics and analysis
  6. GIS: Mapping of local terrain, natural features, plant and animal life, attractions, and resort amenities
  7. Energy savings: this can start with energy audit of the facilities and recommend possible actions. This can include educating and informing the resort community about the process (what we are doing, why, how, and what to expect).
  8. PV power plant for emergency backup (internet, communication and vital lighting)
  9. PV power plant for street lighting
  10. Solar thermal collectors for hot water
  11. Developing educational material for resort workers and guests
  12. Coral reef restoration
  13. Collecting water out of air for drinking and irrigation
  14. Other projects that you might be interested in and can be beneficial to the resort

Students will choose one of the two available track options -

Track 1 (3 credits)

ISAT 416: International Energy Studies (3 credits)


ISAT 480: International Sustainability Projects (3 credits)

Track 2 (4 credits)

ISAT 492: Senior Capstone Project II (2 credits)


ISAT 493: Senior Capstone Project III (2 credits)

Location Description

The program will be at Punta Leona Hotel and Club Beach Resort. It is a coastal resort located in the Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. It is about an hour and 3 minutes drive from the capital San Jose. The resort’s accommodations for national and international guests include 108 standard rooms and 27 fully equipped apartments. Punta Leona Hotel and Club Beach Resort employs approximately 335 people and its management is committed to being a leader in ecotourism. One of its beaches - Playa Blanca - has been awarded the “Cleanest Beach in Costa Rica”.


Karim Altaii | | ISAT


Accommodations will be provided for students through furnished and air conditioned apartments and rooms with internet access and full kitchen and laundry facilities. Students will be in shared double rooms.

All meals are covered in the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

This course is targeted towards ISAT, Engineering and Science students, and recommended for sophomores and juniors.

Visa will be issued at the airport for US citizens.

Some Spanish will be helpful. 

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

Sophomores, Juniors

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Interview with Program Director
  • Academic references required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 


Space Available. Apply Now for Priority!

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ISAT 416: International Energy Study (3 credits)

ISAT 480: International Sustainability Projects (3 credits)

ISAT 492: Senior Capstone Project II (2 credits)

ISAT 493: Senior Capstone Project III (2 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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