Teresa Culver, Associate Chair and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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$5,445 per person, double occupancy, land only.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $890 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

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An exciting blend of nature and culture in two of the world’s most ecologically diverse countries: Panama and Costa Rica. While staying at excellent hotels, delight in its varied landscapes: cloud forest, rushing waterfalls, beautiful rain forests and lush jungles with a wide array of animals, from the white-faced monkey to sloths and iguanas. In Panama, explore the Panama Canal aboard the M/V Pacific Queen highlighting two of the three sets of locks on the Canal.

Program Highlights

Program Highlights
• Journey through the Miraflores locks of the Panama Canal, one of humankind’s greatest engineering achievements.
• Explore the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest, one of the most outstanding sanctuaries in Central America.
• Spot monkeys, colorful tropical birds, sloths and other wildlife.
• See steaming fumaroles at Poás Volcano with its immense crater.
• Visit the area of Arenal Lake and Volcano and stay at a hotel with its own hot springs.


Teresa Culver, Associate Chair and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Teresa Culver studied at Cornell University before joining the UVa faculty in 1993. She has taught at least fifteen different courses at UVa, ranging from 1st year courses (such as a University Seminar on the Cost & Benefits of Pollution) to upper-level graduate classes. Dr. Culver has been recognized with Walter L. Huber Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Science Foundation CAREER award for research and teaching. Her research focuses on the modeling and management of water resource systems. She is also a wife and mother of two, including a Wahoo. She is a runner, birder, and family genealogist, and enjoys adventuring with her family.


DAY 1 - Saturday, March 3

USA / San José, CR

Depart the U.S. on a flight to San José, Costa Rica and transfer to the hotel upon arrival. This evening, enjoy a welcome cocktail and Dinner.
Hotel Cariari

DAY 2 - Sunday, March 4

Poás / Arenal area

Set out for Poás Volcano, one of the few active volcanoes on the continent. On a clear day, we will be able to observe the active fumaroles and simmering lake at the bottom of the immense crater, one of the largest in the world. Lunch is in the vicinity of volcano.
Hotel Arenal Springs

DAY 3 - Monday March 5

Arenal Volcano area

Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

Today enjoy extraordinary views of the Arenal Volcano on a hike along the base. In the afternoon, visit the Molina Family in order to enjoy their native culture, learning about their history and traditions. After a short walk through the location, visit the sugar cane mill. Learn the process of the sugar cane mill going back over one hundred years ago. Receive a short lesson about making traditional coffee, fresh made tortillas, sour cream, and cheese.
Hotel Arenal Springs

DAY 4 - Tuesday, March 6

Arenal Lake Crossing / Monteverde

This morning cross Lake Arenal and continue to Monteverde. Tour the Selvatura’s Treetop Walkways, one of the most outstanding wild life sanctuaries in the tropics. Cross through various bridges giving you an aerial view of the forest below. Walk through the world’s largest butterfly exhibition, learning about their life cycle, unique abilities and behaviors. Continue to the Hummingbird Garden with 14 species of hummingbirds. This evening, enjoy an unforgettable night walk to experience the lively nocturnal wonders of the forest.
Hotel Poco a Poco

DAY 5 - Wednesday, March 7

Monteverde Hanging bridges

Panama Skywalk

We start our day with a visit to the Monteverde Reserve. Here, wind-battered elfin woods on its exposed ridges give way to more protected areas, where sheets of mist envelope the forest in a blanket of moisture. Many of the trees are shrouded with moss, orchids and other epiphytes, lending a magical feeling to the forest. This private reserve is home to over 400 species of birds, including the Resplendent quetzal, considered the most spectacular bird of the Americas, and is one of the few remaining habitats of five species of the cat family: jaguar, ocelot, puma, margay and jaguarundi. During our stay, we will enjoy a bird’s eye view of the lush canopy from a combination of suspended bridges and platforms, as well as guided hikes along the rain forest floor.
Hotel Poco a Poco

DAY 6 - Thursday, March 8

Monteverde / San José / fly to Panama

Transfer to San José for your flight to Panama City. Enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Marriott Panama

DAY 7 - Friday, March 9

Canal partial transit / Canal Expansion

Panama City
Panama City

Board the M/V Pacific Queen and embark on a partial transit of the Panama Canal. The canal spans 48 miles to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and remains one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. Full transit typically takes nearly 10 hours. This partial transit allows a traverse of two of the three sets of locks and avoids the relatively uneventful navigation of Gatun Lake. Cross Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks on the Pacific side of the canal and go through the “spinal cord” of the Continental Divide and to the narrowest section of the waterway, the Gaillard Cut. Disembark at the Panama Canal Dredging Division and continue by road to Agua Clara locks on the Atlantic side of the canal. Panama embarked on a 5.25 billion project to expand the Panama Canal. Return to Panama City on the historic Panama Canal railroad. Dinner tonight on own
Marriott Panama

DAY 8 - Saturday, March 10

Panama Canal Rainforest boat / Smithsonian Research Center

Begin at Panama Visitors’ Center at the Miraflores Locks. Continue to the town of Gamboa and take a boat to Gatún Lake. Visit the Panama Canal operation and waterway actual route. Have the chance to see local wildlife including white-face capuchins monkeys, howlers and many species of birds. After, enjoy lunch by the Chagres River and visit the Smithsonian Research Institution Amphibian Research Center lead by Smithsonian biologists
Marriott Panama

DAY 9 - Sunday, March 11

Biomuseum / Colonial Panama City tour

Curator’s tour of the acclaimed Frank Gehry designed Biomuseum, the only building in Latin America designed by this famed architect, the museum offers a unique experience that weaves scientific knowledge and artistic creation to enlighten visitors as to the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama. Enjoy lunch and an afternoon tour of Panama’s colonial Casco Viejo, (the “Old Compound”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its unusual blend of Spanish and French architectural styles, iron clad balconies, cobblestone streets and monuments. Tonight, enjoy an exclusive after hours tour of the Panama Canal Visitors’ Center at Miraflores Locks with a chance to get up-close to the operations. Farewell dinner overlooking the ships going through the Panama Canal at Miraflores Locks
Marriott Panama

DAY 10 - Monday, March 12

Panama / U.S.

At the appropriate time transfer to the international airport for your return flight home.


  • Cariari
    Located within walking distance of the Plaza Real Cairari, this hotel features access to a full-service spa, casino, health club, and an outdoor pool with a swim up bar.
  • Hotel Arenal Springs
    The Arenal Springs Resort is privileged with a location that has some of the most beautiful views of the Arenal Volcano in the entire area. Set between the Poás Volcano and the town of La Fortuna, this hotel offers guests a nice mixture of comfort and accessibility. Here you can relax in the pool or hot springs with a full-service spa available.
  • Hotel Poco a Poco
    This sustainable hotel offers a picturesque setting, Hotel & Spa Poco a Poco is located in the small town of Monteverde. It features a spa, a covered heated pool and charming rooms with garden views. The stylish restaurant offers a variety of national and international cuisine, combining local products with exotic ingredients. The Naroa Spa & Wellness features different beauty treatments and massages using organic goods and flowers grown in Monteverde.
  • Marriott Panama Hotel
    Situated in the heart of Panama City your hotel is within walking distance of Via España, Metropolitan Nature Park, Palacio de las Garzas, and Bahía de Panamá Bay and its port. You’ll have the chance to enjoy an outdoor pool, casino as well as a spa which offers a steam room, sauna with a range of treatments.


9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners

Program Fees

$5,445 per person, double occupancy, land only.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $890 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes: Exclusive departure for the University of Virginia; Partial transit of the Panama Canal; 9 nights’ accommodations in listed properties; in-tour flight from Costa Rica to Panama; Private Transportation; Extensive sightseeing as described in the day-by-day itinerary, including all entrance fees; Visit to the Biomuseum in Panama with a curator; Visit to the new Smithsonian Amphibian Center; Services of a Royal Adventures Tour Director

Does not include: All airfare: USA/San José; Panama City/USA; Departure tax; Alcoholic beverages other than wine at welcome and farewell dinners;
Airport transfers for those not on group flights; Trip insurance; Any taxes or security fees imposed after the initial pricing of this program; Any fuel surcharges imposed prior to departure;
Gratuities to the Tour Director

General Terms & Conditions

Cancellations and Refunds: Refunds, less a cancellation fee of $400 per person, are made if we are notified in writing on or before December 3, 2017. No refunds are made after that date. All cancellations must be made in writing. There are no refunds for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features.

Responsibilities: Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40), its owners and employees, act only as agents for the various independent suppliers and contractors providing transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services connected with this tour. Such travel and services are subject to the terms and conditions under which such accommodations, services and transportation are offered or provided, and the University of Virginia and Royal Adventures and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability therefor. The University of Virginia and Royal Adventures assume no liability for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or other irregularity which may be caused by the defect of any aircraft or vehicle or the negligence or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out or performing any of the services involved. Additionally, responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, local laws, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws of the country in which they are provided. The University of Virginia and Royal Adventures reserve the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience or safety of the tour participants. They reserve the right to withdraw this tour without penalty. The right is also reserved to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour, or to substitute another qualified leader or special guest. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. The price of the program is given in good faith based on current tariffs and rates, and is subject to change. Any tariff, exchange rate, security surcharge or fuel increases will be passed on to participants. Neither the University of Virginia nor Royal Adventures accepts the liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable airline ticket. The air ticket when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the airline concerned. As part of the consideration and right to participate in this tour, each participant will be asked to sign a liability release.

Trip Insurance: Your tour operator will include information on obtaining trip insurance in your confirmation letter. Please note that there is a time frame for securing trip insurance. The University of Virginia will cancel its endorsement of and faculty and staff participation in any program destination for which a Travel Warning is issued by the U.S. Department of State. Vendor Terms of Agreement will specify under what circumstances the vendor will cancel a program and/or under what circumstances participants might receive some reimbursement if they cancel their travel with the vendor themselves. The University of Virginia strongly recommends that all participants purchase trip cancellation insurance which includes protection in the face of political unrest, natural disasters, and personal emergencies and participants should discuss this insurance directly with the vendor or other travel services with whom they deal. You will find more useful travel information by going to the Travel Resources link on this website.