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  • Locations: At Sea, At Sea; Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; Fort Lauderdale, United States; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Limon, Costa Rica; Panama Canal- Gatun, Panama; Princess Cays, Bahamas
  • Program Terms: Winterim
  • Budget Sheets: Winterim
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Minimum GPA: 2.0
Areas of Study: Culture, Environmental Studies Class Status: 1) Freshman, 2) Sophomore, 3) Junior, 4) Senior, 5) Graduate
Housing Options: Hostel/Hotel, Ship Cabin Program Type: Global Ed.
Program Description:
Ecology of the Tropics meets one hour per week during fall semester, followed in January by experiential learning on a nine-day cruise to five different tropical ports around the Caribbean. Students study indigenous peoples as well as Spanish, French, Dutch, British, African, and U.S. involvement in the Caribbean. They will develop an increased appreciation for God's creation through studying tropical ecosystems. Activities include kayaking in the mangroves, snorkeling to observe coral reefs, tropical fish and sea turtles, rain forest hiking, dolphin/whale watching, catamaran sailing, and visiting cultural sites, forts or museums.
Courses button Travel button leaders button 2 requirements button Costs button Inclusions button


Undergraduate students who join this program will be required to register for one of the following courses:
 BIO 367: Ecology of the Tropics (3 credits)* OR
 GEOG 367: Ecology of the Tropics (3 credits)

*Must take the BIO 368 lab to meet core lab science requirement.
Graduate students in the MS Environmental Education program may register for:
BIO 567: Ecology of the Tropics (3 credits)
These courses are listed in the Fall 2018 semester. 

Travel Dates & Location Descriptions

January 4th-12th, 2019

The itinerary has not yet been set for 2019, but here is an example from last year's itinerary

January 2nd: Fly to Florida

January 3rd: Take an airboat ride in the Everglades and witness the rich bird life and the coexistence of alligators and crocodiles. Explore the park which includes a reptile exhibit and show featuring the American alligator. Embark Coral Princess to sail at 4:00 PM. 

January 4th: Tour Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas, and see the local fishing village of Tarpum Bay. Walk in Rock Sound and visit an ocean hole where the bottom has yet to be found. Experience Eleutheran culture and a native lunch at four Points Marina Village. Be entertained with Junkanoo, the Bahamian masquerade with music, costumes, and dance. If time allows, snorkel at Princess Cays and see corals, fish, invertebrates, and an occasional turtle or ray.
January 5th & 6th: At sea as you travel to Cartagena, Colombia.

January 7th: Enjoy a drive along the coast to La Boquilla, the mangrove area on the eastern side of Cartagena. Aboard a tour canoe where the captain will pole you through mangrove tunnels with birds such as ibis, herons, pelicans, and albatross. Return to the Old City of Las Bóvedas to tour the colonial city and see Spanish Colonial buildings and fortifications, old church domes, the clock tower, and ocean views. The walled town's historic core is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

January 8th: Sail with Princess Cruises to the Panama Canal, the epic waterway that shaped history by linking the world's two mightiest oceans. an engineering feat that, even 100 years later, remains to breathtaking and monumental that it was named a Cruise World Wonder by Condé Nast Traveler. Travel via ferry through the canal to the Pacific Ocean and experience the locks in operation from a different perspective.

January 9th: See Limon, Costa Rica and the countryside through a tour of the Tortuguero Canals and look for crocodiles, sloths, and monkeys. Have a fruit buffet with live calypso music and ride an open-air train through the countryside. This train made its first trip in 1890 which gave birth to the banana industry where many freed Jamaican slaves were brought to build the railroad and stayed to work on cacao and banana plantations.

January 10th: At sea as you travel to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

January 11th: Have an adventure in Jamaica on the Chukka Cove rain forest canopy zipline which features a series of nine traverses. Zip over the Laughlands River gorge, survey tropical rain forest flora and fauna, and walk through Cranbrook Forest.

January 12th: At sea as you travel for your flight home. 

January 13th: Fly home and possibly visit Flamingo Gardens depending on flights.


This course is led by Dr. Mark Schmitz and Professor Elizabeth Peckham. Dr. Schmitz leads the program for Mequon students, and Professor Peckham is the leader from the Ann Arbor campus. If you have any questions, please contact either Mark Schmitz or Elizabeth Peckham by email:


  • This program is open to all undergraduate students from Mequon, Ann Arbor and the Centers, as well as graduate students in the MS Environmental Education program. 
  • Must be in good academic and conduct standing with the institution.
  • Must register for one of the associated courses. 
  • Must comply with all deadlines for applications, document submissions, deposits and other payments. 


  • Program Fees: $2,500*
  • Tuition (3 credits)**
  • Study Abroad Fee: $50
  • iNext Insurance: $50
*This is a rough estimate. Final cost will be determined in late 2018.
**For full-time traditional undergraduates, there is no additional charge for tuition as long as the 3-credit course does not put you over 18 credits for the fall semester. Graduates will pay the standard per credit rate for the course. 


Included in the Program Fees are:
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Airport transfer and ground transportation
  • Lodging (ship cabin and hotel in San Juan)
  • All on-ship meals
  • Gratuities
  • Port taxes
  • Excursions, including snorkeling, kayaking, catamaran ride, rain forest hikes, formal dinner and more!

Not Included
  • Fees associated with obtaining a valid passport or visa*
  • Personal expenses
  • iNext Insurance health insurance ($50)
  • Meals are not included for flight days to and from Ft. Lauderdale. 
  • Checked luggage fees

Program Ratings:
Overall Experience:
1 2 3 4 5
Program Value:
1 2 3 4 5
Academic Experiences:
1 2 3 4 5
Cultural Experiences:
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
Overall Learning:
1 2 3 4 5
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.