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Previous Class Field Trips (Anth/Span)

students ending Ciudad Perdida Trek in Colombia
Above: Students ending the Ciudad Perdida trek, Colombia 2009.

Previous class trips have included the ancient and modern cultures of:
  • China (2016)
  • Colombia and Ecuador (2015)
  • Cambodia (2014)
  • Belize, Guatemala (2013)
  • Belize (2012)
  • Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina (2012)
  • Brazil/Venezuela (2010)
  • Central America (2010)
  • Colombia (2009)
  • Guatemala/Honduras (2007, 2009)
  • Peru (2008)
  • Southern Mexico (2006, 2008)

Class Field Trips Slideshows:

China Poster

2015-16 Class Trip


June 28 - July 23, 2016
Cost: $3000

Tour the wonders of China with professors Greg van Alstyne (anthropology) and Christine Wynder (Chinese).

  • Marvel at the ultra-modern mega-cities of Shanghai and Beijing
  • Lie back for a five-day Yangzi River cruise past the gargantuan Three-Gorges Dam
  • Hop on a bicycle to tour Xi’an, capital of the ancient Chinese empire
  • Discover the subterranean army of life-size Terracotta Warriors
  • Explore the Yungang Caves and the oldest collection of Buddhist carvings, statues and frescoes in China dating to the 5th century
  • Drink tea under red-lanterns in Pingyao, the most perfectly preserved Chinese city from the Ming dynastic era
  • Hike the Great Wall of China
  • Visit Tian’anmen Square, the political and cultural center of the Chinese capital
  • Lose yourself in the Forbidden City, former home of 24 Chinese emperors
  • Dine on Peking duck and sample the fiery hotpot, huoguo, in the local markets

Cambodia Poster

2014-15 Class Trip


June 15 - July 13, 2015
Cost: $3000


  • Explore the rich pirate history of the Caribbean port city of Cartagena, Colombia
  • Horseback ride through the remote highland carved stone monoliths of San Agustin
  • Follow your flashlight deep into the ancient underground tombs of Tierradentro
  • Barter for goods in the highland Indian market town of Otavalo, Ecuador
  • Hang your hammock in the lowland Amazon rainforest and learn to shoot a blowgun
  • Marvel at a 15th century Canari/Incan fortress high up in the Andes
  • Dine on the exotic foods of lowland and highland South America

Cambodia Poster

2013-14 Class Trip


June 24-July 18, 2014
Cost: $3000


  • Marvel at the monumental  temple complex of Angkor Wat
  • Immerse yourself in Khmer culture, both present and past
  • Absorb the spirituality of Khmer temples draped in riotous jungle flora
  • Cruise on the Mekong River with rare freshwater Irawaddy dolphins
  • Wake up in your hammock to the eerie calls of gibbons in remote Virachey National Park
  • Barter for your personal krama (silk scarf) in a local market
  • Bunk overnight in a highland Bunong village on the borderlands with Vietnam
  • Sit astride your elephant on an excursion in Mondulkiri Protected Forest
  • Snorkel with colorful coral reef fish in the Gulf of Thailand
  • Travel by air, coach, boat, remork-moto, foot (and elephant!)

Belize boat

2012-13 Class Trip


March 23–April 1, 2012
Cost: $1800

Belize, formerly British Honduras, is home to several archaeological sites of the ancient Maya. On this academic excursion, we shall be visiting several major Maya ruins, complete with stepped pyramids, temples, ball courts, and plazas.

Belize flower

Take a break from archaeology and trek through a Central American, tropical, rainforest jaguar reserve. At dawn, wake up to the raucous calls of jungle birds and the roaring of howler monkeys in the tree canopy overhead.

Next, splash across a frigid river and clamber through an underground cave system to an ancient Maya ceremonial burial site.

Then head for the coast for a dose of the azure blue of the Caribbean. While there, experience the cultural epicenter of the Afro-Carib Garifuna people.
Finally, bunk overnight in a local Mopan or Kek’chi Maya village and take part in their traditional way of life.

South American Expedition poster


June 18–July 13, 2012
Cost: $3550 (subject to modification)


Fly into La Paz, the highest capital in the world, at 12,000 feet. Rise early to explore the monumental pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the way, journey past herds of llamas tended by colorfully skirted women in bowler hats. Travel to the fabled silver mountain of Potosí and tread the underground paths of indigenous miners. Leave an offering to ‘Tío’, the guardian of the mineshaft. After soaking up the colonial atmosphere of red tile-roofed Sucre, put on your walking shoes as we trek through three highland villages as we enjoy local culture, food, lodging.

Llamas and Bolivian Mountains


Descend the precipitous eastern slopes of the Andes into the wild lowlands of the arid Chaco. Follow the course of the mighty Paraguay River into the very center of the continent to the Pantanal, the vast wetland with the greatest concentration of mammals in the world. Bunk at Tres Gigantes Biological Research Station and be on the lookout for jaguars, anacondas, capybaras, caimans, and the three giants: nutria, armadillo, and anteater. Then, sling your hammock on the Aquidabán riverboat for a couple of days and watch the Paraguayan world go by, bound for the river port capital, Asunción. While there, get used to city traffic again as we tour its 19th century monuments and buildings. Head east across Paraguay to Bella Vista and sip mate at the factory in this German immigrant community.

Native Bolivians on mountainside


Explore the ruins and imagine life in the 17th century Jesuit missions, UNESCO World Heritage Sites. To cap off our adventure, thrill to the panoramic power of the largest waterfall in the world at Iguazú.

Argentina Falls

South American Expedition poster

2010 Class Trips

Brazil / Venezuela

June 15–July 10, 2010
Cost: $3500

Begin by observing life in a Rio favela, then, dance to samba music on Ipanema, rub shoulders with the bustling crowds on the teeming streets and beaches of Rio de Janeiro, believed by many to have the most beautiful setting in the world.

Head up the Atlantic seaboard to explore the twisted cobbled streets of colorful colonial Olinda, founded in 1535. Observe an African-inspired possession cult ceremony in one of the most important centers of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Then, from the bustling port city of Belem, embark upriver on the mighty Amazon. Hug the shoreline to avoid the middle current. Laze about on deck while on the lookout for small riverine communities, people in dugout canoes, pink dolphins, caimans, and snowy ibises. Four days later put in at Parintins for the wildly extravagant Boi Bumba festival, a cultural event similar to Carnaval.

flowering plant, Guatemala

With the music and pageantry still ringing in your ears, hitch your hammock on the deck of a passenger boat heading for Manaus, the historic rubber capital of Brazil. From this port city, venture north into one of the most remote areas of the equatorial rain forest, and cross the border into neighboring Venezuela to begin the 6-day trek up the sheer sided Mt. Roraima. On top, discover plants and animals found nowhere else. Gaze across the abyss at the second highest waterfall in the world.

This is an excellent opportunity to acquire some Portuguese if you do not know any, or hone the skills that you already have.

Participants must be physically prepared for the demanding six-day hike. P.E. classes are strongly recommended during winter and spring quarters.

Sound exciting? Check with Greg van Alstyne or Laura Yocom. We'll fill you in on the details.

scarlet macaws, Guatemala

Central America

Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama
SPRING BREAK: March 16–28, 2010
Cost: $1550
(subject to modification)
Traipse through the cobbled streets of historic Granada on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, stopping at imposing colonial Spanish churches, bartering in vibrant markets. Harness up and zip through the tree canopy on the slopes of Mombacho, an active volcano. Take in panoramic views of dwarf forest, cloud forest, and coffee fincas below.

Cross magnificent Lake Nicaragua past Ometepe Island, the site of two active volcanoes. Sleep on board. Wake up in the river port of San Carlos, have breakfast, and motor down a portion of the Río San Juan, which forms the southern border of Nicaragua with Costa Rica. Hang a sharp right into a tributary, the Río Frío, and enter Costa Rica by boat. Hop a local bus to the Caribbean coast, then explore the lowland tropical jungle and meander through backwater canals. View rich rainforest wildlife, and most important, nesting sites of four species of turtles.

Continue by bus along the Caribbean coast, saunter into Panama over the bridge at Sixaola, travel over the highlands to the Pacific side of the isthmus and into Panama City. Fly to the low lying, coconut palmed San Blas Islands, home of the indigenous Kuna. Stay in a cabana and revel in their brightly colored clothing and traditional designs.

For the grand finale, cruise on the Panama Canal!

Throughout this trip, practice Spanish as you converse with local people—or if you're uninitiated to Spanish, jump-start your skills. You'll be surprised at your success.

Sound interesting? Check with Greg van Alstyne or Laura Yocom for more details and space availability.

2009 Class Trips

Ancient and modern cultures of Colombia

COST: $2750
(subject to modification)
Begin this academic adventure in the World Heritage city of Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast. Following in the footsteps of pirates, explore old Spanish fortresses and wander through narrow, colonial, cobbled streets. Leaving the city, hike through the remote Tayrona National Park, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The goal is to reach Ciudad Perdida, the monumental remains of a huge city built by the ancient Tayrona people. Along the way, trek through indigenous Kogui villages, splash across creeks and streams, and sleep in a hammock. Heading into the highlands, celebrate Colombian independence in a small, colonial town in the Cordillera Oriental. Shout "olé" with the locals at a bullfight, enjoy parades and music as well. Finally, fly to the Amazon Rainforest, stay in a jungle lodge along the Brazilian side of the river, climb into the tree canopy, and search for monkeys, myriad birds, pink dolphins, and alligators. This is a very good opportunity to acquire some Spanish if you do not know any, or hone the skills that you already have. Participants must be physically prepared for the demanding six-day hike. P.E. classes are strongly recommended during winter and spring quarters. Sound exciting? Check with us–we'll fill you in on the details.

Colombia trip ad

rare Quetzal bird

Ancient and modern cultures of Guatemala & Honduras

COST: $1600

Guatemala is home to many archaeological sites of the ancient Maya. On this academic excursion, we will visit the jungle sites of Tikal, Ceibal, Aguateca, and Yaxhá. In the Motagua Valley, we will admire gigantic carved, stone stelae, some as tall as thirty feet. Across the border, in Honduras, we will explore the archaeological ruins as well as the present day town of Copán. We will hike into the mountains to a tiny village accessible only by footpath, and spend a day and night with a Kek’chi Maya family. This is an area where the rare, beautiful, symbolic quetzal bird may be sighted. At least four small towns are on our agenda, with time to explore markets, sample local cuisine, admire colorful clothing, and chat with friendly people. Among the towns is Livingston, a center of the Afro/Carib Garífuna people, located on the Caribbean shoreline. This is a very good opportunity to acquire some Spanish if you do not know any, or hone the skills that you already have. Sound interesting? Check with us for more details and space availability.

Above: Rare quetzal, Guatemala