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* Marine Ecotourism - Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
Marsh Harbor, Bahamas (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Budget Sheets Summer
CSU Deadlines / Program Dates:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 12/01/2017 ** Rolling Admission 05/13/2018 05/20/2018
Priority Deadline: December 1 - Final Deadline: February 15 (pending spots available)

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students applying to CSU-sponsored programs will be notified of decision within two weeks of application submission. Students applying to non-CSU sponsored programs need to contact their program provider for decision dates.
Fact Sheet:
Grade Point Average:
Language(s) of Instruction:
Program Coordinator:
Emily Garner Program Type: CSU Short Term Program
Areas of Study:
Natural Resources
Program Description:

Marine Ecotourism
in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

BahamasBoat for programBahamas 2013Bahamian Fish

Sail and snorkel the crystal clear waters of the Bahama Islands. While living aboard a 57-foot Sailing Vessel you will explore key issues in the sustainable development of marine ecotourism in the Abaco Islands near Marsh Harbor, Bahamas. Learn about coral reef ecology and local Bahamian cultures and their interactions with the sea, nature conservation and tourism development.

Check out this video from the Summer 2016 program! 

Program At-a-Glance

WHEN: May 13 (Depart U.S.) - May 20, 2018
NOTE: Weekly group meetings will be held from March 20 - May 5, 2018 with discussions, group work, and project development. Upon return to the U.S., students will complete project reports and assignments on individual basis.

CREDITS: All committed students will be registered for NRRT 321: Marine Ecotourism Bahamas Encounter (3 credits) through CSU's Division of Continuing Education. All tuition and program charges will be billed at the start of the summer term.

COST: See Budget Sheet for details. The cost includes tuition and fees for 3 CSU credit hours through CSU's Division of Continuing Education, boat charter with captain, eight days room and board on the ship, and equipment. Airfare, passport, book/supplies, personal incidentals Bahamas departure tax is not included.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Applicants for this program are eligible for scholarships through the Office of International Programs.

PROGRAM LEADER: Dr. Stuart Cottrell, Associate Professor, Global Tourism, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: Open to sophomores and above. Instructor approval. Good academic and disciplinary standing. Participants must pass a swimming test prior to start of the program (TBA).

Academic Overview

Marine ecotourism is becoming increasingly significant worldwide as marine protected areas have become popular tourist destinations with increased economic potential.  Lack of management and protection policies to mediate increased visitation threatens to destroy delicate marine or ocean-life natural environments and ecosystems.

This program seeks to expose students to the concepts and practices of sustainable development of marine ecotourism through guest lectures by well-known local researchers and environmental leaders, data collection, and a firsthand marine ecotourism experience.

The program includes both an on-campus and abroad component. Prior to departure, students engage in on-campus preparation via lectures in snorkeling and sailing skills, lessons on boating safety and navigation, and readings and discussion on the challenges of marine tourism in the Galapagos Islands and Florida Keys.

While in the Bahamas, students meet with local authorities. Visits in previous summers have included Friends of the Environment; the Light House Historical Association; Nancy Albury, a local archeologist, who spoke to the group about rare findings of crocodile and tortoise remains in the area; and Nan Hauser, president and director of the Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation who spoke about her Humpback whale research in the Cook Islands.

Requirements include an exam, reflection paper, and ecotourism project development report for the Bahamas.  

Course requirements include:
  • written exam on readings, class lectures, and Bahamian Culture; 
  • reflection journal outlining student's personal philosophy of the role of marine ecotourism as a sustainable development alternative;
  • ecotourism group project paper requiring the development of an intervention strategy for a sustainable tourism project;
  • participation evaluation based on attendance, a series of individual exercises, and group participation score


Students will travel to Marsh Harbour, Bahamas. From there, the group will set sail from the Coral Reef Exploration at Fowl Cay Preserve and the Northeast End of Great Guana Cay. Throughout the trip, students will visit Hope Town, Guana Cay, and Man-O-War Cay. During this time they will improve their seamanship skills, including navigation, boat handling, and sailing.

Housing and Meals

The trip entails eight days sailing aboard the Shearwater ship (or similar vessel) where all students are required to play an active role in navigation and operation of the vessels. On ship lectures occur at the reef, anchorages and marinas along the sailing route with evening discussions about marine ecotourism issues experienced that day.  Students navigate and operate the vessel, snorkel coral reefs, visit marine based parks and island settlements and conduct coral reef inventory studies.