I asked Elise (my 13 year old) to write a guest post and share the pictures she took on her exciting trip to Costa Rica. You can read Part One here. -Ann
Day 5: Monteverde
Today we went to La Cruz Elementary School. It was very cool. There were only 9 kids which I thought was kind of strange, but it was kindergarten through fifth grade. They did a little dance for us which was kind of cool. For the last dance, they made us participate which was really, really fun. We donated things, so I took jump ropes and some school supplies. I forgot to bring my jump rope, so I didn't show them anything.
After the school visit, we went to plant some trees, and that was lots of fun. We named ours Felicia Leaf Le Weave III. The person who was in charge of everything liked our name so much that he recorded all of us saying it.
I didn't take any pictures at the school or tree planting, but my teachers posted some great pictures here.
After that, we went to zip lining, and I was terrified, absolutely terrified. We did four or five by ourselves and another by ourselves that was kind of long. Then we did two or three with a partner. They were really, really long. One was a mile long. It was so, so cool. We got to see all of the mountains and the valleys, but we had to hike up there. I managed to take a video on one of the long ones that I did with a partner, but my camera battery died halfway through.
After that, the rest of the people went horseback riding, but I'm allergic to horses. I went back to the hotel and blocked out the rest of the world with my headphones and colored on graph paper.
Day 6: Pacific Coast
This morning, we packed up and went to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. On our way there, we went on a bridge that overlooked a bunch of crocodiles. We got to take some cool pictures of them. Our tour guide, Erik, said that the reason there were so many crocodiles was because they used to be able to feed the crocodiles, so they keep coming back to that spot expecting to be fed.
We went on a crocodile tour, and it was really cool. We got to see lots of different crocodiles. One was 16 feet long! They call it Osama Bin Laden because of his ability to hide. We saw so many different birds, and I got a really good picture of the macaws.
the boat we were on for the crocodile tour
We went on a nature walk and saw lots of butterflies. I was able to get some good pictures of the butterflies and the chrysalises. On the walk, we were able to see snakes, frogs, spiders, and toads, but they were all behind glass.
cool flowers that attract pollinators
blue morpho butterfly
We went on a ariel tram tour through the rain forest. It was really cool because I was at the very front, so I got to see everything. Also, there was a zip line that was going right above us, so we were able to see all the people doing that. We saw a little waterfall through the trees.
view from the tram
Day 7: Manuel Antonio National Park, Campos
Today we had burnt pancakes, fruit, and sausage and potatoes that I really, really liked. I gave up eating rice and beans. We walked to the beach, and we saw some monkeys and sloths, and then we arrived at the beautiful ocean! It was so cool. The water was just right, wasn't too cold, wasn't too hot. It was so clear and blue and green. The monkeys tried to steal my food and some of my friends' food, but they didn't succeed. It was really, really hot out, and I kind of forgot to reapply sunscreen. When I got back to the hotel, I figured out was really, really burnt.
I didn't take my camera to the beach, but there are some beautiful pictures on my teachers' blog post here.
Day 8: Sarchi and San Jose
We started heading back to San Jose, but we stopped in a town called Sarchi. Sarchi is famous for its ox carts and hand painted stuff. We got to see where they make things with the water wheel and how powerful that is. We also got to see the process of how they make the paint. It was really, really, really cool.
world's largest ox cart
cathedral in Sarchi
The folklore night was really cool. We got to see a traditional dance with the big skirts. We also saw belly dancing which was really too much for me. Then we got to do dancing. The food was really good. We had rice and beans. Again. We had some kind of chicken and coconut sugar balls for dessert. They were really good! I think it went on too long because we had to get up at 3 a.m. to go to the airport. We stayed until 9:30, and that was not OK with me.
view of San Jose from folklore night
Day 9: Travel day back home
We got up at 3:00 and had a bag breakfast of peanut butter and jelly. You can't bag rice and beans. Customs was really, really, really long. It was nice getting back to where we can read the signs. I now have a new appreciation for other cultures and people who come to America with little English. I had a lot of fun. It was such a great experience, and I am so glad I could go.
This was such an amazing experience for Elise. Two teachers at her school organized this trip with EF Educational Tours. I'm thrilled that they took that initiative and were willing to travel with a bunch of middle school age kids. It sounds a bit daunting to me! EF did a wonderful job integrating education, fun, Costa Rican culture, physical activities, and sightseeing. Despite growing a bit weary of rice and beans at every meal, Elise loved every minute of the trip. She has made memories to last a lifetime.