Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thank you Costa Rica---It's Been a Trip to Remember

 We've had a fantastic time here in Costa Rica!  We are just packing up and getting ready to head to the airport! It's a beautiful day here and while we're sad to say goodbye to this gorgeous country with kind people, we are excited to see our families and friends!

See you Stateside soon!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Back to San Jose!

We left our wonderful beachside villa and headed back toward San Jose!

Along the way we stopped to do some souvenir shopping.  One of the places was a artisan coop, where they also make the ox carts that Costa Rica is so well known for.  These carts are different form other Latin American carts because they are beautifully hand painted!  We were able to see them being cut, assembled and painted. 

Once we reached our hotel in San Jose, students have two options:  they could walk around San Jose with a chaperone or they could attend the cultural evening that they signed up for prior to departure.  Both groups had a fun evening.  Those who went to the cultural night, experienced a view like no other of San Jose and cultural dancing overlooking the city.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Goodbye Monteverde, Hello Carara!

Due to technology issues we were unable to post yesterday.

In a nutshell, this is what we saw and experienced:

·      We left the cloud forest for the beach;

·      Stopped and saw a river full of American Crocodiles---the largest number of American Crocodiles in all of Central America;

·      Toured a forest at sea level;

·      Arrived at our new hotel:  SWANKY!!!  A hotel right on a black sand beach (black sand is from volcanic activity);

·      Swam;

·      Swam;

·      Swam;

·      Went to Manuel Antonio National Park where we saw Howler Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys and a two toed and three toed sloth;

·      Spent the day swimming and exploring the most gorgeous white sand beach;

·      Had a fantastic evening back at the hotel.

Tomorrow we are returning to San Jose.  We will stop for souvenir shopping.  We can’t believe our trip is almost over!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Up in the Canopy

Our day was magical from start to finish.

We were up early, with 6:00 am wake up calls and a 6:30 breakfast.  Breakfast this morning was toast with a homemade papaya and mango marmalade, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, coffee and juice. 

 Our bus left at 7:30 for the cloud forest---IT WAS ZIP LINING DAY with Aventura Canopy Tour!!!!

We all got harnassed in, helmets on, and ready for instruction!  Then...we were off!

All in all there were 12 platforms during our zip line.  One zip line was a mile long!  We zipped over the canopy--some of us even saw a rainbow as we zipped on by!  At the next platform, most people were partnered up and zipped to their final destination.  As we were unhooked, we were asked if we were participating in.....

The Mega Tarzan Swing!  This was a jump from a platform, that swung out and finally finished on the group below.  Almost everyone participated--students and chaperones alike!

As if that weren't enough....

Some participated in the optional Horseback Riding experience.  The ride went through the rainforest. The terrain changed from meadows to forests, hills and flat land. 

Those who didn't go horseback riding, went into town to explore.  Some spoke with the local people, others observed glass blowing (the family's tradition), visited and shopped in a shop with handmade blankets, purses, wallets.  Some even went to a Sushi bar!  Some students saw an Easter parade go by.  There were lots of tourists out in town and the church was packed with locals. 

Lunch was back at our hotels after our respective activities.  Then, it was off for a canopy walk.

The canopy walk was through the canopy of the rainforest on eight hanging bridges. 

 As we walked through the canopy learning about the epiphytes, strangler trees, and enjoying the views, we were fortunate to see a quetzal

Our guide explained that bird watchers come to this forest just to see this bird.  You can imagine how excited and awed we were to see it in person and so close!  It was beautiful!

We returned to our hotels, exhausted but happy.  Dinner was quesadillas and homemade yucca chips.  Tomorrow we're off to the Pacific Coast.  We'll be leaving the mountains and headed down to sea level.

Money, Money, Money, Money!

For those interested in the currency---the local currency is a Costa Rican colon. 

The exchange rate is approximately 500 colones=$1. 

They also take US Dollars.  Sometimes colones will be given as change, sometimes US

A Sneak Preview

What a fantastic day!

This morning we have gone zip lining, some went on the Tarzan jump, and everyone either went horseback riding or perusing the town!  And that's just been this morning!  We're on a lunch break and then off to a canopy walk in the rainforest!!!

More to follow later!  All are doing well and definitely keeping busy! :)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Walk in the Rainforest

Our afternoon was spent the rainforest, the Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena.

Our guide taught us about the flora and the fauna.   Those who wanted to, could touch a millipede that was found!

We continued on, looking up, listening, and paying attention to where we walked.

We didn't see any big animals (those at the very back of the line saw the Costa Rican version of a wild turkey---it looks VERY different!), but we were treated with one final surprise....

There, right behind our bus, was a.....


We couldn't have asked for a better ending to our day!!!

We're having a terrific time here in Costa Rica!!!!  We made a stop for snacks at a local convenience store and headed back to our hotel.  We have been having an evening with dinner, talking, and sharing.

Tomorrow holds more excitement....but you'll have to visit our site tomorrow to see what adventures we have! :)