The students stop for a photograph during a hike in the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica during spring break. Pictured are Courtney Rankin (front left)

The students stop for a photograph during a hike in the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica during spring break. Pictured are Courtney Rankin (front left)

Costa Rica an eye-opening adventure

Costa Rica was the destination for some lucky students this spring break.

Costa Rica was the destination for some lucky students this spring break.

We departed Williams Lake heading to Vancouver, Dallas and finally San Jose, Costa Rica for an adventure filled trip in this beautiful little country!

Education First Tours was the tour company. Freddie our director was amazing.

He knew so much about his country and taught us about the different eco systems, plants and animals.

Our bus driver Carlos was also awesome as he navigated the mountainous terrain taking us to volcanoes, cloud forests, tropical jungles, and the western coastline of this amazing part of the world!

We started out in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, and went to the “INBioparque” to learn about the many ecosystems of Costa Rica.

We saw vegetation and wildlife in this park that is designed to mimic the country’s diverse ecosystem.

Then we headed off to the Arenal Mountains to visit the Poas Volcano.

We stopped along the steep incline to sample some delicious strawberries which were locally grown.

We hiked down to a beautiful waterfall and were able to swim and cool off in the crystal clear waters.

Our muscles were feeling it on the hike back up!

We visited the town of La Fortuna for a little shopping and to try some delicious ice-cream and fantastic Costa Rican coffee.

We then went kayaking in Lake Arenal and had fun swimming and playing in the waters of this man made lake.

Then it was off to the largest natural hot springs in the world to soothe our tired muscles!

There were about 15 different pools, some extremely hot, and everyone enjoyed this relaxing experience!

Then it was onto Monteverdi, stopping at a small school to visit the children there. The students danced to Costa Rican music for us and we in turn sang some songs and taught them some Canadian songs.  A soccer game ensued after we had some local foods that the school provided for us.

Monteverdi is in the Santa Elana Cloud Forest Area and we hiked through the clouds finding some interesting bugs such as a unique walking stick that looked like moss.

We learned about the shapes of the plants and how they are adapted to deal with the continuous moisture provided by the clouds.

We then went on an amazing zip-lining trip with 12 zip lines totalling four kilometres in length!

The final zip line was one kilometre long and the view was incredible!

Then we planted trees in the low lying areas of the forest leaving a positive mark on the land.

Visiting Manuel Antonio National Park and viewing howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, sloths, lizards, and other insects on the way was incredible.

We arrived at a beautiful, secluded beach on the Pacific Ocean and had fun swimming, building sandcastles, and watching white faced monkeys and Costa Rican raccoons playing in the trees trying to steal food from the tourists!

The next day we visited Carara Biological Reserve and spotted many different animals and insects in their natural habitat.

Then we went on a river cruise and saw many different species of birds and other wildlife.  The high light was our boat driver getting into the water to feed the crocodiles!

Our hotel was right on the ocean and we had a fun birthday party that night for Rylee Smith which included birthday cake and a pinnate.

Then it was a back to San Jose for some delicious chiros. Cole Krawchuk had chocolate/carmel chiros, chocolate dipped chiros, and cinnamon/sugar chiros!

Our final night and saying farewell to Freddie and Carlos was difficult.

They both made our trip so memorable.

Freddie was so knowledgeable and friendly. He made sure everyone was happy and safe.

It’s always so much fun to take students and adults to foreign countries and to watch them learn and grow from the experiences.  I know that many of these students will go on to travel and have developed some skills that will help them to explore the world.

They appreciated the different culture and how lucky we are to live in Canada.

In March of 2015 I will lead a tour with Julia Jack to Ireland and Scotland.

It is sure to be an amazing trip and we are planning to be in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day. If you are interested please call me, Sharon Smith, at 250-398-8298.

The trip is open to students in grades 10, 11 and 12 as well as friends and family. Don’t miss out on this amazing experience.

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