Costa Rica, a touch of the tropics, some may say. I say it’s more of a dive, head first, into a region soaked in biodiversity and engulfed by environmental awareness, for Costa Rica is so much more than just a tourist beach get away. This last summer I went on a tour with the spanish club at my school. We went to Costa Rica with an educational tour company, Education First Tours. With this particular tour company I did more than see Costa Rica, I experienced it.
Over the seven days I was there, Costa Rica revealed to me its beauty and unique structure. I started my adventure in the metropolitan capital, San Jose. The tropical interior landscape at the Hotel Colaye was impressive and gave us a glimpse of what was to come. After the first night on foreign soil we traveled to the next region of Costa Rica, the Arenal Region. Here we had our first taste of Costa Rica. That day we visited INBioparque, a biodiversity park dedicated to educating people on the many different regions of Costa Rica’s landscape. After we left the exquisite INBioparque we visited the Poás Volcano, one of the five active volcanoes in Costa Rica. It’s too bad that the Botos Lake, which occupies the center of the volcano, was not visible that day due to the dense steam emitted by the volcano. We left the sulfur smelling National Park and headed to our hotel, Grand Arenal, in the Arenal region of La Fortuna. Our next stop was the Poás Hot springs, which are natural hot springs heated by the Poás Volcano. These springs were 152 degrees Fahrenheit! Talk about hot!
The following day we spent kayaking around the largest lake in Costa Rica, Lake Arenal, and swimming in the La Fortuna Waterfall. The waterfall water was so cold that almost none of the people in our tour group would swim in it, but I did. After swimming in the frigid water I was ready to climb up the five hundred and fifty steps it took to get there. The following three days we spent traveling to and touring Monteverde, the mountainous region in Costa Rica. This part of the trip was the most inspiring to me because we visited a one room, Intermediate school. The Twelve children attending that school were still participating in the Costa Rican school year, which starts in February and ends in November. All of these children walked by themselves miles to get to school, rain or clear skies, and only got one pair of shoes a year. Seeing these children in such a deprived learning environment really opened my eyes to how lucky we are to have clean, modern schools and how we must work hard and not waste what God has given us.
The remainder of our trip we stayed at the hotel Terraza del Pacifico Playa Hermosa in Jaco on the pacific coast, which was right on the beach, and it was such a beautiful sight. The sand was black and fine under your feet, you could smell and taste the saltwater of the Pacific Ocean in the air, and hear the crashing of the waves against the rough rocks that lined the outer rim of the beach. There is nothing more peaceful than lying on the black, foam-like sand and listening to the sounds of Costa Rica. I will always remember the insightful and beautiful lessons that Costa Rica unveiled to me, for traveling there was truly a beautiful experience.
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