Costa Rica 2015: The Final Blog Posting

The CRA Middle School and Corvallis High School Costa Rica Travel Group (Left to Right, Top to Bottom). Top Row: Avery Walden, Ladd Grenfell, Jack Battisti, Anthony (bus driver), Sarah Cerdena, J-P Pujol, Christine Trefzger. Row 2: Wyatt Nett, Tracy Dickerson (Corvallis Group Leader), Josie Lange, Sydonia Curtis, and Trinity Nelson. Row 3: Whitney Curtis, Serena O'Brien, Lucas Trefzger, Riley Ames, Kate Loble, Beatrice Pujol, and Bradley Bruce. Front Row: Daniel (GTA Guide), Nathan Gardnier, Emmett Semple, Nick Pida, and Kelly Elder (CRA Group Leader).

The CRA Middle School and Corvallis High School Costa Rica Travel Group (Left to Right, Top to Bottom).
Top Row: Avery Walden, Ladd Grenfell, Jack Battisti, Anthony (bus driver), Sarah Cerdena, J-P Pujol, Christine Trefzger.
Row 2: Wyatt Nett, Tracy Dickerson (Corvallis Group Leader), Josie Lange, Sydonia Curtis, and Trinity Nelson.
Row 3: Whitney Curtis, Serena O’Brien, Lucas Trefzger, Riley Ames, Kate Loble, Beatrice Pujol, and Bradley Bruce.
Front Row: Daniel (GTA Guide), Nathan Gardnier, Emmett Semple, Nick Pida, and Kelly Elder (CRA Group Leader).

The Final Chapter. At 10:10 tonight (in about 10 minutes), we are leaving the hotel and heading to the airport. Our flight leaves sometime between midnight and one in the morning!  Our students are certainly excited, and maybe a bit tired, but the ‘final supper’ this evening with the group from Corvallis was very cool.

We went to dinner at El Mirador in Alajuela, Costa Rica. We had our choice of steak, fish fillet, chicken fillet, or spaghetti (with red sauce or vegetables).

After the meal, Mr. Elder (CRA Leader) and Mrs. Dickerson (Corvallis Leader) thanked Daniel for his passion and efforts on our behalf during the week. Daniel said he really appreciated everyone’s attentiveness and that the students are a reflection of their schools and their adult leaders – so thanks for all of that. Daniel also thanked the group for working hard to have fun together and get to know one another. They also thanked Omar and Anthony (our bus driver) for all of their work. Omar thanked the for letting him come with us – he loved being able to play soccer with everyone on the beach and to spend time with young people… he told us he usually works with senior citizens.

The following are some of the Montanan’s thoughts of our trip – the whole group met in the hotel lobby to talk about their week.

Emmet> The past week has been a great experience for me and I’ve learned many things and made many new things from CRA [AMEN uttered someone]. Josie added that because of CRA, she now knew how she could have been a better 8th grader. Nathan was a little sketched out to meet middle schoolers at the start, but all turned out well!

At first, Bea was super-intimidated. Nathan> Once I found out Bea was a secondary black belt, I thought wow. Sarah > I liked the trip. The middle schoolers were really mature but they also brought a lot of energy. Jack wasn’t sure if we would spend a lot of time together or not…. The accent the Corvallis used – Kate said she wasn’t sure what to make of that. The game we played at the start the first morning, awkward as it was, set the stage for us to succeed. Nathan thought it was cool when Kelly [Mr. Elder] sat in the bus with the students. Avery reminded all: JUNE 13 – soccer game in Helena! He plays for Missoula FC.

All in All… everyone agreed the trip was awesome!!


The Final “Question of the Day” – La Pregunta del Día

Considering the entire Costa Rica Adventure Tour, what are your Top 5 memories – listed from 5th to 1st?


Kate:

Kate tries a little bit of ice cream - and loves it!

Kate tries a little bit of ice cream – and loves it!

5. The food. I liked the fish fillet a lot.

4. I liked the long suspension bridge over the river at Tirimbina.

3. Daniel – he was a really nice guide and he knew what he was talking about; you could ask him about anything.

2. Rainforest canopy and the animals.

1. The beach during low tide because the waves were better for swimming and stuff. I also just really liked the beach.


Riley:

Riley is right on the aisle with one huge smile - Costa Rica-bound!!

Riley is right on the aisle with one huge smile – Costa Rica-bound!!

5. Eating termites on the farm – that was nasty!

4. All of the fish was really good.

3. Getting to hang out with all of my friends and the Corvallis high schoolers.

2. Rafting. Being in the raft was just fun, even though I got sunburned.

1. Zip-lining. A cool experience that was so fun.


Nick:

Nick strikes a pose below the 250' Arenal Falls.

Nick strikes a pose below the 250′ Arenal Falls.

5. Getting to go out of the country; that was super-sick!

4. Meeting all of the great people that I met.

3. The food. The fish at lunch coming from Arenal.

2. All of the zip-lining, especially going upside down.

1. Getting launched out of the raft in the middle of the Class IV rapids.


Wyatt:

Wyatt loved the zip-lining... and he was focused!

Wyatt loved the zip-lining… and he was focused!

5. Getting to meet the Corvallis students, Daniel, and the whole group.

4. Rainforest tours were cool because we saw tons of animals we wouldn’t normally see in Montana.

3. Soccer on the beach. It was really fun. I had an assist to Daniel and I scored a goal!

2. Zip-lining; we were up super-high, we could see the jungle canopy, and we got to go pretty fast.

1. Beach time. It was super-fun to jump the waves and stuff. It was hot and sunny.


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Trinity getting ready to hit the Pacuare River again after lunch!

Trinity:

5. Going zip-lining because we got to do it in the rain and it was really pretty – how high up we were.

4. Getting to hang out with the Corvallis kids – they were all cool.

3. The rafting because I’d never done it before and it was really fun.

2. Getting to try all the different foods which were really good, such as the Heart of the Palm on the farm, the Passion and all the fruit juices.

1. The first night in Alajuela – our hotel room was really cool. We had a really cool view and the largest balcony in the hotel!


Beatrice:

Bea loving a little zip-lining!

Bea loving a little zip-lining!

5. Playing basketball in the pool at the hotel and getting to punch Wyatt and Nick in the face on accident.

4. The conversations the girls and I had in the hotel room were really cool; it was fun to hang out with them and just talk.

3. Seeing the tree frogs and getting a really good picture of them; getting to go on the night hike in the rainforest in general and seeing things we wouldn’t normally get to see.

2. Rafting – going down the rapids and working as a team.

1. Zip-lining. Getting over the fear of going down… and flying over the river was really cool!


Bradley:

Bradley helping the team on the Pacuare River.

Bradley helping the team on the Pacuare River.

5. El Mirador Restaurant in Alajuela the last night because everyone was talking and then there were some really nice speeches.

4. The ocean because I hadn’t been there in a long time and it was a lot colder than I expected it to be.

3. Hanging out with the entire Corvallis group and getting to know them better.

2. Zip lining because it was my first time doing it and the views were amazing.

1. Going to Tirimbina and getting to go through the rainforest seeing all the animals… and the suspension bridge was pretty cool too!


Lucas:

Lucas looks over just after disconnecting from one of the zip-lines.

Lucas looks over just after disconnecting from one of the zip-lines.

5. Swimming in the pools and the ocean.

4. Food. Maybe not the beans and rice – I didn’t eat that much of it… but I ate a lot of rice.

3. Zip lining because it was good scenery and everything.

2. Whitewater rafting because that isn’t something you just normally go out and do.

1. Soccer on the beach because it was really fun. It was the right time of day as the sun was setting – nice temperature and no sunburn worry.


Serena (Bradley’s Mom):

Serena lounging around in the river as we floated through the Two Mountain Canyon on the Pacuare River.

Serena lounging around in the river as we floated through the Two Mountain Canyon on the Pacuare River.

5. All the different birds.

4. Crocodiles.

3. Meeting some of the Costa Rican people because they kept coming up and talking to me.

2. Zip-lining was fast and fun; exciting.

1. White-water rafting through the canyon.


J.P. (Beatrice’s Dad):

Jean-Pierre finishing one of the segments of his first (and quite possibly only) zip-line tour rides!

Jean-Pierre finishing one of the segments of his first (and quite possibly only) zip-line tour rides!

5. The farm.

4. The night-time frog hike.

3. Playing below the waterfall.

2. Birding in general.

1. Rafting.


Christine Trefzger (Lucas’s Mom):

5. I liked the night hikes looking for the frogs.

4. The rafting trip – the kids’ expressions as they went through the rapids and the waterfalls.

3. The beach – just being on it.

2. Traveling with a great group of people.

1. The waterfall outside of La Fortuna… the fun we all had in the water; and how a pile of rocks could be a water slide.


Mr. Elder:

Mr. Elder with a Red Eyed Tree Frog on his Red Eyed Tree Frog Costa Rica T-Shirt during the night hike at the Tirimbina Rainforest.

Mr. Elder with a Red Eyed Tree Frog on his Red Eyed Tree Frog Costa Rica T-Shirt during the night hike at the Tirimbina Rainforest.

5. Waking to clear skies and the silhouette of the Arenal volcano looming above us in La Fortuna and trying the cow tongue dish for lunch later in the day as we drove to the Pacific coast.

4. Seeing all the wildlife: the abundant frogs in the rainforest, the pit viper, the pair of Toucans, the flock of Macaws, the Howler Monkeys, all of the birds and the crocodiles on the river tour, the Sakata shedding its old skin, the Iguanas, especially the one swimming in the river (Daniel had never seen one swim), the sloth… the works!

3. Being the first ones to arrive for swimming at the base of the waterfall in the morning on a near-perfect day!

2. My students. Watching them be model middle school naturalists as we did our rainforest hikes, seeing them gel as a group both among themselves and with their newfound Corvallis friends, and hearing them say ‘Thank You’ for various adventures throughout the trip!

1. The first time the CRA students commandeered the back of the bus – a move that was accepted and embraced by the students from CHS (Corvallis High School). Bonding with Tracy (group leader) and the entire Corvallis crew throughout the trip!


One last thought: The airplane from Houston to Denver… auto-tinting windows, personal TVs, USB charging stations at each seat for devices… it was pretty unique and everyone LOVED it!

Day 6: Back to Alajuela and Meeting More of Daniel’s Family

Friday evening… our final night. We left La Playa Esterillos about 11:30 a.m. We stopped in for another dose of ice cream, at lunch at the crocodile bridge, and continued on to the Central Valley (where 65% of Costa Rica’s population lives). We arrived at the Hotel Buena Vista back in Alajuela about 4pm.

Coffee Process! Mr. Elder went with our guide Omar, Dr. Pujol, Mrs. Trefzger, as well as Corvallis students Avery and Lad to meet Daniel’s parents and his brother. Omar explained how coffee had come over when the Spanish brought it from Ethiopia.  He also told us about the coffee process.

Then Daniel’s mom made coffee the traditional way in Costa Rica and we tried a cup. When I asked if they had some Lazano salsa, Daniel’s dad said he would take me to a super market to get some.

Moments later, we walked up to a steel grate that met us at the street. Behind the bars was a man who went and got the Lazano when we asked for it. The next thing we knew, the owner came around and invited me to check out his shop!  It was about a 10′ by 10′ room that had everything from gum and pop to toilet paper and bakery items. The last thing he showed me was where his cash till is… he lifted up a little fan he had blowing toward his seat at the window, and underneath was a stack of bills – this little adventure made my final day in Costa Rica completely awesome!

Called a Kiosk in some countries, this is a Costa Rican 'street market' - look at the photo albums for more pictures Mr. Elder got of the inside when the man behind the gate invited him back!

Called a Kiosk in some countries, this is a Costa Rican ‘street market’ – look at the photo albums for more pictures Mr. Elder got of the inside when the man behind the gate invited him back!

The Final Chapter. At 10:10 tonight (in about 10 minutes), we are leaving the hotel and heading to the airport. Our flight leaves sometime between midnight and one in the morning!  Our students are certainly excited, and maybe a bit tired, but the ‘final supper’ this evening with the group from Corvallis was very cool.

Days 4 and 5: A 250′ Waterfall, road trip through the cloud forest and down to the beach… complete with Birds and Crocs!!

Pregunta del día: What can we say about the past 24 h
ours… since we left the hotel at the base of the Arenal Volcano?

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[Nick] Sleepless… because my roommates made me sleep on the ground! Wyatt said he had to the night before. I [again Wyatt] liked being able to pee (bus pulled over at the side of the road and Wyatt hit the bushes). It was relieving! [Trinity] Sandy. There’s so much sand I can’t get it off me; I have enough sand in my I could build a sand castle!  [Beatrice] Watery, ’cause we were at the waterfall, and then we went to the ocean… and water got up my nose and in my ears and everywhere. [Riley] The waterfall was really cold and the ocean is nice warm water. [Kate] The whole thing is amazing. The ocean is super-cool. I love Costa Rica and won’t be coming back later this week. [Lucas] Fun to hit the beach.  And it was fun to ride the ‘water slides’ in the river below the falls. [Bradley] I loved body surfing and playing in the waves.

The morning started today with some McCaws hanging out in the trees a few hundred yards from our room. Unfortunately, only Mr. Elder and Dr. Pujol got up early enough to see them! After breakfast at 7:00 am, we headed for a river boat ride to see some birds and crocodiles… Success!

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