by Bailey Plourde ’17, and Alison York ’19
Full of adventures and memorable experiences, students learn the ways of Costa Rica
“Chicos and chicas” was when we knew our next adventure was near. Costa Rica, a country the size of West Virginia, contains 6% of the Earth’s biodiversity and is split into seven provinces. Lincoln Academy’s group of 32 travelers got to visit five provinces where they hiked up the Cloud Forest then ziplined their way to the beach while interacting with sloths, frogs, monkeys, snakes, crocodiles and the Jesus Christ lizard. Through our adventures we had the chance to learn the lifestyle of Costa Rican natives, and of course their famous motto “pura vida” or pure life.
After arriving in the humid and scenic paradise we were ready to explore the highs and lows of Costa Rica, literally. Ziplining was a big hit for the group where many “really enjoy[ed] the heights and the views while traveling through the rain forest” said senior Constance Mullin. The zipline course consisted of 11 different lines, varying distances and views, and also featured the “Tarzan” swing. While traveling through the rainforest we were able to see a full rainbow as well as wildlife below.
Later in the week we visited a local school, which was also a favorite activity for students. “You got to see children’s eyes light up with excitement and joy. Even though there was a bit of a language barrier the concept of fun and games is easily understood in any language,” said sophomore Gus Hunt. At the school, many of us played soccer, read books, planted various flowers or food, and played on the playground with the children.
Exploring the culture was a huge part of our trip especially when it came to local food. We got to choose between a couple different lunch and dinner options each day. However, the main dish served to us was chicken and rice or arroz con pollo. This is a very popular cuisine in the tropics; according to sophomore Gus Hunt, “it got a little old after a week, it was still my favorite.” Although, not everybody enjoyed the common meal as much as Gus; senior Constance Mullin enjoyed the “hashbrowns, eggs, watermelon juice, fruit, rice and beans, and more. This was my favorite meal because all of the food tasted really good and it was refreshing before the day of activities.” We enjoyed breakfast at each hotel we visited and we ate lunch and dinner at different restaurants or buffets.
While in Costa Rica we got to see many interesting animals that don’t exist in Maine. These exotic animals were very entertaining and filled our camera rolls. “I have always loved toucans, and had never seen one, not even at a zoo. So when I saw one on the night tour I was thrilled. He was definitely my favorite,” said sophomore Cait Chalmers. We also got to see one of Costa Rica’s most famous and laziest mammals, a sloth. These big furry animals were spotted hanging from up in the trees. According to Gus Hunt, “my favorite was probably the sloth, just based off of how out of place this animal was in the jungle. It doesn’t seem right that something so slow, should live in such a face-paced jungle.”
Throughout our journey in Costa Rica we soon found out that nothing is 100% predictable. Starting out on our first full day in Costa Rica we were scheduled to visit the Poas Volcano, but our plans were quickly changed as it had erupted the night before and the government shut down the town, evacuating the residents.
Some students had a hard time dealing with the heat and humidity. According to Cait Chalmers, “Something unexpected that happened was getting sick and passing out.” Luckily, after some sleep and much hydration Cait recovered and was able to enjoy the rest of the trip without any problems. These bumps in the road didn’t last long because we went on a new exciting exploration each day.
For some students this was their first time venturing out of the United States, but not for Gus Hunt. “I’ve visited all over that region of the world, but Costa Rica is definitely in the top 5 of the countries I’ve visited.” Costa Rica was a huge hit for the students of LA, between having the freedom to go shopping, and the organized excursions like horseback riding. Everyone on the trip, even the chaperones, enjoyed their stay in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Pura Vida!