Hasta la Vista

Today is the final full day of our long journey across Costa Rica. Our sun-weary students made their way to the buses this morning with bags full of sand and memories to last them a lifetime. Today was spent winding our way back to San Jose with stops for souvenirs in the town of Sarchi, known for its artisans and beautifully painted wagons. 

Tonight we will spend some time at the hotel's pool sharing stories before heading to bed early. Two of our three flights have very early wake-up calls and the third will make us all jealous by sleeping in and spending a morning at the pool. 

This being my fourth trip to Costa Rica, I must say that the students were absolutely wonderful the entire trip. We received constant compliments from our guides and hotels (no small feat for 80+ middle schoolers) and there were very few times when students arrived anywhere late. They can now consider themselves seasoned world travelers and I sincerely hope this is a habit they continue! Thank you, parents…

Vamos a la Playa

Today was our beach day! Before actually traveling to the country, our students tend to see Costa Rica as a tropical beach paradise and often have few expectations beyond playing in the sand. As such, this trip to the beach is highly anticipated all week and it does not disappoint. As we entered Manuel Antonio National Park early this morning, complaints of a 6:00 am breakfast were quickly replaced with a stunned silence. The beach is gorgeous and its density of wildlife practically guarantees sightings of sloths, white-faced monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and countless other species. However, I have no way of knowing our students saw any of these animals as they sprinted to the sand. 
I apologize for the relatively few pictures in today's post, but I must admit I was enjoying the sand and waves myself and wet sand does not mix well with delicate electronics (not that our students noticed). Here are the four pictures I took today:
This is NOT Manuel Antonio, but the view from the parkin…

Guest Post from Ms. Hyatt, Wyatt, Karina, Keara, and Ginger

Wyatt, Karina, Keara, Ginger and Ms. Hyatt here! This week we've been exploring some very exotic locales. During our travels we've been studying the habits of a rare, imported species of homo sapiens, the "Alice Dealius Middle Schoolius studentius." Below is a annotated photo compilation of our findings. All photos were taken by a superior and strange homo sapien called Wyatt M.
Here we see some young homo sapiens overlooking the town of Monteverde. Rectangular light devices in hand they captured some amazing views. It is unknown how the attraction to this device occurs but it is extremely strong. 

 Here we see the young homo sapien, commonly referred to as "James", examining coffee beans at the Doka Plantation.  

In these photos we have the young homo sapiens following their alpha, Jorge. Much like canidae, the young homo sapiens will follow their leader anywhere.  

Here are the homo-sapiens, Karina and Keara, camouflaging themselves as butterflies to p…

Monteverde to Jaco

Today our students made their way from Monteverde to the beach town of Jaco. On the way, we stopped to spy on some crocodiles and enjoy a gondola ride through the rainforest. As Ms. Hyatt has kindly volunteered to update the blog with some of her most creative students, I'll leave this post simple and give some photo highlights from the last two days:
Enjoying the ice cream of Monteverde
Searching the streets of Santa Helena for souvenirs
Hitting the water for the perfect crocodile photo (for Snapchat, obviously)
Found it!

Tired kids!
Even more kids!

Riding the gondola up
They were more scared to have Mr. Rottman on their gondola than the height
Riding the gondola down
Soccer before dinner

Our view from dinner
Tomorrow we make our way to Manuel Antonio National Park to explore the forest (this is a great opportunity to find sloths and monkeys) and enjoy the nicest beach of our trip. Our students will be at breakfast at 6:15 am tomorrow so it's an early bedtime tonight!

Cloud Forest

Our activities today required the buses to take two different paths, so while the "sloth" bus enjoyed horseback riding and zip lining this morning, the "tocan" bus took a hike through the cloud forest! It's still too early in the day to say we're all done, but here are some pictures of our progress so far!

And here are some pictures sent to me from our horseback riding crew!

This may be my only post for the day, but I am hoping for some help from a guest poster this evening as I go on a night hike with some of our more adventurous students.