Costa Rica adventure

Courtesy photo

A group of Mancos students traveled to Costa Rica over spring break. Back row, from left: Rachel Allen, Justin Burton, Lauren Kramer, Brandon McKie, Desirae Crask, Tamaria Zeutzius, Courtney Colyer, Morgan Lincoln. Front row, from left: Meranda Lincoln, Mariah Bradshaw, Alex Archuleta, Andie Paschal. (Not pictured: Sarah Kloster)

Jeanne Archambeault
mancos Times editor

It was the field trip of a high-schooler’s dream!

A trip to Costa Rica with a science teacher who loves to see kids learn science out in the world.

Thirteen students went to Costa Rica, in Central America, during their spring break, with science teacher Cathrine Fox.

The group spent time traveling to small towns, seaside homes, visiting a crocodile safari, zip-lining through the forest and also did some horseback riding. A small, stuffed Mancos Bluejay went with them everywhere they went, often getting into the pictures.

“I really liked it,” said student Justin Burton. “We got to see new stuff, stuff that we’d never seen before, and got to see how other people live.”

Lauren Kramer also thought the experience was great. “I have a much greater appreciation for where I live now,” she said. “There was never a time that I felt different...I always felt welcome.”

On the first day they traveled from Mancos to San Jose, one of the largest cities in the country. San Jose is also where they met the students from two other schools from Oregon and Idaho. They were all together the whole trip.

On day two, they visited a biological preserve where they saw sloths, snakes, birds and lots of different tropical plants. They hiked up to the top of Poas Volcano, where they saw two acidic lagoons that were shrouded in clouds, and where “the air reeks of sulfur,” Fox said. Later, they visited La Fortuna, a town near Arenal Volcano.

The third day they dubbed “Water Day.” They spent the morning hiking down to waterfalls and swam in pools that were surrounded by tropical plants and giant butterflies. In the afternoon, they kayaked their way across Lake Arenal, and then they soaked in Geothermal Baldi Hot Springs.

They were accompanied by a cloud forest on their fourth day as they made their way to the town of Santa Elena, on the edge of Monteverde Cloud Forest. Along the way, they visits a local school, watched some traditional dances and even played soccer with the students at the school. The Mancos students gave the Costa Rican kids paper, pens, pencils, crayons and other school supplies that they had brought with them. The kids also visited a local farm and took part in a reforestation project after meeting the farmer and his family. The hotel they stayed in that night was a small family owned lodge. “We had the entire place to ourselves,” said Fox.

On the fifth day, the group hiked in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest and did some zip-lining through the canopy of the forest, including a Tarzan swing. Horseback riding was also part of their day. “It was awesome to experience a different culture,” said Tamaria Zeutsius. The zip-lining experience and the horseback riding were her favorite times.

On the sixth day, they went to the beach town of Jaco, after seeing the huge colorful bird, Scarlet Macaws, and crocodiles relaxing in the river. They went on a crocodile and bird safari and watched the guide feed raw chicken to a 20-foot crocodile.

The next day they spent the whole day at Manuel Antonio National Park, a beach south of Jaco. On the beach there were capuchin and squirrel monkeys, raccoons and coatimundi. “If you were not careful they would steal your backpacks!” said Fox.

During their last day in Costa Rica, they visited Sarchi, a town that makes elaborately painted wagon wheels. Some of the students went to a folklore evening, others took taxis into San Jose, and others just hung out by the pool.

“I could say all kinds of wonderful things about the trip, about the country, what we did... but, I could not be more proud of our Mancos students,” Fox said. “They were interested, respectful, and excellent ambassadors of our community. I am excited that they were able to have this learning opportunity and experience another culture and ecological area of the world.”

“I’m really glad we had the opportunity.” Lauren Kramer said.

The next trip will be in two years.

“We will likely travel to Europe, and exact destinations will be decided by the end of April,” said Fox.

The group presented a slideshow of their trip on Friday, April 20 in Fox’s classroom.

The students who went to Costa Rica were Tamaria Zeutzius, Rachel Allen, Sarah Kloster, Andie Paschal, Alex Archuleta, Desirae Crask, Courtney Colyer, Brandon McKie, Justin Burton, Morgan Lincoln, Meranda Lincoln, Lauren Kramer, Mariah Bradshaw. The adults who accompanied them were Kelly Finlay, Brenda Burton, Tern Colyer, Cathrine Prenot Fox.

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