This summer, twenty-two Ramblers spent eight days journeying around Costa Rica to immerse themselves in the country’s natural landscape, culture and beauty. Students had the opportunity to visit a variety of unique locations such as the Arenal Volcano National Park, the Santa Elena Cloud Forest, the Braulio Carrillo National Park and Aerial Tram and even the Hot Springs.
“Something I enjoyed most about this trip would definitely be the hot springs and the zip lining,” recalls Ariana Callaghan ’21. “There’s truly nothing like flying through a rainforest!”
“I also enjoyed learning about sustainability and keeping the Earth clean,” adds junior Kate Mahoney ’21.
Ramblers were joined by Spanish teachers Mrs. Julie Nold, the lead chaperone, Mrs. Erin Shea Hauri ’01 and Mr. Thomas Gordon.
“We spent a week practicing the Spanish language while exploring the Costa Rican forests —both cloud and rain—and traveling throughout the beautiful country. The students made connections to the way our actions impact the environment all over the world. They disconnected from their electronic devices and enjoyed connecting to many adventures in nature,” says Nold.
Over the course of the trip, the group was able to impact the communities they visited by planting 200 trees and using recycled plastic to make bracelets. They also immersed themselves in Costa Rican culture—exploring small cities and taking cooking lessons where they made regional dishes using traditional techniques and locally grown ingredients.
“This trip was an experience beyond compare,” says Sophia Sohigian ’22. “We were able to connect with locals, experience thrilling adventure activities and most importantly practice Spanish in a real life context. Using Spanish with native speakers enhanced my love for the language and my desire to learn more.”
Below is a detailed overview of the 2019 Costa Rica trip:
June 9: San José
Ramblers departed from USA.
Upon arriving in San José, students met their ACIS Tour Manager and began exploring the capital of Costa Rica.
June 10: Monteverde
The day began with a tour of Café Britt, a working, sustainable coffee plantation and roastery. Students learned about the life cycle of growing gourmet coffee beans and participated in a coffee-tasting session.
Ramblers then traveled to Sarchí, a small artisan town famous for its colored arts and crafts, especially its ox-carts.
The journey continued on to Monteverde, where students began to explore the rainforest region that is recognized for its diverse flora and fauna.
June 11: Monteverde
On this day, the group explored the important Santa Elena Cloud Forest which was originally settled in the 1950s by a group of Quakers from Alabama.
Students had the opportunity to swing far above the forest floor on the world famous Monteverde Canopy Tour. They were able to view the forest from a series of platforms and zip-lines that carried them above and through the canopy.
Later, Ramblers visited the small town center of Monteverde.
June 12: San Carlos
At the beginning of the day, the group visited the world-famous 5,357-foot-high Arenal Volcano with other students from a local school.
Later, Ramblers took a refreshing dip at one of the hot springs at the base of the volcano.
June 13: Sarapiqui
Students began their morning with a hike through the Arenal Volcano National Park which features a diverse landscape that spans from lava fields to thick forests.
Then, the group said adios to San Carlos and traveled to Sarapiqui.
June 14: Sarapiqui
As the day began, students got to enrich themselves in a Costa Rican cooking lesson where they learned to make empanadas.
In the afternoon, Ramblers came together to help the community with a reforestation service project on a nearby farm.
June 15: San Jose
Ramblers departed for the cloud forest in Braulio Carrillo National Park with a ride on the Aerial Tram. Toucans, quetzals, hummingbirds, white-faced capuchin monkeys and other wildlife could also be spotted in this national park.
After the park visit, the group headed back to San Jose for the evening.
June 16: Departure
Students departed for the USA
The following students participated: Thomas Albrighton, Illiana Arroyo, Eric Berghoff, Briana Broderick, Caroline Browne, Ariana Callaghan, Samantha Cantrell, Katelyn Clucas, Nora Dettling, Gina Leech, Tina Li, Kate Mahoney, Emily Molloy, Brendan Morgan, Vanessa Murray, Emily Rivero, Anna Shortal, Sophia Shoigian, Anne Torrez, Lili Varela, Ellen Wagner, Mhairi Wardrop