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I’m on my way to London right now. I’ll be boarding the plane tonight and arriving in the morning. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to post the first few days as we’ll be super busy. The teachers try to get us over the jet lag. I know we’ll ride the Eye and sit through a mass at St. Paul’s. We’ll also do a walking tour and get our Oyster Card.

In case I can’t post at first, I’ve prepped this one. It’s about a trip I took in March of 2010 to Costa Rica with my mommy. Some of the pictures aren’t the greatest because I took a few out of a photo book my mom had made (which is also how I remember all the details.)

The book. It’s got Poas Volcano on the front.

I went on this trip with a group called EF Tours. They do educational tours around the world. We took this one over Spring Break with about eight other people from my high school (including two teachers and my mom.) We met up with about thirty other people from Texas and Arizona.

The first few days, we had a broken bus, so a two hour drive took all day. We still had to get to all our scheduled stops, so we were exhausted by the time we finally got to our hotel.

Alright, so, we flew into San Jose on a Saturday and met up with another group pretty quickly. They were only from a couple hours away, so we had stuff in common. The other groups got there later.

This was our first hotel, Centro Colon. You’ve also got a great view of our hideous backpacks that we carried. The other group had matching shirts. We were on the same flight out of Dallas with them.

 

We were all pointing at the “casino” sign.

 

I think we played Truth or Dare in this little hallway. We weren’t allowed to leave the hotel because it isn’t safe outside at night.

The first night, we didn’t do all too much. We stayed at each hotel for usually a max of two nights. We stayed in four different places.

On day 2, we took a walk through the INBioparque. The tour guide told us about all the trees and flowers. We also visited Poas Volcano and relaxed at hot springs in Baldi.

There was a hedge maze that we all walked through. It was a great first hedge maze!
These beautiful flowers were all over Costa Rica.

 

We also got to visit a coffee farm. We bought real coffee from a tiny store operated by the farm.

 

A bird of paradise flower. Gorgeous!

 

Poas Volcano-
It was really smokey the day we went, so we didn’t get a great view. It’s the pool looking thing in the middle.

 

We spent the evening at Baldi Hot Springs relaxing. The hottest pools were over 100 degrees!

On day 3, we kayaked on Lake Arenal. It was very calm on the water, but hot! After the relaxing morning, we got ready to hike up and down stairs to La Fortuna Waterfall. It apparently only took 15 minutes to go down the stairs, but it felt like an hour. It took forever and it was hot and humid.

As soon as I saw this, it was worth it. Until I had to go back up the stairs.

 

I don’t remember where these were, but it was right by our hotel. It’s fruit.

 

We all got to try one. It was sour, but more like a lime than a lemon.

On day 4, we started heading to our next location- Monteverde. Here, we would visit a local school and go on a horse ride.

On the way there, we stopped at a German Bakery and got chocolate and coffee.

The bridge photos below have a story. A few months prior, the original bridge had been knocked out by a landslide. This bridge was put up and had a weight limit. The bus was already pushing the limit, so we all had to get our and walk across with the bus following behind us. It was a very intense moment.

 

Nail biting moment as we watch the bus cross

 

Hotel 3! After visiting a local school, arriving at the hotel, and unpacking, we could either explore or go on a horse ride. Our group and part of a second group chose the horses.

 

The school we visited. We bought jam from them and they did a dance for us.

 

A group picture with us and our horses! My mom fell off her horse while she was taking a picture.

I don’t have any pictures of day 5. We planted trees in a nature reserve and took a hike through a Cloud Forest. Then those who wanted to rode zip lines.

Day 6– We traveled to Jaco. We also visited another reserve. In Jaco, the beach has black sand! Someone tried to sell us drugs on the beach. We said no, though.

Hotel 4, in Jaco. Our favorite location there!

We walked from our hotel to Manuel Antonio National Park. Only a certain amount of people can go in each day and the limit at one time is pretty small. It’s not crowded at all. We started with a nature walk and ended up by a beautiful beach.

Leaving the park, we had to take a tiny boat across four feet of water. We couldn’t just walk through it because it was contaminated with fecal matter.

I don’t have any pictures, but I turned 16 while we were there. They bought a piñata and we had fun.

Day 8 took us to Sarchi. They’re famous for their ox carts. They’re huge! A wheel was bigger than me.

It’s a photo of a photo, so I apologize. The point is to see how huge the cart is though.

 

We found this guy at a gift shop on the way to San Jose. The back of it had a huge flower photo garden and a butterfly garden. He was there too. He was a rescue toucan and can’t live on his own any more. It was really sad. We could walk into his cage.

 

The final activity was a Cultural Experience that you could choose to do. Our group did.  We ate traditional food and watched a traditional dance show. This photo is the San Jose skyline from the mountain the restaurant/bar was on.
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