Seven students, six parents, and a handful of Chrysalis staff met in San Jose, Costa Rica, in early April with great expectations about the adventures at hand. The whitewater sections of the Pacuare River provided class 3 and 4 rapids through beautiful rain forest on day one of the trip. Further north, the mountainous area around the Arenal volcano offered us an exciting zipline adventure, and the chance to hike into the edge of a lava field left from an eruption in the 90’s. Our accommodations in Monteverde were virtually on top of a mountain that afforded views of the distant Pacific Ocean by day, and the Southern Cross by night. The southern hemisphere stars were brilliant.
We left the cool mountain breezes of the cloud forest and descended sharply toward the coast, arriving at Manuel Antonio National Park where the temps were above 100 degrees and the humidity made the swimming pool feel comparatively dry. Each of the three hikes we did in disparate areas in Costa Rica were on winding trails through dense vegetation. Added together, they provided up close and personal views of howler monkeys, rare squirrel monkeys, white-faced monkeys, several varieties of sloths, an anteater, brightly-colored snakes, and a number of beautiful birds that we’d never be able to see outside of a zoo, they were sights to behold.
The thrilling adventures, enchanting natural resources, and fascinating wildlife described above would be quite enough to make this a fine international trip, but it’s clear to me in retrospect that the best memories from Costa Rica will be about the excellent human experience we all enjoyed, and the relationships that emerged. Our students were careful and thoughtful about the goals of the trip, which they designed prior to our launch. Each of them moved toward a closer and more considerate relationship with their accompanying parent. Meanwhile, our lovely and generous parent group cooperated in every sense. We couldn’t have had a nicer group of folks with whom to spend this amazing adventure.
Very Best Regards,