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Spanish Club

During summer school the Spanish students have the option of taking a trip to Costa Rica - a trip that takes place every two years.  Check back often for their most recent pictures and journal entries!

                                                                 2016 Costa Rica Trip
July 10th

We woke up at El Rancho Lodge and ate a wonderful breakfast together. Breakfast included: Fried plantains, rice and beans, sausage, coffee cake, and eggs.

We then traveled by bus to Sarchi, a city famous for its hand painted oxcarts and carved wooden art. We took pictures of the artist's workshop and spoke with two of them. One of them le
t us pretend to paint a wheel!

From there we drove to Zarcero for a short stop. In the town park there were sculpted shrubs and a beautiful church.

From Zarcero, we rode to Arenal to take a tour through the rainforest with hanging bridges. We saw Howler and Spider Monkeys, but they were too far away to get any good pictures. We could definitely hear the Howlers though!

We ended with dinner at a local restaurant and th
en back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. It was a wonderful first day in a beautiful country.

¡Pura Vida!

Los Estudiantes de Profe, Abby Friell y Gretchen Hanchette


July 11th
On July 11 our Spanish group went to visit the Maleku people, a community of Costa Rican natives. We took a "small bus" to the community. The "small bus" turned out to be a truck with a tarp canopy where we stood inches apart going over insanely bumpy roads. 

After this interesting experience we learned about the different rainforest animals and what they represent in the Maleku language. For example, the owl represents wisdom, the snake represents medicine, and the blue morpho butterfly represents love and fidelity. 

Next we took an adventurous hike through the rainforest where we ate plants used for medicine and even ate termites, a great source of protein!

After our hike we tested our artistic ability by painting gourds. The Maleku people paint various animals on these, usually with many bright colors.

After we finished our masterpieces we returned to the main area to watch a traditional ceremony. It began with several people playing instruments while they walked/danced around a fire. In the Maleku culture music is used as a means of communication. After the song ended a girl knelt near the fire and asked the great spirit why the environment was changing: trees used for their traditional homes are disappearing and certain birds becoming sparse. They concluded the ceremony by saying how we are all the same: boys-girls, blondes-brunettes, tall-short, etc... 

-Capi Capi, written by Jessie Knutson and Kendra Clements


Cafe Britt
Costa Rica is very well known for their coffee, so of course we had to visit the famous Café Britt! Café Britt is a well known coffee making company that makes organic coffee, cookies, chocolates and more. At Café Britt we took a tour and learned about the coffee making process and history. Afterwards we shopped in their local gift shop and ate lunch there as well.  While we were there we also celebrated Brittany Kothari's 16th birthday!

Written by Brittany Kothari



Manuel Antonio Day
Yesterday we went to Manuel Antonio National Park. We started off the day with breakfast at El Rancho Lodge, complete with eggs, sausage, plantains, tropical fruit, picadillo, and gallo pinto. We drove 2 and a half hours to south west Costa Rica and arrived at Manuel Antonio National Park. We had a short hike to the beach. On the way, we saw perezosos (sloths), iguanas, mariposas (butterflies), a pauraque (similar to a nighthawk), a basilisk (the Jesus Christ lizard), white faced capuchin monkeys, and raccoons. Once we got to the beach, we got to swim in the ocean and play in the sand, for lunch we ate sandwiches and Oreo-like cookies. After lunch we swam some more. After we were plenty sunburnt, we headed back to el Rancho Lodge where we had supper and relaxed.

Written by Timothy Schauf


At Manuel Antonio, the sun shined for the first time for the entire day that day.  We first saw the ocean at the bottom of a path that we had been walking on for over 30 minutes.  The ocean seemed to appear out of nowhere for the trees around the path were no longer present on the beach.  Before we were able to throw ourselves into the ocean, there were some monkeys and even a raccoon that were sneaking around behind the beach.  We then ran into the water to swim, float, lay in the shallow water, or just goof around.  Some, when not in the water, remained on the beach and tanned, played cards, played in the sand, and even had a hermit crab race on the beach.  Just over an hour after arriving at the beach, we ate our lunch on the beach which included a meat and cheese sandwich, pineapple and peanut butter sandwich, tropical juice, and some cookies.  After eating, we had some trouble with the monkeys trying to steal our leftover food and scraps, but our guide, Carlos, was able to keep them from taking any.  Overall, it was a very fun several hours at the beach, and even though many got decent sunburns, everyone enjoyed our last event in Costa Rica.

Written by Mitchell Lehmann

Cooking Class
When we first arrived to the cooking class they had us chop vegetables for the Picadillo. After everyone had chopped the vegetables we put them in a big bowl and the chef mixed them together with seasoning and cooking oil. While that was cooking we all made tortillas by hand  and then cooked those as well. While the food was cooking we played Costa Rican games and had a lot of fun. The chef was a great person and kept everyone interested in what we were doing. When the food was ready, we enjoyed it with a glass of tea. After we ate, we sat around and told jokes in Spanish It was such a great experience and the food was amazing!

Written by Alana Gavaghan


Dancing in Costa Rica
Day five of our trip to Costa Rica we ended the night with a dance class. One of the sayings In Costa Rica is "pura vida" which means "it is good." This was obvious during the class. Even though not many of us have taken dance classes before, we adapted to the Costa Rican cultural and immensely enjoyed the entire class. Dance and music impact the community greatly. Driving through the towns and city during the day we constantly hear music and see the locals moving to the music. It is obvious the peace and happiness from the cultural is transferred through the music and dance of Costa Rica. Below are videos and pictures from the dancing class that represent the joyous times we all experienced.

Written by Emily Ungerer


Zip Lining
The first part of Day 5 consisted of an incredible zip lining experience. This included gorgeous views through the canopy, and an unforgettable experience. We got to do all sorts of different things including the Tarzan Swing, Superman Line, and the typical zip lining! Not only was it extremely fun, but it also gave us a great chance to work on our Spanish speaking skills by communicating with the locals that were working. The locals are called Ticos, they present happiness and peace each and every day. This may be because they don't have an Army in Costa Rica, which means the violence is minimal. Communicating with the Ticos is always a pleasure due to these reasons, and makes the experience that much more enjoyable. All together when I think of Costa Rica, I'll definitely remember our zip lining experience. Pura Vida ("It's all good").

Written by Tommi Hemp-Drazkowski

*To see all photos from the trip, please visit our Facebook page and view the Costa Rica 2016 Album. 


2016 Costa Rica Trip Presentation



2014 Costa Rica Trip