Costa Rica student group

Nine adventurous Upper School students and two faculty chaperones discovered the true meaning of “pura vida” (pure life) this summer when they embarked on a three-week trip to Costa Rica. Traveling to several cities to explore Indigenous rights and ecology, the group also learned to adapt and persevere in the face of challenges and, most importantly, experienced the power of kindness and connection with each other and the people they met along the way.

At their first stay, Camp Terraba, the group worked with local community members planting trees to benefit reforestation efforts, raking and shoveling a path to an important spiritual site and helping build concrete columns for a new community center building. During breaks from the hard work, they enjoyed delicious meals, surprise appearances from the wildlife and hikes to explore the area. At the Mano de Tigre cultural center, the students learned about art and the efforts to recover traditional art forms that had nearly been lost. 

Tropical storms interrupted the group’s second stay at Caño Negro. They were able to tour the town and make bird houses (to provide safe nesting spots for some of the smaller birds in the area) before moving to a hostel in the Manuel Antonio area. At Manuel Antonio National Park they saw crocodiles, sloths, monkeys and other animals and took in the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Students visited Top Mountain Park where a tour guide led them up the mountain and talked about the park and its preservation efforts. At the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, they spent a morning fixing the railings on the trail to make the pathway more accessible and learned how essential forest maintenance is for the wildlife species that inhabit the area. Later that day they hiked through Children's Eternal Rainforest cloud forest, taking in spectacular views. On one of the last days of the trip the group ziplined over the mountains giving them a different perspective on the nature and ecology of Costa Rica.

To read more about the summer global immersion experience, visit the trip blog, which includes daily updates and reflections from the students.

Watch a student-produced video summary of their Costa Rican adventures. 

Check out photos by trip participants on Flickr.