Summer starts in Costa Rica for group of students

For a group of Central Lyon High School students, summer started with more learning. Eight students and Central Lyon Spanish teacher, Peggy Groves, departed Sioux Falls, South Dakota, June 1 and visited Costa Rica through June 9.

Once the group arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, they visited a variety of tourist attractions and a coffee plantation. There the students were taught how to grow beans and how to make coffee. They also tried different types of coffee. From there it was on to a pineapple plantation, where they learned about growing the fruit and how to pick out good pineapple at the grocery store. They ate fresh pineapple and drank virgin pina coladas.

Next on the itinerary was a tour through Cloud Forest. The group also went kayaking and zip-lining and took a boat tour. During a lunch stop, a group of Costa Rican students performed a native dance in native clothing. During a scuba diving tour, students saw different types of fish and even saw an octopus. “Scuba diving was pretty cool because there was so much to see,” said Jacob Van Veldhuizen.

Another highlight of the trip was a visit to Arenal Volcano which showcases natural hot springs that get hotter further up the volcano. Another highlight was a waterfall, but to reach it students had to walk down 500 steep steps, according to Groves.

A favorite part of the trip was a white-water rafting trip. Halfway through the rafting tour, students were fed fresh fruit and could jump from a 10-foot cliff, Groves explained. “White water rafting was my favorite part of the trip,” said Viktorija Stubbe. “It was crazy and we got to go down one of the currents backwards. Our raft guide made it a lot of fun!” she said.

Students who made the Spanish trip included Faith Henrichs, Jacob Van Veldhuizen, Rebecca Guse, Viktorija Stubbe, Rhiannon Keegan, Alayna Gorter, Bergin DeBruin and Halie Heitritter. The flight to Costa Rica took the group a total of 11 hours due to two layovers. However, the flight back home was more difficult than getting to Costa Rica. The group left from Liberia, Costa Rica, and flew to Miami, Florida, where there was a three-hour delay. Because of the delay, the plane arrived in Dallas, Texas, too late to book a hotel and students had to sleep in the Dallas airport, which was not happily welcomed, according to Groves. The students were more than ready to be home after that.

Another unwelcome issue was a stomach virus that went through the group during the trip. Groves had to stay back and miss out on some of the adventures because she got the virus and believes Halie Heitritter got the virus on the way home. Luckily she didn’t have to miss out on any of the tours while in Costa Rica.

But none of that changed the overall perception of the Spanish country. “I love Costa Rica. The lifestyle there is so laid back. Pura Vida!” said Groves.

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