Travel day is finally here! I am back in Costa Rica with 27 of my newest and soon-to-be closest friends! This year, we have a nice mix of rising 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th graders as well as 4 teachers and 4 parent travelers!
Our day started early with a 3:15am arrival time at Mason Middle School. From there, we took a chartered bus to the Cincinnati airport. Our check in was smooth as was our flight to Atlanta. As expected, the kids loved exploring the fast food options at the Atlanta airport. Several even enjoyed Panda Express and Qdoba for breakfast (no thanks!).
We arrived at our Hotel in Costa Rica around 1:30pm local time. We met our tour guide, Tatiana, on the bus.
She seems great and we are really looking forward to spending the next nine days with her! The kids immediately separated into groups based on where they wanted to go first; the grocery store, the pool, the hotel restaurant or the Subway across the street. With a two hour time difference, we arrived with plenty of time to just chill out at the hotel. I picked up a can of tuna with vegetables (thanks Mandy for the suggestion), some chickpeas, crackers, water and yogurt and ate in my room. Knowing dinner would be substantial, I didn’t want to eat too much for lunch. With my “girls” settled into their afternoon activities, I decided to hang out by the pool for a few minutes. It was relatively cool with a breeze today so I didn’t even get warm enough to put my toes in the water. That didn’t stop the kids. They hopped from pool to hot tub and back for the better part of the afternoon.
Around 4pm, Mandy and I decided we’d been sitting around way too much today and made a quick 40 minute stop in the hotel’s workout room. A slight elevation change (Mason is around 800 feet above sea level and San Jose is about 4800) was just enough to make it a bit more challenging.
Our first official “gathering” was dinner across the street at a place called Roosters. It was a buffet and of course, I tried nearly everything. I’ll start at the top and go around the plate clockwise. First are potatoes, black beans and rice, tilapia, cucumbers, tomatoes, radish, carrot, beet, cabbage salad with fresh pineapple and finally, sautéed carrots and squash. I was very impressed with how much the kids all tried. There was also pasta and chicken which I did not have. The kids enjoyed some cas juice (cas is also known as Costa Rican guava). It’s a green tart fruit that is almost exclusively used in juices and has been described as a cross between a lemon and a grapefruit. Personally, I avoid the juices at most meals as I don’t like to have so many sugary drinks. This drink was closer to lemonade than actual juice, but the kids seemed to like it a lot!
Here are some examples of the foods chosen by our travelers!
Finally, Tatiana gave us all some instructions for tomorrow morning. We’ve had a long, exhausting day, but the kids are all doing really well and are excited to start our adventure activities tomorrow. First up…kayaking on Lake Arenal at the base of the volcano followed by a visit to Baldi Hot Springs. I can’t wait!