Sunday, June 16, 2013

More Photos from Arenal

Here are some overdue pictures from the beautiful ride to and from Arenal volcano, an "active" volcano that has been sleeping since 2010.  The ride there was bumpy and exciting.  Then we rode a boat over the Arenal lake and were able to take beautiful pictures.  On the way back we were stuck on a mountainside for about an hour because a tour bus got stuck in the mud.  It was all pretty exciting and mucho divertido!  Here you go!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Spanish & Cooking Class at CPI Monteverde

        I think I made good progress in learning Spanish due to my caring instructors at CPI, Monteverde. Lisa and I took two weeks of intensive four hour sessions. The first two days were overwhelming for me due to Spanish vocabulary and verbs overload. The instructor was young, cheerful and pushed me hard. She refused to communicate with me in English. The next week, I was placed with a different instructor. This lady was a master teacher. She was caring, patient, intuitive and changed activities every 30 minutes. She even played games like Jenga to teach me verbs. We also used the Promethean board to learn animal vocabulary. On the last two days, she focused mainly on helping me with vocabulary that would be beneficial in communicating with Spanish speaking parents. I had the best language learning experience at this school. The location of the school in the mountains, the mild weather and the beautiful gardens made it an aesthetic experience.

          On Wednesday after Spanish class, Lisa and I signed up for a Costa Rican Cooking Class at CPI. It was a great learning experience with Beatrice. She had cutting boards and tasks assigned for all 12 of us. I started out with chopping cilantro. Next, I used my hands to pat corn tortillas on a sheet of plastic. Then, I cooked the tortillas on both sides on a pan using a flat spatula on medium high heat. The students made: salad, rice with vegetables and chicken, frijoles and tortillas. We had fun working together and it was a great hands on learning experience. The food was delicious because the vegetables were so fresh! This cooking class has inspired me to try some cooking activity with my Spanish speaking students in the future. We both enjoyed being students for two weeks immensely.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cloud Forest Reserve Hike

This excursion was totally amazing, it was like  being in paradise. The biodiversity of this jungle with its flora and fauna was incredible. Our guide showed us some hummingbirds at the beginning of the hike. They flutter 80 times a minute,  making it challenging to take a picture. Then, we saw a quetzal  bird within 10 minutes of our  hike, it was  perched high on a branch. The male quetzal was chirping and calling it's spouse. The guide told us that there are approximately 200 quetzals in Monteverde. It seemed to be turquoise and later with the sunlight it appeared to be more green. We were informed that the color can be described as iridescent. We felt rewarded to see a beautiful quetzal so early. It was a magical moment for Lisa and me!

We also saw trees covered with algae growing on it. We learned that it was not a parasitic relationship but a symbiotic one. Later, we got another science lesson when we saw a strangler tree.  The strangler is a parasite that grows from the top of a tree and totally devours it, leaving it hollow. It is a horrific phenomena! At the end of our hike, there was supposedly a  great view of the Inter Continental divide where the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean meet. However, the clouds were covering the view past the mountains. Here are some pictures of our 3.5 hour hike.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

El Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

Vinnie and I took a weekend trip to Manuel Antonio National Park, an ecodiverse wildlife park on the Pacific Coast.  We went on a guided tour and spotted many different animals like a red-eyed tree frog, a baby sloth, a black iguana, white faced monkeys, a blue crowned humming bird, and many crabs.  Then we went to the beautiful beach. A very full and good day!

Friday, June 7, 2013


Here are some overdue photos from my host family. They own a farm for agrotourism.  One day there was a mother sloth and here baby in a tree right outside the home!  Look at these great pictures!