West Sylvan to Costa Rica in 2016

Jun 30 2016

This morning students and chaperones busted some Zumba moves. Our profesora, Yoana, was kind to start us off easy. We learned the basics of Merengue, Salsa, and Bachata. I asked some students if they are feeling ready to go home. They said they miss their families but love traveling. Good sign!

Now we have Spanish classes and then our big soccer game right after school. The weather is cloudy but holding so far. 
Saludos ticos
Jun 29 2016

Today is even harder to put into words. Our guide Percy took us to an outstanding zip line course. Just to walk through that rain forest would have been gorgeously enough. But we flew through the canopy on 12 different lines. I must confess it was my first time and I was thinking about opting out of the scariest ones. Thanks to the encouragement of my fellow chaperones and students I MADE it! You know that everyone else did too. Adrenaline junkies now! It's time to start Instagram if you haven't already to see our videos. 

After three hours of zipping around we ate lunch and shopped for souvenirs. Students are really trying hard to get cute gifts for you. 
After that we were off to school. Another excellent pura vida day here. 
Jun 27 2016

Travel day today: We left Tortuguero after our last buffet breakfast. A lovely river taxi ride meant a quick nap for some. We had quite the night!  Because of the heat we had a nocturnal flying insect attack. Picture Alfred Hitchcock in Costa Rica: His movie would be called "The Beetles". They would swarm and bat against the screens of your rustic bungalow. They would climb toward the light in your room by creeping under the door. You would scream (along with 30 frightened teenagers) and find them every where in the room. Without brooms available you would rip Palm branches off the trees and try your best to sweep them out amid panic and hysteria. The beetles would be black, crunchy when stepped on, and able to fly unpredictably. To keep them out you would have to tuck towels under every door. Just picture that!!! Expect to hear more about it from your kids! See Winston's video on Instagram. 

We had a smooth bus ride to our school ELEC where students went to their classes. 

Everybody is excited to be back in San Isidro and to sleep in their host home. 

Pura Vida!
Jun 27 2016

The West Sylvan students visited Tortuguero! Yaaay!

How to sum up today? Iguana, Spider Monkey, Howler Monkeys, Toucan, Blue Morpho Butterflies, Caimans, Royal Egrets, Aningas, Frigate birds, Turtles, Giant Golden Orb Spiders, Sloth.

Today we explored a magical place. In boat we went deep into Costa Rica's Tortuguero National Park. We were lucky to have a rainless morning of off season travel. Few tourists meant we had clear passages and impressive views of the wildlife above. It was HOT and the students for the most part roughed it out without complaint. Truly hard to describe in words. As one student told me: there is no way to explain this. You just have to come to Costa Rica. 

Back at the hotel we had pool fun and a special birthday cake for Maddie thanks to our guide Percy.  The girls really came through with singing Happy Birthday at least 5 times throughout the day. 


Tonight we are watching the Copa America thanks to one of the waiters who has graciously shared a hot spot connection from his phone!


Jun 23 2016

Today we went shopping in small groups and the students got to decide which stores they wanted to visit. We went to Heredia since there are more shops there. Afterwards we walked up to ELEC and worked to fix our own lunch. Doña Azalea taught us to make corn tortillas and arroz can pollo. Everyone had a special cooking task. Very fun and they were fueled by hunger. After that we went to class. Another great day! 


Jun 22 2016

Today we learned to use Costa Rican money to shop and also discovered what a Post Office is. Students wrote postcards and learned how to affix stamps and on which lines we write the name, the address, and so forth! Enlightening! Each student had a private interview with a chaperone about the home stay. No major concerns at this time. Most reported their home stay as "excellent". 

This afternoon we have Spanish classes and dance classes. 


Jun 21 2016

We went to the market in Heredia TuesdayStudents discovered new smells, sights, and tastes. We explored Heredia on foot and enjoyed a delicious lunch together. After some outdoor time students started class just as a downpour started. Perfect timing ELEC!

Jun 19 2016

The West Sylvan group arrived safely to San Jose and then made it to their host families in San Isidro. Yesterday, all students spent a free day with their host families. 

Celeste reports:

"Sunday went well for all students. They stayed with their families and the weather was overcast but dry. Today we awoke to a tropical rainstorm. We nevertheless walked around San Isidro completing our photo scavenger hunt thanks to the excellent packing job of raincoats and ponchos. They are having a blast trying new things and learning new words. We will try our best to send daily updates although please know that our internet connection is limited.  Remember to check our Instagram for photos too. Cool Capstone." - Saludos desde San Isidro. Celeste 

Here are some photos of how students spent their first full day in Costa Rica!