Students on this travel interim will have the opportunity to see and study some of the greatest biodiversity in the world. Toucans and suspension bridges, poison dart frogs and zip lines, sloths and an active volcano, a dry forest and a look at the Pacific Ocean; all these are part of Costa Rica. This interim will explore the rainforest, Manuel Antonio coastal region and volcanic regions to learn about how the ecology of these regions work, how humans interact with these regions, and how we can learn to reflect on what we observe. Expect lots of hiking, never‐before‐seen encounters, a new appreciation of God's diverse creation, and a good amount of laughter and community building.
We spent considerable time in the airport waiting for flights and reflecting on our devotional book, which was the text for the class, and the many things we saw in Costa Rica. In between all of the excursions and treks through the rain forest, we had devotions twice each day. There are 16 sections in our book, Safe in the Shepherd’s Arms by Max Lucado. This devotional book framed all we have seen in Costa Rica, and we talked about how we were in God’s sanctuary every day.
The Costa Rica biodiversity Interim group returned home on January 14. View the amazing photos.
After a delicious breakfast, we departed for Manuel Antonio National Park. Once in the park we were treated to watching two different three-toed sloths moving and climbing about in the trees. We hiked for about 90 minutes and saw a rare opossum quickly climb a tree, several agouti eating and a group of white-faced capuchin (monkeys) on the ground and in the trees, a Broad-Tailed Hawk, black iguanas climbing trees, raccoons, and hermit crabs.
After our hike, we relaxed in the beautiful bay at the park. The sun was strong, the beach sandy, and the water very warm. For lunch we traveled to a mangrove forest where we had casado (a Costa Rican plate) and then went on a boat tour on the mangrove. In this forest, there were four types on mangrove trees: Black, Pineapple, Red, and White. While on the tour, we saw many species of crabs, several Little Blue Herons, an Ibis, Mangrove Warblers, Sandpipers, a Collared (Lesser) Anteater, a Silky Anteater, and other birds and trees. After the mangrove boat tour, we went to the Quepos beach area to walk around. We watched Brown Pelicans catching fish and the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.
In the morning, we are going back to the beach for two hours and will begin our trip back to San Jose for an early Monday morning departure. We are very thankful for the opportunity to see so much of God's beautiful creation. Our weather has been spectacular.
After waking up to Howler Monkeys, seeing many hummingbirds, Great Kiskadees, and a Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Today we drove from the Arenal Volcano region to the region near Manual Antonio National Park. We saw a three-toed sloth, a black iguana running, many crocodiles, Frigate birds, the central dry forest and many other beautiful things. After arriving in Quepos, we went to the beach on the Pacific Ocean to jump, swim and body surf in the beautiful waves. We saw the sunset by these warm Pacific waters. Tomorrow we will hike in Manual Antonio National Park, spend some time on the beach, and take a boat tour of a mangrove forest.
At Selva Verde where we were still staying, it was raining all night and in the morning. Of course, we were in the rain forest. We had a beautiful drive to the Arenal Volcano National Park, where the weather was mostly clear except near the top of the volcano. On our hike, we saw the secondary growth beginning in the volcano area and hiked on 1992 lava flow. We saw many interesting birds, including the Great Curassow, several hawks, and several coatimundis. When on the lava flow, we had a great view of the manmade lake from which Costa Rica generates about 35% of the country's electrical power. Then we went to LaFortuna for lunch. There were a few light showers on the way. In the afternoon, the weather cleared just as we were beginning our zip lining near the Arenal Volcano. After a long cable car ride up, we all traveled on eight zip lines back to the starting point. The longest zip line was 0.5 miles and on which you traveled 55 miles per hour. During many of the zip line legs, we were about 650 feet above the ground. The scenery was spectacular! On the way to the hotel, we saw a Laughing Hawk, a rare sighting. Tonight we are enjoying a scrumptious meal at a hotel with a close-up view of the volcano. Tomorrow we will spend much of the day traveling to the Pacific coast region near Manuel Antonio National Park.
We began today with another early bird walk. We saw trogons, toucans, woodpeckers, tanagers, and many other birds. Then we toured a pineapple plantation with the best pineapple. We also saw a three-toed sloth there. Then we went on a nature river cruise where we saw four cayman, many iguanas (even one swimming), water birds, Jesus Christ lizards, long-nose bats, and turtles. After lunch we took a two and half hour hike in the Tirimbina Rainforest. We saw beautiful bats, lizards, a two-hundred-year-old capon tree, bullet ants, a Red-lored Parrot, and many other beautiful birds and plants.
We are in the rainforest and, for the first time in four years, we have no rain. Of course, it is in the upper 80s and very humid, but also sunny. We began the day with a one-hour bird watching hike on which we saw two varieties of toucans, oropendola, Hermit Hummingbirds, and many more birds. We also saw the Jesus Christ lizard and green and red poison dart frogs. After breakfast we took a two-hour hike through the jungle/rain forest. We saw many interesting species of plants, many birds, including the Black Trogon, acacari, Blue-crowned Motmot, Chestnut-billed Toucan, Keel-billed Toucan, and many other birds. Just before lunch, a Costa Rican woman gave a talk about her life and the life of her family. She also shared some homemade tortillas and homemade cheese. In the afternoon, we had a fantastic time white-water rafting. We saw many things while rafting, including tiger herons. Tonight we took a one-hour night hike and saw the green-eyed tree frogs, the leaf beetle, millipedes, bats, and several other frogs and insects. We are seeing an amazing part of God’s wondrous creation. Tomorrow we will tour a pineapple plantation, take a river cruise to see wildlife, and taka two-hour hike in the rainforest. We also had great close ups of howler monkeys.