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Unorthodox winter break: Group of SMSU students experience Costa Rica

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Unorthodox winter break: Group of SMSU students experience Costa Rica


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It’s hard to nail down the spirit of adventure in words. Do I write about the amazing hiking trips on rainforest-covered mountains filled with waterfalls? Ziplining over 600ft above the ground with the forest rushing underneath? Or playing cards with new friends at the foot of a volcano? All of those amazing things met us in Costa Rica.

Our trip left in the early morning on Dec. 26, and returned Jan 7. We logged almost 7,000 miles on the round-trip flight, with many more spent driving from one end of the country to the other, experiencing what the small (about the size of West Virginia), Latin American country had to offer.

We first visted the mountains of southern Costa Rica. Our days were spent hiking up beautiful trails, rappelling down rock faces, climbing 60ft trees and learning yoga as the sun rose. No cell service or internet let us disconnect from life for a while.

Our next couple days were spent in the tourist town of Jacó where we enjoyed getting back into civilization, spending New Year’s Eve partying it up with a mix of tourists and locals, and even running into a Minnesota Vikings fan just as 2018 rolled in.

From there we visited San José, including a day excursion to a waterfall garden and animal rehabilitation center where we saw monkeys, macaws, ocelots and even a jaguar! Heavy rain kept us soaked as we took in the waterfall gardens, but the experience was so amazing that no one cared. We spent that night enjoying a nice restaurant back in San José, and even caught a screening of Jumanji with Spanish subtitles.

Our last major stop was the Arenal volcano in northern Costa Rica, where we lived at the base of the volcano in a resort for a couple of days. We divided up our time here into several different trips, one to a zip-lining experience, one to hot springs with plenty of different pools and waterslides, and another to the small town of La Fortuna to enjoy the shops and local fare. Once our stay there had ended, it was time to return to Liberia for our flight back to the frozen prairie. Not before we squeezed in one last party-filled night, however.

The trip was a phenomenal experience that taught me a lot of things, and helped me make a lot of new friends as well. If you get the opportunity, I would definitely recommend that you take an SMSU-sponsored trip or just travel in general. The world is a massive place, full of many things to do, places to explore, people to meet and adventures to experience.

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Unorthodox winter break: Group of SMSU students experience Costa Rica