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Cambridge Rindge and Latin students explore, learn in Costa Rica

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  April 18, 2013 02:06 PM

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Two groups of students from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School that recently won an environmental-sustainability competition are in Costa Rica this week. Team members are filing dispatches about their trip.

Did you know that sloths are known to grab their own arm thinking it's a tree branch?

We sure didn’t – until this week when we embarked on our trip to Costa Rica as part of EF’s Global Student Leaders Summit. We've had a great week so far in Costa Rica.

Several of the coolest things we’ve seen were at the INBioparque, an eco-park (sort of like an environmental Disney World), where we saw immature pineapples and the finishing touch, a sloth hanging in a tree. We had heard that pineapples grow in bushes, but it was hard to imagine before actually seeing it.

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En route to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, we went on a crocodile/bird-watching safari where we saw a small crocodile cooling itself.

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The driver got off of the boat to lure in some crocodiles and feed them chicken.

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From the crocodile safari to the hotel, we stopped once more at a small school with about 35 students, grades 1 through 6. Some of the students performed several dances for us, eventually pulling us in to dance with them!

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Our guide bought us water apples from the side of the road. They have the consistency of pears and taste like sour plums.

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We stayed in the Arenal region for two nights, visiting many places near the hotel. Before our zip lining tour, we stopped by the side of the road to see the active volcano.

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We soared through the vibrant forest on a zip line, fully immersing our senses in the tropical environment. We witnessed sloping valleys and flew close enough to touch the trees; experiencing landscapes that we had previously seen only in pictures. Later in the day, we hiked to the La Fortuna waterfall, where the rushing sound of the falls filled our ears and the cool water refreshed us.

With our remaining energy we stayed and swam for a couple of hours. (This is a picture from the top of the stairs we had to climb back up after swimming).

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When we got back from the waterfall, we visited a local coffee producer who went over the process of preparing beans to export. He explained that coffee growing can be a completely sustainable process if the producer burns the "parchment" or husk of the coffee bean for energy. The burnt parchment will also produce fertilizer for coffee plant nurseries. In this picture, the green beans have the yellow parchment removed. The beans only turn brown after roasting.

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The lush vegetation and colorful creatures continue to amaze us, as we explore this environmentally-diverse country.

This is a photo of the Hot Springs in Arenal!


All of us traveling to Costa Rica are excited to experience a new culture and share our ideas with students from around the world through EF's Summit! Follow us on Twitter at #EFSummit or on Facebook at

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