Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 5 - Costa Rican Culture

Day 5 was the first day that I really experienced Costa Rican culture and learned what it was like to live in Costa Rica. When I was in kindergarten, I started a Spanish immersion program, meaning that instead of learning in a traditional classroom, all of my classes were taught in Spanish. I've continued studying Spanish throughout college and am pursuing a Hispanic studies minor. Costa Rica is my first time traveling to a Spanish-speaking country, and I was very excited to practice my Spanish outside of a classroom.

The day began with a wildlife boat tour along a river. Our guide only spoke Spanish, and since the group was split up without our usual translators, I got to practice my Spanish as translator of the boat. For travelers looking to practice their language skills, there are ample opportunities to do so on this trip. Additionally, a couple of the students on the trip were from Venezuela and Ecuador, and we also had a translator from Costa Rica, so practicing the language is easy to do. For those not looking for that, Costa Rica is also very easy to navigate in English.

On the tour we saw a bunch of different types of wildlife, the most notable being herons, iguanas and alligators. We saw bats hanging on the underside of trees, and a species of spider that glided on water.
Yup, that was crawling on my leg.

Following the tour we visited a wildlife reserve that was very zoo-like. We saw monkeys, otters and a bunch of varieties of big cats. Most of the animals were injured and had been rescued by the reserve.

Excess plant material used for biomass
After lunch at the reserve, we visited a rice factory that used plant waste as electricity in a process called biomass.

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