Beech Grove Spanish teacher Arlena Cook, nine of her students and several chaperones were introduced to a new way of life while visiting Costa Rica in Central America over spring break.
Once there, the group traveled to the Caribbean coast and took boats through the canals to reach Tortuguero National Park, where they saw many animals, including howler monkeys, iguanas, blue morpho butterflies and toucans.
The tourists learned about the efforts to protect the endangered sea turtles that nest along the beaches at Tortuguero. The group also visited a banana plantation on the way to the park.
From there the group traveled to Arenal National Park and swam in the natural springs that are heated by a local volcano. They then continued on to Monteverde, where they visited a high school and spoke to Costa Rican students who were in a conversational English class.
In addition to learning how to make arroz con pollo and tortillas, the students took several hikes in the forest and learned traditional native dances.
“This was a great educational experience for my students,” said Cook. “I am glad they had this opportunity to immerse themselves in the language and culture of Costa Rica.”