Round Square at Abbotsholme

Costa Rica


At 10.00pm on Saturday 8 April, seven Abbotsholme pupils met on the school car park to start what would be one of the best school trips they have ever been on; they were off to Costa Rica for ten days. Following a drive down to Heathrow, an attempted few hours of sleep in the airport, a flight to Houston, stop-over of several hours and a flight to San Jose, the group finished the journey that had taken 31 hours since leaving their parents at school.

We were met by Patricia, a member of the community where we would be staying for the next week. We went straight to a small hotel to get some sleep before our 5.30am start.

The following morning we had a few hours in a minibus before transferring to some pick-up trucks for a fun final hour bouncing up a track through the mountains to reach the place we would be staying for the week. The Durika community we arrived at was stunning, with amazing views from high in the mountains, wooden shacks to stay in, and lovely welcoming people and dogs. For the first afternoon we had the chance to relax and were shown around the community.

For the next two days, pupils got up to start jobs at 5.30am in the morning. These included milking and brushing the goats and doing some gardening in and around the vegetable patches. After a breakfast break and a little bit of relaxation time we then did more jobs. On the Tuesday we hiked for an hour to a dam that needed some work to help the flow of water into the community. On the Wednesday we were due to work in the banana plantation but due to a problem with the water supply we did some shuttle walks instead, fetching fresh water from a spring while the problem was fixed.

On Thursday we set off on a hike that would take approximately four hours, further up into the mountains. In very hot weather, and with some fighting through the rainforest, all of the group faced a challenge at times, and were relieved to make it to the cabin where we would be staying for the night. A relaxing afternoon of singing songs and appreciating our surroundings was followed by a well earnt sleep, with some of the group sleeping out under the stars.

The following day we had one more walk, a shorter one, up to the continental divide. Unfortunately the clouds were all around us so it was not possible to see the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Caribbean on the other, but this is possible on clear days.

We then hiked down back into the community and had a couple of days of rest over the weekend, some massages, book reading and a chance to reflect on an incredible week.

Early on the Monday morning the pick-up trucks were waiting and we made the bumpy journey back to the minibus, for onward travel to the coast. After breakfast on a floating restaurant we headed along the river on a mangrove tour, seeing plenty of interesting wildlife on our way to the mouth of the river, where it opens into the Pacific Ocean. Here we were able to have an hour on a beach and in the sea.

For the last few days we were very fortunate to spend time relaxing at a lovely hotel, with wildlife all around us, such as monkeys, toucans and an anteater. We spent the morning at a local beach where some pupils learnt how to crack open coconuts in the correct way.

Early on the Thursday morning we started our journey home, getting back to school on Friday morning. It was an incredible trip for all, and I am sure all pupils would thoroughly recommend others going on the trip when they get the opportunity.

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