“Pura vida,” a widely used term in Costa Rica, literally translates to “Pure life.”
It’s used as a greeting and as an answer to the question, “Cómo estás?” (How are you?).
During Platteville High School’s spring break March 15–23, 18 PHS students and two PHS teachers traveled to Costa Rica for an eight-day excursion with CETA tours to experience the “Pura vida” lifestyle.
The trip took them to various parts of the country and diverse climate zones, including San José (the capital city), Sarapiquí (home to the Tirimbina Rainforest Center), La Fortuna (home to Costa Rica’s most active volcano), Monteverde (located in the cloud forest zone), and Puntarenas (a beach town on the Pacific coast).
The eight-day tour included highlights such as whitewater rafting, zip lining through the rainforest canopy, hiking through several trails in the tropical rainforest and cloud forest, a soccer game with a local youth team, a catamaran cruise to Isla Tortuga (Turtle Island), and close encounters with a sloth, monkeys, and several species of bats.
For many students, the best part of the trip was a day spent with children at a local Costa Rican school. The one-room schoolhouse, located in the remote town of Tirimbina, has 14 students, ranging from first to sixth grade. The day started out with nervous introductions, both from the young Costa Rican students and the PHS students (who were getting their first experience of authentic Spanish usage), and ended with sad goodbyes and hugs after a fun-filled day of soccer, coloring, cooking and eating lunch, and sharing words and games from each others’ cultures. As an act of charity, the PHS students are planning to send a care package to the Tirimbina school, which will include school supplies and souvenirs from the United States.
After an exhausting, yet worthwhile week of what seemed like non-stop adventure, the tour came to a bittersweet end, with mixed emotions of homesickness and a desire to stay in the hot Costa Rican sun. One thing is for certain: these 18 PHS students experienced the opportunity of a lifetime, and for many of them, this will be the first of many worldly adventures to come.