Costa Rica Day 5: Best day of the trip by far

Today was absolutely amazing and life-changing in so many ways. Our agenda today was visiting a very poor school and having the local children perform a Costa Rican folklore dance for us, going on a huge zipline trail (including the longest zip line in Costa Rica-- .6 miles long!), and then spending 2 hours horseback riding through the farms and fields of Monteverde. I had no idea when I woke up this morning what kinds of experiences we'd be having today. Definitely the best day we've had in Costa Rica.

We started our morning visiting a local, 16 person school in one of the poorer areas of Monteverde. The children go to school in a one room school house, and there is one teacher for the school, who teaches all subjects (including art and music). Because the school is so small, the government doesn't give very much money and all of the families the children are a part of are farmers. Because of this fact (there is also no public transporation to the closest large school-- only by horse), the mothers of the children bring in food each day from their farms to provide lunch and snacks for the children. We donated school supplies to the children, as they literally have next to nothing. However, what was so humbling, is the fact that the teacher teaches students in all subject areas, and Costa Rica has a 95% literacy rate. The kids were so happy to perform for and play with us, and they seemed so content with their life. They probably have no idea what modern schools in America look like-- this is just normal life for them. One kitchen, and one classroom. One computer, and one chalkboard. It was really an awesome experience to interact with them. EF Tours donates money to the school when groups visit, but they also spread the wealth and visit other poor schools in the area on tours so the same school isn't benefiting every time.

After we left the school, we went to THE most incredibly scary and breathtaking place ever: The Extremo Ziplining experience of Monteverde. We were literally attached to a wire cable and strung across canyons at 6,000 feet high, going 45 miles an hour and traveling between . 3 - .6 miles. It was SO crazy realizing, that high, that the only thing protecting me from crashing down into a gigantic canyon was a small wire cable strung between trees. You'll see how far the cable was in some of the pictures below. They have 12 different lines, and I really debated quitting halfway through, but decided to push through and completed the entire course. I am SO glad that I did, but am definitely not that anxious to zipline again anytime in the near future. (Here's a link to the place we went to: http://www.monteverdeextremo.com/canopy_super_cable.html)

After ziplining, we went to a local farmer's property (who even knows how many hundreds of acres he owns!), and rode horses throughout the hills and overlooked enormous vistas and valleys. I've never experienced anything like it, and I've ridden horses several times before. The pictures don't even begin to capture its beauty and how humbling it was to be immersed in nature in Costa Rica on horseback. It was incredible.

Tomorrow we are heading to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and will be spending two days overlooking the ocean and hanging out on the beach. It's hard to believe we're coming home in only 4 days, but I'm also looking forward to having hot water that lasts longer the 5 minutes, and not having to worry about bugs crawling in our beds anymore. :)

 School swingset

 The classroom bookshelf

 Students of the school dancing for us






 The teacher's desk of the school


 Vista views on our horseback trip


 Absolutely gorgeous!

Taking horses through coffee plants

Zipline!

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