Woodlawn School - International Travel

Spring Break 2015: Costa Rica

In February, Woodlawn Middle School students traveled to Costa Rica for seven days over their winter break. Profesora Laine Amortegui led a group of 22 from San José to the Arenal Volcano region and then to the Pacific Coast before heading back to the capital. Students explored Poás Volcano, experienced natural hot springs, and went nature sightseeing through a tropical forest & river. The group also went zip lining & sea kayaking, and visited a small coffee farm and an artisan’s wood workshop in Sarchí. Apart from seeing crocodiles, Scarlet Macaws, Morpho Butterflies, & coatis in their natural habitat; the highlight for many was the organic farm experience in La Fortuna. Students stayed in cabins on the farm and learned how the farm works through chores, experiments, and geometry lessons using the land itself! After spending a morning working on the farm, students used some of the things they dug up to prepare their own lunch. It was delicious and a truly from farm to table meal! 

Blog posts with photos from the trip

Spring Break 2013: Costa Rica

Woodlawn School’s tenth international trip took place last week as students traveled coast to coast in Costa Rica with teachers Laine Amortegui and Jordon Burton. The nine-day excursion included stops in seven different cities.

The Woodlawn group arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica on Viernes Santo (Holy Friday) and was able to witness an elaborate holy procession through the main streets of town. Day two started early as the group ventured to Tortuguero. Traveling on a covered boat, students toured the rainforest and scoured the vegetation in search of birds, monkeys, lizards and other wildlife. They even spotted a caiman sunbathing, a butu owl and the Jesus Christ lizard before arriving at the hotel. The hotel was right in the midst of the rainforest so it was common to see monkeys playing in the trees while walking from the rooms to the dining area.

The group did plenty of hiking, kayaking and rafting throughout the week and had an amazing zip lining experience in Sarapiqui. Students explored waterfalls, volcanoes, craters, rivers and tropical forests. The group was able to visit the Del Monte banana plantation and also took a trip to an organic, self-sustainable farm in Arenal. Everyone milked the cows and also experienced the cycle of the farm — planting/harvesting, eating food in the on-site restaurant, recycling compost materials by turning it into feed for the animals and finally using the animals to produce fertilization for the crops. The time in Arenal included a swim in the natural hot springs as well.

On the final day, the group trekked to Liberia and took a visit to a national park called Rincon de la Vieja (Old Woman’s Corner) to witness some active volcanoes. As the trip concluded, students noted several things about Costa Rica, including: rice and beans are for breakfast, seeing iguanas and monkeys are like seeing squirrels at home, why “bad weather” means sunny and “good weather” means cloudy and what it means to live la Pura Vida.

See photos from the trip.

Winter Break 2012: Dominican Republic

A group of middle and upper school students traveled to the Dominican Republic in February of 2012, accompanied by Mrs. Lysne and Profesora Laine.  Their journey started in the capital city of Santo Domingo.  After a day of sightseeing there, they ventured into the countryside, where they kayaked, ziplined, and helped out some local citizens at a compound that included a school, church, and residence for the elderly.

See blog post about the trip.

See photos from the trip.

Spring Break 2012: Ecuador/Galapagos Islands

A group of middle and upper school students traveled to Ecuador in April of 2012, accompanied by Mrs. Lysne and Profesora Laine.  Their journey started in the capital city of Quito, where they viewed one of the largest Good Friday processionals in Latin America.  They headed out to the islands, where they saw penguins, many blue-footed boobies, sea lions, brown pelicans, pink flamingos and marine iguanas. They snorkeled in very clear water near underwater volcanic rock alongside colorful fish, turtles, sea lions, and penguins.  Near the end of the trip, they drove 2 hours south of Quito on the Panamerican highway to Cotopaxi, the world's highest active volcano at 20,000 feet. When they got there they enjoyed a hot cup of coca tea, which helped them to adjust to the elevation before hiking to an outlook at 12,458 feet. The top of the volcano was in the clouds at that time but the snow covered top was visible on their drive to the site.

See photos from the trip.

Spring Break 2011: France

16 middle and upper school students traversed the Atlantic to spend 4 days in Paris and 4 days on the Cote d'Azur.  Highlights of the trip included traditional Paris activities like shopping on the Champs d'Elysee, boating on the Seine, and climbing the Eiffel Tower.  The weather cooperated - with sunny skies every day in both the French capital and the southern coast.

See photos from the trip.