CRUX ran an expedition to Costa Rica over spring break. I interviewed Connor Gruber C’16, one of the 6 students that attended, to hear his story about the trip and “Pura Vida”, as the group familiarly recalls it.
What were your concerns or fears before the trip?
I was not too psyched about flying. It’s not my favorite thing. I was separated from the rest of the group on the way down. Luckily it was early so I slept for the majority of the time.
Tell me about your accommodations?
The first couple of nights, we stayed at the Rinconcito Lodge by the Ricon De La Vieja National Park. The lodge was placed on the side of a mountain. The best part about it was getting to go out at night to the pool deck to look at the stars. There’s minimal light pollution, which made the constellations particularly visible. We spent the second half of the trip at the Playa Grande beach near the tourist town of Tamarindo. We stayed in a house that was about a 5 minute walk from the beach.
Tell me about the locals. What sort of people did you encounter?
The locals were extremely nice. The host at the lodge was named David. He was very accommodating and had a very unique personality… to say the least. There was occasionally a language barrier, but one of the students in our group, Teresa Fábregas, speaks Spanish fluently. This helped our group out multiple times while asking for directions or even just in simple conversations.
Tell me about the group that went on the trip.
The group that I traveled with was made up of four seniors and two juniors. It was nice that everybody knew each other going into it. It really helped the group mesh a bit in the beginning and made it easier for people to feel a comfort away from home.
What were some of the activities you did? Did you have a favorite?
While we were at the lodge we went horseback riding, white water tubing, and went on multiple hikes to waterfalls and geothermal hot springs. During the second part of the week, we spent time at the beach, visited the tourist town of Tamarindo, and took surf lessons. On the last morning at the beach, we went on an estuary tour, or a wildlife tour. We saw everything from parrots to monkeys and even crocodiles.
Describe the most beautiful location?
It’s difficult to say that one location was the most beautiful, because there was such a diverse environment. There were times that we would start off hiking in a lush forest and the entire landscape would change and become a dried up area with minimal trees and tall grass.
Tell me about the group’s greatest achievement.
The greatest achievement of the group was not one specific event, but the coming together of the entire group. It was great to see the group become closer throughout the week and the experiences that we shared. The trip was run with the team building philosophy “challenge by choice” in mind. Each of us had the option to challenge ourselves throughout the trip, and if at any point we were uncomfortable we were given other options.