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Bruins Take on Costa Rica

Cody Garrison
Garrison, Navarro, students, and the moms in Costa Rica!

Over spring break, Spanish teachers Mr. Garrison and Mr. Navarro, nine Barlow students, and three moms took a trip to Costa Rica through EF Educational Tours. I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Garrison about him and the group’s experience as Costa Rica tourists being led by a local tour guide. Garrison calls the trip an “action-packed, non-stop adventure.” 

Having a red-eye flight on the way to Costa Rica was exhausting but gave the group half a day to explore the city. For lodging, they stayed two days in the rainforest, two days in a cloud forest, and two days in “cowboy country.” The naturally hot and tropical weather was heightened by the heatwave going on at the time.

The group went on many adventures throughout the week and saw all sorts of intriguing things. They spent a chunk of the time touring the city and local landmarks. They went to a coffee farm and witnessed the process of coffee production and later the same for chocolate production. The more exhilarating experiences were ziplining through the jungle and over a river and whitewater rafting. The group also hiked two volcanos and saw boiling mud pots on the second trek. They spent time at the hot springs, kayaked on a mountain lake, and snorkeled in the Pacific Ocean. “More monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles than we could even come close to counting,” was what the group saw on their jungle boat tour. Finally, they hiked to a waterfall and the kids “really, really liked that one,” to Garrison’s surprise. His favorite part of the trip was being able to take the students and their different reactions to all they witnessed. He puts it, “The variety of kids meshed with the variety of activities and the variety of reactions. Garrison also notes that, “When looking for expressed interest, the favorites and highlights for the different kids were all over,” which he found interesting. 

An added intrigue to the trip was it being Holy Week when they went. This sacred week for Christians spans from the time of Palm Sunday when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, to the Last Supper, His crucifixion, and ends with Jesus’ resurrection. 75+% of Costa Ricans are Catholic, so it’s not a surprise the week is a sacred one for the country meant for worship, reflection, and then celebrating Christ’s resurrection. says that during Holy Week, “Catholics are expected to relax, avoiding labor during this week.” Mr. Garrison observed this practice, noticing that he didn’t see, “People at work and school as much as families together.” Going to Costa Rica during Holy Week gave Garrison and the group a cool perspective of the country.

If you ever get the chance to go visit Costa Rica, make sure you try the fruit drinks because according to Garrison, they are “impressive.” He says all the food was “fantastic” and “they give us so much variety.” Food is a big aspect of all cultures and Costa Rica does not fall short.

Garrison has quite a personal connection to Costa Rica having lived there for almost three years at a point in his life. His wife is Costa Rican so he’s spent lots of time falling in love with the country. “It’s like my home away from home,” he says about his wife’s home country. This is Mr. Garrison’s second time taking Bruins to Costa Rica. He also took 17 Bruins to Spain for the first time two years ago. And for any underclassmen wondering if they might have the chance to go on a trip like this in the future, Garrison notes he will possibly be taking a group to Spain and Portugal in two years.

I asked Mr. Garrison if he would recommend people to check out Costa Rica and he unsurprisingly and enthusiastically gave a definite yes. His experience going with Mr. Navarro and students from Barlow was “so adventure-packed.” The group had a truly incredible time seeing the many sides of Costa Rica from coffee-making to whitewater rafting. They packed in many activities and time seemed to fly. But as we all know and as Mr. Garrison affirms, “Time flies when you’re having fun, that’s for sure.”



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About the Contributor
Hannah Stickney
Hannah Stickney, Staff Writer

Hi, I’m Hannah and I’m a Junior. This is my third year in Journalism and my second year writing for the Banner. I’m doing the digital media program at CAL. I love reading and writing, Taylor Swift, the beach, and sunsets.

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