Field trips and excursions have played a hugely important role in my experience this semester, granting me the opportunity to apply concepts I have learned in classes and develop a deep understanding of a wide variety of issues faced by people and landscapes all around Costa Rica. And let’s not forget how cool it has been to explore so many parts of this amazing country that I would not have gotten to visit otherwise. But the best field trip of them all was not even in Costa Rica.
Last week, we traveled to Nicaragua for a week-long trip, and it was undoubtedly one of my favorite weeks of the semester. We began the trip by taking a ferry to the island of Ometepe, which, at its highest point (Volcán Concepción) towers over 1600 meters above the surrounding waters of Lake Nicaragua.
Ometepe is shaped like a figure eight, with one volcano on each side of the island. The larger of the two volcanoes, Volcán Concepción, is a classically-shaped and active stratovolcano, which comes to a point high in the sky. However, it was not always possible to see the top of Concepción, as it was often covered in a little something one of our professors called “a fluffy hat.”
The other volcano, Volcán Maderas, is no longer active, and therefore covered in vegetation. We were lucky enough to hike Maderas, an experience I would deem magical. Our hike concluded at a beautiful waterfall in the middle of the volcano, where we had a brief group swim.
After descending Maderas, a few of us headed down to Lake Nicaragua to watch the sun set over the water with Concepción shrouded in clouds in the distance.
Our time in Nicaragua was filled with incredible experiences. We had four action-packed days on Ometepe, followed by two more relaxed, but equally wonderful days in the city of Granada.
Overall, our trip to Nicaragua was so fun, while also offering countless educational and culturally significant experiences. I cannot think of a better way to have concluded our spectacular lineup of field trips.