How did your day start today? By Sarah Erdlen

Mine began spotting a scarlet tanager while eating breakfast in an open-air cafeteria in the middle of the humid tropics and my day got better from there!

Our first activity was a tour of the integrated dairy and swine farms. The technology and sustainable methods used here are top of the line. I was amazed at how eco-friendly all the agricultural practices are. While at the farm, we saw some Indian water buffalo and a wild caiman! We then traveled to another university, CATIE. On the way, we wound through gorgeous mountains and spotted a three-toed sloth hanging in a tree. At CATIE, we visited their jardin botanico, botanical garden. The species there were absolutely gorgeous. I ran my camera battery dead taking so many pictures. Coco trees, gigantic bamboo stands, fruits we’ve never even heard of, all in a space that can only be described as paradise. The day was perfectly topped with shouts of “big snake!” It was none other than a rainbow boa constrictor just off the path. And all of this before dinner!