Our newest Protecting the Pacific students are here! We are super excited to begin our journey together… Welcome Joshua C., Miles, Jack, Shane, Callen, Isis, Antonio, Dylan, Adi, Austin, Anastasia, Joshua S., Moises, Moaen, Fatou, Matteo, Megan, Julia, Sabrina, Summer, and Annetta! Jany not pictured due to late arrival!
Today in GLA we had an amazing day! It started off with a simple breakfast that is even familiar outside Costa Rica: toast, eggs, rice and beans. We then set off to go surfing accompanied by some community service work. We split up into two separate teams, where one team surfed while the other did community service work and vice versa. The surf instructors were amazing, the water was warm and everybody managed to ride at least one wave successfully. Our service consisted of clearing the beach of trash as well as finding and planting both mangrove and coconut seeds. Every one left happy knowing that they made a difference while learning a new skill at the same time. After returning from the beach we ate a typical Costa Rican meal consisting of rice, beans, plantain chips and as well as a type of meat. It has been fairly humid here so most of us decided to take a dip in the pool after where we enjoyed great games of Marco Polo and maybe even a chicken fight which you cannot prove happened. We then took a walk within the community where we learned some interesting facts and saw some awesome sights. To wrap up the night we enjoyed a presentation on ecotourism, specifically within Costa Rica which opened our eyes to some interesting and shocking facts. Overall, it was a great day in which we all enjoyed each other’s company and continued to create bonds all while taking in this valuable experience.
– Authors: Moises and Shane
Authors: Megan and Julia
This morning almost everyone woke up earlier than required to take advantage of the pool that is in our tropical backyard. After about an hour of splashing and laughing we all ate a typical Costa Rican breakfast. We then went to Forjando Alas which is a local after school program for the children of Uvita. We were greeted by the director of the program who informed us about the projects that we will be helping them complete throughout out time here. Today we began our project by painting recycled plastic bottles that will be used for the hanging gardens. Next we played with the kids within the program. After getting covered in paint we all went to the beach where we played a game of soccer. Most of the kids kicked our butts. We cooled off in the warm ocean water, and played in the waves. Lunch time! We came back to home base and ate another wonderfully prepared dish of rice, beans, salad and fried fish; almost all the food served is grown right on the hotel property. Next came free time, which included more splashing and pruned fingers. One of the amazing parts of this experience so far is all of the opportunities we have to speak to people making a difference in the communities we are serving. This brings us to our next activity where we learned about GPS’s and the benefits they bring to communities such as Bahia Ballena. After a little more time in the pool, we all gathered for dinner. Following dinner we discussed the development in Costa Rica and how it effects both the environment and the local people’s income, in what we call “ocean hour.” Then in was off to a much deserved bed time. Goodnight from Costa Rica!
Authors: Adi Segal, Callen Scaroni
Today we had a very busy and fun day! Everyone took a big step out of their comfort zone, and became more adventurous and fearless. The first activity of the day was zip lining through the Cloud Forest. The feeling of the wind rushing past you while you are zooming hundreds of feet above the cloud forests was a thrill to everyone. After a quick lunch and a game of cards, we went to do some service work at an afterschool program called Forjando Alas. We worked on vertical gardens out of plastic bottles. It got very emotional towards the end of the service day because people had made great connections with the children that were from Forjando Alas. We ended the day with the celebration of Summer’s birthday. We ate cake and ice cream, talked, and played songs until it was time to end the day and go to our rooms to sleep for the long day of kayaking ahead of us.
Authors: Austin and Dylan
Today’s day started off with breakfast and heading off to the mangrove, Terra Sierpe. We each got in kayaks, myself and Antonio shared one and proceeded to splash and throw mangroves at the passing people. Roughly 95% of the river was upstream, causing the trip to be very challenging. After finishing up the intense kayaking we were going to go to a schoo but because everyone was tired we decided to relax at home base. After lunch we chilled by the pool side for about 3 hours. Before dinner we had a girl named Amy teach us about GPS and GIS which is a data collection and management technology that for example, tells us where and how many whales arrived this season. We then had dinner and talked about today and how the next day will be a surprise for all you family members reading this back home.
Authors: Annetta Stogniew, Jany Zhu
This morning we woke up especially early for breakfast and then walked to the local beach from the hotel. At the beach, we split into two groups to board separate boats, and then set off on our adventure. On the way to the Corcovado National Park, we surfed the waves and enjoyed a long and exciting ride. We hiked through the national park, where we saw many animals, from howler monkeys to sloths and many more. We had a picnic on the island, and then set off to go snorkeling. Once we reached Cano Island, we jumped into the water with our flippers and goggles. While in the water we saw multiple sea turtles, a sting ray, and many beautiful fish. The plan was to get back in the boats and go to a different spot for snorkeling, but one boat decided to stay in the area and watch for whales. We were incredibly lucky and saw five whales in the area, one female and four males. They put on a show, coming up again and again, and we even saw their tails. Once the whales were gone, we went back to shore and walked to the hotel. The rest of the day was spent just hanging out by the pool or in our rooms. For dinner we had pasta with rice and afterwards we watched a documentary on plastic pollution in our oceans.
Authors: Isis and Sabrina
Our day started at 7:00am, with pancakes and sleepy faces. We then walked to the local school, Escuela Flor de Bahia, to start our community service of the day. We split into four groups and each group got to know and play with a different school grade, our particular case, third graders. The language and cultural barriers were easily surpassed by gestures, smiles and children games, such as Duck, Duck, Goose. This morning got us nostalgic as we were transported in to the memories of our childhood. As the kids went to class some of us started working on wooden planks to hang around the community and the rest occupied themselves restoring the painting mural that circled the Salon Comunal (common public space used for community activities such as dancing classes, which we had the pleasure to hear and occasionally observe). After work we were offered frozen treats, made by the school. At 12:30pm we headed back to our hotel, walking, to have lunch. We had a great chill time, where pretty much everyone relaxed at the pool, something that has become a strong habit here. Later we took a long rainy walk to the soccer/football field in front of the school, in order to engage in a sweaty, tiring and muddy game with the local team, formed by 13-17 year old Costa Rican boys. We proudly lost. We walked to the home base again, dirty but joyful, and everyone went shower (it was mandatory). Dinner was served at 7:00pm and afterwards a documentary about a trip to Patagonia was shown- 180 degrees south.
Authors: Anastasia and Moaen
Today was a pretty quite and chilly day. It started off with a trivia game, all of us were separated to four groups of five, we chose names for our teams which include “heat rash”, “sunburn”, “las ballenas”, and “las olas”. Then, we started the game. “Sunburn” team was leading, but after “last question wins” “las olas” won and got some coffee candies as a present. We were cheerful members of our little community and shared with others. Then we had a cooking class with Doña Yeri Bonita and Doña Lidith, who work in the kitchen in Canto De Ballenas hotel. They taught us how to make starfruit juice, salad, rice, smashed beans and patacones. After we enjoyed the meal we cooked and had free time, we walked to the Whale Tail, but by the time we got to the national park Marino Ballena, storm clouds covered the sky and it started to rain. Instead, our guide Jovino gave as a little talk about the Whale Tail and we went to have some smoothies in the local cafe near the national park. After that, we separated into two groups: some people went back to the home base and others went to a small shop. When we returned to the hotel, we were completely wet, so we went to the pool to swim a little bit and took some pictures. Finally, after dinner we had an activity directed to learn more about each other, that put us in a great mood before we went to bed.
Today we left our hotel Canto de Ballenas in Bahia Uvita. We spent 2 great weeks here and made a lot of memories. We are sad to go, especially to say goodbye to each other.