Welcome to our program blog for our Spring Break Sea Turtle Initiative program in Costa Rica. We’ll be updating the blog occasionally when we receive new info from staff in-country.
Update: All students except for one have arrived in Costa Rica yesterday and were picked up by our staff in-country. Please not that the remaining student is expected to arrive later on today, and is therefore not featured in the group photos below.
Today, we started off with a tour of the garden and spent some time playing a game call called ‘Cat and Mouse.’
A local woman – Christina – visited us after lunch to inform us about an organization called ASTOP, related to our mission in Costa Rica. They help protect and preserve the three main species of turtles on the Caribbean coast of the country. The leatherback, hawksbill and green sea turtles all nest on the beaches here.
On the tour we learned a lot about various plants and animals. We saw two sloths and a lot of huge iguanas! Jason also cut open coconuts for us to try.
We ended the day at the beach, where most of us went in the water.
-Amber, Victoria, Sylvia and Paige
Last night we went for the first Night Patrol at the beach. In the beginning it was hard walking at the beach at dark, but after a while the full moon helped us see the way.
We learned on how to find turtles and we saw the path of a turtle that came out maybe an hour before but no luck on finding it.
For breakfast, we had ‘arepas’, scrambled eggs, and fruits. After breakfast, we went on a boat tour though the canals. On the tour, we found lots of monkeys, sloths, and birds such as herons. We even saw a cayman!
When we got back we had a delicious lunch and then some free time before we went to the beach to do service and clean up the trash. Back at the Home Base, we had some snacks and icies, and then we took a dance lesson! We learned the salsa, bachata, and cumbia.
After dinner, we got in mentor groups in order to reflect about the day and the service we are doing here for the community.
Later, the group was playing games and all of the sudden we were told there was a turtle on the beach nesting, not far from our Home Base! We got ready in less than 5 minutes, got our flash lights and went to the beach so excited about the news, and when we got to the place, there it was: a giant leatherback turtle laying eggs in the middle of the night!
We sat around the turtle and quietly appreciated the beautiful turtle and the peacefulness of the moment.
Today we walked over 30 minutes from the lodge to town to visit the sea turtle hatchery and get a tour of Parismina town. There we met locals and saw their way of life from their churches to their schools and even their soccer field.
Afterwards, we returned to the lodge by boat along the river. We then had lunch and continued our beach clean up, where we accumulated over 10 more big bags of trash.
Later, we splashed around at the beach and had mentor groups, where Paz, JP and Sophie spoke to us about service and how it has impacted their lives and can potentially impact ours.
After, we all bonded over playing cards and talking in the hammocks while waiting for dinner. We ate dinner and then went on night patrol at the beach and hoped to see another Leatherback turtle lay eggs like the night before.
-Annia, Bianca, Carter and Julia S.
Last night when we were on our night patrol we were lucky enough to see a Leatherback turtle and a Green turtle! We watched one of them dig her nest and lay her eggs; a few of us were fortunate enough to be able to pet the Green turtle, and it’s an experience we will never forget.
During the morning we walked to the town of Parismina and learned how to cook ‘cajeta’, a coconut and cinnamon sweet. Afterwards, we visited a local art craft fair where the people living there brought some jewelry and decorations that they made.
We spent a lot of time with local kids in the soccer field. Wepksyed many different games and got to teach them how to play it, such as ‘duck, duck, goose’ in Spanish. After that we had a snack with the kids indoors due to the rain. After our popsicle snacle, we walked to a local family owned restaurant to by delicious coconut, pineapple, watermelon and guanabana smothies.
We are looking forward to another night patrol tonight and hope to see more turtles.
-Mary, Daria, Ivy and Joshua
After 5 days in Parismina, we are back in Alajuela for one night before students begin flying back to the US in the morning. Our ride home started with a 10 minute boat ride to Caño Blanco and a 2 hour bus ride to Costa Rica Adventure Park, where students went ziplining in the rain.
Today’s weather definitely put the “rain” in rainforest! Upon our return to Alajuela, we enjoyed one last meal together and recalled the fun and the challenging moments of the past week.
What an adventure we had! Hasta la próxima!