Sunday July 22, 2018
Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!
It’s a lovely day in San Jose! Our local and international staff have excitedly been preparing for our newest GLA arrivals! FINALLY the big day is HERE!!!
Each student began their adventure by securely exchanging their dollars into colones with the help of a mentor, and arrived safely at Hotel Pacande to freshen up and settle into their next 10 days of Pura Vida! After enjoying lunch at the hotel, students had the option to rest, or participate in activities to break the ice and get to know their new GLA family.
Tomorrow, we will depart for our beachside rainforest home base, but not before stopping in the cloud forest for a zipline excursion! We are so excited to share updates and photos of our trek to the Caribbean coast where students will call home.
Not pictured due to late arrival: Tristin, Jenna, Sage, Jesse, and Siena.
Staff from left to right: Local Director Jason, Mentor Brittany, International Director Adriana, Mentors Emily and Erin at the Green Gold Lodge in Parismina, Limon, Costa Rica.
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Today we woke up to a rainy day. We had a breakfast of toast, eggs, bananas, watermelon, and pineapple juice. We then waited for the rain to clear up and began our beach cleanup where we filled up trash bags with litter from the beach.
After lunch we had mentioned groups where we talked about how our activities, beach cleanup, and daily life impacted the sea turtles and other marine life. Finally, we had dinner, relaxed, and went to bed early to prepare for our surfing adventure early tomorrow.
-by Giles, Julia, Gwen, and Flora
Wednesday July 25, 2018
On day 3, our first full day at home base we write up to the sound of howler monkeys at five. It was a great start! We wrote in our journals until breakfast. After breakfast, we had orientation to set the guidelines. Jason, the owner of the establishment, took us on a tour around the area. On the tour we saw spider monkeys, red ants, and howler monkeys as we made our way through the jungle on his property. Afterwards, we visited his farm and saw his vanilla plantation where we learned that organic vanilla could sell for $400 a kilo. We continued along his farm and saw many of the plants on the property like the banana and coconut trees. Jason let us try the coconut water and meat by chopping through the coconut quite impressively with his machete. Emily said it would be some of the healthiest water we may ever drink.
When we got back from the tour we had lunch. We had a group about rules for our community. Shortly after, Maco, a leader of the organization for saving turtles (ASTOP), discussed the expectations for night patrol and cool turtle facts. Then we went to the beach. The surf was pretty rough so they tested our swimming abilities. Thankfully everyone was able to pass the swim test so we had the opportunity to swim in the untamed waters of Costa Rica. One of the mentors found a sand bar so we got to go farther out. One of the beauties of this special beach is the black sand, it is due to a local volcano.
At night, we returned from the beach and all showered off and sat in the hammocks at home base and waited for dinner. After another amazing meal, the two tables went against each other in a game where you had to guess the song JP was playing on his guitar. Then we went on night patrol for four hours and we were unfortunate not to see a turtle. Hopefully, we have better, we have better luck in future night patrols.
Julen, Imi, Hazard, and SiSi
After two night patrols, on day four of our program we participated in a beach cleanup. The completion of our goal was satisfying, with a beautiful and clean result manifesting from our labor. Sea turtles need clean, plastic-free beaches to nest, this is why beach cleanups are a vital aspect of turtle conservation.
After three hours of cleanup, we swam in the ocean for about an hour. It was a refreshing contrast to the scorching heat and high humidity. In the morning, we discussed culture differences around the world.
For breakfast, scrambled eggs were served with the surprising addition of a new type of bread (arrepas)–it was delicious! Our lunch was just as exquisite. Dinner, in continuing with the theme of serving Costa Rican classics, was a traditional pasta*. Currently as we type this blog post we are anxiously waiting for tomorrow’s adventure of surfing.
Christophe, Layla, Tristin, and Amelia
*Editor’s note: The pasta was spaghetti with alfredo sauce which is not comida tipica in Costa Rica.
Monday July 30, 2018
It’s been an amazing ten days with these wonderful humans. Tonight we learned about the ways we touched each others’ lives in our Appreciation Circle, and then we went out for pizza to celebrate our last night all together.
Tomorrow we head home but a piece of our hearts will always belong in Costa Rica.