Our first week in Costa Rica has been filled with spectacular views and roaring laughter as a group of strangers quickly become close friends. We began our adventures the first day with a ziplining tour through a rare cloud forest where Caroline took the first leap onto the fastest zipline of the course and soared through the trees. The entire group had an amazing time ziplining as well as learning about the history of the forest.
Later the same day, spanish class began. Claire was able to quickly pick up some new phrases and she is constantly trying to learn more as we travel. As part of the class, we learned to cook traditional Costa Rican empanadas and dance the salsa and merengue. Ellen enjoyed rolling out the dough and we all laughed along as she made her empanada which she decided to name Pedro. The dance class was a blast. Natalie and Zoe T. danced like naturals in no time with some pointers from our experienced dancer Marlena. All in all, the class was an interactive and enriching experience for the group and a great way to bring us all closer before we daparted the next day to the beach of Corazolito.
We arrived with wide eyes as we saw our beach bungalo overlooking the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. There was not a view that was left unphotographed as the sun set with colors of yellow and orange and then purples and pinks behind the array of palm trees. The next morning was just as beautiful waking up to the sounds of the ocean and the cook crew of making breakfast of eggs, toast, and and array fresh fruit picked up from a market on our way to the beach. After breakfast and an introduction to our new home, we went to the beach to have surfing lessons. Trent was a quick learner, popping up onto the surfboard right away and continuing all afternoon. Margaret was patient and attentive as the instructors helped her find the perfect wave and then, with no help, paddled and stood up to ride the wave to shore. She was so excited as she hopped off the board to celebrate her accomplishment. The first day of surfing was certainly a success with eveyone able to get up on the board and surf and our instructors were very impressed.
After long days of surfing, we continued into the night to help patrol for sea turtles. Zoe J. was enthusiastic every night reguardless of the natural sleepyness that comes from a day at the beach. We were all able to see the mother turtles emerge from the ocean, dig nests, and lay about 100 eggs a piece! Matheo and Marlena volunteered to measure the turtles and it was an incredible experience for us all.
One of the last days on the beach, Daniel was selected to be leader of the day. He excelled at gathering the group and dishing out daily responsibilities as well as making the group cry with laughter with his jokes and goofyness. That day, we moved to a different beach callled Punta Islita to surf the larger waves. Lauren paddled her heart out to pass the break of the waves and was able to master surfing and ride a big wave back to the beach. Ilan and Zoe J, who had surfed before, took to the ocean like fish and surfed better than ever. The day was rewarding, many of the kids were able to do something they previously thought they could not. This includes the tast of getting a coconut from the top of a palm tree. Ilan, Daniel, Trent, and Matheo all worked together to create a pole which they used to knock down a few coconuts from the top of a tall palm tree. They were determined! To celebrate all of our accomplishments, we went out to a traditional Costa Rican meal where we drank the water of the hard earned coconuts and ate a tasty meal including the group favorite, plantain chips.
Most recently, we have arrived at our new location in Monte Alto where we will be building a kitchen, learning more about the rainforest, and playing soccer with the locals (Matheo is very excited about the game!). Already today, we have seen many monkeys climbing through the trees from our little house nesseled in the rainforest and walked through a beautiful orchid trail. Each spot we travel to is better than the last and we are so excited for the coming week!
Katy and Raul