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Costa Rica: Epic Service Adventure 2023

June 28, 2023

Today was filled with incredible moments. We woke up early this morning, surrounded by birds chirping and the delicious smell of breakfast. We started our adventure with a tour of a coffee farm. We were welcomed with adorable dogs and the kindest tour guide. We knew this would be an amazing experience to remember when we get old, however little did we know it would be a Fiesta for our taste buds. Our group all congregated in a covered area, and we tasted fresh fruits. Then we went up to the sugar cane farm. We got to taste crops such as sugar cane, in many different forms, orange limes, mangoes, and the miracle berry. The miracle berry made the sour foods taste sweet. To make it more hands-on, we were able to crank a machine to make Agua de sapo, which is translated to sugar water. As we made our descent back down to the meal area for lunch, we had star fruit. It was very bitter. Some of us wished we still had the miracle berry because it made everything taste sweet. For lunch, we were presented with an amazing meal of chicken, salad, and mashed potatoes. It was as if we had a personal farm to table experience. Later on we went to the coffee tour. We were able to see the different roasts and were able to watch the roasting in action. On top of that, we got to grind up the coffee beans. It smelled delicious. Then we got to try the coffee. It tasted so fresh and it was rewarding, because we were part of the process. To say the least our first day of Costa Rica was amazing. And we can’t wait for the next days to come.


June 29-30, 2023

We woke up early for our bus ride to the Pacuare River. After everyone enjoyed sleeping on the bus, we ate breakfast at the rafting HQ. From there we rode in a trailer pulled by a tractor driving along a very bumpy mountain road. On our way to the river we passed a small village where many of our rafting guides live. When we arrived at the river, we loaded up into our rafts, and set off on our crazy rafting journey. Our guides barked commands at us, “forward,” or “right forward, left back,” or “rock, everyone to the right!” It was a ton of fun. Those in the front got splashed the most, but the water was so warm. It felt great. We took breaks midway; we jumped into the water during calm regions, and hiked up to spring water ponds to swim in the jungle. Despite the rocks, the foaming rapids, and the aggressive splashing from enemy rafts, the whole trip was really relaxing. The jungle surrounded us on all sides, we passed through luscious green canyons, and saw amazing birds pointed out to us by the guides. After a few hours rafting, though it felt like just a few minutes, we arrived at a beautiful green cliff face with our campsite built into its slope. The guides cooked us lunch and dinner in a beautiful outdoor dining room, where we had fun playing games, like Uno and mafia on an awesome balcony with a ton of hammocks. After delicious food, including yummy plantains, we went to sleep in our cliffside cabins. Kids will return home with fun stories of bugs in the bathrooms and spiders the size of a large fist. In the morning we prepared for a return journey down the river, and ate another great breakfast, prepared by our guides. We kicked off from shore, and traveled in our rafts, only this time, everything was bigger. The rapids, the rocks, the jungle, hiking, and even the splash fights between rafts were all larger than before, which made the whole trip much more fun. As a snack, the guides cut pineapples on the rafts. In all, we spent about four hours in the rafts today, and every moment was awesome. One group even saw some sloths. On the bus ride back, we played a fun word game called contact. Satisfied by our adventure, we arrived back at our hotel to rest for the next day. We had fun playing basketball, painting nails, and talking as a group.

July 1, 2023

Today we woke up dreading a long bus ride to the rainforest. On the way we stopped by Walmart and got necessities and snacks like aloe vera and chips. One of the few guys on the trip got a speaker so we were listening to very vibey music. Even though the bus ride took an hour and a half longer than planned, we enjoyed lunch, got to stop by a cute gift shop and had amazing frozen naturales. The mango and passionfruit naturales were most popular amongst our group. After the filling lunch, we got back on the bus and headed into the rainforest. It started pouring cats and dogs but we hiked anyways. The views on the way up to where we started our hike were majestic and beautiful. We hiked down steep muddy hills, in the rain, and got soaked. We walked deep into the rainforest. We got to see a black guan, a turkey looking bird. After about an hour long soggy hike we collapsed in our rooms. Many of us decided to take showers in negative warm water (ice cold). There were hammocks outside our doors on the deck, which were facing the amazing views we had of the foggy mountains. We indulged in spaghetti, garlic bread, and cantaloupe for dinner. Contented with spaghetti, we prepared ourselves for our nightly slumber, falling asleep to the symphonic rainforest sounds.
– Henni

July 2, 2023

Today we woke up bright and early at the rainforest reserve and ate group breakfast. After suiting up in our bugspray and muddy shoes, the group split for our service jobs. Half of us grabbed shovels, while the other were given rakes. After a long trek through the rainforest, complete with cows and bugs, the group arrived at stop one and began breaking up and moving the dirt and mud to even out the trail. Meanwhile, the rake group, as you may have guessed, began to rake the leaves off a nearby trail. Though a tad back-breaking, the shoveling became incredibly rewarding when the trail began to even out and the work progressed. The same could be said of the raking group, who, after digging through inches of leaves, felt the impact of their work when the trail could finally be seen. After a return hike and lunch break, the groups set back off. Within 20 minutes, it began to rain, but we persevered and many chose to forgo raincoats to feel the cooling rain. A sense of peace settled through the rainforest as the cicadas chirped and the sun peeked through the clouds. Though forced to return early because of the rain, everyone had a smile on as we returned for relaxing and eventually dinner. We ended the day with shout outs, excited for our workday tomorrow!


July 3, 2023

Today we woke up and got ready to work in the forest. We split into two groups: one group shoveled and made canals for water and the other raked leaves to clear a path. We came back a few hours later and relaxed on the porch. Everyone relaxed and read their books, which was very nice and peaceful. Then, we came downstairs and listened to a speaker. She talked about the reserve and the importance of conserving and protecting it. We also learned about deforestation and some of the animals living in the reserve. After that, we rested some more and ate dinner. Then, we went on a night hike for about an hour. We saw frogs with red eyes, fungi that glowed in the dark, and more. Lastly, we had delicious hot chocolate and hung out before bed!


July 4, 2023

This morning, most of us woke up for a delicious 7am breakfast of rice and beans, eggs, and toast. A few runners, however, woke up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise and run through the jungle. Then we chilled for a little, admiring Volcano Arenal, which was fully visible for one of the first times because the fog had cleared. Then we got ready for a morning of service. We put on our soggy, muddy shoes and trekked out onto the trails. We continued our raking and shoveling endeavors while listening to some jams. Then we came back tired but ready for a lunch of a new variation of rice and beans with the addition of beef and watermelon. Then the kids who stayed late in the morning to work got an extra long lunch break in which they read and played Egyptian ratscrew, a card game. Then it was getting rainy as is common in the afternoon so we came back from afternoon of service early. Soon it started to thunderstorm so we all hung out on the hammocks upstairs, enjoying the cool breezes and rain tapping on the roof. We also enjoyed a group soccer game together with the rangers and their kids. Many of us enjoyed a freezing cold shower before a lovely dinner starting homemade yucca fries with chicken. We closed out the night with a group meeting where we updated our group expectations and finished with a riveting game of Indian Chief. As this is our last night in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, we are sad to leave this beautiful place and the people we met but excited for some warm showers at the Heliconias Hotel!
-Sydney and Katie

July 5, 2023

Hello friends and families,
Today was an adios from the cloud forest and hola to Heliconias Garden Inn! The day started with a two-hour hike uphill out of the forest, which was absolutely exhausting but beautiful. Then, we got on the bus for a 4-hour ride where we stopped at the supermarket, then for a late lunch before we got to the hotel around 5:30. We settled into out rooms and got our suitcases back (we had packed our clothes for the cloud forest in backpacks because we couldn’t hike in with our bags) which was amazing. Then, we prepared for a night dance lesson, where we learned the steps to bachata, salsa, and merengue. It was so fun, and we laughed at each other’s dance moves. Then we took hot showers!! And changed into clean clothes. We ate dinner at the hotel then swam in the pool. The pool is so nice and we all got incredibly excited that there were TVs in our rooms, a big change from the cloud forest. Hope you all had a lovely day!

July 6, 2023

This morning we woke up to have breakfast in the hotel restaurant at 8am. We were served delicious pancakes and juice. After the meal we got onto the buses to a ten minute ride to a cheese farm. Once we arrived, we were met with five adorable mini poodle puppies. Soon we had to detatch from them to learn about the history of the Crisley family’s cheese business which was very interesting to learn about. Right after we learned about the history, everyone rushed back to the puppies, while six people at a time went to learn about the process of making cheese then had tasting samples. After everyone had gotten a chance to make and taste the amazing mozzarella cheese, we went on a tour of the farm. First we stopped by the different fruit trees they had on the farm, such as starfruit, avocado, mango, guanabana, etc. Then we moved on to visit the animals including pigs, chickens, bulls, and more farm dogs. Once the tour was over, we had amazing homemade nachos served with the cheese they made. After lunch and saying bye to the puppies, we got back on the buses to an animal sanctuary. We got to meet many of the rescued animals such as monkeys, different birds, and more mammals. After that, we made the food for each animal then watched the tour guide feed them. When that was over we went back to our hotel rooms to chill for a while. We got to do some laundry and some students made calls home. At 7pm we finally ate some much-needed food at the restaurant. At 8pm we had our group weather check and talked about the plan for tomorrow. Some people danced to the cha-cha slide while others sat out by the pool chatting. After our full day of adventure, we all went back to our rooms to get ready for bed. It was eventually time for lights out and everyone got to sleep to rest for the next action-packed day. This was definitely an amazing day and I think everyone had a lot of fun. I can’t wait for our plans tomorrow and the fun we’ll have then.

July 7, 2023

Today we went zip lining. It was an hour van ride up to the place. When we got there the people put in our helmets and harnesses. My helmet was tightened as much as it possibly could and was still a little loose. We got on a sky tram up to the first zip line. I was nervous because we were so high up. Our first zip line was just a practice and I was already peeing my pants. Then I saw the second one and it was sooo long and soooo high. I was freaking out just a little. Then I did it and it wasn’t bad at all and really fun actually. Then we did 5 more zip lines and they went good. The last one was a half mile long and had a tree tunnel. After, we drove 20 minutes for lunch and it was absolutely delicious. After eating we went souvenir shopping it was really hot and I was dying but I found some really fun stuff. I found a sloth stuffed animal which I have been looking for and it’s perfect. I love him. Then it started to pour and the thunder was really loud. It was so fun. We ran from shop to shop and got soaked. I loved it. Then we drive back to our little hotel village. I took a much needed nap and felt amazing. Then we went to dinner. After we had our weather check and I asked what color every one was feeling today. Mine was orange. Then we talked about homestays and went to bed.

– Ava

July 9, 2023

Last night we arrived at the homestays, and today was our first full day here. The town is called Cedral and has approximately 125 people. First, we had breakfast with our homestay families. Next, we met with our group to go to the town fair which turned out to be a soccer match. We walked all the way down the hill then all the way back up to our houses. The games that were going on were between other towns. Some kids went up to the concession stand and got ice cream. It was vanilla with chocolate chip and very delicious. After the match we went back to our homestays for lunch. When we finished lunch we had a couple of hours until we met with our group for a tour of the town. I played Uno with my host family. At around 2pm we met up with the group and waited for our local guide to arrive. We played movie and song games to pass the time. When we finally met the guide, we voted on what to do. Most of the group wanted to go home and relax after a long travel day the day before. Me and a couple of others had the idea to play soccer on the field. Some of the townspeople joined in during the match. At one point a cloud came down onto the pitch and it became very foggy. My team won 5-2 even though a lot of the other team’s players played on the town team. We then met up with our group at 5:00 for an introduction to the coffee plant. The person teaching us about the plantation told us how the cooperative works. We were then told how we would be helping the community, which turns out to be building bathrooms and putting up a fence. After a long day, we went back to our homes for dinner and sleep.

-Declan and Theo

July 10, 2023

What up fam. Today was our first official service day in our homestays. We started bright and early in the morning by splitting into three service groups. The first group spent the morning by digging out a hole to place a septic tank. Digging was hard because the ground was filled with large stones that were difficult to remove. The second service group was busy digging space for a septic filter that filters out waste and prevents erosion. Finally the third group used the morning to tirelessly carry trees and branches into the greenhouse so they could dry out. Then they spent their time clearing out and creating a path for the fence we will build tomorrow. It was also really interesting to see all the heavy machinery the co-op uses to roast and process the coffee beans. After spending all morning at work, we broke for lunch where our host families generously brought us homemade food. Everything smelled so good. I don’t know about the other families but I definitely feel spoiled. Once we finished lunch we went back to work. The first and third groups finished up their work and set about helping the second group finish the septic filter. Everyone worked together to move large stones and rocks in order to fill in what will become the drainage system. After finishing up our service work for the day we returned to our host families for a few hours of free time. Some of us hung out, took naps, or played cards. Later in the afternoon we met up with our group again. We met a lot of the young local kids and played games with them. It was a lot of fun getting to know them and seeing them have a good time. We left early from the games because our host families were worried we would have to walk home in the dark. Then we ate dinner and spent the evening with our host families. Personally we took a trip to the supermarket and helped our family grocery shop. Overall I would say today was very productive and everyone is really enjoying the homestay.

-Theo and Declan

July 11, 2023

Our day started bright and early with community service work at 8am.
We were split into four groups; one which worked on building a fence, the second dug a hole for future construction, the third made cement and the fourth sifted soil. Our tasks were demanding, but we cheered each other on and sung/danced along to High School Musical.
After the cement was finished and the dirt sifted, some of us moved onto moving cinder blocks, which didn’t seem like a dangerous task! However we found a large scorpion hiding in there! (No one was harmed). After that scare, we took a break for lunch, which was provided by our wonderful host families.
In the afternoon, half of the group continued to work, while the other half went on a tour of the coffee farm.
We were taught about the coffee process from the harvesting to drying to roasting and all of the methods they use.
To finish off the day, community members taught us how to make tortillas.
After making around 100 tortillas, some of our hosts mothers added guacamole, beans and other delicious foods on top of the tortillas for us to eat. It was a great way to end the day.


July 12, 2023

Today was another day of service work and homestay activities. We all woke up and had breakfast with our homestay families (mostly rice and beans). Then we all left for 8am service work at the microbeneficio (coffee plant). Some of us had to leave at 7:15am for an uphill trek and those of us closer to the microbeneficio left at 7:58am. Then we had a quick meeting at the activity lodge to talk about our daily goals. Half of us started our work, while one of the host families took their students to a waterfall hike. Some of us continued building a fence and some of us built the walls to a bathroom and we all used a ton of cement. The other half of us took a tour of the coffee farm to learn about the steps of coffee production. Then we took a break for lunch at 12. Our host families have been bringing food to us at the work site. Then we started our last bit of work late because now we are on Tico time (Costa Rican time). After the last hour of work one of the host brothers brought us popsicles. We all then departed the service work for a couple hours of free time and most of us showered and rested until our 4pm meeting at the activity lodge. The students who had hiked to the waterfall returned and told us about their scenic but tiring 3 hour hike and the freezing water of the waterfall. Today our host families prepared a coffee tasting for us but it tasted more like a chocolate milkshake so most of us had multiple cups. After the tasting we all circled up for our nightly weather check. The question of the day today was what movie or TV show represents your mood today. One student said the movie Holes, which was pretty accurate due to the dozens of holes we’ve all had to dig. Then we split into 3 groups and shared how each individual in the group contributed to the work over the last couple days and expressed appreciation. The leader of the day told us the plan for tomorrow and we all departed for our host homes. Once there we all spent time with our host families, ate dinner, played card games, did puzzles, or just hung out with the kids. Overall it was a good day of service, especially with community member Roberto and his stories. Buenas noches!

-Katie, Annabelle, and Sydney

July 13, 2023

I had rice and beans for breakfast. I went to the coffee plant at 8 AM to meet up with the Laura students. I worked with concrete. I mixed cement powder with gravel, and then put it in the wheelbarrow. Then mixed water into the mixed powder. We did this for three hours in the morning, and then our host family brought us lunch to the coffee house. Per usual, I had rice and beans. I worked another hour after lunch, and by then I had powder all over me. After service, I went over to another his family’s house to play ping-pong and hang out. I hung out there for about an hour, and then it started raining. I walked home in the rain to shower. I then prepared to go out again. I went back to the other host families house to make string bracelets. After I went home to meet up with my roommate, and we walked to the coffee house to eat cooked pasta for dinner. It was a very good dinner. While I was eating, I learned a card game called “Tounges” from friends. We played many rounds. We did a show until the coffeehouse, and we had to bring some thing that represented how we grew in the trip. I brought my head lamp to represent how this trip made me realize I can overcome hard challenges. I walked home after dinner with my roommate, and we played a long card game with two little girls living with us before that.

– Alexa

July 14, 2023

I woke up at 6:00 AM and ran up one of the mountains. Then I did jump rope for 20 min before we had to work. Then, we had breakfast me and Lee and Charlie had rice, beans and eggs. Then, we walked up to the coffee plantation to start working. We have been split up into a few groups to do other tasks. My group was mainly on fence duty- we built a fence in the property to mark the boundaries between the two properties. We have to make a lot of concrete to make sure the posts are secure. Then we put the fence up and finished today. It was really satisfying because I feel like I have been putting a lot into this project. Then, when we finished the fence, we started working on the concrete driveway. We are making the entrance smooth for trucks and cars and we made concrete for like 3 hours and got halfway done. Then we went to one of the local’s farm and we did this really cool obstacle course. We had to hike through the jungle and mud and go through rope courses that they set up for us. But there is a catch, you have to hold a water balloon the whole way and not pop it. My team didn’t pop it, and I think we won but I don’t know. But at the end we had to go on a slip and slide and crawl in muddy water and not pop our balloon. Then we walked home and we were supposed to meet back together at 7:00pm for a campfire, but it was raining so it got canceled. So we just had time with our families and I had like a two hour conversation with Francisco and I learned a lot, it was really cool. Then we watched Jumanji and Justice League in Spanish. We finished the night with dinner, it was rice beans with salad, then we went to bed.


July 15, 2023

Today we all woke up to the usual delicious breakfast in our homestays, most featuring rice and beans. After meeting at 8:00, we begin our last day of service work at Coopecedral. Some of us finish the fence while others helped Jose finish paving the floor of the bathroom, and the rest mixed cement for the entrance to the workplace. Then took a much-needed snack break of popcorn and our new favorite cookies, and got back to work. As we finished up, Jose began mixing cement to put on the wall so we could all place our hand prints and names as a celebration of the service work we’ve completed. It was a nice commemoration of the work we’ve done this past week, and we’re proud of the impact we made. We went home for lunch and relaxed, showered, and even played some games with our host families before the Despedida celebration.

At 4:00 we met as a group to go over the plan, and then walk down to the community center together. We took some pictures and played games as our families arrived, then sat down for a last dinner together of rice, chicken, salad, corn, and zucchini. Delicious! Everyone was excited when the community members brought out ice cream; the line went out the door. As we enjoyed our dessert, someone turned up the music and we enjoyed dancing with our families. Everyone gathered afterwards as we read our letters thanking our families for an incredible week. (En español; por supuesto!) It was a bittersweet moment, and some tears were shed, we can’t believe how fast this has gone but are beyond grateful for this opportunity to connect with the whole community, despite some language barriers. We ended the night with roasting marshmallows and a lot of dancing, including teaching some of our host siblings Cotton Eye Joe and the Cupid Shuffle. Some of the little girls from the community even performed an impressive choreographed dance of their own. Although we’re sad to leave, we know that we’ve made amazing connections in just a week that will last forever and we will never forget Cedral.

– Sam

July 16, 2023

Today was our last morning with the host families. It was extremely emotional for some, and very bittersweet. After we walked down to the community center, we said goodbye to our families one final time. We took a short bus ride to a the store to stock up on snacks one final time. Once we have our necessities we take another quick drive to our lunch place. It was in an adorable beach town right next to the ocean. We enjoy a yummy lunch with tropical lemonades and an adorable wiener dog who would come up to us for pets. We took one last drive to our hotel. The place we are at is beautiful. We got our groups and took a while to settle in. Once we were comfy we hung out with everyone by the pool. We spent some more time with our roommates, trying to escape the heat before dinner. We had dinner at 6:30 which was a nice spread of chicken, rice, salad and a yummy juice. We also got to know two other groups who are staying at the same spot! We finished our food and did our group weather check, where we shared our favorite memories from home stays. Our families will be missed.

– Isabella

July 17, 2023

Today the group had breakfast at 8:00, however many of us wanted to explore the area and ran on a trail overlooking the beach for a couple of miles at around 6:30. Breakfast was typical Costa Rican, with rice and beans, waffles, eggs, and fruit. We then had some time to rest and get ready before surfing at 9:00. We walked down to the beach and were met by some very excited instructors. Walking on the beach was magical, as the jungle came right up to the sand, stopping around 50 feet from the water. We went over instructions and did some practice on land with the instructors before hitting the water. The first hour or so was pretty rough, as no one had much previous experience and there was a lot of falling and failed attempts. We had to get out of the water about halfway through due to heavy rain, and had a quick refresher with some water and fresh fruit. After around 10 minutes we went back to surfing. By this point everyone was able to get up and we had a lot of fun surfing for the remaining time until lunch, which was rice, fish sticks, chicken, and salad. We then got some time to chill in our rooms, and it started raining. The group leaders then decided to order us some fried pineapple with ice cream from the hotel, which we ate while watching Cruella and Big Hero 6 in the outside main area.


July 18, 2023

Today we woke up and went on a hike to a waterfall. We planted small trees on the way. The waterfall was so beautiful. The pressure from the waterfall was so strong I could barely swim to it. We then took a bus ride and spent an hour at a beach. We all went into the water. It was very warm but also super salty. The bus took us back to the hotel where we had chicken, chips, and guac. In the afternoon we had another surf lesson. It was my first day, but everyone else’s second. I wasn’t feeling well enough for day one. The waves were kind of scary! A bunch of us also went on a sunset walk on the beach. It was orange-yellow and just amazing. We walked back to the hotel for dinner and showers. For our group check-in, I asked which celebrity each person felt like. I said Mac from Teen Beach because of all the surfing we did today. Some of us played cards then went to bed. It was a great day.


July 19, 2023

We all woke up at various times today, some waking up early to run before breakfast while others woke up at 7:45 to eat breakfast at 8. We enjoyed rice and beans (which most people are tired of now this late into the trip), as well as eggs, waffles with maple syrup, watermelon, pineapple, coffee, and orange juice. After everyone ate breakfast, we put on our bathing suits and got ready for whale watching at 9. Everyone loaded onto the bus, and after a 10 minute bus ride, we were at the beach where our boat ride with start. While we waiting for a guide, some people put on sunscreen (others didn’t in hopes of getting a tan), used the bathroom, and took Dramamine to prepare for a ride. Our guide arrived, handing us each life vests and showed us a Caiman, which was a small alligator type thing. Then we walked to the beach where our guide, Ozzie, told us the safety procedures of our trip, then we walked to the ocean and boarded the boat. We were on our way zooming, through the water when we spotted a dark gray humpback whale with her calf. Ozzie told us interesting facts about how whales and underwater mammal sleep by turning off half their brain for a few hours at a time, then switching in order to get optimal rest. While Ozzie was talking, we continued viewing the beautiful mama whale with her baby, taking many videos and pictures to cherish that memory forever. After following the wheel with her calf for 30 minutes, we left because of the regulations Costa Rica has in order to not stress the whales, so they will come back next year. We rode in the boat for a while, seeing the beautiful coast and cool caves caused by erosion. Ozzie continued telling us cool facts about the nature of Costa Rica, then we stopped in the middle of the ocean to swim, bob on our life vest, and talk for 30 minutes. The water was a comfortable, refreshing temperature. After our time was up, we reluctantly got back on the boat and headed back to the beach where we originally departed. We thanked Ozzie and the rest of the crew that worked on our boat and walked back to the entrance. We washed out feet and sandals of sand then some of us got overpriced but very delicious ice-cream and milkshakes while we waited for the bus. After the short bus ride back to the hotel, we had 30 minutes of free time and to shower. That’s when we all went to the restaurant at 1 where we all enjoyed chicken and beef quesadillas with french fries, and the people who are gluten-free ate grilled veggies and tortilla chips with guacamole. After the delicious lunch, we had free time until 3:30 when we, again, showered, watched suits, packed, read etc. At 3:30 we had the option to go to the store to buy snacks; then go back to the hotel room for more free time or go to the beach then stop at the store on the way back. Most of the boys went to the beach while most of the girls chose the first option because we were exhausted from whale watching. After the beach and/or store, everyone got ready to go to a nice restaurant to enjoy fruit drinks, watch the sunset and eat dinner. In our nice outfits, we left at 5 for a 10 minute bus ride to the restaurant. Once at the restaurant we had the option between a mango, strawberry, pineapple and papaya drink. We played trivia in teams of 4 waiting for our drinks. There were various questions from different parts of our trip, mostly focusing on the names of rivers, rainforest, and other nature related things from our travels. After the “no-namers” group, (Katie, Jagger, Sasha, and Maya) won trivia, we ordered our food. Then we went to enjoy the very end of the sunset and took many pictures as a group, then separately with our friends, with the beautiful ocean and colors of the sunset in the background. Most of us watched for a long time, talking to our friends and enjoying the view. Then we went back to our table and ate a delicious dinner varying from calamari to chicken sandwiches to tuna tartare. We sat and talked for a long time at our table, then made our way back to the bus and headed back to the hotel. Back at the hotel, we gathered for a group weather check where we discussed travel details for early morning flight on Friday and all of our questions were answered. Our weather check question was “What meal are you feeling today?” After everyone answered the question, we went over the schedule for our last day in Costa Rica tomorrow. Then it was time for bed, which meant packing, eating snacks, and watching suits. (Except for the boys who are stuck with Costa Rican cable.) Overall today was a fun day filled with fun activities. Everyone is starting to get sad about leaving, but excited to sleep in their own beds after such a long trip. Bye!

– Annabelle

July 20, 2023
Today was our final day of activities for the trip! We had a later breakfast and departed to our last hotel. After a couple hours we stopped at a buffet for lunch, and did some last-minute souvenir shopping at El Jardín. We got back on the bus and arrived at Casa Cielo Grande at 4 PM. We settled in to our final rooms and got ready for our closing ceremony. Early in the evening we all got dressed up and took photos against a gorgeous backdrop of San Jose. From our backyard, we could see the entire skyline of the city, including the airport. Of course, as with the rest of Costa Rica, the view was surrounded by rolling green mountain and dozens of fluffy clouds. We all gathered for final activities and discussed meaningful and favorite moments from the trip for all of us. Then we reflected on our service work and wrote letters to our future selves about what this trip meant to us and how the service work will impact us in the future. As we watched the sunset and spent our last few moments together, we enjoyed and reminisced on an incredible month.