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Costa Rica: La Pura Vida (Session 2) 2016

Meet your Costa Rica Trip Leaders!


Can you believe in less than a few weeks we’ll be in Costa Rica eating gallo pinto (a breakfast specialty of rice and beans, spending time in an amazing homestay community, and zipping through the lush canopy! We are excited for our upcoming adventure exploring the beautiful country of Costa Rica and serving in a very special community with you!

Esteban is home in Costa Rica – that’s right, we have our very own Tico (native Costa Rican) guide! Michelle is finishing up some work in the USA and will be headed down soon to join him and prepare everything for your arrival!

We’ll be reaching out to you in the next few weeks to go over trip details and answer any questions! We can’t wait to meet you!

Pura Vida,

Michelle Nance and Esteban Arguedas

July 9-10, 2016

We spent the day relaxing and getting to know each other better at Hotel Heliconias. After naps and games of cards and futbol we headed to our homestay community where we were greeted with open arms and delicious food. More games of futbol were helpful icebreakers. Spending our first night with our new family in our new house really gave us perspective on how fortunate we are. And how we take things as simple as a shower head for granted. It really touched our hearts when the small kids of our family were helping us understand their culture and language through pictures and words at the young age of 7 and 8. We’re really excited to see what the rest of the week will bring and the new culture we will become a part of.

Pura Vida,
Ciara and Anna

July 11, 2016

We woke up in the homes of our homestay families. After a traditional Costa Rican breakfast we headed to the construction site. Before we started working, our group played a friendly game of futbol with the local kids. After the game ended, we split up into groups and began to work. The project site is meant to benefit the community with a recreation center that can be used for all types of things (ex. graduations, quinceañeras, celebrations, meetings, etc.) We emptied water as well as dug holes. We had a nice break enjoying bonding time and home cooked meals with our families. After our lunch, we headed back to work! We picked up right where we left off. After a long day, we enjoyed a fiesta filled with games and delicious food. It has been amazing to see the different lifestyles and cultures of Costa Ricans.

Maia and Ella

July 12, 2016

Last night, it didn’t rain and we slept much better than the night before. We woke up and had a delicious Costa Rican breakfast. Next, we headed over to the construction site and put in some hard work. Today was scorching hot; much hotter yesterday. We continued to dig holes and cut wires that would eventually help to set up the foundation. We then took a lunch break at our host families houses. We were welcomed into the houses with more delicious food that probably/most likely consisted of a mountain of rice and beans. After lunch, we want back to the worksite and continued our hard work. After work, we played another game of futbol with the Tico boys. Everyone from the town got involved. We all had never witnessed such natural talent. They all play soccer barefoot on the hard, rocky cement field. After going home and showering in our homestays, we all gathered to learn how to make traditional, Costa Rican tortillas – they were ‘muy rica!’ We then made friendship bracelets and ate dinner which consisted of the tortillas and meat. (There were vegetarian options, don’t worry parents!) All the kids embraced us with open arms as well as open hearts, they get so excited whenever we see them. We are so fortunate to be in such a loving community. 🙂
– Izzy and Mia

July 13, 2016

After a long exciting night filled with great food and great company, we woke up prepared for a great day ahead. We arrived at the work site around 8:30am and got right to work. A few rain showers here and there didn’t stop us. Some of the work we did included building the structure for the foundation of the roof for the local community center. It’s always such a great feeling seeing the Ticos and Ticas grab a shovel and start to help out too. This community is filled with so much great culture and it is a privilege to get to experience it with them. The day continued on with a short break for lunch and then a hike up to the local pool for an afternoon of fun, filled with competitive volleyball games and pool games. The day finished with a “family night” with our homestays where we enjoyed delicious food and entertaining Costa Rican card games.

Pura Vida,
Gabbie, Shannon, & Jessica

July 14, 2016

Today was our last day in El Refugio. Per usual, we woke up early in the morning and walked to the community center at 8:30am. Since it was out last day, we tried to clean up the dirt piled up behind the structure from previous days of wheelbarrow dumping. A few of the holes were filled with murky waters of last nights showers so we cleaned that up. Additionally, we carried pieces of the roof from the shed downhill. But, the real highlight of the day was the bittersweet “despedida” night. After a tasty meal, we played some futbol in the dark and danced. And danced again. And kept on dancing! Dani and her friends taught us the moves to “El Taxi” and even though us gringos can’t dance, it was still awesome. Tomorrow we sadly prepare to leave this beautiful community 🙁

Adiós El Refugio!
Sydnie y Jielin

July 15, 2016

Today started with an early wake-up at 6:00am. We quickly gathered our belongings and packed our bags. There was a solemn and much anticipated feeling that consumed the room. We knew this day was coming. We had pushed the final goodbyes long enough. We left El Refugio around 7:20am and headed off to go zip lining. After a very beautiful, scenic chair ride up the mountain, we experienced what could be called the most exhilarating part of the trip. We had a nice refreshing lunch and a few pit stops. We went to a cute little souvenir shop where we bought some little gifts and tokens to remind us of our awesome journey together in Costa Rica. Next up came our reflection session with our group at Hotel Heliconias. Many thoughts were spoken about our eventful trip and how it affected all of us. The entire trip was a blast so there was a lot of positive feedback as well as helpful insight. Next up was the long anticipated dance class. Our instructor was a very motivated dancer and spread his eagerness to dance to all of us. His vigor was infectious and in a matter of minutes got us dancing different styles of dancing. Our playful fun came to an end, allowing us to attend dinner. Spaghetti and salsa was a great dinner choice and the whole group loved it. With our dinner finished, we were treated to a celebratory cultural dance by a multi aged dance group. Flamboyant dresses and fantastic dances created a lighthearted atmosphere for all of us. With dancing done, we all gathered together for a last group meeting together before the long flights home. We showed all of our appreciation and friendship to each other through hugs. With a last farewell, we will be going home with Costa Rica in our hearts.

Pura Vida,

Jakob, Thomas, and Wesley