Costa Rica Middle School June 21- 29, 2021
June 22, 2021
We have arrived safely to Costa Rica. We landed at about 1AM in San Jose and made our way to hotel Cielo Grande. We had some fresh pineapple, cookies, juice, and crackers and then we went to bed around 2. It was a late night but we were all so excited to be together finally in Costa Rica. This morning, we woke up at 7AM and had Gallo Pinto, which is the name for rice and beans here. After filling our tummies with gallo pinto, fruit, and fresh juice, we drove 3 hours to the Cheese Factory (Finca de Crisley) and learned about the history. Crisley’s family began making queso palmito just for themselves and neighbors, and now they sell cheese all over Costa Rica! We made mozzarella cheese and learned about the process of going from milk to cheese. We ate a delicious lunch of fish, rice, beans, and fried cheese sticks fresh from the farm.
After saying adios to Crisley and his family, we rode the bus to Heliconios to put our bags away, and went to relax in the hotel. The hotel is full of beautiful plants. We are in cabins surrounded by birds and interesting bugs. After settling in, we went to the pavilion near our rooms to play some “get to know you” games. We had a bit of free time to explore the grounds, and then we went back to the pavilion to make our group contract, which we will sign tomorrow. We also played a game called “Commonalities” where each group of 4 students had to find something that we all had in common together. One group all “strongly dislikes” tomatoes. Another group all loves powdered donuts and they have all visited Mexico individually. Another group all found out that they love pineapple-flavored Haribo gummy bears. Dinner was at 6:30, we had chicken, salad, and crispy french fries. We went back to our rooms for a little more settling in, and then went to bed. We are so excited for our day tomorrow. Pura Vida!
-Charlotte F., Riley J., Lexi L.
June 23, 2021
With a wakeup call at 7:30, all of our cabin groups made it down to the restaurant for breakfast, and we all enjoyed gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, toast, and fried plantains. After breakfast we took a 15 minute drive in our vans to the community of El Futuro, where we began our community work. We started our journey with a tour of the community where we saw a Rodeo, a church, and a gathering building where our amazing cooks were already starting lunch. After our tour, we got to work! We separated into two groups who worked on one building, the Sunday school. Each of the groups took on the jobs of filling the floor with dirt, and priming and painting the walls. Everyone put in an unimaginable amount of work with our shovels, wheelbarrows, and paintbrushes.
At around 11:45 we ended work for the day and enjoyed a lunch of rice, beans, and chicken topped with hash brown bites. After lunch we took a 10 minute drive to Proyecto Asis, a rehabilitation center for surrendered and injured animals in Costa Rica. We had introductions with our activity leader Carlos, who led us on a tour of the center, and explained how they received and healed animals. The wide variety of inhabitants in Proyecto Asis included creatures such as blue and gold macaws, spider monkeys, wild boars, and one rare wildcat indigenous to the forests of Costa Rica. Following a brief snack break in which we saw a cayman crocodile, herons, and a tortoise, Carlos led us in preparing the animals’ afternoon meals which consisted of watermelon, papaya, beets, bananas, and much more. After we all finished preparing the meals, we put the food in toys and we watched the animals try to solve the puzzle and try to get to the food. The reason we put the food into the toys was to simulate what it is like to find and get their food in the wild. We ended the day by getting back to the hotel and swam in the very nice pool and sitting in our air conditioned rooms which was very relaxing. Around 6:30 we headed to dinner where we had arroz con pollo, French fries, and vegetables. We are very excited for the upcoming days. Pura Vida!!!!!!!!!!!
Patti G., Avery T., Ty K.
June 24, 2021*
We awoke at 7:30, and headed up to the restaurant to find a delicious breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. After breakfast we took a 15 minute drive to the community of El Futuro for a day’s work of shoveling dirt, and prepping the fence for painting. We worked in teams to shovel dirt and rocks and move it in wheelbarrows to the ramp of the edificio. The other group had wire-bristled brushes to clean rust and vines off of the fence. The fence will be painted by the next Global Works group that comes through El Futuro. After a strong two hours of work we headed to lunch. For lunch we had exceptionally delicious fried plantain, rice, beans, chicken, and pico de gallo. After an amazing lunch we headed back to working on the community project. During the process of helping out the community we also practiced our Spanish speaking skills with the locals! Following the exceptional lunch we went to the local store where we lost a spirited game of foosball to a local who should be going pro. We also enjoyed some refreshing ice cream and popsicles before retiring back to the hotel. We were able to pay with dollars, and some of us got colones back as change.
Once we arrived back at the Heliconias Hotel we enjoyed some down time and an afternoon around the pool. After about an hour of down time we then headed to an awesome dance class taught by the one and only, Randall. We learned the simple steps of Salsa, Merengue and Swing Criollo. We all really enjoyed the very fun experience of learning these dances. After this high energy dance class we headed for dinner where we were graciously served with nachos with cheese, tomatoes, and chicken. After a long and extremely fun day of learning new Spanish phrases and rewarding work we settled into bed with excitement for a new day!
Grace L., Reese C., Dylan M.
June 25, 2021
This morning we got an extra twenty minutes of sleep before breakfast. For breakfast we had rice and beans, eggs, queso, and plantains. Then, we hopped on a bus and headed to the beautiful town of La Fortuna. Once we arrived, we walked around the town square and shopped for souvenirs and food. After shopping, we were all fortunate enough to get a great view of the Volcano Arenal, one of the many volcanoes in Costa Rica.
After an eventful morning we took a short drive to Sky Adventures, a zipline company near the Volcano Arenal and near Lake Arenal, which is part of the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We got geared up around 11:15, then took the “SkyTrain” up to the first zipline. The first zipline was a short cable which warmed us up for what was to come. After that, the other 5 gave us a beautiful view of the sights nearby. The ziplining was an incredible 2 hour experience.
After ziplining, we got on the bus at around 1:30pm and headed to the community of El Futuro. Once we got to the community, we were greeted by members of the community and a surprise pizza party. Después de almorzar nosotros jugamos con dos niños, Khaled y Bailey. With the two kids we played frisbee and soccer for around an hour. We then got the opportunity to make tortillas from scratch with the women of the community. The two boys then asked all of us to play cops and robbers, although it took a while to translate what they were saying. We played with them for a while and then said our emotional goodbyes to the community.
The packed day had us all exhausted and we were given an hour to rest before dinner. We then had pasta and garlic bread for dinner which was amazing. Completely worn out, we all went to sleep shortly after. Pura Vida!
*NOTE Each day, the blog post is written by the three Lideres del Dia (Leaders of the Day), who are chosen by the group because of something(s) exceptional that they did during the day (challenged themselves, helped others, or made a difference in the group).
Ellie M., Ryan K., Allie D.
June 26. 2021
We woke up at 8:30 and went to breakfast at 9:00. For breakfast, we ate fluffy pancakes. After breakfast, we all headed to the bus and hit the road. After three hours of driving west toward the coast, listening to music, talking, and making bracelets, we stopped at McDonalds for some lunch. The lunch was McAwesome. After about two more hours of driving, we arrived at the Wyndham hotel in Tamarindo. Once we got settled in our rooms, we explored and hit the pool. Each room has a beautiful view of the Pacific ocean. After getting out of the pool we went to dinner at the hotel and had some super good food. Pesto pasta, hamburguesas, salads, fish tacos, and salmon. After a group meeting and a quick game, we all went back to our rooms with our new roommates and got some rest for the big day ahead of us. Tomorrow, vamos a la playa!
Annabel, Paloma M., Vivian M.
June 27, 2021
Today we woke up at 7:30 and went to a breakfast buffet. The hotel is overlooking a lush green valley surrounding the Pacific Ocean, which was a stunning view for our morning gallo pinto con huevos. Shortly after breakfast, we hopped on the bus for the two minute ride to Tamarindo beach. We went to Banana Surf Club, the organization assisting us with surfing, and grabbed our boards. We proceeded to get pummeled by salty swells of ocean water for two and a half hours. Despite the surging tides, we were all able to balance on our respective boards and ride the waves into shore. We sat at the beach and swam for a little while before going to get quesadillas and salads at a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Following our delicious almuerzos, we headed to a nearby ice cream parlor and ordered some helado to cool off in the Costa Rican heat. We hopped back on the bus, went back to our hotel, and had chill time with our room buddies for an hour. We then met up and went swimming in the pool. We then cleaned up and went to dinner, played some (silent) Screaming Toes and Poison Dart Frog and we are now wrapping up the night.
Lexi L., Katie P., Avery T.