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Costa Rica: Wildlife Adventure (Session 1) 2024

June 24, 2024

Today started off bright and early at 5am. We quickly packed our bags and hopped onto a 3 hour bus ride to Province of Limón where we met our rafting guide, Roy. We had a delicious breakfast at the rafting place and then got onto another bus to then get on a wagon which brought us down to the white waters. Yes, very remote! We got all of our gear on and then prepared to take on the water. Although a lot of us were new to rafting and were very nervous, we ended up having an amazing time. After about an hour of fighting through the rapids, we stopped at a beautiful waterfall to relax for a bit before we continued rafting. In one of the rapids we were rafting as normal and then a fish flew into my raft! And actually hit and made everyone scream, in the end one of the people on my team decided to actually GRAB IT IN THEIR HANDS. In the end we let it out to continue our journey. We rafted some more and then finally arrived at our destination for the day, Base Exploradores. We are staying right in the middle of the jungle which is super cool. We had a nice lunch prepared by Roy and the rafting team and then had some time to relax in our tents. Although the day started out sunny it was raining so much during the afternoon, we had planned to take a hike to a waterfall but instead we all hung out and bonded with our peers by playing some fun games and got to know each other a little better. So, although the rain started as something that we dreaded, it ended up giving us better experiences. The rest of the day was filled with these type of experiences, talks, and games between each other. We ended the night with dinner where we celebrated Naomi’s birthday with a delicious meal and a cake. Everyone is now going to relax and prepare for more rafting tomorrow!

By Carolina & Pauline

June 25, 2024

We started off the morning waking up in the beautiful rain forest, right in front of the rapids that was RACED down yesterday. We had a good hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and fruit from our wonderful guides and listened to the screeching of macaws and howling of the howler monkeys. After breakfast we said goodbye to the campsite, got geared up, and hopped back on the raft for 3 more hours…DURING WHICH WE WENT ON LEVEL 4 RAPIDS and hiked a short distance to a swimming hole. We swam and even got to sit underneath the waterfall.

We continued downstream and stopped for a delicious pineapple snack. The towering trees were stunning, and we didn’t get sun burnt! Once we got back we had a scrumptious burrito lunch where we saw the tiniest cutest puppy ever. It was sad to leave her behind, but we continued with a 2 hour, rainy bus ride (where we saw our first monkey!), and finally arrived at Heliconias Hotel. Our rooms were picturesque with towels shaped like dinosaurs, a balcony, and hammocks looking into the jungle.

After settling into our home, we broke off to explore the various amenities including a pool with LED lights, hot springs, and a fountain. Dinner was at the festive restaurant bungalow, and as we conclude the day we are currently enjoying the pool surrounded by fairly lights. Xoxo

By Gabby M & Liz W

June 26, 2024

We woke up in super comfy beds in our hotel. It was super hard to wake up because of how comfy the beds are.Then we walked up to the restaurant where we had an amazing breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, and toast.

Then we took a quick bus ride to the chocolate farm/factory. While we were there we got to go through the process of how chocolate gets made. We got to make our own chocolate from cocoa nibs grown right there on the farm which we turned into a savory chocolate drink. We learned about the spicy chocolate that only the strongest indigenous warriors had the privilege to enjoy because of the immense health benefits and social status of the beverage. We poured out our chocolate we made into molds and were able to add delicious toppings to the various types of chocolate.

After we put our chocolate molds into the fridge we went on a stroll through the stunning farm. In the farm we saw an adorable baby sloth curled up into its mother’s arms. At the farm we saw freshly grown native fruits such as pineapples,j ackfruit, bananas and dragon fruit. On the walk back to the factory we got a chance to see the vibrant indigenous blue jean dart frog.

After the farm we tried our chocolates and hopped into the bus to go to our cooking class. At the cooking class we went through the process of making tortillas. We were fed local costa rican grub like succulent sour cream and verde chille sauce.

After the outstanding meal we traveled back to our paradise of a resort. We hung out in the various hot springs and pool area.

After lounging all afternoon we went up the hill for another amazing meal for dinner. Post dinner we went over our schedule for the next day and played a super competitive game of bang! Now we our enjoying our various amenities of the resort and preparing for our 3 day jungle endeavor.

By: Molly & Caden

June 27 2024

We started off our day by finishing our packing from the night before, leaving our suitcases in a room at the Heliconias hotel and just bringing our backpacks for three days. We savored a delectable meal prepared by the heliconias staff of eggs, toast, beans, and rice.

Utilizing the energy gained from our exquisite breakfast, we boarded two vans and headed to the zip lines. On the way, out window, we had a stunning view of the Arenal volcano, a rare occurrence as the view is usually obstructed by clouds. After a short ride filled with laughter and games, bonding with our fellow peers, we arrived at the zip lines and got fitted for our harnesses and helmets. While waiting in line for the gondola to carry us up the mountains, we sampled a variety of spicy hot sauces, one which many bought as souvenirs. Then, after a short safety lesson, we rode the gondola up the densely forested mountains. As we ascended, we observed the flora and fauna of Costa Rica, including an approximately seven-foot poisonous snake from a safe distance.

We started our journey down the seven zip lines with a short test run to perfect our braking techniques. We then advanced to the lengthier and faster zip lines that soared over the surrounding forests of the Arenal volcano, cutting through clouds and rain hitting our face as we whizzed by on the cable. Many people, including both of us, went down the lines with another to ensure we reached the end of the zip line without complications. Despite this extra precaution, a couple of us got stranded just out of reach from the landing zone and had to be pulled to safety by the staff. We took a short break halfway through to view photos taken of us boarding the zip lines and enjoy a refreshing choice drink of pineapple juice of water. After getting off the last one, we cleaned up and piled into the vans once again, tired out by the fun and exciting experience.

We took another short drive to La Chosa de Laurel, a delicious restaurant in the town of La Fortuna. While absorbing the unique ambiance of the architecture, we enjoyed a filling lunch of an assortment of meals. A local artisan came to show his item while we were enjoying a delicious ice cream dessert, a handmade wooden whistle that took shape of many different fun animals including a fox, toucan, and a pig. A couple bought one and found a new musical interest, attempting to play many different songs.

After our filling meal, we strolled through the town partaking in some souvenir shopping. Immersed in the Costa Rican culture, many were able to find the perfect mementos to bring home and cherish. There were many unique handcrafted items that could be found in the marketplace and it was a very enriching experience.
After climbing back into the van, we took a scenic route of the rainforest. We drove up the mountain and took in views of rushing rivers, dense forest, and also farmlands with cows. On the way, we chatted, rested, and had fun while taking a scenic ride to a remote spot in the rainforest.

After settling into our rooms, having a quick snack, and exploring the building and the attics, we went back down to play a fun game of volleyball, tightening our friendships and passing time. We then headed down to dinner and enjoyed a nice assortment dinner of pork, rice, beans, chips, lettuce, and tomatoes. After we cleaned up our dishes, we finished off our meals with a delicious desert of juicy pineapple and watermelon.
We wrapped up dinner and we are about to play a fun game of mafia, eager to start our service work tomorrow.

By Natalie H. & Kira M.

June 28, 2024

Today we woke up at 6:10 AM to get ready in time for breakfast. Breakfast consisted of waffles, eggs, papaya, and mango. The mango was incredible and it was overall a great breakfast! After breakfast we met Raquel who was worker from the office, PocoSol. She taught us all about the rainforest and all the animals you may find in it. After her presentation we got ready for our busy work day ahead which was all about restoring trails.

Before we got started, we split the group. We took a small hike until a forking path, and each group took a path to travel down. For four hours, we dug holes in order to collect sand and rocks, in order to reinforce the trail. Group 1 (my group) collected mostly rocks, while Group 2 gathered sand. We each filled bags with the materials. Group 1 lifted rock bags onto a bridge for Joaquin (a park ranger) to transport to the trail. Group 2 dragged bags of sand to the trail, and the remaining park rangers helped to reinforce the trail, meticulously placing rocks and sand. After this, we took a break for lunch, and soon after continued digging. After our work day we had free time to play volleyball, cards, and enjoy delicious brownies and coffee, dinner consisted of grilled fish, patacones, refried black beans, rice, and pico de gallo, along with passion fruit juice. Following this, we had a cracker pudding for dessert. The leaders then announced that we would be going on a night hike.

For the night hike we left at 7:20 with the rangers. We began to walk and were stopped quickly to our first sighting which was a frog! After the first frog sighting we saw many more. We also saw stick bugs, venomous snakes, tarantulas and many more reptiles. All and all it was a great night!

By: Margaux & Max

June 29, 2024

This morning we woke up to the people in our room. Heidi kept telling Sam to come down. But Sam’s socks lowkey ran away. He found them later tho. He was on time to breakfast. We did some goofy circle where we massage each other. Sam was late for that. Ayla was on time tho.

We hiked down the trail to the lagoon and shoveled sand for 3 hours. Halfway through we ate strawberry biscuits. We finished shoveling and had to go back for lunch. We ate a delicious cow for lunch. It was gas.

After lunch we hiked back down to shovel for 2 more hours but we kinda stopped halfway through and stacked rocks. Ayla spotted some rocks and Sam placed them on top of each other. We made the highest one because we are the goats. We took a photo of all of us after 5 hours of shoveling sand into bags.

Then we walked back and had plenty of free time to play cards, relax and make bracelets. Sam tried to braid a bracelet and crashed out after one mistake. But Evie tied and Ayla tied it again so now he just has string on his wrist.

We stayed sitting on the balcony and then had a dinner of pasta and salad. During dinner there was a thunderstorm with lots of lightning in the sky. We finished the evening enjoying the beautiful view and playing a Spanish game.

By: Ayla & Sam

June 30, 2024

What a day! After a long night of listening to Logan and Sam’s emo singing, we woke up at 6:30 AM for breakfast in the cloudforest. We then headed back to our rooms and packed up our mildewed clothes that made us gag. In the morning, we made friendship bracelets with Evie’s string and played card games. We all learned different patterns and used various colors. We then reflected on our time in the rainforest and what we learned about Costa Rica’s largest private reserve. We also played concentration games and made nature drawings; some painted frogs, insects, trees, last night’s storm, and other things we liked about the forest.

Next, we ate chicken wings, mashed potatoes, and arroz con leche for lunch. On the bus ride back to Heliconias, Logan shared his emo singing voice, making everyone laugh hysterically. Once we arrived back at Heliconias, everyone immediately went to the pool to tan and play volleyball. Soon after, we visited the hot springs until it was time to get ready for dinner. At the restaurant, we enjoyed delicious fried fish, rice, and salad, followed by ice cream cake. After dinner, we played group activities and discussed our excitement for the next day’s adventure, which includes an animal rescue center and a cheese farm.

By: Meredith, Julia & Ben

July 1, 2024

Hey everyone! This is Sophie and Naomi! We started the day with a slightly later wake up at 7:15 and had an amazing pancake breakfast (with sprinkles). Then we hopped on an air conditioned bus and took a quick drive to the Proyecto Asis animal sanctuary. We walked around and saw monkeys, macaws, parrots, toucans, raccoons, coatis, boars, and something that looked like a crocodile. We learned about how they ended up at the sanctuary and what it would take to put them back in the wild. Some of the animals where pets previously and some where injured and needed to be saved.

We saw a rainbow macaw that was made by forced breeding of a red and green macaw and refused to live with any other birds. We learned how bad it is to force breed and keep animals in captivity. Then we made their breakfast, which consisted of various combinations of different fruits where we had to measure and cut each amount that corresponded to each animal. We put them in different types of boxes that were appealing to the different animals and headed over to their cages to put them in. After we watched all of the animals eat, we said thank you to our guide and went onto the bus.

After that, we took another short bus ride to Crisley’s cheese farm where we had homemade chipotle nachos and we learned about the history of the farm. After that, we learned how the mozzarella is made and we made it and taste it!. Then we took a tour of the rest of the farm and saw many different plants and fruits like star fruit, sour sop, mint + more and saw animals, like pigs, chickens, cows, and frogs. After that we came back to the hotel and had a salsa dance class with Randall. He taught us bachata, merengue, and salsa steps and we were able to dance all together and then with partners later on. Then we headed to dinner and enjoyed a chicken wrap and fries for our last night at Heliconias. We’re looking forward to our 4 hour bus ride tomorrow!!

By: Sophie & Naomi

(PS Sophie and Naomi say hi to our families)

July 2, 2024

Today we went to Uvita on a bus for 7 hours…but still had fun. While we driving Before we left we found a sloth that was stared at for like 20 minutes. While we were driving we sang songs, made friendship bracelets, and had a pitstop at a gas station. Then we sang some more and had lunch where we went souvenir shopping. Logan bought nothing and ruined his food with hot sauces.

Evie bought some surprise gifts for her family and we then went to the alligator bridge. We saw 3! Some looked almost fake, but it was neat to see. Then we sang (sum more), made more bracelets, and FINALLY arrived. We had a tasty dinner of chicken tenders, burgers, burritos, and pasta and played poison dart frog. Now we are ready for bed and super excited about going to Latin American Sea Turtles project tomorrow!

I also tried some new fruit cause I was hungry and it was pineapple and then lowkey was the best fruit I ever had and it’s now my favorite fruit so that’s pretty cool. (Logan)

And I’ve had the best pineapple I’ve ever had here and I have it almost everyday and I tried termites yesterday at Crisley Farm, and I tried star fruit for the first time yesterday too and it’s actually so good it’s like a sour candy!

By Evie & Logan

July 3, 2024

This morning we woke up in our air conditioned beds at 8:30 (sleep in whoop whoop). We dined on a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, fruit and coffee. We tried to sit in a circle, and had a debrief about our time at Proyecto Asis and Crisleys cheese farm.

We remembered how harmful it is to take animals out of their natural habitat and keep them captive. Also, after you have them as pets it’s a very long process to rehabilitate them back into the wild. And throwback to the best cheese ever.

Then we hopped on the bus and headed to the supermarket for a snack mission. We got the essentials: Doritos, sour gummy’s, Takis, gum and chocolate. After a 2 hour long bus ride of singing our new collaborative playlist (see attached cover photo), we arrived at a pizza restaurant.

They had a yummy jalepeno infused olive oil that we drizzled on our lunch. Right outside we saw SO many red macaws, a sloth, and even toucans! We got our hotel rooms (which have some character and no AC), and went to the beach. We saw turtles and dolphins!, and later had a presentation with the head biologist of the Latin American Sea Turtle project about our work for the next few days. We finished off with a home cooked meal and are headed for bed!

By Meredith, Evie, and Naomi

July 4, 2024

The day started out bright and early 6:45 and although we got woken up could not get out of the bed until 7:10 and I only had twenty minutes to get ready for breakfast. Which was extremely hard knowing that I am sharing a room with 8 girls with only one bathroom… but in the end I ended up being ready just in time for breakfast. I got the table hungry but exited to start the day. Even though the breakfast wasn’t very different from normal but it was still delicious. The best part of breakfast was that since I didn’t want eggs the lady in kitchen decided to get an avocado. Once we ended breakfast we had a little bit of time to grab and fill up our water bottles until we started our walk to the area where we were working that day. Although it was a long and muddy walk it was much better than the Poco Sol walk.

When we arrived to the mangrove worksite we were split into groups to do various tasks. One group worked on collecting data and seeds for the mangroves while another group worked on shoveling mud and hauling it up to the worksite. After working all morning, we had a nice lunch by the beach and then had time to swim after. We continued to work on building a shelter for the mangroves and even though it was raining everyone was super productive.

In the end, we ended up being exhausted but also happy knowing that the rest of the day we could be in the beach. In the long walk after coming back we had time to chill/shower which was refreshing after a long hardworking day. We talked and chilled at the hotel and sometimes went to a small market on the other side of the road. After that we went to the beach and got into the ocean and played volleyball. We came back and got ready to eat a great dinner. All in all, today was an activity filled day but still a great one.

By Carolina & Pauline

July 5-6, 2024

Yesterday we woke up at 6am to get ready for our 6:30am breakfast. Our breakfast was eggs, rice and beans, bananas, and orange juice. We then walked around 5 minutes to the beach to meet the boat. We met the research assistants that would be helping us with the sea turtles. They were named Gabby and Diana, they gave us a presentation of what we are gonna be doing with the turtles. The first people out on the boat were me (Margaux), Ayla, and Naomi. We were the ones to set up the net in the ocean! It was really cool to discover how they catch sea turtles and what the net looked like. We were then dropped off further down the beach to meet with the rest of the group. After that we sat and waited for the first sea turtle to be caught. After a little while they had caught the first sea turtle. Kira, Max, Logan and I were the first people to handle the turtle. We all walked out to the boat and attempted to grab this tremendously heavy, beautiful creature. The sea turtle was wrapped in this huge flotation device and had straps on the front of it and the back of it. We then took the sea turtle back to shore. There we discovered it was a green sea turtle! They are bigger and their shell shape is different, and also we discovered it was a female, which can be noticed by the difference in the tail. I was the one to measure its length and width of the turtles carapace. We measured it 3 times to make sure the measurements were accurate (they always do this). After we scanned it to find a microchip, which it had. After, we flipped it on its side. We would usually flip it on its back but it was so huge that we could only flip it on its side! I then measured its underside from length and width. After all that it was finally time to release it.

Before we could even relax, we’d already caught our second turtle. This one was a hawksbill, the ones which are harvested for tortoiseshell material. This one was measured by Pauline, our Gabby, Meredith, and Evie, while Ayla wrote down the results. This turtle was finished much faster than the first, as we had already gotten the basics figured out. While this was going on, a small group of people, including me (Max), broke off and began swimming. After the second turtle was done, most of us began swimming, but then we were told to return to shore by Luke so we could help take things out of the boat to shore. It began to rain, and it only rained harder as time went on. While this happened, we huddled under a tree, but we were told that the ocean would be warmer. All of us jumped into the water and were soon met with a tumultuous belt of waves. It was hard to see, but the rain soon died down, we went back to the hotel, our last task was to untangle and box up the nets we used so we can use them again tomorrow, we had some free time, played volleyball, had dinner and went to sleep, waking up to the second day of sea turtles!

It was an early start to the day with a 6 o’clock wakeup to get ready for the second day of our sea turtle project. The beaches were cloudy and the water stormy and a slight drizzle fell on us as we slept on the beach for the first part of the day. We all gathered up our stuff and went under a tree to seek shelter from the light rain. We all eat tortilla chips and muffins for a snack and played ninga to kill time. After a lazy morning we were excited to finally catch our first turtle and then the second (both hawksbills). We got to work measuring, microchipping, and weighing them. It’s so interesting learning the certain ways they need to be taken care of. The day was full of excitement with caring for the turtles but balanced with a relaxing swim in the rain. A group of us found a tree log and swam with it for the rest of the day trying not to get dragged out too far away from shore.

After we spent the day at the beach we cleaned up our area and helped carry the supplies from the boat. After we finished cleaning up we enjoyed free time for the rest of the day and practiced our dances for the dance competition later. The counselors all surprised us with pizza for dinner at the restaurant right next to us. We were all soooo excited because we love the fresh smoothies there and we were happy we weren’t having more rice and beans. After dinner we all preformed our dances and Kira, Liz and Carolina won the competition by rizzing up the audience. After all of the laughter from dances we came back to the hotel and got ready for bed. We are all very tired but excited for working in the mangroves more tomorrow.

By Margaux, Julia, Liz & Max

July 7, 2024

We woke up this morning sweating and were pleased to realize the sun was out and shining after two days of rainy weather. After a nice eggy breakfast, we suited up to spend the day out in the mangrove nursery. Once we arrived, we learned about mangroves and their importance from the LAST (Latin American Sea Turtles) research assistants. We learned that mangroves are the first barrier for water related natural disasters as well absorbing at least twice as much carbon as rainforests.

We then took shovels and filled wheelbarrows with plants in order to venture onto the muddy beach and plant the 6 month old mangrove saplings. Once we planted the little trees, we had a quick water and sunscreen break and headed into the mangrove forest to search for more red and tea mangrove seeds. Afterwards, we watered the younger mangrove saplings, and packed up to go back to our hotel for lunch.

After a delicious lunch, we hung back at the hotel for about two hours while the UV lowered from 7! Once it was less sunny, we went to the beach for a super refreshing swim and then dried off for a beach cleanup, where we found all sorts of interesting trash along the roadside.

Once we finished our work for the day, we hung out until dinner, chatting, snacking, and playing cards. Then we ate dinner, and packed our messy rooms for our travel day back to Uvita tomorrow.

By Molly & Sophie

July 8, 2024

This morning we got to sleep in until a nice 7:45am, which was late for us compared to the last few early mornings. We finalized our packing while melting away in our above average temperature rooms. After a nice breakfast consisting of rice, beans, eggs, plantains, and scrumptious star fruit we loaded up on the bus and finally got a taste of air conditioning after five days without any. The bus ride passed by quickly with our collaborative playlist and bracelet making. Soon after, we arrived back in Uvita.

While waiting for our rooms to be ready we took a short walk down to the beautiful beach. We were welcomed by sandy shores and crashing waves. We sun-screened up and jumped into the warm water until a crocodile made a guest appearance and frightened us back to the shore. We headed to our hotel El Tecal, where we enjoyed various meal options for lunch.

Shortly after we discovered the pools where we played volleyball, chatted, and enjoyed the sun. At the pool the top three competitors finished up an intense multi day game where the winner was finally decided and crowned. We headed to our rooms where we were welcomed by warm showers and big beds. We enjoyed free time to relax, rejuvenate, and plan for our talent show before heading over to the restaurant for another delicious dinner. To end the night we are planning to play games, finalize plans for tomorrow, and continue enjoying our amazing rooms. We look forward to what tomorrow has in store.

By Gabby & Molly

July 9, 2024

Today we woke up to an amazing pancake breakfast with very much needed coffee. After breakfast we walked through the town and grassed to the beach to go surfing. We were all nervous but also super excited to get out there. Our instructors were super energetic and experienced. We caught some gnarly waves 🌊 🤙.

We saw spider monkeys AND howler monkeys in the trees which was super cool. Before we left the instructors cut up some fresh pineapple and watermelon. After we headed to lunch and we had some super delicious chicken burgers with fries. We ate so much because we were all starving and happy we weren’t eating rice and beans 🫘. After lunch we went swimming in the pools. Then we went and did a yoga 🧘‍♀️ class. We did it outdoors in an area covered in fairy lights and It was very relaxing in the rain 🌧️ .

Then came the highly anticipated Summer 2024 Global Works talent show. Sam was rolling around on the stage and it was craaazy. Logan and Sam also did a model walk down the runway. Julia and Meredith did cheer jumps. The best part about the talent show was the model walk by Logan and Sam. Global Works definitely got talent.

By Julia & Evie

July 10, 2024

Today we arose from deep slumber to a yummy breakfast. We then headed off to our last day of service of reforestation. The drive to the property was short but nothing less than beautiful. When we got off the bus we were greeted by Giovani and his crew. He told us about how he’s had his property for 50 years and was 60 hectors big! He basically had a rainforest as his backyard!!! Then we had the opportunity to plant 9 native trees and got to see the little saplings that Global Work students planted last year. It was a surreal experience knowing we planted trees that will live up to 80 years! After planting, we hiked a muddy path towards a waterfall. Words cannot describe how serene and incredibly the waterfall was, it was probably the most beautiful and majestic place we’ve visited on this trip. We all got in the blue water, it felt like swimming in a story book.

After we finished swimming we hiked back up and ate watermelon and pineapple prepared by Giovani and his compañeros, which was so sweet and refreshing🍉. We then loaded up the bus and listened to some groovy songs as we came back our hotel.

We were all super excited to surf again, today Surfing was a blast, even though I was tumbled like a washing machine and swallowed so much salty water. What I loved the most about surfing was how I felt like I was STRUGGLING in the beginning, but by the end of it I was riding waves.

After surfing, global works’ best counselors treated us to ice cream that we’ve been eyeing since Tuesday! I got bubblegum and unicorn 🦄 ice cream, it was INCREDIBLE🤯😋.

Lastly, we all got dressed up for our second to last dinner and wrote letters to our future selves. A lot of us can’t believe our trip is ending soon, we wish we could do one more week. Overall, Costa Rica has been exceptionally memorable and we are grateful for the new friendships we’ve made. We are looking forward to our last fun activity tomorrow… whale watching! If we don’t have time to write the blog tomorrow, because we have a 6 HOUR drive😭, thank you for tuning in, chao! Pura Vida!!!!!

-Written by the whole group