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Costa Rica Wildlife Research & Sea Turtle Conservation, Session 2 ~ 2022

July 12, 2022

As we awoke on our first day, the smell of freshly cooked gallo pinto, Costa Rican traditional breakfast consisting of rice and beans cooked together, greeted us alongside recently cut pineapple and we ate a delicious fresh breakfast. We packed up our raincoats and hit the road to an orchard with hundreds different trees and bushes with lemons, sugar cane, coffee, and so many others. To break the ice between us campers, we played a game where we wrote down interesting facts about ourselves on a piece of paper and kept it anonymous. We later received different people’s papers and read them aloud, sharing facts about the unknown others. Following this, we were guided past beautiful views and colorful trees to a meeting area with a large machine in the middle. First, we were taught on the various uses of the sugar cane plant and how to harvest it in its purest form. We tasted raw sugar cane and were introduced to a “Trapiche” the machine used to get all the liquid out of the cane. This process involved four of us pushing a mill to crush the cane and basically juice it into a pitcher. We tasted the raw juice which was very sweet and then we tried it with the fresh lemon juice. This solution was reminiscent of a flat Sprite. Accompanying these lemons, various other exotic fruits were on the table for us to see. We were introduced to them one by one and were able to try them. The most exciting ones were the miracle berry and the starfruit. The miracle berry was very surprising. Some students were directed to get the fruit and its juices to cover the inside of their mouths. After this the students were given some sour lemons to try. To all our astonishment it tasted sweet. This berry has the properties to change sour feeling chemicals to sweet ones, hence the name miracle berry. After filling up on fresh fruit we followed the guide through more beautiful views and trees to a building that graced us with the smell of coffee beans. We sat down and were shown the process in which coffee was processed, roasted, and ground. Similarly, we were shown the difference between the different types of roasts, light, medium, and dark. The roaster was running, and we were able to grind freshly roast coffee which both tasted and smelled amazing. Later we were gifted bags and labels to be able to bag and take home our own fresh Costa Rican coffee. After a lengthy drive back, we were presented with intermittent views of the Central Valley and San Jose with clouds engulfing our hotels. Finally, we were briefed on the following days plans, packed, and anticipated the future adventures.

~ Evan V.

July 13, 2022

Today we woke at around 6:30 to partake in a delicious breakfast of rice and beans, toast with jam or butter, scrambled eggs, and fresh watermelon. We were able to see a great view of the center valley with the sun shining while we ate. After breakfast, we made sure we had everything packed for the trip to the biological reserve in our smaller backpacks and put our larger bags on the bus. We hopped on the bus and went to the supermarket for comfort snacks and drinks. Then we rode on. A few hours bus ride and we sang along to the Hamilton soundtrack and Beatles songs.

Around noon, we ate lunch at Choco café, where we had our choice of pasta, hamburgers, and sandwiches. There was even a hot Sause called “Covid Killer” which was rather funny. During our meal, it began to pour so when we finished eating, we ran back into the bus. On the way to the Trail Head of the hike to the bioreserve, we prepared by putting on rain jackets and getting out our umbrellas. It was still raining very hard at the trail head, and the way was very muddy. A few hikers slipped in the mud, which risked the well-being of the freshly bought snacks.

By the time the Bio-Reserve was in sight, many people began to cheer. And they ran to the deck to take of their sopping wet shoes and socks. We rinsed off our muddy feet by a faucet and got our roommate assignments. We then took pleasantly cold showers and had some free time before dinner in which we drank coffee, ate carrot or coconut cakes, chilled in the hammocks (which were on the balcony and overlooked a gorgeous view of the forest reserve, which was blanketed in fog), played ping pong, solved puzzles, and talked.

During dinner, we ate chips, meat and potatoes, salad with passion fruit, vegetables, and rice and beans. Afterward, we watched a presentation by Lyndsey, who is the executive director of the B.E.N. (Bosque Eterno de los Ninos) about the history, activities, and other details of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. After the presentation, she opened the floor for questions and only one was expressed which was “Can you fish?” to which the answer was “no.” Once the presentation was over, we had more free time. We enjoyed a large bowl of popcorn, and played some more ping pong, continued to work on the puzzle, and hung out in the hammocks on the balcony before it was time to sleep.

~ Nina S.

July 14, 2022

Today we woke up to a homemade breakfast of french toast, eggs, rice and beans, and fresh pineapple. After our fill we all went upstairs to prepare for the day ahead of us. After a quick change of clothes and a lot of bug spray, we all put on our soggy rain boots and began our journey into the luscious cloud forrest. As we squelched through mud and rain, we bonded and laughed over dragging our hoes and shovels. Next thing we knew, our leader whipped out a machete and started hacking away at the greenery blocking our path. After a tedious walk through the mud, we reached our destination. Our job today was to clear and even out the trails as much as possible. We were separated into three groups of seven to distribute an equal work load. The boys had an especially tough job ahead of them as they were the only ones with garden hoes, the rest only with shovels in their hands. Therefore, the boys had to lead and loosen up the rocks and dirt so that the people with shovels could flatten out the terrain. Once the section that the group was working on became flattened, we began to move deeper into the forrest. After 3 hours of hard labor, and with everyone being so hot and sweaty, we all submerged into the frigid flowing water of a waterfall. Thirty minutes later we decided it was time to head back as it was time for lunch, and on our way back we took a moment to admire the beautiful scenery and really take in that we are in Costa Rica. We continued our hike back to our temporary home and when we arrived we cleaned ourselves off and hung up all our wet clothes, leaving us with some spare time before lunch.

Everyone chose to spend their time in a different way, some decided to continue the puzzle that they were building last night, play ping pong, or listening to the boy who decided Jurassic Park to anyone who wanted to join in. Then we had lunch, everyone practically starving after all the intensive labor work we had done, feasting on rice, beans, chicken, plantains, and watermelon. Following lunch it began to pour rain making everyone drowsy and tired, our temporary home becoming silent as everyone began to head into their rooms. Some talked while others drifted off into sleep or just played games with their new friends. After the down time, dinner of shredded beef, coleslaw, and rice and beans was served leaving everyone satisfied.

After dinner we all just hung around telling stories and playing games until finally it was time for a night walk led by our leader, Jorge. While some stayed and snacked on popcorn, many ventured out into the darkness of the rainforest in search of creatures of the night. Many headlight beams landed on frogs, mating insects, grasshoppers, and a lucky few stumbled across a coral snake (micrurus mipartitus) as it slithered across our path. We followed the path back the station and then we were out like a light!

Victor B.

July 15, 2022

Today was Friday, July 15th and we started off a bit glum. Everyone was sore and tired from yesterday’s hard work. We went downstairs to a rejuvenating breakfast of pancakes, eggs, pinto gallo, and delicious fresh pineapple. We got ready for the long hike ahead of us with excitement and a bit of dread as we had done the same thing the day before. Today we were very lucky to have dry work boots for the day and clean tools. As we began our hike, the mud was squelching under our feet, and we treaded up the hill. Once we arrived at our trail, we split into two groups. Group one loosened up the dirt, while group two followed by flattening the pathways. This showed our teamwork with our new friends/family. As mentioned before, we were all exhausted from the day before with blisters on our hands so we worked as fast as we could to get to the lavish waterfall ahead. Today, most of the campers got in the waterfall and enjoyed it to our wits end, as it was our last day in this majestic eternal cloud forest.

We returned to the home base, tired, and covered with mud praying for rain, for an excuse to snuggle up in bed and bond with each other. Just as we expected, our prayers were not answered and there was no rain, so we ventured back out to help dig trenches for rainfall. Even though no one really wanted to go back out, we ended up enjoying our work in the forest and it gave us time to talk with people we hadn’t really spoken with before. We got back to home base once again, cleaned up and played mafia and other fun games as a big group. Today was one of the first days this happened, and everyone was ecstatic. We formed new strong lifelong bonds this afternoon and made each other bracelets. Before we knew it dinner was ready, it was spaghetti and meat sauce for our last dinner here. Dinner was so delicious and filling, it prepared us to sit for our community meeting where we spoke about our highs and lows of our days. We all agreed that even though the day started off rough, it was one of our best days yet!

By Nora V.K.

July 16, 2022

Waking up this morning, there was a shared excitement with the idea of leaving our first location and heading out to our second. We ate a breakfast of eggs, rice and beans, mango, papaya, and toast. After packing everything up and cleaning up our belongings around the building, we put on our hiking boots and pulled on our backpacks. Saying thank you and goodbye to the staff, we set off. The hike was very hard, extremely steep, and long and difficult. The day was much nicer than when we hiked down, blue skies and occasional mists. We still got muddy during our three-hour hike, but that’s what was expected especially with breaks filled with exhaustion. However, seeing the gate at the end of the trail created such an amazing feeling of accomplishment throughout every hiker and the struggle went away for a while. We took off our muddy boots and changed into different, cleaner shoes, and climbed onto the bus. Driving through the beautiful mountains and towns until we got to the cafe, we ate lunch. And once filling up on food and buying bracelets, we got on the road again. The drive was about five hours, chatter filling the vehicle and made-up games in order to pass the time. After the few nights in the cloud forest, everyone had gotten much closer and more comfortable. It was easy to tell the new comfort even in the bus.

The new location is insanely exciting. In contrast to the freezing cold showers back in the forest, we cleaned up with the heat. There’s a pool with colored lights, amazing rooms with hammocks, and nice food. There is also another Global Works group at this same location, and we introduced ourselves during our meal. We unpacked, had dinner, and a meeting before hanging out with friends before lights out. The day with long and tiring, but everyone was proud after hiking and happy and clean by the end of the day.

Kate L.

July 17, 2022

Today we woke up from our first night in Heliconias to a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and turkey bacon. After completing our morning routine, we piled into the bus and headed to La Fortuna, a town full of fun shops and culture. On our way to this local gem, we stopped on the side of road to find two sloths, a mom and her baby. These fascinating, adorable, fuzzy animals uplifted everyone’s mood and got us ready for our exciting day ahead of us. After a short bus ride to La Fortuna, we got out and split into groups for exploring; some went shopping, some got food, some just wondered around town. After our free time we went to Organica Fortuna which was a delicious lunch place/boutique with many sandwiches and other yummy food options. We quickly gobbled down our lunches and rode with excitement to the zip-lining! We arrived 15 minutes late, but that didn’t stop us! There were 5 or 6 ziplines which were overlooking the rainforest and the Arenal volcano.  The longest zipline was about a minute long. After finishing the ziplines we went and hung out in the giftshop.

Immediately after coming back to the hotel, Heliconia’s, we took some dancing lessons, which included three of the most popular dances in Costa Rica! After the tiring dance lessons, we went to dinner which was pasta with chicken and mushrooms. And later we put on our swimsuits and jumped into the pool with our group. We splashed around and played games, after we got tired, we hopped out, showered, and hung out with the other Global Works group from Oregon! Overall, it was a fun, fulfilling day!

Elia A.

July 18, 2022

Hey Blog, it’s day 7! All 20 of us Global Works students are just a little over one week into our trip, and deep into our adventures. Today we woke up to enjoy a delicious breakfast on our third and last day at Heliconias Hotel. My amazing roommates Ava, Buna, Maya, and I woke up at 6:30AM to be ready for breakfast at 7:00AM. We ate fresh juicy watermelon and pineapple with a side of cold orange juice and we enjoyed a yummy dish of gallo pinto, plantains, and toast. After breakfast we headed out to visit the Cespedes dairy farm to learn about the process of making cheese. We got a presentation of the history of the family business, including all the ups and downs, especially through the pandemic. Then we got to make our own rolled cheese, and even got to taste some of the fresh and aged cheese! After our cheese making and taste testing, we got a tour of the property. The property is full of different types of plants like coconuts, Rambutan, and starfruit. We tasted every fruit, even if they were not quite ripe. They were all delicious, and our taste buds were very happy. After eating the very tasty fruit we got to see a variety of animals during our visit, including the family’s pigs, piglets, chickens, dogs, and kitten.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch of chicken, salad, rice, and mashed potatoes before heading to our next activity for the day, Project Asis Wildlife Refuge. We enjoyed our time observing the variety of monkeys, birds, and other animals, and learning more about how humans affect wildlife and what we can do to have a better impact. We finished our trip at the wildlife refuge with pineapple cookies and lemonade before we returned to the hotel to swim in the pool and relax. After our down time we went to dinner where we drank the best mango juice I have ever tasted. We finished our night with a group meeting, or what we like to call a family meeting, reflected on our long day and then did a final closing activity before heading to bed early for a long day ahead of us tomorrow!

Global Works Student,
Grace R.

July 19, 2022

Today was July 19th, and the eighth day of our adventure in Costa Rica! We started the day off with a very early wake up at 6am (My cabin and I slept in until 6:10 which I do not recommend because we were almost very late – specifically Campbell and I had to sprint up a hill with all our luggage and Campbell lost her beloved hat). We all piled into a new bus which had two seats on each side, and no A.C. which resulted in many windows being opened. This disturbed many peoples slumber including my bunkmate Olivia who was sadly forced to sleep with a rain jacket over her head to block the wind. Maya also struggled with sleeping on this ride because she was in a foldable middle seat and her head kept falling back onto my legs. We ate a nice breakfast of gallo pinto, eggs, and toast before piling back in the bus for a short ride to the four-wheeler that took us down to the river for white water rafting! The four-wheeler was hooked up to a big wooden bus with seats in the center for us to sit on. The ride was very bumpy and exciting as we were taken down steep twisty roads, singing songs the entire way. Some frequent songs that come up within our group are “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto, “The Pop Tart Song” from Family Guy, “Baby” by Justin Bieber, and “Sweetest Pie” by Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion. Once we made it to the river, we put on our life vests and helmets and climbed into the rafts to head out on the rapids. All our rafting leaders were incredibly helpful and kind to us while we were getting the hang of paddling and we were all very grateful to have them there guiding us! The rapids were intense, and we were all having an amazing time traveling down the river. We took a pit stop in a gorgeous pool of water to swim around. I got shunned for wearing socks and sandals while rafting and swimming, and Becca ended up unzipping the end of her pant leg and taking it off to cool down. Two intense fashion statements in my opinion. Another exciting part of the swimming was a rock we were all able to jump off into the beautiful blue water. Campbell did not jump off, and instead chose to ride the current around with her head above the water. Shoutout to Matt for raising a responsible little daughter! We wrapped up swimming and continued rafting down the river to our camping site a little further away. We rode the rapids like pros at this point, so the trip was relatively quick. Once we arrived at the site, we were all tired and hungry for lunch and dug into a delicious meal of burritos!!! We were then left to ourselves to explore the area and get settled into our tents until a group activity before dinner. We circled up and reflected on the day, general global issues, and how we can feel like we are making a difference in the world. Finally, we ate dinner which, like all the food we have eaten here so far, was delicious. We are all very grateful for the chefs who cooked for us and everyone who has been incredibly hospitable so far! (Shoutout to all of the Global Works parents, we love and miss you so much!)

By Alice L.

July 20, 2022

On our ninth full day in Costa Rica, we awoke to the sound of a babbling river and the wondrous sight of a lush forest surrounding us on all sides. After feasting on a rich breakfast of banana pancakes, toast, eggs, fresh pineapple, fried plantains, and strangely delicious strawberry-flavored liquid yogurt (side note: this was the first day since our arrival that we haven’t been served Gallo Pinto, which we all acknowledged with a mixture of surprise and gratitude). We packed up our bags and embarked on day two of our river rafting adventure. After about an hour of paddling through rapids ranging from class 1 to 4, we stopped to swim in a small swimming hole beneath a cascading waterfall. Many of us jumped off a small ledge into a stiller part of the water, and after a refreshing swim in the rain we rafted for another few hours, stopping at two different points to jump out and swim, surrounded by steep, mossy cliffs ides and a plethora of different birds that inhabit the two gorges we rafted through. After a fun couple of days (shoutout raft #60 for arriving at all our locations first), we dried off at the rafting center and ate a delectable lunch of burritos, most of which ended up falling apart or being deconstructed (as was the case for my friend Rebecca, who ate her lunch with a fork and knife).

The latter portion of our day was a bit more boring, given that most of it was spent inside a bus. Amidst naps and a hilarious conversation with my bunkmate/bus mate Alice about our eccentric grandmothers, we stopped at a small grocery store, where much of our group bought snacks to tide them over on future bus rides. We started off again, driving another couple of hours to our final destination, Heredia. I enjoyed some locally grown fruits on the ride to our hotel, including rambutans, which I’ve discovered a nascent love for. After arriving at our hotel, we settled in by playing several rounds of Jenga and blasting music that we all danced to in the courtyard. Some of our favorite anthems from the past few days have included “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Riders, the entire Hamilton soundtrack, and a lot of 2010’s hits. In addition, Maya finally got to listen to “Summer, Highland Falls” by Billy Joel, and Alice got to listen to “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman, which made them both happier and more at peace than I’ve seen them thus far on this trip. We headed to dinner after some downtime, where we enjoyed a variety of different foods and beverages, from nachos to ceviche to burgers to passionfruit juice. After a quick pitstop for some ice cream, we headed back to our hotel to rest and prepare for another day of traveling tomorrow.

Overall, the trip has been fantastic so far, full of both hands-on learning and tons of fun. We’re all looking forward to the days ahead, especially going to the sea turtle conservation center.

By Olivia J.

July 21, 2022

Hello, parents, friends, and family!!
Today was yet another one of our very long, but still very enjoyable travel days! We started off the morning in Alajuela with a beautiful breakfast and some cartoons. Around 8:30, we set off to our next destination. We had a 6-hour drive ahead of us, but nonetheless, everyone was still carrying themselves with their positive and energetic attitudes. We loaded up the bus and got on the road. Our first stop was at a supermarket to pick up some snacks for the days ahead. We got back on the road and began shuffling our group-made playlist. We passed the time listening to each other’s song choices and having interesting conversations. Our next stop was at a souvenir store, one that any of us could have gotten lost in for hours. There were more hats, jewelry, bathing suits, tapestries, keychains, and “Yo <3 Costa Rica” things than we ever could have imagined. We purchased gifts for ourselves, along with our family and friends back home. We enjoyed a buffet lunch and continued our drive. We drove along the coast and passed some beautiful beaches, taking in our scenic route. Finally, we arrived at El Tecal in Playa Uvita around 3:30 and received our room assignments. After we got settled, we then spent some time together as a whole group. We made friendship bracelets, listened to music, and enjoyed each other’s company. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner, which we got to enjoy while listening to the rainstorm taking place outside. We’re packing our bags for the upcoming days and prepping for an early, good night’s rest. It was a great day and we’re all very excited to begin our Sea Turtle projects in the Osa Peninsula tomorrow!

By Ava S.

July 22, 2022

Hey Blog,
It’s Buna! Today was an exciting and fulfilling day! It started off waking up in the hotel we stayed in for the night called El Tecal. After we did some last-minute packing, we went downstairs to enjoy a delicious breakfast consisting of pancakes, fruit loops, gallo pinto, eggs, and plantains. Once we finished our meal, we all entered our bus and listened to our group playlist. After singing along for an hour, we reached the boat dock. We pilled in, secured our life vests, and were ready to go. As we took the ride, we were able to see a change in the environment. From mangrove trees and a wide river, we entered the ocean surrounded by palm trees. We rode each wave with a big smile on our face and enjoyed the beautiful view. We arrived to the Osa peninsula after 2 hours and helped unload all our bags. We took a 20-minute hike, barefoot, with our toes digging through the soft sand. After we arrived at our final destination, the Life 4 Life sea turtle conservation center, we ate a filling lunch of rice pilaf, pasta salad, and homemade bread. Our counselors assigned our rooms and we got settled in.

After unpacking, Ricardo, the leader of the Life 4 Life project, took us on a long walk through the rainforest. We spotted many animals including hermit crabs, 3 spider monkeys, and a whole family of carnivorous white-faced monkeys! We finally made it to Ricardo’s house where he explained his project to us and the efforts he has made to protect the sea turtles. We got to take a nice dip in the ocean and look for interesting rocks. When we hiked back, we were just in time to see the gorgeous sun set and listen to the sounds of the waves gently hitting the shore. Sitting there, together, gave me time to reflect on my experience here. We are officially halfway through the trip, and I am feeling so many emotions. Although I miss my family and home very much and can’t wait to see them again, the thought of leaving the family I’ve created here is frightening. I love all the memories we have made and all the laughs we’ve shared. All I can do now is look forward to the new ones we will create tomorrow!

Buna J.

July 23, 2022

Hello fellow readers of thy blog,
It was our first lovely day of the sea turtle conservation! We arose at early at 6:00am in the morning to demolish our breakfast before we started to head to Ricardo’s humble abode. It was about a 30-minute hike through the woods and the beach. It was quite an exquisite sight of monkeys, lizards, hawks, and scarlet macaws! Shortly after our arrival, Ricardo explained to us the work that needed to be done. First, we started by passing bags and shovels around and split up into two teams, with one group shoveling sand into the empty bags and the other group, with the filled bags of sand, dumping them inside of the hatchery square. It ended being 3 sandbags tall, and it was our responsibility to fill up the pit with sand up to the second bag. Once that was completed, we started to dig up holes in the hatchery in order to form the foundation of the building with bamboo which had to line up exactly to hold the tarp, or the walls. Then we had to dig the edges inside of the sand box. Finally, we were able to look at a few recently collected eggs that were staying temporarily in a blue bin! So, a few people put on medical gloves to extract the eggs from the bin, making sure not to touch the center because we did not want to mess with or damage the eggs. Once we got to the eggs, we had to replace them into a different location in the exact same position.

We finally completed the turtle hatchery meanwhile a few others were finishing up a mini paint project, repainting the washed away paint on the many signs around Ricardo’s property. Once all the hard work was completed our lunches were brought to us by our leaders and members of the Life 4 Life Project. The meal was vegetarian burritos with a side of salad and lime on the side and it was quite scrumptious. After that we cleaned up our work areas and went for a nice cold swim in the river and a few of us went hunting for pebbles and even found some cool ones. After that lovely swim it was time to split up for the night watch. So we started the hike back to the hostel, and the other group stayed behind for the night. Luckily we will switch tomorrow! It was finally dinner time which was a similar lasagna meal and then it was lights out.These past few days have been very exciting and eventful it has also come with amazing learning opportunities. I have made several friends along the way and am very grateful and am looking forward for this closing week!

Brianna V.S.

July 24, 2022
Hello Global Works Parents! Today is the thirteenth day of our trip and our second day of our sea turtle conversation project. Since I was on night patrol first, my day started earlier than most. Along with the other nine campers, we hiked out to the beach at five. Using Ricardo’s boat to cross the river, we all successfully got to the other beaches. We then walked out to where we were last night and took in the early morning view. Ricardo then passed out trash bags and gloves for us to use while picking up garbage. The work was difficult as we had to lug the heavy bags and look under nooks and crannies for plastic bottles, but very rewarding to see what we did before most people are awake. After, we hiked back and crossed the river yet again, to pack up our things and head back to the hostel. We met the other group of campers as they were picking up more trash on a different beach. We dropped off our bags and rushed to the restaurant/dining room area to eat breakfast. We all devoured our pancakes and fruit, well deserved from our service work and hike.

After showering and journaling/napping in the hammocks, we headed back out to Ricardo’s for a Canoe Tour. Hiking back with piping hot lunch was a difficult task for some, including Evan who spilled the beans. We eventually got to our destination, where we grabbed life vests and water shoes. We all lined up to jump off a cliff to meet the guides in the boats. One by one, we descended into the water and swam to our canoes. Since we were paddling against the current, it provided a challenging task. After much struggle and a few capsized boats (not mine!), we floated with the current back to a waterfall. Some people even went under, and we took many pictures. We then reached Ricardo’s house again and chowed down on our lunch of Gallo Pinto, pasta salad and a potato and chicken stew. After, my group and I walked back to the hostel yet again. Alice and I ate French Fries along with El and other campers got some pineapple smoothies. We then showered the day off and journaled before calling our parents. Later, we ate dinner, a veggie casserole with plantains and pineapples with ice cream for dessert. I cannot believe we only have a week left in our adventure. Especially in this location, I have realized how grateful I am for everything we have around us back home, like advanced plumbing and AC. However, I am over the moon to be here and surrounded by nature. I am truly in the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Can’t wait to see my family and friends soon, something I think everyone is feeling.

Much Love,
Rebecca “Bex” H.

July 25, 2022

Hello blog!!

Today started off at an early 3:45 am for my group. We stayed at Ricardo’s last night and woke up early, around 4am, to start our search for turtles! On our beach walk we encountered a stealthy green-eyed Tayra that was comparable in size and color to a puma. We walked four beaches and many trails in our search, but unfortunately did not find any sea turtles. But, our efforts were not in vain as we stopped on the beach around 5am to watch a gorgeous sunrise as we listened to the relaxing crash of waves. After watching the sunrise we started our descent back to the hotel, but not without picking up trash along the way. We filled more than 10 garbage bags with plastic bottles, small microplastics, and other trash that didn’t belong on the beach. We each carried one bag on our tiring hike back to the hotel. Finally, we made it back around 8am, and immediately gobbled up a delicious pancake breakfast! Everyone staying at the hotel wished Maya a happy 14th birthday since we had celebrated the night before, and we spent the rest of the morning around the hotel. Many spent time on the deck hanging in hammocks, listening to music, playing cards, and painting old buoys for Anibal, a nice man who works for Ricardo, to turn into cool lamps around the property. We also found some friendly stray dogs that played with us on the deck. I named one Milo Jr. in honor of my dog back home! We all had a filling pasta salad and empanada lunch before heading to the one place everyone had high anticipations for, the beach! A majority of our day was spent there, swimming in waves, reading books, relaxing in the sand, and getting our tan on! The beaches are absolutely gorgeous in the Osa peninsula, and I am continuously in awe of the stunning beauty that is Costa Rica. After beach time, we enjoyed a comfort dinner of hamburgers and french fries, and some absolutely amazing sweet cake for dessert. Lastly, we watched Ricardo’s fun informational video about the Life 4 Life program and headed to bed. Overall, today was a tiring but rewarding day for our Global Works family, and I can’t believe it’s almost come to an end! Before I finish this blog, I’d like to wish a very, very, very happy birthday to my amazing mom back home. I hope you have an absolutely amazing day, and I love you to the moon and back!

Stay cool,
Alexandra S.

July 26, 2022

Hey blog it’s Ryan! Today was a very relaxing day. We woke up at 7 to have breakfast at 7:30 and had delicious pancakes with a side of pineapple, mango, and watermelon. After breakfast, the group split, half of us went and picked up trash on the beach while the rest of us stayed behind to paint a mural representing our time in the Osa Peninsula. The group that picked up trash went to the beach and swam in the ocean. The mural turned out really well and it was very fun to paint. We painted three different sections, one with surfboards, one of the river by Ricardo’s house, and a big one that said “Pura Vida”! After it was done, everyone wrote their names on it. Then, it was time for lunch, we had pasta and homemade bread. After lunch we had free time, so everyone went up to the hammocks and were playing cards and talking. At around 4:00, Ricardo, the founder of Life 4 Life, came with some materials to make jewelry along with some pre-made jewelry that we could buy. The funds will go towards his project of turtle conservation. Everyone bought and made beautiful stuff and it was a great experience. Then, for dinner, the chef and Mar made us a big feast for our last night here. We had tostones (fried plantains), soup, vegan ceviche and three different kinds of fried rice. For dessert, there was Ayote En Miel, it was very sweet. We are now listening to music from Leah’s speaker on the hammocks and we can’t wait for the boat ride back tomorrow! Bye!

Ryan S.

July 27, 2022

Today we all woke up, packed our bags, and headed out to breakfast. We had a delicious, filling meal of fresh baked toast with jam and eggs and fresh fruit. After, everyone gathered their things and we all set out to board the boat to take us away from the gorgeous location known as the Osa Peninsula. As we took the 2 hour boat ride away from this isolated paradise, we reminisced about the fun filled memories we have created together. Alice, Rebecca, Liv and I all talked about the fun times being pummeled by the waves and Alexandra and I collaborating over a fascinating book. After the boat ride we all boarded the bus. Soon after, we took an unexpected stop at an archaeological site and learned about pre-Colombian spheres carved from rocks. We understood the importance of them and how they resembled wealth and power amongst a group of people. We learned different techniques and the types of rocks used. It was overall a very educational aspect that everyone enjoyed. We then hopped back in the bus and drove to a nearby location to have lunch. We all had many different types of food such as chicken fingers, mahi mahi tacos, chicken parmesan, and poke bowl (which I must say was very delicious). After a filling lunch we arrived at the hotel we will be staying at for the next 3 days. Everyone settled into their rooms and jumped into the pool. We played some games such as TAPS, jack pot and staring contests (which I lucked out and beat Evan quite a few times). Finally, the day came to an end. After eating a lovely dinner, we wrapped up the day by all cramming into one room and watching movies non-stop on a little TV in our hotel room. We are all pleased with how the trip has gone so far and saddened at the thought of it coming to an end!

Campbell G.

July 28, 2022

Today we all woke up, packed our bags, and headed out to breakfast. We had a delicious, filling meal of fresh baked toast with jam and eggs and fresh fruit. After, everyone gathered their things and we all set out to board the boat to take us away from the gorgeous location known as the Osa Peninsula. As we took the 2 hour boat ride away from this isolated paradise, we reminisced about the fun filled memories we have created together. Alice, Rebecca, Liv and I all talked about the fun times being pummeled by the waves and Alexandra and I collaborating over a fascinating book. After the boat ride we all boarded the bus. Soon after, we took an unexpected stop at an archaeological site and learned about pre-Colombian spheres carved from rocks. We understood the importance of them and how they resembled wealth and power amongst a group of people. We learned different techniques and the types of rocks used. It was overall a very educational aspect that everyone enjoyed. We then hopped back in the bus and drove to a nearby location to have lunch. We all had many different types of food such as chicken fingers, mahi mahi tacos, chicken parmesan, and poke bowl (which I must say was very delicious). After a filling lunch we arrived at the hotel we will be staying at for the next 3 days. Everyone settled into their rooms and jumped into the pool. We played some games such as TAPS, jack pot and staring contests (which I lucked out and beat Evan quite a few times). Finally, the day came to an end. After eating a lovely dinner, we wrapped up the day by all cramming into one room and watching movies non-stop on a little TV in our hotel room. We are all pleased with how the trip has gone so far and saddened at the thought of it coming to an end!

Campbell G.

July 29, 2022

We awoke on our eighteenth day for an 8:00 breakfast of eggs, pancakes, and, of course, gallo pinto to start of our big adventures. After some time to digest, we departed the hotel to headed towards whale watching. A short bus ride brought us to the boat where we sat, scavenging for whales. Lots of luck must’ve graced our boat as we happened to come across several whales and snapped shots of them jumping out of the water. We enjoyed the pretty blue water and the surrounding rocks and land. As we pulled back into shore, we enjoyed some pineapple and watermelon slices. Then, we walked on the warm sand and watched a demonstration of how to crack open a coconut and tried the juice and meat of it. We all practiced, putting our survival skills to the test.

With our whale watching trip done, we headed back to the hotel and prepared for surfing! We ate a lunch of sandwiches and french fries and then headed to the beach. Before surfing, we all planted trees in the area behind the beach. Then, after a short recap on surfing technique, we started to tackle the waves. It was a struggle for some, but we all pushed through and didn’t let the waves overcome us. Once two hours passed, we walked back to the hotel to get ready for our nice dinner.

We all showered and pulled on our nice clothes. Nora was doing eyeshadow for everyone, and we all prepared for the evening ahead. We took a short bus ride to a very nice dinner/hotel place where we sat and watched the sunset while sipping our drinks. We then headed to go eat our delicious meals and talk about the memories we’ve shared over the last 3 weeks. Lifelong bonds that we never could’ve imagined have been created, and we are all feeling sad yet excited to go home to our families.

Maya G.

July 30, 2022

This morning we left the hotel at 10 am, beginning the long bus ride back to Casa Cielo Grande, where we began the trip 20 long days ago. We stopped twice on the way there, once for souvenirs and lunch, and another for snacks to bring on the plane. Closing ceremonies began almost immediately after we arrived, starting with a few games, then moving on to reflections about the trip. We all wrote goodbye notes to ourselves and each other, and did a short survey about our trip. After that we all got our phones back. The rest of our time there was filled with people sharing contact info, sharing pictures of their loved ones, and calling parents. After this we all boarded the bus one last time to take a short ride to the airport. We said goodbye to Wesley, Ava, and Jorge, all three of which were staying in Costa Rica. After we passed through security, we all talked about things we would and wouldn’t miss about Costa Rica. As I am about to board the flight back home, think about how much I have grown here, and how much my perspective on life has changed after these 3 weeks. Costa Rica has captured all our hearts in ways we never expected, and we hope to return to this beautiful country in the future.

Link L.