Costa Rica Wildlife Research & Sea Turtle Conservation, Session 3 ~ 2022
July 18, 2022
We had to wake up pretty early to get to the bus, then ironically wait for boarding for a long time. In the meantime we entertained ourselves with CONVERSATION. We got some more sleep on the plane.
Arrived, no issues, beautiful nature around, most buildings are open to the air. They actually rarely use air conditioning because the weather is so comfortable. Went to a restaurant, some interesting local beverages, and good pastry. The food is good overall.
Next we walked to the inn, and had another hour or so to sleep. Then we talked through the rules, made a few fun jokes in the process. Did some team building activities. Got our phones collected. More SLEEP…
July 19, 2022
This morning we woke up early for a bus ride to the Poas Volcano. We spent 20 minutes observing the crater and we learned the benefits that volcanos have on the local agriculture. On the way to the volcano we noticed many coffee plantations which are located there because of the very fertile soil.
After visiting the gift shop there we spent 2 hours on the bus ride to a farm where we learned about a variety of medicinal and edible plants. We walked through the farm and learned about different insects, and also ate some termites! After some walking we sat down and tried many tropical fruits that we haven’t tried, these included passion fruit, orange lemons, star fruit, and sugarcane. We were taught a lot about the different ways sugarcane is consumed. Examples are it can be crushed and squeezed to make a juice (which we also each tried), it can be chewed for the juice then spit out, and it can also be heated up with honey to make more concentrated sugar.
After trying many fruits we learned about the different types of coffee that are created from the plants grown on the farm. We each took roles in grinding the coffee beans along with other roles. Then we were able to make our own bags of coffee to bring home to our families! We finished the day off by playing with a soccer ball outside.
Then after a long car ride back we played some tumbling towers and ate pizza.
July 20, 2022
Today we woke up early around 6:30 and immediately had all of our suitcases packed to go to our next adventure after we had our classic breakfast in Costa Rica of rice beans and eggs, we then got into a long bus ride where we had our suitcases dropped off at a checkpoint in which we would reach at the end of our second day of rafting (also where we had our second breakfast), though today we went on an hour and a half rafting session which we will be going on a double as long session tomorrow. I digress though, we had seen a small waterfall and some pool areas upon which we had swam in. (Today is Kevin’s birthday!) The rapids were roaring and never failed to excite the teams as it made us quite adventurous, once we arrived at the place that we’d be sleeping, we had lunch, got changed, made our beds, and played some card games, as well as me, who slept in a hammock. Later on, when I had woken up we all went down for dinner in the middle of our Uno match. Once we came back up and finished our rice, meat, veggies and mushroom cream type dish, I am now currently writing this blog now and this is where we end at, at 9pm.
July 21, 2022
This morning we woke up to a beautiful view of the river and rainforest after it had rained the night before. For breakfast Kevin got a belated birthday pancake cake while the girls watched a flying ant suffer the consequences of walking through Jadyn’s maple syrup. We then packed up and headed out for our 3 hour rafting journey! From little bumps in the water to mini waterfalls we went through it today. ESPECIALLY Jadyn and Isabella. They were the lucky two who fell out of the boat and got to swim in the rapids! We also saw a variety of wildlife such as toucans, butterflies, and even a sloth! After the rafting came to a close we had lunch which consisted of a burrito that had too much filling. We had to eat some first before we wrapped it. Then a 2 hour bus ride later we arrived at a bungalow lodge where we got to take refreshing showers and have a good dinner before we turned in for the night at 9! Bye love you. mom!
July 22, 2022
Today started off like any other … extremely early and with gallo pinto. We had our morning cup of coffee and set sail to Projecto Asis, a wildlife conservation center. From there we took a tour and learned about the different animals and their process to rehabilitation. We saw a wide variety of animals from Toucans to Spider Monkeys. After our tour ended we were able to work behind the scenes by feeding the animals. Lunch was soon after, we enjoyed arroz con pollo and empanadas de piña for dessert. Not long after we went on a second tour to partake in sloth spotting. Through thick leaves we were able to spot and learn about the different species of sloth and their characteristics. After that eventful day we went back to our bungalows to rest until dinner. In the meantime some of us hit the gym whereas others laughed maniacally while playing cards. We finished off the night with La Rosa de Guadalupe and more competitive card games. That is where the day ends and another will soon begin.
July 23, 2022
This morning we were blessed with the chance to wake up at 8, and then soon started the day with delicious eggs and pancakes. We wasted no time hopping in to our beloved white van to head to a beautiful park, which had a butterfly and orchid garden, and most notably a ginormous waterfall. However, reaching and returning from the waterfall was no easy task, as we had to traverse a treacherous 500 steps in the hot, humid rainforest both ways in order to reach and leave the waterfall. I was so exhausted after all of that intense cardio that I had basically forgotten all about the waterfall, but that may have been a personal problem. After leaving the park, we took off to the Sky Adventures ziplining center, where we all went on seven unique ziplines over the beautiful forest. Veronica was absolutely terrified to zipline, but when we finished she was disappointed that we had already conquered all of the courses.
We then drove into a local town, where we explored various stores and souvenir shops. Kevin purchased a striking coconut, which he named Ronald, and Isabella spoiled the group with a fresh bag of rambutan fruit. We also got lots of different Costa Rican snacks and pastries to try out. After our journey in town, we travelled back to the hotel, where we were surprised with an amazing while very challenging dance class. The dance instructor taught us a variety of latin dances, a majority of which included moving our hips and performing different series of steps with our feet. We absolutely killed the dances, by the time we left the dance floor, it was completely burnt after facing our fire dance moves. We finished off the day with an unusually American meal of chicken tenders and french fries. Our activities today included more physical activities than I could handle, but it was overall a very rewarding experience, and my muscles already feel bigger.
July 24, 2022
Today we woke up at 8:30 and we finished brecky and were out by 9:30. We had a 5 hour bus ride and stopped for lunch in the middle. We jammed out to 2000’s bops. We arrived at the entrance and we loaded our luggage onto an ATV.
We trudged through the mud in a grueling hike down the thick rainforest. Kevin almost fell 2 dozen times and Jadyn was a sweaty mess. We got a lengthy briefing and learned a lot about the origins of the rainforest and organization. We learned about how they use their fundings and how covid affected it. Finally we learned about the endangered animals and plans for the future and drank hot cocoa and ate popcorn to finish it off.
July 25, 2022
We woke up at around 6 getting breakfast at 7. We then hiked around a mile to go dig with shovels to clear out some pathing for the Children’s Eternal Rainforests trails.
Once we were back we had lunch and then 2 hours later we went to a river which was less of a hike but more work as we filled up bags of sand/soil to clear out a pond. Once we had hiked back we had milk and rice. I then went upstairs and saw a beautiful view that we have from the upstairs balcony that contains a lake from a far off distance as well as height level clouds that are par to the height we currently are at as well as a distant volcano and some mountains . Then a few hours later at around 7 we had dinner which was rice, beans, pork, chips, and salad which is definitely one of my favorite meals so far.
July 26, 2022
We had an early morning today hiking into the rainforest to do some service work. We did some digging to help with irrigation along the trails. After that we hiked further in to continue widening trails. At the end of the morning we walked to a waterfall and washed off in the refreshing water.
When we went back to have lunch we were surprised with not having to go back to work later. So instead we read in the hammocks and chilled. Isabella helped in the kitchen making homemade donuts while the rest of us read or played solitaire. After we ate the yum yum donuts I absolutely demolished everyone in ping pong. Overall It was a pretty relaxing day after the work we did.
July 27, 2022
Sad to leave the cloud forest we all packed our bags and started the day off with a relaxing hike back up and out. Well… hmm… relaxing? More like strenuous and tiring. However we made sure to take our minds off the negative parts and fill it with the positive ones by telling scary stories and making each other laugh. Once we conquered the trail, we felt on top of the world. We then decided to play a little game of volleyball to get the last bit of our wiggles out before another very long 6 hour bus ride to the coast. We jammed out to 2012 hits until it was time to stop for lunch where we got to browse one of the biggest souvenir shops we’ve come across yet. Once we finished, it was back on the road singing our hearts out. Our day came to a close at a hotel that we’re staying at for only one night while the rest of our adventure continues tomorrow! Love you mom and dad!
July 28, 2022
Today we had a later start and woke up at around 7 and were eating by 8. We continued our long bus journey and listened to some more tunes on the way. We arrived to our boat after about a 2 hour bus ride. After packing all of our things onto the boat we set off to our next destination.
On the river we saw many things including wild monkeys, sloths, crocodiles and many more. The captain of the ship used his extensive knowledge to teach us about the area. In particular he showed us the mangrove and all the trees and how they grew. We got out of the river and crossed into the ocean area. We cruised along the open ocean for a little while until we saw a few whales. We got closer to the whales and saw that it was a mother and its baby. After the detour we made it to the area and unpacked all of our things.
We loaded our things onto a horse drawn cart and made a ten minute hike along the seaside. Then we made it to the hostel we will be staying at for a little while. We were greeted with coconuts that we drank out of while listening to the waves. We then had a nice lunch with fresh fruit juice that ended in a birthday cake for Ava. Happy birthday Ava! Then after lunch we chilled out in hammocks until our next activity.
We started on our next hike down the coast with the owner Ricardo. On the hike over we saw wild Whiteface Monkeys and a whole lotta hermit crabs. We got to the place and Ricardo showed us all about the conservation and the projects we are going to do. After a briefing we headed back to the hostel. On the trip back we saw Ricardos cute cat which was friendly. Then we continued back the way we came and saw a pack of spider monkeys. We saw a big one which was the mom and three little ones following. After that encounter we made our way further down the trail. We came across a big beach and had the choice to swim and we said yes no hesitation. We enjoyed our time in the warm tropical water and played around for a while.
We made our way back into the hostel and we all showered and cleaned off and rested for a while. We laid down in hammocks and Ava braided my hair as well as Jadyns and Alejandros. Then we finished off the day with a nice dinner and some desert. I’m hopeful our stay here will be fun.
July 29, 2022
After waking up to the sound of waves crashing onto the shore, we began the day with a luxurious breakfast by the sea. Breakfast consisted of tropical fruits, some classic Costa Rican coffee, and the best pancakes I have probably ever eaten. Soon after our meal, we once again began our hike to Ricardo’s house, the owner of the Life for Life turtle conservation. On our way we spotted diverse wildlife, such as jasmine flowers, spider monkeys, more hermit crabs than i can count, many dogs roaming the shore, macaws, and a squirrel (which was the last animal i thought we would possibly see in Costa Rica) mounted on top of a tree.
As soon as we reached Ricardo’s, I excitedly reunited with his beautiful kitty named Tigresa. We spent the next few hours painting boat oars, surfboards, and canoes, with the goal of displaying colorful, positive messages and quotes to encourage volunteers and onlookers to stay inspired while making a difference in the world. After completing our masterpieces (besides Kevin’s evil baby doll), we hiked back to the hostel and enjoyed a lunch of lasagna and garlic bread. Tired from all our hard work, we then sprawled out on the hammocks for a relaxing nap. At five, we again hiked to Ricardo’s house to eat dinner and quickly head to bed, to ensure we will be energized for our turtle patrol at 1:30 AM tomorrow.
July 30, 2022
Our day started unlike any other. We woke up at 1:30 in the morning. This is the start to the turtle conservation night patrol. Once everyone was awake we traveled through treacherous and deep waters on an unbalanced boat across a river, at least that is how it felt. Still pitch black outside we hiked through forest and beaches with only a dim red light to shine the way. With a small break before going back to Ricardo’s home, we were able to enjoy the star filled night sky. The patrol ended at 4am where an hour later the sun came up and so began our trek to home base.
From there we had breakfast consisting of Gallo Pinto and scrambled eggs. Before lunch we were able to enjoy the beach, playing volleyball and tanning in the sun, (the sun was a lot stronger than any of us anticipated).
For lunch we indulged in a seafood lasagna and after we spent four hours leaving our mark on Costa Rica by painting a mural on a door. After cleaning up we were able to call it a day with dinner being fried fish, tostones, and sweet potato mash, and a few card games as always. Until next blog, bye!
July 31, 2022
Breakfast was at 8, after that we went collecting trash at the beach. We saw a dead green turtle on our way back. They die due to the red tide if they swim near the shore. Played some solitude, then hiked to the hostel owner’s house, because we were supposed to have a boat tour up the river but it was raining up in the mountains, so it got canceled because of flash floods. We collected some more ancient plastic waste there, instead. Then walked back, collecting trash as we went. We played trivia and monopoly then ate dinner.
When it was dark we lit up the huge fire we made yesterday on the beach. Oh, it was a hassle to make it burn properly because the wood was wet, roasted some marshmallows, went to sleep.
August 1, 2022
We started off the day with some gardening, however many things went wrong there. While Jadyn and I started digging our first hole I broke open a water pipe which was very problematic but also not my fault. Then, while Jadyn and Ava were digging a hole, Jadyn also broke open a water pipe! Today we learned the lesson that we are not gardeners. Once we finished gardening we ate lunch and chilled for a bit. Next up was arts and crafts, so we went down to the beach and made bracelets, I had many failed attempts and zero successful attempts. Once the rain set in we moved our bracelet making to the hammocks. We were stuck there for a bit so we played some card games and napped until it was time for dinner. Dinner was, as usual, amazing. After dinner we watched a half an hour video on the Life for Life Sea Turtle project and learned about its start up. After the video we had a lot of fun playing Pictionary. Some highlights of the game were limbless Jadyn, Benji (the dog here) explosive farts, and Oprah.
August 2, 2022
Today we woke up to some nice torrential downpour and thunder. It was pouring so we had a fun hike to the beach. Once we made it to the boat already soaked, me and Jadyn slipped our shades on to protect our eyes from the dangerous extremely painful water bullets, Ava also utilized her glasses however she still looked very uncomfortable. Once we got off the boat we had a nice short hour ride to the hostel we’re staying at for the next few days. We spent the rest of the day hanging out and playing cards. During an Egyptian rat slap game that felt never ending, we met the best cat ever, who we ended up hanging out with again at dinner. Anyway, after about 3 hours of Alejandro and Ava battling to the death in rat slap, Ava was humbled immensely. Jadyn was for sure a trooper though!
August 3, 2022
Today we woke up excited to surf our hearts out. We walked to the national park just down the road stopping to say hi to some cows and dogs. Meeting our surf instructors, we had a lesson with them the entire morning. From wiping out to finally being able to stand up on the board we did it all! After getting a lot of water in our noses we took a break for lunch. After, we made our way back to the beach where Jadyn, Ronnie, and I dove into some waves. Steph and Isa took a relaxing walk and the boys lounged. Once we got our tan on we walked back and stopped by the supermarket and got ice cream!!! After the tiring day we came together and got dressed up in our fancy clothes (since we never had a reason to use them) and went to an ordinary dinner. Then after lots of cards and criminal minds we all hit the hay!! Love you mom.
August 4, 2022
After beginning our day with a classic Costa Rican breakfast of eggs and gallo pinto, we hopped on a bus in order to head to a whale watching tour. We cruised on a boat with our super friendly guide, Walter, who educated us on how and why different animals migrate through the pacific ocean during this time of year. First, we spotted a mom and baby humpback whale go in and out of the water while the baby was feeding. Nearby, we also found a male and female sea turtle mating, which was definitely slightly uncomfortable. On a small island completely inhabited by birds, we witnessed the circle of life in action when we saw a black vulture attack and feed on a smaller white bird. The guides surprised us with fresh pineapple and watermelon, and allowed us to swim at a cool spot by another island. My favorite find of the day was for sure a family of spotted dolphins gracefully jumping around our boat.
Once the tour concluded, we returned to our hotel for lunch where we had some delish spaghetti. We then started our walk back to the beach for another day of surf lessons. The waves were a bit rougher today however, so after shredding a few waves, Veronica and I took a break. Don’t worry though, the delicious oranges and bananas provided by the surf instructors boosted our spirits. We said goodbye to the guides and the beach and headed back to the hotel to unwind and pack up before our long journey tomorrow to San Jose. We of course ended the day with some cards and criminal minds and settled in for the night.