Our Spirits Can’t Crumble in the Amazon Jungle! – Ecuador & the Galapagos Community Service

What a great adventure! After stops in Latacunga and the Amazon rainforest, we’ve seen spider monkeys, toucans, and ocelots, climbed a volcano, and tubed down one of the Amazon’s tributaries. Hard to believe it’s only been five days since we left Quito!

Our latest adventures began in the beautiful city of Latacunga, where our hotel had a breathtaking view of the massive volcano Cotopaxi. Not content with merely looking at the volcano from afar, we climbed it the very next day and enjoyed hot chocolate from the lodge on the mountainside. Who would have guessed we’d see snow in Ecuador?

Ecuador & the Galapagos Community Service Dancing

Our community service in Latacunga was equally worthwhile. We visited a seniors’ home, and while there we did our best to help out in any way we could. We shined shoes, played games with the residents, and all of us participated in a talent show. We left the residents with big smiles on our faces and even bigger smiles on ours. We ended our stay in Latacunga in style, celebrating our last night with a camp fire and smores.

After Latacunga, our next stop was a beautiful lodge on a river in the Amazon rainforest. Almost as soon as we arrived, a group of squirrel monkeys swung through the trees just feet away us! We saw many more animals the next day – we visited an animal rehab center, which attempts to prepare poached animals for a return to the wild. Our favorite animals were the spider monkeys, which put on an incredible aerial show for us on the ropes in their cages.

Ecuador & the Galapagos Community Service at the Seniors' Home

In the rainforest, we continued our community service by helping a local community plant yucca, which is a staple of the diet of the indigenous peoples. We learned much more about such peoples when we visited the home of a member of the community, were he showed us how to brew a local tea and even how to fire a blowgun! We staged an impromptu blowgun competition, which Drew won!

We have just arrived in Baños, where we’re looking forward to many more adventures!

¡Hasta luego!

The Westcoast Blogger

Zipping into Rincon – Costa Rica Community Service

It was a day of hard work and happiness as we wrapped up our first service project. With the foundations laid we had one thing left, to leave our special mark. As a group we held a blessing ceremony: by burying one dollar signed by the entire group, a Canadian loonie and a colone, we together left our best wishes for the families and community we had spent time with. These three currencies stand to represent the three nationalities that came together to build the home. Wishing the family prosperity, happiness and love, presented en español by our very own Josh, Nicole and Kylie.

Before leaving the service site we were surprised by some children we had met at the local soccer field; they had come to see us off knowing that we would be leaving the next day. It was a really special moment that we got to share and though we said goodbye, the memories of this experience will remain.

Costa Rica Community Service in Rincon

Following a strong start as a group working with these amazing communities, we came to Rincon de la Vieja where we are staying at an amazing hacienda on the edges of the cloud forest. Our time here started with a high intensity activity: zip-lining! There were some shaky nerves but like any good family we pulled together for an incredible experience. You start by climbing the platform, then you get clipped in and, seconds later, you’re soaring over the tree line. Continuing through the zipline course you could hear the water flowing below and the birds flying above. We knew we were in for a treat but couldn’t predict the amazing views we would see next. Starting with crossing over the ravine, then down into the canyon we continued to challenge ourselves with a site for rappelling, rock climbing and a tarzan swing! We had so much fun! We gave a special thanks to our great instructors who made us comfortable the whole way through. Some trip members were so comfortable that they took zip lines hanging upside down! Talk about a change in perspective. Upside down or not, our next direction is forward.

Pura Vida!

The Westcoast Blogger

The Gift of Giving – Costa Rica Community Service

We can’t believe that we’re already halfway into our trip, and we are loving our time here in Costa Rica! It’s been incredible so far and the whole team seems to be falling further and further in love with this little piece of land that translates to “Rich Coast” in English. Our time in Tamarindo […]

An Amazon Adventure

Four days and so many adventures ago, we arrived by plane, bus, and boat to our lodge on the Tambopata River in the Amazon jungle! Our service projects planting yuca at an organic community farm and helping beautify a local kindergarten brought us in touch with the Ese-Eja indigenous community, which has lived in the […]

Crusin Our Through Costa Rica – Community Service Costa Rica

¡Hola from Costa Rica! The trip has only just begun and we have already had some amazing experiences! From day one, the trip members have bonded quite quickly and there are a lot of new friendships forming. After everyone arrived, we headed to our beautiful and authentic Costa Rican hotel. Quite soon after getting to […]

Costa Rican Adventures, Wildlife and Service – Costa Rica Community Service

Hola from Costa Rica! We have had an exciting week and have so much to update you on so hang tight. We just spent an amazing few days in Flamingo and Rincon de la Vieja exploring wildlife, going on adventures, and of course serving the community. We left Arenal and the stunning volcano and made […]

Keepin’ cool in Coolangatta! – Australia plus Hawaii

Hello from Down Unda! It is hard to believe we are already on day 9 of our trip here in Australia. Since our last scribe, we have spent 4 wonderful days in The Gold Coast, spending a lot of our time in Surfers Paradise. The name really does live up to its expectation; it truly […]

Adventures in the Amazon – Peru Language Immersion

¡Hola, padres! We are presently passing time in Puerto Maldonado.  We arrived yesterday after our amazing stay in the Amazon where we were introduced to two wonderful guides – Lenny and Daniel.  They greeted us and helped us board our boat which we took to our lodge.  On our boat trip, we ate a “packed […]

Buenos Dias from Quito – Community Service Ecuador

Buenos Dias from Quito! We’re proud to say that the trip is off to an amazing start! With all this excitement, this is bound to be a trip of a lifetime. Our first day started off with a trip to the northwest of Quito, into the cloud forest. Sydney M. took the lead in her group showing […]

Good Bye New Zealand, Hello Fiji! – New Zealand & Fiji

Kia Ora! We arrived to Franz Josef on the Westcoast of New Zealand at the Rainforest Retreat – a beautiful lodge located near the world famous glacier! Our journey down was spectacular as we had the Ocean on one side and the rising Southern Alps on the other. With the weather being somewhat uincooperative for […]