We stayed just outside of Liberia in a heavily forested area where you could hear the sounds of birds all around you. Liberia is close to the volcanic mountain range that runs through Costa Rica, splitting the east and west coasts. Therefore, it only made sense that we would head to the hot springs and enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of a volcanic mud bath. At the spa, we swam in the river, enjoyed the hot springs and then painted ourselves with the mud. Everyone’s skin felt smoother after. That night we had dinner at the hotel, staying at the restaurant for over two hours past dinner laughing and making friends with other trips.
The next morning, we went to Rincon De La Vieja National Park where we were guided through the forest and learned about the many species of plants and animals. We were even lucky enough to see some spider monkeys playing up in the trees. There were also iguanas, snakes and other various creature that we spotted. The park had hot volcanic pools bubbling with the smell of sulfur all around us. This was the same mud we used to paint ourselves with the night before, only ours was a few degrees cooler.
That evening our activity was horseback riding, so we headed to the stable and greeted our horses. Some of our trip members showed lots of love towards their animal, Hallie especially who named hers “Cucumber.” We rode to a small waterfall where we could swim in the river that Lailie said “looked so good!”
Our whole trip was ready for some sun and sand, so Flamingo was the perfect next stop. Our service in this location was with Siempre Amigos (Always Friends), a group started by three friends who wanted to give back to their communities. This organization builds houses for families who can’t support themselves and a lot of the projects are for single mothers around Costa Rica. We were excited to get started and on our first day we did some sanding, painting, shoveling and transporting wheelbarrows of dirt. The team was happy to later have the opportunity to swim in a beautiful cove surrounded by cliffs draped in lush greenery.
The next day we had great surf lessons with our incredible instructors. Almost everyone in our group was able to stand up and Molly was shredding the waves even though it was her first time surfing. The sun was setting and lighting up the sky in brilliant orange and soft pinks. We spent another evening salty and with smiles on our faces.
The last day building the house was spent mixing and pouring cement. Sydney really stepped it up and worked really hard to shuttle the cement from the mixing station to the house. At the end of the day we also thanked the family whose house we were building, because they helped us with the construction as well. Once we finished the work on the house, our group donated items like shoes, stickers and diapers to the family and their neighbor, who was a single mother of eight.
Our time in Flamingo with our service partners had a very positive impact on our team. What a beautiful place and what amazing people we created the memories with.
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