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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Everything is Pura Vida With the Costa Rica Combo!

The Costa Rican Combo checks in after their first few days!

The Westcoast Blogger

Saludos from the Costa Rican Combination gang!  Everything is Pura Vida (awesome) here and the kids have been loving every moment so far! After our arrival in San Jose, we were able to ‘break the ice’ and make some new friends, including our charismatic Costa Rican guide Mooney.

Day #2 was an amazing white water rafting experience on the Reventazón River in the Caribbean region of Costa Rica. Alisha kept the pace with her paddle, while Charlotte floated down with all smiles! River rafting was a great way to start the trip, not to mention a wonderful introduction to the beautiful rainforests. We also gave a warm welcome to our late-night arrivals R.J. and Austin, two cousins all the way from California, as well as Natalie, who was performing in a school play before she arrived to beautiful Costa Rica.

We had bueno suerte (good luck) and were able to view the crater of Poas Volcano. Amber got some breathtaking pictures, Duncan and Scott are new best friends with our amazing Tica guide Selma, and Christophe has still not found a stick for “laxing” or practicing lacrosse. The tour members were able to meet their CPI Spanish instructors and get settled into their lasses. The CPI in Heredia is fit with a hammock, soccer field, and ping-pong tables. Jess K. and Sarah showed some major skills on the futbol field, while Jordan and the guys played some basketball.

We were lucky to visit an indigenous village, where the group learned of ancient rituals and talked with Chief Choto. Jeremy and Jared teamed up and pressed some sugar cane, and Sophie tried some of the fresh sugar cane juice. The tour members were able to practice their Spanish and get their hands dirty making a typical Costa Rican plate of Arroz con Pollo and Tortillas.  Grace and Connor were professional cooks by the end of the night!

Ticos Olympicos is our friendly competition amongst teams of tour members lead by the staff. Everyone was given Spanish nick names, and we made up team cheers and handshakes. The teamwork was amazing! Some of the best nicknames include Logan “Lugano,” Loryn “Elftastica,” and Jessica K. “Fajita.”  

Everything was put into perspective when we arrived at the village of La Carpio. Some of the group built and delivered bunk beds while the others played games with the local children. Bradley and Matthew really enjoyed helping with the construction of bunk beds, along with many others. Gabriella and Zohar shone with the children, and Joey was our expert with the drill. Hannah and Rachel had their work cut out for them delivering beds to the villagers’ homes. At the end of the day everyone felt like they had really made a difference.

The tour to Café Britt was full of energy (literally), as we were able to enjoy some of the best coffee in the world! Zoë had a wonderful sweet 16 and celebrated with a huge Hello-Kitty cake and a surprise from the group! Gracias to Richard and Jaclyn for opening our karaoke night, and to Ella for serenading us with her beautiful voice!

 Although we were unable to see lava because of the evening clouds at Arenal Volcano, everyone had “solo bueno” things to say about the experience and our beautiful hotel Lavas Tacotal. In the town of La Fortuna we had the opportunity to play the game “Trading Up.” Melanie and Adina were champions at trading pens for different objects.

The Baldi Hot Springs were perfect after a rigorous afternoon of zip lining! Zooming through the trees hundreds of feet above the ground took MUCHO courage for Alison, Jane and Tyler who conquered their fears. Amanda and Mariah could also be heard screaming with excitement from platform to platform. Everyone had an amazing day zip lining and finishing it off at the natural hot springs!

We have now made our way to la Costa Pacifica and are enjoying the sun in Playa Flamingo. Everyone enjoyed pool time and our afternoon activities lead by our amazing staff-water aerobics, break dancing, yoga, soccer, and the Zine workshop.  Adi played with some adorable kids also staying at the hotel, while the ever-smiling Maredith showed us some pool games. We had a beautiful bonfire last night and shared our favorite moments of the trip so far. It really is becoming the summer of a lifetime! The snorkeling cruise today was a blast! Jared reeled in a skipjack tuna! Christophe and Charlotte showed us some acrobatic dives, and the group sitting on the bow spotted a sea turtle! Bradley was able to practice some Spanish with the deck hands. The tour members were introduced to their new Spanish instructors at the C.P.I. Flamingo location, where we look forward to learning more grammar and Costa Rican slang. We are ecstatic to have Emily rejoin our group today, who is feeling much better. We can’t wait for upcoming surf lessons as well as painting houses and schools for our approaching community service project!

From all of us in Costa Rica, Ciao!