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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Hot Springs, Canyoning, and La Carpio! – Community Service Costa Rica



Happy to report we are back at the lovely, and familiar, La Condesa, where we started our adventure almost 3 weeks ago…

Our stop in Arenal was amazing!  Our hotel, lodged on the side of a sloping hill, had a breathtaking view of the volcano. Upon arrival, we threw down our bags, donned our bathing suits, and headed to the famous Baldi Hot Springs for some relaxation.  Ben and Steven rode the water slide all evening!

With the volcano lurking in the background, our group set off early for a day of adventure: Canyoning! After a safari jeep ride up a mountainous path, we geared up for our descent.  We learned there would be 3 repels, with the largest over 180 feet!!  A big “hoorah” to Carly S., Carly R., Sam, Jackie and Grace for conquering their fear of heights! The adrenalin rush was followed by lunch, where we all had the chance to see pictures of our journey.

After dinner, we drove into the local town for an evening of futbol (soccer).  Under the Costa Rican lights, and a crowd of locals watching, we split into two squads and kicked off.  Shout out to David and Sam for their efforts on offense, and congrats to Grace, Jamie and Jon for anchoring the defense for the winning squad!

Before leaving Arenal, we attempted – and failed – to capture a “jumping volcano pic.”  However, the experience was comical, and the picture captures smiles from everyone 🙂

Traveling back to the Central Valley, Gail, the director of our service projects and founder of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation, came to talk to us about what we would be doing for the rest of our trip. We learned the unique history of La Carpio, a village of 35,000 Nicaraguans who have come to Costa Rica for a better life. The village, accessed by one road over a canyon, would be unlike our previous service assignments. Gail discussed the progress her foundation has made over the last 25 years.


Arriving in La Carpio for the first time was an eye opener for everyone. We arrived at the Libertad, a small school and shelter. Half the group remained at the center, while a second group grabbed paint supplies to bring color to the tin buildings. Cassidy used her hands to paint a unique mural, while Lexi used her palms to make a trail of baby feet. Risa and Raina noted the bright blues, greens and yellows brought much needed life to the previously dark block. Back at the center, Michael used face paint to transform the children’s faces into lions and tigers!!

For our second day in La Carpio, the trip members prepared short plays based on famous childhood books, including ‘Where is Spot’ and the ‘Little Engine That Could’. Anna and Rachel performed ‘The Artist that Painted the Blue Horse’, by Eric Carle. Their simple drawings and animal effects were a big hit with the kids. They also simultaneously taught the kids English …It was very impressive!! Alexa, Stephen and Ben performed the ‘Little Engine That Could’ for a surprise audience of teenagers, who were hearing the story for the first time and who seemed to appreciate and understand the meaning of the story.

As time on our trip wanes, we are all excited for our last few days. We will keep you updated!!!

Buenos Noches!!

The Westcoast Blogger