HOLA from Heredia, Costa Rica!
We are writing to you from la Condessa Hotel after our third fun-filled day in Central America. After arriving in Costa Rica, we spent the afternoon getting to know everybody. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner and we enjoyed some traditional fare at Encuentros Restaurant where everybody tried freshly squeezed cas juice – a local tropical fruit. We closed the night out with some fun team building games and group activities.
Day two started with freshly picked pineapples and papayas. And then we began our rafting adventure at Rios Tropicales. Our scenic drive included passing through a cloud forest complete with volcanoes then over the continental divide toward the Caribbean Sea. The weather was fantastic and so was our rafting experience; especially for David and some of the others who rode the bull (sitting on the nose of the raft) through the waves. Our trip home included a stop at a fruit stand where we got to try coconut cookies and freshly picked lychee fruit.
For dinner we headed over to Rostipollo for some arroz con pollo, yucca, fried platanos, and some other Costa Rican delicacies. The highlight of our evening was when we met Gail Nystrom, founder of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation. Gail had all kinds of interesting stories to tell about all her years here and got everyone excited about our upcoming community service projects.
The next day we had another delicious breakfast at La Condesa hotel. After filling our bellies and our water bottles we hit the road to La Carpio to begin our service project. Upon arrival, Gail welcomed us at her women’s cooperative shelter and then we embarked on our walking tour of the village. Some of our stops included a shop where Grace and Courtney got to try their hand at pressing and grilling fresh corn tortillas, and a fruit market where Jake tried cracking open a coconut. Next up we started our first task – a beautification project where we painted a mural the length of a building in the village. Gaby, Melony, and Eliana really showed their artistic side as we decorated the wall with a jazzy rainbow, complete with a pot of gold! After the project was complete, we spent some time playing with the kids in the village where Brooke showed off her strong Spanish skills as she mingled with the kids. Gail then set us up in the daycare where we did puzzles, colored and enjoyed story time. It was truly rewarding for everybody involved; both the tour and the time with the kids proved to be an eye opening experience. After leaving the daycare, we returned to the shelter where the women prepared a delicious meal for us.
When we got back to the hotel we had a chance to have some pool time before a relaxing dinner at the hotel. In the evening we played a team-building game and reviewed the service experience. All of our trip members contributed to a thorough discussion about life in La Carpio and what each person enjoyed most about the work so far. We closed out our evening with a private salsa lesson where Hannah and Brandi showed off their Latin freestyle dance moves!
We’re looking forward to our next three days which will include more community service and our departure for Tamarindo Beach. Stay tuned for our next update from la playa!
The Westcoast Blogger