So many exciting things have already happened since our arrival in San Jose! We were greeted at the airport by our energetic guide and in no time, we were off to the Hotel Adventure Inn, where each bedroom has a different mural painted on the wall that makes you feel like you’re in the rainforest. Our program members spent the first evening getting to know one another over a delicious meal. We’re going to be a tight-knit Familia in no time!
Our first full day together was one that we won’t be forgetting any time soon. We traveled across the beautiful landscape of Costa Rica towards the Pacific Coast to meet the crew of our Isla Tortuga adventure. On the ship, there was great music and tasty local fruit for us to enjoy while we gazed out at the ocean around us, keeping our eyes out for turtles! At the island we were brought out to, we got the chance to see coral and many different species of fish. Program members were so eager to get suited up in their snorkeling gear and dive right in!
The blue water was magical with the sun shining down on us as we swam alongside the fish and explored their home. We made the most of every minute on the island, soaking up the sun and playing soccer on the beach before boarding the ship for our journey back to the mainland. As our day came to an end, we were so lucky to catch the sunset from the front deck of the boat; we are living in a postcard here in Costa Rica!
Day three was what we were all waiting for, to begin work with our first service partner. Urbarium is a non-profit organization that promotes the development of local communities where the population has access to adequate housing and can enjoy appropriate social, physical and environmental community spaces. We are so grateful to be able to help them in their mission to facilitate the access of vulnerable families to integrate them into more vibrant communities. Vibrancy is the perfect word to describe our work, as the program members had the task of painting the local sports court and walls to reflect the passion and zest of the community. We were so enthusiastic to begin painting and bring a local artist’s idea to life. The artwork is inspired by the children and families of the community who we were so humbled to meet and work alongside.
We started by plastering the walls and cleaning up the court and within minutes of work, we could already start to see the difference that our efforts were bringing to their community and the sincere joy on the faces of the families. Urbarium’s staff shared with us their vision of seeing a Costa Rica with supportive and sustainable communities that improve the local quality of life. We were able to meet teens from the area similar to our program members’ own ages who expressed to us that they always thought the sports area was very dull. But with only one day of service complete, we are genuinely feeling and seeing our impact.
With our positive mindset and attitude, we are ready to take on the rest of this project and learn and grow from this opportunity. Feeling so welcomed by the community, we are excited to add the next color to the mural. Our energy and eagerness to learn shows us how impactful it can be to immerse ourselves in this service program. We can’t wait to tell you how beautiful it turns out!
The Westcoast Blogger
Does exploring Costa Rica through community service and adventure activities sound like fun? Read more about our various service opportunities in Costa Rica here!