Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pura Vida: Turrialba and Parismina

As many of you know, I've been gone for the last two weeks because I was in Costa Rica for work. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I had a really great experience! I was hoping to have wifi to provide updates, but when I did get wifi (about a week and a half into the trip), I wasn't concerned about updating. I just wanted to live in the moment. I also only ran 4 of the 7 days we were in Parismina and I'm not even mad, because I had views like this :)

I arrived on Sunday, July 21 and was by myself for that evening. I stayed in San José and did some last minute chores for camp before the campers and my co-counselor arrived on Monday. My Spanish came back to me immediately and I am super grateful for that because I served as the sole translator for the trip!

What? This was still in America

When the girls arrived, we made our way to Turrialba for white water rafting. I thought I was going to hate it, but it was AMAZING! I don't have the pictures for that portion, yet, but we did a day and a half of white water rafting through the jungle. The views were gorgeous! I also got paid to jump off of giant boulders into the water and to swim through waterfalls. I was truly blessed. We stayed in open air cabins in the middle of the jungle and it was so so peaceful to hear the water rushing by and to hear the animals chatting to each other. I do have to say, though, that it was scary getting up to go to the bathroom since the bathhouse was a walk away and the jungle is scary at night!

After Turrialba, we arrived in Parismina, an island on the Caribbean side, to spend a week there working with turtles. I LOVED this village. It's a village of about 400 people and the community was so so friendly. We were steps from the black sand beach and the ocean was so soothing to listen to at night. We spent the day doing various activities like swimming, making coconut candy, drinking from coconuts, visiting a farm, and taking Spanish lessons (I helped translate from English to Spanish if need be). At night, we had a shift of 4-hours where we walked the beach looking for nesting mothers or nests. Parismina is a poor village and poachers are a problem, so the ASTOP sea turtle project is around to help decrease the amount of eggs/turtles that are taken by poachers. We saw 2 mothers returning to the water on the first walk, but they did not nest. We then went a few days without seeing anything until we hit the jackpot. We saw THREE mothers that night, two of which we got to see nest! The girls also got to work on FOUR nests and find the eggs! It was a beautiful night and a breathtaking experience. I honestly think it was our saving grace for the trip, too, because the dynamic of the group definitely changed after that night. We even got to see a nesting Hawksbill, which is incredibly uncommon. The girls (and ME!) really lucked out!

 I got my hair wrapped with the girls :)

Coconut candy :) 

 The Hatchery

 One of the local kids, and my new BFF

 A surprise birthday cake from the locals!

 The three best friends that anyone could have

They smashed my face :( 

On my birthday (the 31st), we left Parismina and headed to Monteverde, but that recap will come tomorrow!

If you want more details about anything, please feel free to e-mail me!!