Our first day of volunteering at Instituto Asis

Good evening parents!

We heard there’s snow back home, but today was a balmy 31 here in La Fortuna! After our travels yesterday, we had an early night. The students picked up some snacks for themselves at our local supermercado, and we celebrated a birthday! After dinner, we played some icebreakers and got to know our incredible group. After that, it was off to bed and room checks so we could get a solid rest to have a fantastic start to our adventure.

This morning, we woke up for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast at 7:30 am. After indulging in Gallo Pinto (rice and beans!) some fried plantains, deliciously ripe papaya and pineapple and loading up on fresh coffee and juices… we filled our water bottles and headed to our first day of volunteering at Instituto Asis.

We first broke up into two groups and were given an extensive tour of the animal rehabilitation centre. We learned which animals would be reintroduced into the wild, how, where, and in how much time. The students had several questions for our guides Andres and Carlos about the animals. We learned about the lifespan of Macaws (upwards of 100 years!) and the which types are native to Costa Rica… red and green, in case you were wondering! We were introduced to peccaries, pisotes, parrots, a baby howler monkey, spider monkeys, a mapache (known as a raccoon to us back at home!) Capuchin monkeys and many more. AND for the very first time on a Blyth Academy Community Service program in Costa Rica, we were able to see a Margay. I strongly recommend you google one and check out the size of their paws. Although we learned how harmful it is to have a wild animal as a pet… it’s easy to understand why someone might want one!

After learning about the animals and the institution, we got to work. Firstly, the students had a chance to prepare food for all of the animals and learned how to serve it in a safe way. After that, the fun part! All of the students had a chance to feed the animals at mealtime. After a quick break, we broke into smaller groups and thoroughly cleaned animal enclosures, changed water, built toys for the monkeys and parrots and then sadly secured them for the enjoyment of the animals. Check out Vidigami to see all the photos!

We reflected on our work and headed back to our hotel after a long day. There, the students chose to relax for a bit, wash up and prepare for dinner. After a few announcements and a reminder to stay in groups of at LEAST four, we went as a group to explore La Fortuna. Some groups of students chose to get dessert, some opted to get some souvenirs and others simply took in the town. Some students have already come back to sign in as we had such a full day! Tomorrow we get a chance to relax as we head to the paradise that is Los Lagos: hot springs, water slides, a butterfly conservatory, zip lining and an amazing buffet.

We’re up at 7 am tomorrow for a workout and then we’re off!

Pura Vida,


(another of the Activities Coordinators!)