We’ve arrived safe and sound, Pura Vida!
Our first day was a long time coming: after heartfelt goodbyes at the departure at Pearson, we were en route to Mexico. After a flight full of half-excitement and half sleeping, the students were delighted to land in Mexico city to find a twist on Krispy Kreme and their favourite foods from home. After a brief layover, we headed to Liberia for a much more restful night.
Once we landed, we boarded our very chic-retro looking Turismo bus. Once our luggage was stowed on top, we set out for the mountains of Arenal and the town of Fortuna. On our way, we saw howler monkeys (and maybe a sloth?) as well as a pizote (a cute kind of a raccoon, ant-eater dog looking animal, look them up!)… and lots of cows! During the dry season the plains become quite yellow here, though the scenery became greener as we climbed higher. The group stayed in high spirits, even when we had to slow down because the pavement was literally being put down ahead of the car! We stopped at a traditional Costa Rican restaurant, where many students chose to try different styles of “Casado” or “Comida Tipico” a traditional Costa Rican meal made up of plantains, rice and beans (gallo pinto) a salad, and a choice of chicken, beef or fish.
At the end of our long journey, the group was ready for a few minutes of rest. Info cards were handed out with all our addresses and numbers for the students, room keys were assigned to roommates, and everyone refreshed themselves and unpacked. We then met up for a hearty dinner, where we were offered seconds, which many students took up! We had some fun ice-breaking activities for our incredible crew to get to know each other a bit better. Afterward, we took some photos and headed to the local grocer to pick up some snacks to prepare us for our first full day of volunteering tomorrow, at Instituto Asis.
A large group of students went out to explore the town for a few minutes before sign in, which we’ll be doing as a full group tomorrow after we volunteer.
As soon as they’re back we’ll be doing individual room checks and ensuring everyone is ready for a good solid rest before we wake up bright and early! Be sure to check out the photos and videos of the day on Vidigami and Vimeo.