After braving the adventure of international travel, Molly arrived in Costa Rica.
While transferring planes in Houston, Texas she was thrilled to see another young lady wearing the identifying t-shirt of the GLA and got to become acquainted with a fellow Sea Turtle Initiative participant before arriving in Costa Rica. Both girls were glad to see each other. Their seats weren’t together but upon departing they were able to navigate customs together, making the process a little less intimidating.
Students trickled into the airport through the afternoon from all corners of the globe. Once everyone had arrived GLA staff helped everyone securely exchange their dollars into colones,
And then they headed to Hotel Pacande to freshen up and settle into their next 10 days of Pura Vida!
After enjoying lunch at the hotel, students had the option to rest, or participate in activities to break the ice and get to know their new GLA family.
Because the trip to home base involved a 6 hour trip via car then boat, the group spent the night at this local hotel and left for the remote village of Parismina the following morning.
Day 2 involved a long drive, followed by a boat ride to arrive at the organic fruit farm where they would live and work for the next 10 days.
Along the way there was a planned stop at the first adventure of the trip: Ziplining through the jungle of Costa Rica.
They also stopped at a village store to purchase munchies before heading into the wilds of Costa Rica.
Located on the Caribbean coast the farm they were staying at was quite remote. Travel to the closest town involved a 45 minute walk through the jungle, but was only about 10 minutes from the beach.
This beach is known for being the prime location for four species of sea turtles to nest.
While in Costa Rica, as part of the Sea Turtle Initiative, Molly and the other participants spent their days helping protect and improve conditions for the sea turtles through night patrols with ASTOP (an anti-poaching organization,) beach clean-ups, surveying nesting sites, and raising community awareness.
After a long day of travel, the students and staff arrived at the eco-lodge Friday night and settled in for a week’s worth of adventures. As parents we were privy to some of their adventures through blogs written by the students and posted every few days on the GLA website. Since they can better express the experiences they enjoyed than I can retell, I will be posting their recaps of their days in Costa Rica. (Because internet access is spotty in the jungle there were not blogs posted every single day, but I will share what they shared.)
Here is their first blog entry:
This morning we all woke up in our new rooms in our lodge here on Parismina. A lot of us learned an important lesson about tucking our mosquito nets into our beds, because we woke up with upward of ten bites.
We then had some morning free time and many of us headed downstairs to rest in the hammocks.
After our breakfast we got ready for our first walk of our organic farm tour led by our house leader Jason.
Here we saw various plants, fruits (some of which we got to taste!) and insects.
During our nature walk we got to see a sloth, some iguanas, grasshoppers, a ribbon snake, and a nest of biting fire ants.
After some free time we got to see a presentation from ASTOP, an organization for the preservation of sea turtles. This group taught us the reasons poaching of sea turtles occurs here in Costa Rica and what they have been doing to stop poaching.
This information got us very excited for our first night patrol. The very nice man left and then we were given time to go swim in the ocean.
The ocean was gorgeous, and had black sand which many of us had not seen before.
After we passed a swim test (which we all did AWESOME at) we got to swim.
About half-way through swimming, more and more people went off to go play in the sand. Some people were buried while others of us just relaxed on their towels. The heat of the day was wiped off of us while swimming.
After that, we came back where we all rinsed off and then had some downtime to relax and talk with everybody. All in all we had a great day and are looking forward to hopefully seeing a turtle on our night patrol.
If not, at least it will be an awesome week!