July 10, 2019
I am sad to say that we just completed our final adventure here in Costa Rica. After leaving the quaintness of our jungle life in El Brujo we began to make our way to the city of Turrialba. Waiting for us to begin this voyage was our loyal driver, Edgar, whom we were all excited to see! Letting the boys choose the first song, Elliot, requested the group favorite, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” to start the journey off right! For lunch, we stopped at the tropical spot known as, Urban Farm Café. Ian was especially happy to fulfill his longing desire of indulging in a delicious burrito.
The boys kept the music rolling the rest of the way until reaching our exquisite inn. Later, we ate at the local Asian restaurant. Everyone had a variety of different orders, however, Lily certainly made the most bold choice from the menu! After dinner, we all shared laughs and conversation in the tranquil outdoor lounging spot of our charming hostel.Day 12 of the trip, we all woke up eager to hit the Pacuaré River! Following our delicious breakfast, we made our way to our rafting exhibition. McKenzie and Patrick, our Leaders of the Day, did an outstanding job taking charge of their raft, which they named, “Baby Blue!” Within this boat, Lucy and Virginia also took it upon themselves to show leadership and paddle hard over the next two days! Shortly after the start of our journey, we made our first stop. It is here where took an exhilarating jump off a large rock into the Pacuare. Elliot was first to take the leap! We then hiked up to the most luxurious water hole surrounded by nothing but the serenity of the rain forest. The entire group floated under the warmth of the sun while listening to the tropical birds. This spot also contained a sliding rock, in which, Benjamin took an immediate initiative to give it a go! After quite some time spent here, it was time to continue down the river.In Chris’s boat, the group decided to go with the team name of, “Goat Boat.” As always, Coco spurred the conversation in this raft while also showing fearlessness in paddling through each rapid. Following an exciting couple hours down several Class 2 and 3 rapids, we stopped along the river for a lunch break. Everyone showed excitement when Diego, one of the guides, announced that the next part of the excursion would contain several Class 4 rapids. At this time, William H. showed off his strength and power down these rapids as he took the lead in his boat! Tatum had her contagious and ever-present smile the whole way down the river as she efficiently followed each and every rafting command!
After a sunny day on the river, we arrived at our campsite for the night! This stunning spot overlooked the river deep in the jungle. The group absolutely loved the remoteness, as they took the opportunity to continue forming their ever strong group bond! Following an outstanding dinner consisting of one last Costa Rican cuisine, we had our final DANCE PARTY!!! This time we had the boys were grooving just as much as the girls. Finally, after a great Moonup, we spent a considerable amount of time exchanging stories. I think we can all agree that William B. had the best. Inspired by moments in the throughout our trip, he concocted a narrative that had the entire group in tears of laughter!!The second day of rafting did not fall short of expectations! The group relentlessly paddled through the thrilling Class 4 rapids! Diego cut down some native plants to be worn on the top of our helmets in our raft. Maddie and Tatum loved their new trademark and wore it with pride all the way down the river! To end our rafting experience, we paddled through the most remarkable canyon where each of us got to jump in and soak up one last memorable adventure together!Parents, words cannot express how pleased we are too have had such an outstanding group! Each and everyone of your children contributed in making this an incredible trip and we cannot begin to express our gratitude for giving us this opportunity. We are sad to see them go today, and already miss everyone so much!!
Your leaders, Chris and Clay
July 8, 2019
All is well here in Costa Rica!!! I am happy to announce we just completed our community service portion of the trip in El Brujo! I cannot express how pleased I am with each and every one of your students for they are quite the hardworking bunch! On day 8, after our successful surfing adventure, we made our way to the small village of El Brujo. Upon arrival, we had an outstanding lunch awaiting us prepared by the generous ladies in the local community. Then we got straight to work! Everyone was super eager and determined to get the job done!! Benjamin was first to volunteer for a job which ended up placing him in the dirt sifting group with some of the ladies. However, this did not phase him one bit as he was happy to do whatever needed to be done throughout these working days! It’s also worth mentioning that Patrick was quite the worker as he relentlessly did multiple jobs over the course of the three days never needing a break. After a productive first day of service we made the scenic walk back to our jungle home. For the whole walk home, as always Coco and Maddie kept the spunk and vibes alive with their rocking music request over the group speaker. To end a successful day, our amazing cook, Tamara, hosted a wonderful cooking class. The group each got to make and customize their own Guatemalan traditional corn based pancake known as “pupusas.” Lily really showed off her cooking skills and got very into this activity making several pupusas. After dinner, we ended the night by having an outstanding moonup up in the in the treetops of our loyal outfitter, Harlow’s, lofted home! Day 2 of community service was yet another productive day! William H. dominated the day with his amazing work effort as he helped mix enough cement to enclose the garden. Lucy and Virginia kept the positivity up as we sifted the remaining amount of dirt for a natural fertilizer in the garden. Meanwhile, Chris led a group to deliver apple, orange, and mango trees to local families. Tatum was a major hit in this group as she was able to interact with these appreciative families by being an impressive translator. After a tiring, yet, very successful day of service we headed back to begin the farm tour. It was an amazing way to refresh and replenish as we tasted several tropical fruits that were being grown. Everyone was amazed to hear that about 90 percent of everything we ate during our stay was grown right in Tamara’s backyard!! Our final day of service was a major achievement as we finished the entire garden!!! McKenzie took up a hard job of digging dirt out for a water trench around the perimeter of the garden. She refused to switch when asked if she needed a break, proclaiming she wanted to finish what she started! We had quite the crew efficiently working to create two flower beds and eventually lay fertilizer and soil down. Finally, the whole group took part in planting several fruit and vegetables within our newly finalized garden! Once the hard work was done, we gathered for one intense soccer match with some local children. William B. showed his competitive side scoring multiple goals resulting in a victory for our team. Elliot was a remarkable goal keeper making impressive saves and then passing the ball off to his new little companion, Axèl. We ended our day by making chocolate from the cocoa beans grown by Tamara. The next morning we hiked up the mountain to a gorgeous waterfall to fulfill our “avatar tour.” This activity was truly a hit!!! Harlow provided each of us with enough clay to create a full body exfoliating spa treatment. Ian looked like an actual avatar and was fully disguised after completely covering himself with the blue covered clay! It has been another remarkable couple days with each of your children. They are all incredible and we are excited to embark on our next expedition to raft on the Pacuarè River!
July 5, 2019
I am happy to announce we have arrived in Costa Rica and just completed our first set of adventures in this exotic country! After a successful travel day, our outstanding driver, Edgar, transported us from the San Josè airport to our hotel. Surprising us with cookies and other Costa Rican snacks, Edgar knew just how to win us all over. Immediately, Patrick did not fail to get the bus bumping with his outstanding choice in music and always positive vibes! Even upon arrival, as our Leaders of the Day, Patrick and Maddie chose a great way to start our time in Rica with an outstanding lighthearted Moonup!
Filled with nonstop activity, Day 7 was a Five Star! Starting the morning off with a taste of some traditional breakfast, everyone enjoyed either French toast or their choice of chocolate or banana pancakes! The hotel truly knew how to fuel us for the excitement that the day would entail. Right outside, Edgar was awaiting us for our ziplining journey. Stopping to find some souvenirs, Virginia got the record of buying the most friendship bracelets. However, the other girls did fall mighty close as it’s hard to resist these unique Costa Rican gifts! For the rest of the drive, the group continued to keep the music flowing all the way to our first destination.
After a thorough safety meeting, we ventured up the jungle to begin the fun! Tatum fearlessly and enthusiastically took the lead going first down! Chris, taking the caboose, heard Ian’s howls of excitement all the way down the course. Much of the group took a thrill in choosing to go upside down on zipline number 7! Seeing the exotic scenery from this view gave everyone an adrenaline rush!! Directly after ziplining, we all demolished some Costa Rican cuisine with a delicious cake and ice cream dessert! Next we ventured to the beautiful Uvita Beach…Surfs up!!!!
William B. did not fail to show off his athleticism by catching the first wave of day! Coco also was a natural as it only took a couple tries for her to pop up on her first wave ever!! On the beach awaiting our group was some fresh fruit and juice as we watched the sun begin to set over the breathtaking horizon on Uvita Beach. Then we took our time to observe our surroundings as we strolled back to our quaint hotel. Upon arrival, the girls initiated another dance party in which we all jammed and boogied! Elliot took it upon himself with his outstanding dance moves to bring the boys into what became one massive dance party! Finally, after some intense movin’ and groovin’ we had homemade pizza waiting for us. The chef was soon signaled by five empty boxes that the group was beyond satisfied!
The next morning only smiles were seen as we walked to the beach for our second day of surfing! McKenzie, Lily, and Lucy discovered a new passion as they effortlessly began catching their own waves and throwing up peace signs! Also, nobody could deny witnessing Benjamin’s skill on a surfboard, as we saw him ride by nearly every minute!! Clay was able to snag a couple party waves with William H., Elliot, and Lily. Meanwhile, Patrick caught an outstanding last wave to top off our surf adventure.
With the completion of our surfing expedition we took one last refreshing dip in the pool and prepared for our voyage to El Brujo. This small village is where we will complete our community service while exploring the mountainous jungle!!
July 2, 2019
Our group just finished an unbelievable 5-day scuba excursion on the beautiful Long Caye Island. On day 1 the group congregated in Belize City’s international airport and quickly became a tight-knit squad of young adventurers. We treated ourselves to some wonderful Belizean cuisine for lunch before finding the transportation provided by Huracan Diving. Our 2-hour boat ride to Long Caye was filled with conversation as the campers got to know the surrounding environment, newfound country, and fellow students.
As soon as our vessel docked we began exploring our home for the next 5-days. Elliot and William H. were quick to find a hangout spot with their Eno hammocks that soon became the group chill zone for the entire scuba section. Everyone soon moved to the dock’s cabana to initiate the first swim session of the trip. After that, we noticed that the sun was quickly moving towards the horizon so we all sunbathed for the remainder of the day.
The group started Day 2 with an amazing breakfast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes prepared by our lovely chef Mama Marta. Then the first LODs of BCR 2A, Ian and Tatum, led the group by spontaneously cleaning the table and generously offering to wash the dishes. Great EB, guys!! The group then walked down the island’s small road through luscious greenery and exotic iguanas to collect the gear we needed for our upcoming scuba adventures. The rest of the day was occupied by scuba skills and confined water dives for the campers in the open water class. The scuba class was lucky enough to go ahead with their first open water dive which included a spectacular sea turtle spotted by the always vigilant Lucy and Patrick. We capped the day off with a much-deserved hangout and some soccer in our beloved chill zone before dinner. After dinner, the boys steered clear of the large girl dance party filled with One Direction and Pitch Perfect!
Day 3 marked the open water class’s first big reef dive! In spare time the group continued exploration of the island. After scuba class, Coco and Lilly invented a new game that combined coconuts and the rules of bocce ball where throwers tossed indigenous coconuts towards an emptied barrel. The girls decided to name the game “Coconut and Can.” Once our arms were too tired to toss, we returned to our dock cabana for a refreshing swim. However this time Tatum and McKenzie came prepared with their cameras and initiated a group photo-shoot.
By the end of Day 4, both the open water class and advanced group had finished their coursework so we decided to celebrate with a dance party. We whipped out our ever-present speaker and got funky. William H. became designated as the group’s DJ after we discovered his high level ability of queuing songs. Maddie led the group in sing-a-longs with her passionate voice and well timed dance moves.
Our final day on the island was by far the most beautiful. The weather could not have been more perfect. In the morning, the group took a quick boat ride to Half Moon Cay where we snorkeled and observed the rare Red Footed Boobie Bird. Will B. found the highlight of his trip so far by spotting 4 sharks and free diving 20 feet during our snorkeling session. Once we returned to Long Caye, we chowed down on some fantastic queso, chicken, and rice. Soon after, Benjamin infused his contagious energy into the group and organized a very competitive volleyball tournament. Virginia crushed the competition with an almost un-returnable serve. Even though her team did not win the championship in the end, she without a doubt found a potential new passion within the game of volleyball. After the tournament, our group found a wonderful spot on the backside of the island to take photos and watch the sunset. As the sun fell below the Caribbean, our group reminisced on the experiences we’ve shared over the past few days and the formation of the already powerful friendships interweaving throughout our adventurous, hilarious, and very energetic team. Sad to leave the luxurious paradise, we are super excited for the adventures to follow in Costa Rica!
June 27, 2019
Hola Belize + Costa Rica Families!
We just heard from our Trip Leaders that all of the students have arrived safely in Belize. The group is headed to their dock now to take a boat to Long Caye to begin their first activity. We can’t wait to hear more stories from their adventure!