July 11, 2019
Wow, today has been a hard good bye. It’s bizarre to think that this family we’ve built during our time in Costa Rica is now leaving and heading back home.
As our time together neared the end the kids were more than ready to dive head first into our final activity together. As we made our way from the Pacuare River to the Caribbean Coast Layla and Natalie kept the group energy high as they bumped some jams on our beloved speaker, Mary Sue. The group was ecstatic to spend our final days together hanging out on the beach. Our first stop upon arriving on the coast was at a black sand beach, where we spent the day hanging in the water where Carolyn took to body surfing immediately. We enjoyed a delicious meal on the beach prepared by our incredible Juan Carlos and spend the rest of the day swimming, and of course sharing many laughs thinking about all of our memories from the trip. As the day ended the group was getting more and more eager to begin their first day of surf lessons in the morning.We woke up eager to shred the gnar but our first stop was the Cahuita National Park! As we walked along the protected coastline Juan Carlos made a deal with the group that whoever spotted the most wildlife would be treated to ice cream. Jayden attacked the challenge head on, pointing our sloths, monkeys and all sorts of wild life and Gray was a natural at finding sand dollars. It was the perfect way to spend our morning before, as we headed into town for some shopping we really started gearing up to shred the gnar in the afternoon. Our first day of surf lessons were a blast, every single person got up by the end of the day! Martina and Bradley were naturals as they popped up each time, making it look easy. As always, Alex kept the group motivated by showing inspiring dedication and giving us a good laugh as he celebrated after every time he got up. Since our group had so much natural ability to shred the gnar, the group decided that their second day of lessons would be focused on perfecting tricks such as 180’s and maybe even double surfing. Morgan and Jordan set the tome for our second day of surfing by waisting no time on the tricks, as they successfully double surfed and accomplished their 180’s. By the end of our two day surfing lessons our group was catching every wave they attempted and was having a blast doing so.It is wild to think that these last two weeks went by as fast as they did. Whether we were soaring through the jungle on a zip line or hammering a wall during community service, there was never a dull moment with this group. We shared many laughs, stories and created memories that we will all cherish for a life time. Parents, we want to thank you for trusting us with your incredible students and allowing us to embark on the life changing endeavor that occurred these past few weeks. You have all raised such special children that will do incredible things and we cannot to see all the good that they accomplish. We will miss each on of your kids an immeasurable amount! For the last time, CRV2 is out!
Gray and Lucy
July 7, 2019
¡Bienvenido! Welcome back to our Costa Rican adventure! After two exciting days of rafting on the Pacuare River, we are officially on our way to the Caribbean coast -woohoo! We took on the river with a vengeance, splitting into two rafts commanded by our fearless amigo, Juan Carlos, and the brave Fernando. After being briefed on the safety information and the background of the river (it is the number 5 river in the world to raft) we were ready to get to work! Day 1 was a warm up, with some deceivingly tricky class II and III rapids. Jayden and Morgan led the charge in one raft, while Natalie and Alex provided the rhythm for the second raft. Our campsite for the evening was an unbelievable set up. With a hangout that had four hammocks and and tons of games we were set for the evening. Upon our arrival at camp we enjoyed a delicious burrito meal prepared by our guides. After lunch we began to make our way to a nearby waterfall, Carolyn motivated the group as we made our way through the jungle. Once we got to the waterfall we relaxed and swam, where Layla got some killer go pro footage! The waterfall was most definitely a high of the day if not the trip- there were incredible views and lots of laughs shared between the group, it was a perfect way to end the first day of our rafting adventure. The rest of our evening was spent listening to music, enjoying the games at our camp site, Jordan and Martina were the chess masters, teaching Bradley the ropes and many relaxed in the hammocks taking a refreshing afternoon nap. After enjoying a delicious traditional Costa Rican dinner we shared a Moonup and dreamed of the river we were going to embark on in the morning.
We woke up for the second day of rafting itching to get back on the water! After our first day of class II and III rapids we were fully prepared to tackle the class III and IIII rapids that lay ahead of us. Gray showed some serious ambition as she jumped in the front of her raft ready to lead the way. As the morning went by the group tackled rapid after rapid and shared many splashing wars between the two boats, time for a break was coming. We were lucky enough to get to embark on yet another waterfall adventure midway through rafting, that was full of war paint and leaf decorations provided by Fernando and Gray. As our second day on the Pacuare river came to an end we stopped and enjoyed a much deserved river lunch, where even more laughs and stories. The time spent on the Pacuare was arguably the groups favorite, so far, as we took in incredible views and conquered breath taking rapids. As our time ended on the Pacuare we made our way to our second campsite, where the group enjoyed some frisbee time and indulged in some fresh bananas. We decided as a group that even though our time on the Pacuare has ended it would probably be home to some of our fondest memories of the trip, thus far. We are sad that our rafting adventures are over but we we are READY to hang ten on the Caribbean coast and make a pit stop at the sloth sanctuary along the way!
Hasta luego familias! Pura Vida!
Jordan: Hey guys I’m having a great time here in Costa Rica! We just finished our three days of service in a little town called Mollejones and we built a bed for a little six year old boy who has slept on the ground his whole life. We finished our three day hike to that village and after that hard work we are off to raft and surf! Love you guys and see you soon!
Layla: Hey mom and dad, I miss you guys so much! I’m having such an amazing time here. We just finished our service in a small town called Mollejones and helped a couple families. We did a 3 day 20 mile hike to service also. We are on our way to raft and surf to finish up the trip! Can’t wait to see you guys! Tell Nani I said happy birthday and tell the whole family I miss them. Also send Em and Izzy much love from me. See you guys soon, I’m having the time of my life.
Natalie: Hey Mom and Dad, I have such a good group and am having so much fun here. I have done so many cool things that I cannot wait to tell you about. We saw so many beautiful views on our hikes. We are about to go white water rafting and then surfing in a few days. Love you and miss you guys so much, can’t wait to see you.
Jayden: Yo wassup mom and dad. It’s been fun and my group and leaders have been really good. We’ve seen lots of cool things and animals that I can’t wait to tell you about. We’re gonna white water raft now. Adios
Alex: Hola, coma Estes. Moondance is so fun, how are you guys doing. I’m having the time of my life and , I also went on a straight 3 day hike with no breaks, so now I guess I’m the most athletic one in the family. It’s been Cool. love you guys and miss you guys.
Carolyn: Hey Mom and Dad, Moondance has been so much fun. Costa Rica is so pretty I love it here. We are about to go white water rafting and I still can’t wait to go surfing. Tell James and Wallace that I miss them and that I’m having a great time. Can you please text Paige and tell her Happy Birthday for me. If you go to the barn make sure that Stutzie is okay. I love y’all I can’t wait to tell y’all about everything.
Gray: Hey mom and dad! I am having the best time of my life. We have seen so many cool things that I can’t wait to tell you about. I made a new friend from Costa Rica, his name is David. He was so funny. The hiking was so hard but the views were amazing. I have taken so many pictures that I can’t wait to show you! We are going white water rafting right now and then surfing! I love and miss you guys! Tell everyone hello from me. Adios!
Morgan: ¡Hola familia! This trip has been amazing! We just finished hiking and service. The hiking was really hard but the views were amazing and it was totally worth it. During service it felt so good to impact the people so much. I met the cutest kid named Julian and we built him his first bed ever! It was amazing. I have made so many great friends and the leaders are amazing! I love and miss y’all so much! ¡Pura vida! Love
Martina: Hey Mom and Dad! I am having an amazing time here in Costa Rica and have experienced so many new things and learned so much. There are so many things I cannot wait to tell you all about. We’ve done zip lining and repelled down waterfalls. We’ve also hiked, which was difficult, and done lots of service. It feels so good to know that my friends and I have impacted so many people in Mollejones, the town we were in. I have so much still to look forward to but I can’t wait to see you!
Bradley: Mom, Dad!! I love both of you SO SO much! The past 3 days we have been doing service in a little town and made a little boy Julian the first bed he has ever had, I am so thankful for both of you. I hop you all had a great 4th in America, tell grand I say hi and love her so much as well as the Mcavoys and Gunter, will left to Kilimanjaro today though! We are on our way to white water rafting right now and then surfing this weekend. These people on my trip are the best people you will ever meet and I am having an amazing time. Miss you guys so much and can’t wait to see you!
July 7, 2019
Costa Rica 2 back with another trip update!! We have officially finished service in Mollejones and are en route to the Pacuare river where we will begin our rafting portion of the trip. We’ve had an incredible time in this beautiful village of 214 people, learning so much about their culture and are coming away with full hearts from how welcoming they were to us.
We spent the last 3 days renovating a local family’s home and constructing furniture for two other families. A whole new skill set has been taught to us, from painting to sanding to using saws and hammers. We added new rooms to the home, built a bed for our 7-year-old friend Julian, and painted the entire exterior of the house. Everyone worked exceptionally hard with positive attitudes the whole time. Carolyn painted one shelf we built relentlessly, rendering a beautiful finished product. For just about every wall we painted, 6’1” Jayden came in clutch getting the out of reach places. We recognized how special of an opportunity it is for this community to welcome us into their homes, allowing us to participate in projects they could have simply done themselves. It made us very proud to see this work all the way through, and giving the bed to Julian was one of the most heartwarming moments any of us have experienced. After our first day of service we joined forces with the locals for an exciting game of soccer. Layla and Jordan continued to amaze everyone with their Spanish skills as they flawlessly conversed with our new friends during the game. Natalie was most definitely a secret weapon, scoring the majority of her team’s points while Martina carried her team on her back with her impressive defense and offense skills.
When we weren’t working with the community, we made the most of our downtime playing cards and learning how to hacky sack. Alex kept us forever going with a soundtrack to our adventures, staying forever on the aux. Our last night in Mollejones was shared with the local community where we enjoyed a culture performance. Some of the local school children demonstrated a few traditional Costa Rican dances with an incredible feature from Bradley who picked up the dance incredibly fast. After watching the children’s dance performance, we had a group version of the Cha Cha Slide which was followed by a little gymnastics performance put on by Morgan and Gray. This was an insanely special way to wrap up our time in Mollejones with lots of laughs and smiles shared! We are so excited to begin our journey down the Pacuare!
Adios! Pura Vida!
Gray + Lucy
July 2, 2019
Pura Vida from all of us in Costa Rica!!
We have had a very big 5 days and have tons to catch y’all up on. Bringing it all back to airport day, everybody landed in San José early, leaving plenty of time for activities. Once we got situated at our hostel in town, the group headed out for a late lunch. Layla showed up early and in a big way by navigating us through town to both the sandwich shop, and then on a tour through the city park. We explored downtown and thoroughly enjoyed our self-guided tour of this land we now call home. This was closely followed by a late-night pizza dinner, our first Moonup, and then off for our first full night of well-deserved rest!
Next up, bright and early, was waterfall rappelling and zip lining. We went deep into the jungle and started off with an enormous waterfall rappel. Super proud of folks like Alex and Jayden for tackling the activity fearlessly and with passion. We zip lined from each waterfall to the next one, flying over the rainforest at speeds above fast. By the time we got to our last run of the day, everyone was a seasoned pro. Then, we wrapped up zipping through the trees and began readying ourselves for our 3-day trek to Mollejones.
Boots laced, heads held high, we set off into the jungle and began our odyssey through Costa Rica. You would not believe the kind of landscapes we have been hiking through. Everywhere you look, there’s the most exotic and vividly colored plant life. Before lunch, we had already seen several wild fruits growing along the path. We received a coffee process lesson from Juan Carlos and got to taste the coffee cherry fruit.
We traversed an insane hanging bridge and saw more banana trees than you can shake a stick at. Along the way, Alex and Natalie made sure to keep everybody entertained with their music lineup for our traveling Bluetooth speaker named Mary Sue. Between that and Bradley’s hilarious stories, time seemed to fly by. We had a lovely lunch by the river, Jordan spearheaded our first friendly cow encounter, and before we knew it, we had arrived at our home for the night. The great school we camped at also came with a soccer goal! Morgan, Jordan, and Lucy dominated the World Cup games, and the night concluded with several rounds of Mafia narrated by the likes of Gray, Jordan, and Layla. A very full day under our belts, we tapped into more of the well-deserved rest to continue hiking in the morning!
The next day’s hike featured very different terrain. We found ourselves jollily slipping and sliding through the mud, traversing beautiful jungle scenes. Martina helped push the group valiantly forward, leading not by her words, but through her actions and positivity. Lunch was yet again at a spectacular river, where Jordan and Morgan devised a water slide through the rapids and Jayden taught the entire group how to skip rocks with the proper form. Big nugs to Alex and Natalie here for Most Improved on the rock skipping. We continued hiking at record speeds, arriving at our new campsite with plenty of time to spare. Another beautiful campsite, more spectacular food, and finally, some more rest for these well-deserving travelers.
Our final day of hiking was a big one. Over 1,500 feet of elevation gained, countless crossings, and many wipeouts by all, we did it. We have arrived to Mollejones. Carolyn’s positivity especially helped carry the group across the finish line. Alex kept his head up no matter how much mud entered his shoes. The entire group rallied behind the team, cheering each other on and encouraging the fam to the very end. We’re beyond proud of these kids and know with confidence now there is nothing we cannot do if we set our minds to it. Stay tuned, we’ll be in touch soon with more stories from our Pura Vida adventures.
¡Until then, con mucho gusto nuestros amigos!
June 27, 2019
Hola Costa Rica Families!
We heard from Lucy and Gray that all students have arrived safely in San Jose. The trip is off to a great start, and the group is headed to their hostel for the first night. We can’t wait to hear more stories from their adventures!