June 22, 2022
*This update was delayed due to connectivity issues in the field. Our apologies! We thought you would still enjoy reading it!*
Pura Vida from the Costa Rican mountains!
We finished up our time in Belize with an awesome last day of diving. The kids got to show off their newly learned Scuba skills on their first official open water dive where we went down to 60 feet! Lukas and Gigi were like fish, swimming alongside sharks and other exotic fish. On our dive we saw multiple reef sharks, lionfish, and rainbow fish! With heavy hearts, but excited spirits we made our way to San Jose! We hit a few obstacles on the way there, but eventually made it to the little surf town where we spent one night.
Up at dawn, we walked to the beach and began our surf lessons! Kami and Louise crushed it on the waves, they looked like total naturals! Ridley caught an epic wave and went over the whitewater like a pro! Halfway through our surfing lesson, Tanner spotted a beautiful rainbow over the edge of the ocean! After our surf lesson we made it back to the hotel where we freshen up, ate a quick breakfast and began our journey to the Costa Rican mountains for our service portion. After arriving at our farm destination, our outfitter taught us how to germinate cacao seeds. Kate and Marion braved the slimy beans and ended up enjoying the sweet and sour taste of the cacao flesh! Hudson and Mia got their hands dirty in the dirt, making perfect bags of soil for the cacao seeds to flourish and grow later in the season.
With a bit more dirt under our fingernails, we washed up and got ready for our cooking class where we made Papusas. Evelyn was a master chef at the skillet, flipping the papusas so that they were perfectly golden brown and crispy. Kate was a speedy papusa maker, balking up the dough, flattening it, adding cheese, and sealing it to perfection. That night we enjoyed a family style meal getting to know each other better with fun facts and introductions to our outfitter. The next day we began service in the village. We helped clean up the community center by painting the interior walls and cleaning up the swing set. Tanner and Gigi were fantastic painters, working efficiently and effectively.
After service, we played a friendly yet competitive soccer game with the local elementary kids – all of which are insanely talented. All parties had a ball playing soccer, our kids especially loved being able to connect with the community and play with the kids. Later that night we celebrated Kate’s 15th birthday with a chocolate making class. We started the Chocolate making process from the very beginning. We peeled the cacao seeds and grinder them into a fine powder which allowed us to use the chocolate in brownies. After a delicious spaghetti dinner, we enjoyed birthday brownies, sang happy birthday, and played cards. It was the perfect end to a great day of service!
Until next time!
David, Claude, Marthanne
June 21, 2022
*This update was delayed due to connectivity issues in the field. Our apologies!*
To catch you up, we left Buenaventura and did two days of whitewater rafting in Pacaure River, over 20 miles of class 3 and 4 rafting through the most indigenous and untouched area of Costa Rica. When we arrived at our campsite, we ate lunch and headed for a swim at a swimming hole. Kate was the first brave soul to test out a natural water slide and soon everyone was doing it. After we chilled in hammocks during an afternoon rainstorm, Tanner and Lukas took rain showers. We ate the best dinner yet – a quote from Kami – all prepped by our outfitters who could be professional cooks. Everyone hit the hay pretty early to rest up for another action-packed day!
The next day we had an even more delicious breakfast that readied us for our adventure down the Pacaure. We decided to head straight through with no stops, except for a deep hole in a calm area where we all jumped off our rafts and floated for a while. Ridley, Louise and Mia were all up front in their boats and handles oncoming class 4 waves like total champs!! Hudson spotted a great lunch spot on the river, and we ate a well-deserved lunch and said our goodbyes by the van and headed to our Banquet dinner and dessert. On the way, Evelyn gave everyone paper to write impact notes to each other.
We just had a heartfelt Moonup and the kids are settling in for a short nights rest before an early airport day tomorrow morning. Kami and Gigi were LODs and led an incredible last Moonup. It was Marion’s idea to end with a dog pile pillow fight group hug!! These kids became so close we had to pull them off of each other to get them to go to bed.
David, Marthanne, and Claude
June 14, 2022
We have hit the ground running! All the students arrived safely in Belize City on June 8th and were excited to start their adventure. Shortly after everyone landed, we took another quick flight to Placencia to begin the scuba portion of our trip. After landing, we had a quick swim in the pool at our fantastic hostel and then rode into the village for some delicious pizza. Lukas and Gigi were our fearless Leaders of the Day (LODs) for our first day of scuba. Thursday morning was full of learning scuba skills, everyone picked up on the technique very quickly! That night we were able to experience a traditional Placencia meal, Hadut as well as learn some drumming from the local drum teacher. Tanner and Evelyn picked up on the beats fast and were jamming with the locals.
The next day we had more scuba skills, as well as our first official dive. The students saw a stingray on the dive, and some even spotted a lobster! Later that night the girls whipped up some spaghetti with tasty sauce by Marion and Louise and addicting garlic bread by Kate and Mia. Saturday was yet another awesome day underwater. It was the last day of Scuba certification, and we were able to do two open water dives! Later that afternoon Ridley shared her friendship bracelet string and taught everyone how to make bracelets, Kami impressed the entire group with his bracelet making skills.
Sunday, we went snorkeling and fishing. Marion was a pro underwater photographer, getting some great footage on her GoPro of the sea life around the islands. Later in the afternoon Gigi was our champion fisherwoman and caught a barracuda bigger than her. She was kind enough to let our guide take the fish home and fry it up for his family. We made the best of the rough seas on our final dive with a sixty-foot descent in two large groups instead of the usual four small groups. Mia conquered her fear of sharks and seized an amazing opportunity to get up close to one of the friendly nurse sharks swimming close by. After this amazing last dive, we headed to a nearby island for some lunch and beach volleyball led by Hudson and Evelyn. After working up a sweat smacking the volleyball around we rinsed off in the crystal clear water of the Caribbean. Ridley, Marion, and Gigi decided to create a “human totem pole” in the water by sitting on one another’s shoulders. They tried to add a fourth to the pole but we were unsuccessful 🙁 Our boat ride home was full of heavy eyes and sad goodbyes to our favorite scuba instructors. We have had a fantastic 6 days of scuba diving in Belize and still have many more adventures to come as we begin our time in Costa Rica!
June 8, 2022
Hello Belize + Costa Rica Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Belize City. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!