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Belize + Costa Rica 2 B • June 24-July 7, 2022

Bien Tiempo in Buenaventura!

July 5, 2022

Hey all!

After some early morning pancakes and fresh fruit, our group set off to make the last day at Buenaventura the best. We began with a steep hike up the nearby mountain led by our host Harlow and his dog Sky. Eliza had an attitude brighter than the sun on our backs, as she never complained and expressed how much she loved the hike and the view around her. Her positivity helped push the group to our final destination: Toucan rock. But Simon was the first to face the wrath of the waterfall, as he climbed in the river and sat underneath it. Next, we began our full body blue-clay spa treatment. We coated ourselves in blue clay looking like Avatars, and then used orange clay to add intricate details. Bennett was the real artist of the group, as she pitched in to add cool dots and lines to everyone’s faces and chests. After we let the clay dry, it was time for exfoliate and a quick dip to wash off. For entertainment on the way down, Witt initiated the classic “99 bottles of beer on the wall” but adding his own remix into it each time: he was consistently inconsistent with the beat making everyone laugh and join in.

Once we made it back to Buenaventura, it was time for an insightful and tasty farm tour from Harlow. We learned about the cacao bean fermentation process and got a few samples of fresh picked fruit. Loren Jane, Gigi, and Meg were huge fans of the delicious pineapple we picked and ate right then and there. Mikey was such a fan of the coconut water that he chugged two and cracked one open to snack on. We had to say a bitter of our trip. We drove down to the Pacuare River for a safety briefing and then set off! We were up against class 1 through 4 rapids. In-between, we were treated to a few nice stops to hop in the water or hike up to a nice swimming hole. Nina and Margaret helped search along with us leaders to hunt for the perfect rock! Even though we couldn’t take them with us, the girls kept us entertained with all the shiny, colorful and cool rocks she was able to find. After a morning of rafting was tackled, we ended up at our Eco-lodge in the middle of the rainforest and learned it was powered by turbines in the river! The group enjoyed some downtime and dinner and then we gathered for a deeper and more insightful Moonup session where we discussed a hurdle we have had to jump over in the last year. We were very grateful for Hampton’s bravery to open up to the group and encourage others to do the same. We all learned so much about and from each other.

We awoke bright and early for our flights out to Belize. After the normal struggles of checking everyone in and getting through security, the group watched in amusement as Hampton and Witt proceeded to buy an absurd amount of pancakes and French toast in the airport (7 plates): granted, they did finish it all. And we also happily watched and sometimes assisted as Coleson kept busy with his Sudoku puzzle book or a game of solitaire. Thanks to fun games like those to pass the time, we made it through travel day seamlessly.

Check back in soon!

Quinlyn, Sergio, and Parker


Relaxing in the Rainforest!

June 29, 2022

With surprisingly little first day jitters, we gathered almost everyone together in the San Jose airport and watched in amazement as the group speedily started to get along. Due to some unfortunate flight cancellations, Bennett didn’t arrive to Costa Rica until much later in the night; in spite of this, the group happily stayed up to welcome her and commence our first Moonup session. Bennett fit like the last puzzle piece into our group dynamic. After setting some ground rules and giving out cool Moondance merch, our group was ready to start the trip of a lifetime. For our first full day together, the group was in for a real treat of two activities: zip lining and surfing. After making it to the Jacò rainforest, we began to gear up for zip lining. Hampton—who we learned is terrified of heights—asked us if there was putt putt golf around he could instead opt in for. In the end, Hampton bravely conquered his fears as he soared through ten lines high up in the rainforest canopy.

Simon’s GoPro hit the line, and it took an unfortunate tumble to the rainforest floor. However, he learned a valuable lesson about listening to directions and was thankfully able to move forward and joke about the situation: a notable one being the GoPro footage some monkey is getting right now. Following zip lining and a tasty lunch, we transferred to Uvita Beach to “shred the gnar”. Upon receiving a lesson from our instructor, the group hit the waves and everyone was able to stand up for multiple waves! Loren Jane, who had never surfed previously, stood up on the very first wave she caught! Gigi out-shredded the rest of us, as she caught the most waves (Bennett was a close second). Afterwards, the kids couldn’t be kept out of the water and hopped into the hotel pool for some game time. During Marco Polo and Silence, the group uncovered Witt’s past glory of being invited to the junior olympics for swimming—needless to say he could out swim the rest of us. Then, everyone was tired out as we settled for dinner, Moonup, then bed.

The next day, we awoke for another surf sesh to get the day started. Everyone looked like basically a pro out second time around. But after tiring ourselves out, it was time to hit the road and head to the next portion of our trip: community service! After transferring to Buenaventura, the group hiked over a suspension bridge into the rainforest to reside on our lovely host Harlow’s cacao farm. There, we began service work learning how to crack a cacao seed and harvest the bean for planting and fermentation. Once we began planting, Nina excelled being the quickest to bag dirt and plant the cacao seeds. We have her to thank for getting the work done so quickly! The cacao fun didn’t stop there. After planting was finished, the group washed up and participated in a chocolate making class, where we learned about the bean fermentation process and cooked up our own batch of fresh chocolate brownies. To do so, we gathered an assembly line to crack open the bean shells and retrieve the nib, and then passed them off to our instructor Blanca and helper Maggie who ground the nibs down into a thin powder that would be cooked into melted chocolate. The brownies turned out to be muy bien!

We were up and ready to head to the village of El Brujo the next morning to do more service alongside local community members. Once we arrived, the group learned we were helping to repaint an older playground for the school. Meg had the most to show for her work, as she was coated in the brown paint after climbing into the small tunnels to reach all the nooks and crannies that needed touch-ups. The only person that ended up as brown as her would be Coleson during our muddy soccer game with the locals. His commitment to the game landed him sliding in the mud too many times to count. Matching that same level of commitment, Mikey scored a whopping four goals during our heated soccer match making him the MVP. He ended the game with a heartwarming jersey switch with a local man on the opposing team. Meanwhile, during and after the game Eliza showed off her Spanish skills as she spoke with and learned from the locals. She picked up a couple new phrases we’ve heard her since use. After wrapping up our time with the locals, we reluctantly said goodbye and returned to our Buenaventura temple for yet another cooking class on how to make pupusa—an El Salvadoran dish of dough stuffed with cheese and beans. After stuffing our faces, we reflected on our day and went to bed with the soothing sound of rain as accompaniment.

That’s all for now! Looking forward to another adventure.

Pura Vida,

Quinlyn, Sergio, + Parker


Arrived in San Jose!

June 25, 2022

Hello Belize + Costa Rica Families!

We heard from our leaders last night that the group has landed safely in San Jose. 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!

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Mikey
  • Eliza
  • Bennett
  • Gigi
  • Meg
  • Simon
  • Witt
  • Coleson
  • Margaret
  • Loren
  • Nina
  • Hampton

Staff