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Belize + Costa Rica 3 A • July 10-July 23, 2022

Whitewater Rafting Galore!

July 23, 2022

Pura vida!!

Hello from San Jose, Costa Rica! We are still learning and loving all things about Costa Rica. Our time here has been full of epic adventures as well as a time of personal transformation. Last time you heard from us we were staying at an awesome place nestled in the Costa Rican mountains where we did service, learned how to make chocolate and an El Salvadorian delicacy, Papusas! We left the mountains with a newfound sense of the world, a true appreciation for the native culture, and a little bit of mud under our fingernails!

Mud you might ask? Why was there mud stuck in your fingernails? Well, let me just tell ya! On Wednesday morning our host guided us on a short hike through his property that landed us in the middle of a magical, blue water fall aka the location in which blue clay is harvested. The blue clay is supposed to be spread all over your body and works as a natural exfoliate, leaving your skin feeling smooth and glowing in the sunlight! All of the kids took part in this so-called avatar adventure, eventually turning themselves completely blue! Some call it avatar, I prefer Smurf!

Mackenzie, Connor, Jackson, Wilson, and Dash looked rather dapper and sophisticated as they painted bow ties on their necks with the mud! Andy and Cate got some moondance art on their backs and posed in front of the waterfall for an epic photo that we hope will be seen on Instagram later 😉 Lizzie dove head first into the mud (not literally, but if she could have she would have!) She covered her hair in the magical blue clay, leaving it glossy and soft post shower! This avatar (or Smurf) adventure was definitely a highlight of the trip that will be remembered forever!

Post avatar extravaganza we took a farm tour and we’re able to try some of the fruits that were grown on the self-sustaining farm. We tried some oranges, lemons, and limes – that were surprisingly delicious! With full stomachs and hearts we made our trek out of the mountainous village that we called home for 2 nights and started our journey to Turrialba. Although the bus ride was a wee bit long, we got some good naps in and were entertained by good music and even better conversation! We also had a surprise ice cream shop! Woop woop! We made it to our destination just in time for an awesome dinner and fantastic moonup led by the LODs Mackenzie and Dash.

Thursday marked our first day of whitewater rafting. But that was not the only thing important about the day, it was also Mackenzie 15th Birthday! With some help from Frances, we planned a day full of celebrations! Starting with cake for breakfast (of course)! After a breakfast of champions, we were fueled up for rafting. We met our guides, went over safety procedures, and headed down the Pacuare River. Shortly after we started we were surprised with a waterfall/natural slide detour. Everyone hopped out of the rafts and made a short trek to the slide. Colin was the first to test the waters and slid down the rock with a huge smile on his face, popping out of the water to immediately ask to do it again and again! Everyone quickly followed suit! Back in the rafts one of the guides deemed his boat the flower power raft, placing dandelions in the helmets of Claude, Andy, Connor, Sarah, and Lizzie. With the power of the flower this group cruised down the river and through the rapids like professionals. AG and Frances impressed us with their ability to stand and “surf” in the raft on a rapid!

After a few kilometers of rafting we made it safely to the river lodge where we explored the waterfalls and pools along the river. Marthanne and Sarah were the first to explore the pools near the rivers edge, climbing over rocks to swim under the waterfall!  After a tasty lunch we hiked up to another waterfall where we climbed the neighboring rocks to get to the top of the waterfall to then jump into the pool below! Jackson braved the climb after David, giving everyone else the confidence to make it to the top! Everyone had a blast jumping in the refreshing water… we got some pretty awesome pictures too 😉

An afternoon storm settled in and we all cozied in, listening to music, drinking hot chocolate, and soaking in the last moments together!

After a tasty dinner provided by the raft guides, we had another birthday celebration for the big 15 year old! The guides made an impromptu birthday pancake and we all sang Feliz Cumpleanos to Mackenzie!

Friday morning we woke to the sound of birds chirping and the river runnin’! We had a lovely breakfast prepared by the raft guides and the quickly shifted gears to get in the water. Andy and Frances gave us a run down of the day’s event before we headed out for our 16 mile rafting journey. We absolutely dominated the river, conquering class 2, 3, and 4 rapids. Maddie was the first one to jump off the raft into the chilly river giving everyone the confidence to jump in after. Dash, Colin, Cate, and Jackson got into a flip contest off the rafts as we floated through the picturesque canyon of the Pacuare River. Wilson and Anna Grace were fantastic rafters, keeping the boat in sync with paddling the whole day. Finally we made it to the end of our long river expedition, gathered our belongings, and hopped on the bus to head back to San Jose for our last night together. The bus ride was short and sweet, everyone slept after the exhausting rapids and arrived in San Jose full of energy.  We had a lovely banquet meal and final moonup, reminiscing on all of the fun times we have had together the past two weeks. Overall we have had an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. These kids have gotten so close and have made friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. It’s hard to believe we have to all go our separate ways today! We will check in once more, once every student is safely in the air!

All the best! And as always, Pura Vida!

Marthanne, Claude and David

Service Scenes!

July 20, 2022

Hello BCR families and friends!! We’ve been up to a LOT and cannot wait to tell you all about it!

On Day 6 Andy tapped into his creative potential and took almost 200 amazing and funny pictures on his GoPro, both under and above the sea. If only someone got a video of our swing dancing on the boat before going out to Laughing Bird! After scuba, we surprised everyone with mini golf and dinner at Sirenian Bay resort. Dash brought out his inner Jordan Spieth for my team: The Kompows! (Named after the dog that followed us when we were in Placencia town). For dessert, Mackenzie polished off her final apple from her pack of 15 to go with our ice cream. The next morning, we said our thank yous and goodbyes to Mark and Sheil and hopped on a puddle jumper for Costa Rica! Airport day ended up being a blast! Smooth sailing and the kids got to show they can responsibly handle traveling. Jackson even checked for his passport after we got off, realized he’d left his, and ran back really fast! He also won our giant game of death sac with the hacky sack Dash bought in the Guatemala airport. We spent our layover racing off to Starbucks (Sarah has WHEELS! Future Charlotte North on the lax field over here;) ). I taught a guitar lesson to Colin (he learned G, C, D, A and Em in no time! He now knows how to play pretty much any song by Tom Petty and John Mellencamp). We safely arrived in San Jose and hit the hay.

The next morning we woke up, ate some delicious fruit and headed to Uvita. On the way, we stopped for ziplining. It was super fun everyone went upside down. Maddie absolutely crushed each ziplining pass! She took it like a champ though and numbed her pain with more fruit. Once at Uvita we went evening surfing and Frances was so good her instructor had to pull her back into smaller waves! That night we came back, ate, and played this coin game for hours before a post moonup pre-slumber pool hop. Our next day was amazing. We went surfing and traveled on 4x4s to Buenaventura in the Costa Rican jungle where we planted Cacao seeds and made brownies with our cacao for dessert. To start, Lizzie did a back flip off her surfboard, Cate unloaded everyone’s bags when we got to Buenaventura, and Connor pushed out cacao powder for us with a manual cacao powder maker. We also swing danced our brownie energy off and our LODS, Colin and Anna Grace, asked “what do you want your life to be like?” as our moonup question. What a day. On our second day at Buenaventura, we did service work at El Brujo and finished with a game of soccer. Shoutout to Connor, Mackenzie, Cate and Jackson for planting trees and taking on those fire ants. Those will be fully grown in only three years! Andy, Frances, Dash, Maddie, Colin, Anna Grace, Lizzie, Wilson, and Sarah completed painting the walls of El Brujo school! Now their school is a cool tan color with orange columns. After snack, the LODs picked teams. We, the El Brujo Wizards, faced off against Bangkok. We all played like champions but El Brujo won in OTs. Highlights: Frances blocked a kick with her face (sorry!), Maddie scored a top right beauty of a goal, Cate made diving saves as our brick wall goalie, and Jackson, Connor and Dash had an otherwise unstoppable three-man weave of it weren’t for Wilson’s ability pick off passes. Our hike back brought up deep questions from Colin that had everyone’s mind reeling in thought. We had a group pow-wow upstairs in the quiet space to rash out and come to conclusions that enlightened us. Everyone really started to open up about the wonders of life and the universe. We also did some yoga and Mackenzie showed us how to stand on our heads! Oh, and we had a lot of Chocolate milk! We learned how to make Pupusas and dowsed ours with way too much of Andy’s hot sauce from Belize. Today was one to remember. We’re now settling down for bed, readying ourselves for our last adventure on rafts in the Pacuare River!

Until next time,

Claude, David and Marthanne



Sarah: Love you Mom and Dad !!! I am so grateful for you letting me go on this trip and I miss y’all so much.

Anna Grace- Hey mom and dad! I love y’all more than you know and can’t wait to see y’all.

Frances. Hey mom and dad hope y’all are having fun in Maine without me. I love and miss y’all.

Cate- hey mom and dad I hope y’all are having a great time at the lake! I am having so much fun but I miss and love you all!

Dash: Hey guys! Hope everyone is well and having a good time at driftwood. Everything has been really great and Thank you for letting me come here! Love you guys and say hi to everyone for me!

MacKenzie- Hi y’all, hope Bald Head is a ball! Having so much fun and can’t wait to see y’all! If you’re at the grocery store, be sure to get some kombucha, love y’all.

Connor- Hey guys, hope y’all are having fun. Love and miss y’all thanks for letting me come.

Wilson-Hi mom and dad. The trip is going great, hope you guys are having fun at home. Love and miss you

Lizzie- hey I’m alive and well tell soph I said hi love y’all

Jackson- Hey guys, hope you had fun in Scotland. I am doing great, having so much fun, and thank you for letting me come here. Love you.

Colin – How’s it going everyone!!! The trip is amazing. We landed in Costa Rica yesterday and just finished zip lining through the mountains. The food, climate and wild life here is perfect. Now that I am PADI certified, I can tell you all about my experience 60 feet under.

Andy- Hi mims and dad, miss you and love you! I’m having such fun and can’t wait to tell you about it. Love you so much! Say hi to Nellie and Tuckies and sweet baby bickies for me!

Maddie- Hey!! Thank you so much for letting me go on this trip! I’m having the best time and can’t wait to tell you guys all about it! Love you and miss you so much!


Beginnings in Belize!

July 15, 2022

Touchdown! All the children have landed and arrived safely to Belize. Upon arrival everyone quickly and excitedly introduced one another and prepared for a quick flight to Placencia (our home base in Belize). On our puddle jumper flight Lizzie acted as the pilot’s right-hand lady and was given the responsibility of sitting upfront in the cockpit. Once we reached Placencia we swiftly assigned rooms and made ourselves at home in our awesome little hostel that we now call home in Belize! Once everyone was settled in, we made our way to dinner where we indulged in large New York style pizzas. The following day we dove into scuba training lead by our awesome instructors at Splash diving. While the uncertified kids began learning underwater skills, Claude and David took Maddie, Wilson, and Dash one their first plunge into the crystal-clear Belizean water. On this dive we saw some awesome coral and amazing sea life. Even a shark DUN DUN DUNNN. After training and the certified divers first dive, we headed to the island to enjoy some sand and gravel. Sand and gravel are what the locals call their traditional dish of stew chicken served with rice, beans, and pasta salad. In the afternoon Maddie and Anna grace decided to take a break from scuba training and enjoy snorkeling around the beautiful Island called Laughing Bird Caye. Our first two LODs (leader of the day) were Anna Grace and Connor. They were given leadership responsibilities such as, keeping up with time, deciding dinner plans, and motivating the group. After a long day of scuba and snorkeling we headed back to enjoy our hostel’s awesome pool. Frances and Mackenzie lead the group in a game of taps. The ensuing day we headed back out to sea to experience our first dive outside of confined waters. Jackson raced through the training and was a natural under the surface of the water. That night we decided to practice our culinary skills by making chicken tacos and chocolate cake for dessert. Cate was on lettuce chopping duty while Lizzie and Sarah helped Claude cook the Chicken. Andy, our day 2 LOD, was put on dessert duty and made a batch of Chocolate chip cookies a la mode. On our third day of scuba diving, we headed to a new spot call Silk Caye. This was the last dive before all our students were officially certified. This dive was filled with awesome sea creatures. Frances spotted a sea turtle hiding between the colorful coral. After our day scuba diving, we headed back to the mainland where Colin accompanied Marthanne on a three-mile run past the beautiful beaches of Placencia. Go Colin! The next day we were supposed to go fishing and island hopping but due to inclement weather it was cancelled. Although this was disappointing our spirits remained high. We made an audible and decided to go tubbing and hiking at the national park half an hour away. Frances led us up the steep incline of Ben’s Bluff where we were stunned with an amazing view of the Belizean mountains and coast! Wow, these first couple of days have flown by. Each day has been filled with enthusiasm, excitement, and great group bonding.  We are excited yet sad for the last full day in Belize. The leaders and group in whole are thrilled for the adventure that awaits us in Costa-Rica.

Until next time,

Marthanne, Claude, and David

Arrived in Belize City!

July 10, 2022

Hello Belize + Costa Rica Families!

We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Belize! 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


  • Cate
  • Connor
  • Wilson
  • Frances
  • MacKenzie
  • Colin
  • Andy
  • Maddie
  • Lizzie
  • Sarah
  • Dashel
  • Jackson
  • Anna