June 20, 2023
As all of the students depart to their next adventures, Charlie, EC, and I are reminiscing on the amazing two weeks we had with these students. We had an amazing time exploring, learning, singing, adventuring, and laughing together and we will miss them very much.
Our banquet night at the Adventure Inn was filled with joy and bittersweet sentiments as each student shared their favorite moments from the trip. Whether it was rafting, scuba diving, surfing, or singing in the car, everyone highlighted how much fun they had with new friends and how excited they are to have gotten so close. We were greeted with a delicious meal and Lawson was the first to try the Costa Rican soda. We had a cake to celebrate our time together, and our server even brought it out with a special delivery! Emory and Grant may or may not have ended with icing smeared on their faces. A final swim in the pool, led by Graysen and Madding, ended our night before we began our last Moonup. Don’t think that Will wasn’t afraid to hop in the water right after them and begin a splash contest!
Our last Moonup began with superlatives before we got into talking about the biggest lessons we learned on the trip. Robert graciously accepted his superlative of most likely to win a Nobel Peace Prize with as much diplomacy as an actual winner. Each superlative came with a glow stick prize, and we finished the rest of the Moonup with only the glow sticks as our lights. Lewis made sure to keep his glow stick spiraling around the room at the end of his string. Lessons learned included gratitude, friendship, and of course, living in the moment. We closed out the night by singing together and going to bed with sweet dreams of wonderful memories of the trip.
Even on our last morning, Flynn never failed to bring the energy. At breakfast, Thayer and Leena recapped some of our favorite “buffaloes” from the trip while we ate yummy pancakes before departing for the airport. Abby and Laney jammed out on the quick car ride over to some 2000s throwbacks. After getting checked in, we spent our final moments together hugging with tears in our eyes before going to our gates.
To the parents of these amazing kids— thank you so much for sharing your children with us over the past two weeks. We have had so much fun getting to know your kids, and have learned so much from them. We hope they had an amazing time and will miss them dearly! We’ve written a poem below to recap our trip:
We began our journey in beautiful Belize
Hot, buggy, and awesome, who didn’t love Mr. Reeves?
We dove for four days, whether team Mario or Root
The sharks we saw were a total hoot!
Who can forget Marta, our cooking queen?
Donuts so yummy our plates were licked clean.
Then onto rafting in gorgeous Costa Rica
Though the most memorable part might’ve been the sneaky sweet potato
A talent show, good food, and paddling the Pacuare River
Even some waterfalls! Warm water so no shivers
Pit stop in Buenaventura came next
Chocolate or cooking? Which class was best?
Though we may never get 20 Coldplay songs out of our heads
It was pretty cool to sleep with the jungle around our beds
Finally, we surfed yesterday and this morning
Ziplining too! BCR 1C has never been boring
We have all had fun, and made great friends
EC, Charlie, and Sinclair will miss you, Pura Vida till the end
Sinclair, Charlie, and Emma Cutter
June 20, 2023
Hello again from Costa Rica! The last few days have been so fun, they have gone by in an instant! Since our last update, we’ve taken chocolate and cooking classes, served the El Brujo community, surfed, and zip lined! After rafting, we transferred to Buenaventura, an oasis surrounded by beautiful plants and amazing wildlife. One morning, we saw two toucans!
Upon arriving at Buenaventura, we helped our host, Harlow, plant cacao seeds! Robert was a beast and had the most seeds planted out of everyone. Later that night we got to learn how the seeds we planted would become a full chocolate bar! Harlow taught us about the process of chocolate-making, and Graysen helped grind the cacao beans into tiny pieces that would later be melted to make dark chocolate. We even got to try a piece!
The next day we walked to the community of El Brujo. There, we helped dig trenches for a new bathroom. Lewis took the lead on digging and helped his group stay motivated. As a fun treat, we got to play soccer with some of the children in the community. They were amazing players and even gave Leena, our MVP, a run for her money. After our time in El Brujo we walked back to Buenaventura for a cooking class with Harlow. We learned how to make Papousas, a traditional El Salvadoran food that is similar to a cheesy tortilla. Our last activity in Bueanventura was an Avatar waterfall tour. We got to hike to a waterfall and paint ourselves with blue clay, which made us all look like we were from the Avatar (or Smurf) movies! Flynn and Thayer were the first to get creative, drawing elephants and flowers on each other with clay.
Saying goodbye to our beautiful abode in Buenaventura was muy triste, but seeing the ocean again in Uvita brought our spirits way up. On our first afternoon in Uvita we had a surf lesson, and Laney and Emory looked like pros by the time the afternoon was over! Will showed off his mad skills far out in the water, and the next morning Grant was the first to catch a wave. Our final activity was flying through the Costa Rican canopy on zip lines! Abby was our number one adventurer, riding one zip line upside down! After ziplining, Lawson and Madding kept vibes high in the car with their superb music taste.
This last section of the trip has been a blast and we are so sad to say goodbye, but so thankful to have been able to share it with these amazing students!
June 16, 2023
Hola from Costa Rica! These past three days have been a whirlwind and so much fun. Since our last update, we spent a travel day flying from Belize to Costa Rica. We even spent some time in Guatemala on our layover! The kids were travel pros by the end of the day, navigating three airports by the time we finally landed safe and sound in San Jose. We were greeted with a warm welcome by our outfitter with gifts of stuffed Costa Rican animals like toucans, sloths, and turtles! We fell asleep quickly in our new home and had sweet dreams of all the fun to come!
The next morning, we woke up early to get to our first activity: white water rafting! We drove through the lush scenery of Costa Rica and Grant made sure to spot and identify any wildlife we saw on the way. We met our raft guides shortly after and started our journey on the Pacuare river! As captain of his raft, Robert kept his crew safe, calm, and always having fun. We stopped at the beautiful Rios Lodge, an eco-lodge situated on the side of the river surrounded by beautiful views and amazing waterfalls to swim in. Will made sure to try and jump in every chance he could, inspiring the others to splash around as well.
That night, we hosted a talent show! Madding was the star of our winning team (The Pink Aviator Nations) with a moving rendition of “The One that Got Away” by Katy Perry. Lewis’s team put up a good fight with their skit “A Day at the Airport,” in which they impersonated the leaders and had us in absolute stitches. We finished the night with a competitive game of ships and sailors led by fierce competitors Laney and Leena. Our final two battled for first place with a veggie off, and Thayer took home the prize with her amazing interpretation of a “sneaky sweet potato.”
We ended the first section of our Costa Rican adventure with another great day of rafting. Flynn led her raft down the river with her energetic spirit and pumped up her group to make it down the category four rapids. Lawson made the most of today by swimming whenever it was an option. We stopped for lunch halfway down and had amazing fresh pineapple and watermelon. Everything we’ve eaten has been absolutely and incredibly delicious! After we finished rafting, Abby, Greyson, and Emory kept morale up in the bus by helping us sing some Taylor Swift (the main musician on the soundtrack of our trip) and hosting an arm-wrestling tournament.
These past three days in Costa Rica have been un sueño (dream) and we are muy emocionada (very excited) for what’s to come!!!
Sinclair, Charlie, and EC
June 13, 2023
Hello from Belize!
This past week in Long Caye has been an absolute BLAST filled with scuba, snorkeling, fishing, and many, many friendship bracelets. Flynn has been so generous and provided the group with bracelet string and taught them how to make different patterns. Now everyone’s all rocking at least three bracelets each!
We spent our first three days in Long Caye getting scuba certified with our amazing dive instructors from Huracan Diving. Everyone rocked out scuba diving and received their PADI Open Water Certification! We were so impressed by the group’s ability to master the skills and become comfortable underwater so quickly. Thayer overcame her nervousness and excelled in her diving, and by the end of the three days she was diving like a mermaid. Grant and Robert created a handshake underwater, and Abby became a master at underwater flips. We saw lots of marine life over our three days of diving like turtles, rays, and sharks!
Other than scuba diving, we spent a lot of our time on our island paradise playing games and exploring. Our host, Mr. Reeves, taught Lawson and Lewis how to split open coconuts and they showed the group their new skill. Madding taught all the kids how to make a couple of bird calls and now it sounds like we’re in the Amazon. One of our favorite memories from this week has been Will’s 8th grade graduation, complete with a baseball hat graduation cap and a palm leaf diploma.
We spent a day snorkeling and hanging out on Half Moon Caye, a beautiful island only a boat ride away from Long Caye. Laney and Emory led a group through a path to see Red Footed Booby birds, and we encountered hermit crabs and iguanas on the way!
On our last day, Mr. Reeves took us fishing and Graysen really got to show off her skills. Leena caught her first fish ever- a beautiful blue and yellow Queen Trigger fish that we released back to the reef.
As we head to Costa Rica, we’ve been reflecting on our favorite things about Belize and looking forward to the next section of our trip. We’re sad to leave our dive guides, Miss Marta and her amazing meals, scuba diving, and more, but we are SO excited to zipline, white water raft, and see waterfalls!
This section of the trip has been UNBELIZEABLE!!!
June 7, 2023
Hello Belize + Costa Rica Families!
We heard from our leaders and 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!