Posted by admin | 10.16.2013 | Sea Turtle Camp News

2013 Costa Rica Sea Turtle Camp

DSCF0668Our 2013 Costa Rica Sea Turtle Camp was an amazing experience. I had high anticipations for the trip, but the adventures we went on far exceeded my expectations. We began our adventure staying at a beautiful eco-lodge in Turrialba. Our campers quickly bonded on our car ride and during our first Costa Rican meal at the lodge. The food was delicious. After a good night’s rest we began our trip rafting down the Pacuare River with our talented and knowledgeable river guides. For many of the girls and my co-counselor, it was their first time white water rafting. Any fear was overcome and we worked as a team and we paddled to our camp site, and fell in love the sport. We stayed at another beautiful eco-lodge overlooking the river, and rested up for another big day of rafting and a drive to the Caribbean coast the following day.  Our campers became rafting pros, and their previous day’s anxiety turned into excited anticipation for each rapid.

 

 

970463_10151816250336411_414362229_n

1001553_10151817897246411_1593159013_n

After thanking our wonderful guides on Day 3, we headed to the charming village of Parismina to spend the next week exploring and surveying for sea turtles. Our activities varied from making coconut candy and rice pudding with locals, Spanish lessons, relaxing in hammocks,  swimming in the lagoon, practicing our Spanish ordering snacks at the pulperias, playing volleyball with the locals, touring a sustainable farm, exploring nature on river cruises, shopping at a local artisan fair, and of course… turtle patrols! We saw several green mama turtles and a very rare hawksbill laying eggs. We helped relocate the eggs to the ASTOP hatchery, where the nest could be safely monitored by the village. Our camp family became very attached to Parismina and all the friends we had made over our week stay. Although we were sad to say goodbye, we were excited to continue our Pura Vida tour to the beautiful Monte Verde in the mountains.

 

 

156306_10151815079616411_260841785_nWe stayed at the gorgeous University of Georgia campus. The views surrounding us were amazing. We went on a local sustainable coffee farm tour as well as a chocolate tour, and even woke up early one morning to milk cows to provide milk for the cafeteria breakfast! One morning we went on a guided hike through the Monte Verde reserve, and were fortunate enough to see not one, but four quetzals, an endangered beautiful tropical bird, in addition to sloths, monkeys, parrots, toucans, and color insects. One of the highlights of the trip was on our last full day. We spent the morning zip-lining through and above the forest canopy. The two week experience in Costa Rica was incredible, and will surely never be forgotten by our entire group. We bonded and became a family by the end of our trip. It was sad to say goodbye, but we were all excited to head back to the United States to tell our friends and family about our wonderful adventure, and everything we learned about the pura vida culture, sea turtle and natural resource conservation. I hope that anyone considering the 2014 Costa Rica trip takes the chance and signs up for the program, it was life-changing and a beautiful experience.