On Thursday we had a volunteership with KEUMAR, which is one of Costa Rica’s turtle conservation and investigation organizations. We went to Playa Real also known as “Bahia de los Piratas” where we learned how they observe/ study the turtles. Each turtle (black and green sea turtle) that comes to the beach for nesting, first gets measured (length and width) and then they get a tag on their front flipper so they can keep control of how many turtles visit the beach. The leatherback turtles after getting measured, get a chip inserted into their neck so they can be follow and tracked since they are going extinct. Once the turtles come to the beach for nesting, they write down where the nest is by measuring it from the closest tree or landmark and they also write down how many eggs are layed. The nesting process can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on each turtle.

Once the nesting process is done the volunteers move the eggs to a different location in order to keep them safe from their main predator, the humans, yes people come to the beaches and take the eggs and sell them illegally.

Once they move the eggs, they go back after 45 days and check how many eggs have hatched, the ones that did not hatch are checked to see why they did not hatch.

During our time there, we went to one of the nests and had to dig to find out how many turtles hatched, check for baby turtles and check how many eggs did not hatch.

We found one baby turtle, which was very very exciting!! We also found 65 hatched shells and about 8 unhatched eggs. The conclusion we came to for the unhatched eggs was that they were not in the hole deep enough and the weren’t able to develop, they cooked from the heat.

Heat plays a big role in the process, if it is too hot it can cook the eggs. The temperature also decides whether the turtle will be male or female.

Kuemar volunteers patrols their beaches every night from 7:30pm to 4:00am, observing turtles that come and lay eggs. They receive up to 4000 turtles per year between, 4 beaches, Playa Nombre de Jesús, Playa Zapotillal, Playa Real y Playa Honda. Each turtle lays between 80 and 100 eggs. And in every 1000 eggs laid 1 survives and makes it into adulthood.

After that we headed to Playa Penca where we spent  the rest of the afternoon playing in the water and the surf.

 

On Wednesday morning before starting classes we went to the public school in Potrero to drop off the donations of the Francis Parker 4th grade students. They had collected a bunch of school supplies and sent them to Costa Rica. After that we had our Spanish classes at CPI and the kids are learning a lot on the third day. We had lunch at Tikis and then we headed to the famous beach surfer town Tamarindo. This place is known for its nice breaks, part of the beach has breaks for the advanced surfers and the rest is great for learning how to surf. The break yesterday was perfect for our kids. Everyone got up on the boards and surfed like pros. The water temperature was nice and cool since the sun was so hot.

We also did some shopping in Tamarindo after surfing we headed to the famous Gelato place in Potrero to cool our day off with the best ice cream in town.

 

Yesterday we went to visit the historic city of Santa Cruz, which is declared the National Folklore City of Costa Rica. This city is known throughout the country for its amazing and colorful fiestas, rodeos, dances, festivals and traditional Costa Rican food for example the famous “Tortilla palmeada de maiz” The women of this area are known for their tortillas.

Santa Cruz literally means Holy Cross and also has the second oldest church in the Guanacaste area. The church was built in the 1500’s and they are trying to preserve the the last standing part as much as possible.

 

After visiting the park and the church we headed to Guaitil which is a small village between Santa Cruz and Nicoya, famous for its pre-columbian Chorotega pottery. Chorotegas are one of the main indigenous cultures in Costa Rica, and the local potters use the traditions and techniques of their ancestors to make ceramics. Most of the people in this village are dedicated to making pottery and is their main income. They mostly sell their work to tourist.

In Guaitil we visited a local crafter Willy, who showed us how they make the pottery, and the coolest part is that he only uses recycled materials, such as an old tootbrush, the wheel was made from a old motorcycle parts and a fan and a stove top, he also used a corn cob and piece of jicaro (dried shell of a fruit), a old knife and a stick with a nail it if for the carving.

He made it look really easy and some of the kids tried it and soon realized it is not as easy as it looks.

Today’s blog is about Cultural Differences and is submitted by Luisa and Megan.

Today in Santa Cruz Luisa and I experienced lots of cultural differences between San Diego and Costa Rica. For example, school, religion and ways of life. School only goes to the 11th grade and sometimes they are at school all day until the evening. (such as 5 o’clock). Their “summer” break goes from December to mid February. The public universities offer more job opportunities than private universities. Religion is very public and 90% of Costa Ricans are Christians. Every town has a Christian church that faces the west so that the church receives as much sunlight as possible. In school it is mandatory to take a Christian religion class unless you go thru a process. The Costa Ricans way of life is very different from our own, such as, the families do eat together. Everyone picks up their plate and goes into their rooms to eat in there. Also the television is always on, Always always always on. During dinner lunch and breakfast or any point in the day. Walking to school is another difference. I know some people who walk to school but here everyone does. It is amazing how so much can change or differ from one country to another or even one language to another.

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Nuestro primer viaje fue super divertido y lleno de emociones, tomamos un autobus público que nos llevó hasta la bella ciudad de Heredia, en el recorrido contamos experiencias, reíamos y compartiamos con los ticos y ticas que nos acompañaban en el autobus. Hicimos la primera parada en el mercado central de Heredia donde caminos, conocimos personas trabajadoras, practicamos español, probamos frutas tropicales deliciosas y tambien la inigualable y famosa tortilla de Queso (Las chicas del grupo Kingsway y yo comimos mucha tortilla)- estaba riquísima. Visitamos el parque central de Heredia, entramos a la Catedral y por último y más importante el Fortin, el símbolo mas reconocido de la ciudad de las flores y donde el grupo de Kingsway posó para una grandiosa foto! Definitivamente un gran equipo! Gracias KINGSWAY ACADEMY GROUP!DSC07195 DSC07196 DSC07198 DSC07205 DSC07206 DSC07209

Manos a la obra, clases de cocina típica costarricense, definitivamente el mejor almuerzo de todos, esta vez preparamos arroz con pollo y como dice la frase tica “que bueno está el arroz”

 

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On Monday we had our first day of Spanish class, 4 hours of complete Spanish immersion. After class we had a Latin Cooking class and learned to make  “Arroz con Pollo” which is a very typical Costa-rican dish used for parties, weddings, special occasions and on a regular bases. The Lancers had to chop up all the ingredients and get the chicken ready for the cooking part, and I must say that they are not bad chefs at all, the end result turned out pretty good :).

OOHH…Did I forget to mention that is was also Mr. Howards birthday?? Yes it was and we surprised him with a piña colada birthday cake and sang HBD in Spanish. He was surprised and did not expect it, which was the best part.

After our lunch and cake we walked to the famous Playa Flamingo where we had a wonderful afternoon playing in the surf and swimming, and just enjoying the beach. The day could not have ended more perfect.

So after our adrenaline fun filled weekend we headed to Playa Flamingo, where we will be taking Spanish classes at CPI and living in Playa Potrero with Tico host families. Playa Flamingo is known for its white sand clearwater beach and is considered one of the nicest beaches in the Guanacaste area.

When we arrived at the school the students took the placement test and had a little orientation before meeting with their local host families. Every one was a little bit nervous and excited about the new stage of the trip, which meant getting out of your comfort zone :). The meeting with the families went well, and the students had lots to say the next day when we saw them. Talking about their new families, what they ate and did the first night with them.

 

The Lancers arrived on Friday night full of energy and ready to start the amazing immersion program. After picking them up from the airport we headed to famous Rincon de la Vieja were we spent two nights. On Saturday morning there was no need for an alarm clock because we were awoken by our friends…..who wanted some food!

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After our 5:00am walk up call we headed out to breakfast and then got ready for our hike in the famous Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

Its name means “The Old Woman’s Corner”, a reference to a local legend about a girl whose lover was thrown into the crater by her father; she became a recluse living on the mountain, and was credited with powers of healing.

Rincón de la Vieja is an active complex volcano, which has many fumaroles and hot springs on its slope. The steam of the volcano is also used to test for natural geothermal energy.  The hike thru this park is very interesting because one moment you are in a lush green forest and the next you are hiking thru a very dry hot area. (micro climates).

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After our hike we headed to the famous Rio Negro where we got to paint our selfs with natural mud extracted from the volcano and soak up in natural hot springs and swim in the river. We all loved this activity as it left our skin silky smooth.

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By this time we were starving and headed back to the hotel to get some lunch and rest before our river tubing activity!

YES, you read correctly river tubing! We all headed to the river got into tubes and went down the white water rapids of Rincon de la Vieja. This was a super fun activity and every one enjoyed the adrenaline and nature.

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After a long day we ate dinner and went to bed early. We had to get our night’s rest for our canopy tour the following day and our drive to Flamingo, where we would take our placement exam.

 

 

 

 

 

Es fascinante lo que Maple Grove ha hecho en tan solo 4 días. Pasaron de surfear bajo el caliente sol guanacasteco a traspasar nubes en un canopy de Monteverde. También extendieron su conocimiento sobre fincas sostenibles en el Trapiche y Life Monteverde. Despues de tanta aventura y aprendizaje, los chicos fueron al Jacuzzi de CPI Monteverde para relajar sus cuerpos. ¡Maple Grove es Pura Vida!

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El Jueves, los estudiantes de Maple Grove estuvieron en un tour por el Río Tempisque en la finca El Viejo. Los chicos estaban muy emocionados porque ellos querían ver mucho animales y lo puedieron hacer. Algunos de los animales que vieron fueron aves de esteros, cocodrilos de diferenctes tamaños, diferentes especies de iguanas, mono congos, mono cara blanca y muercielagos. Para el almuerzo los chicos comieron un casado, mientras que esuchaban musica tipica de Costa Rica y después aprendieron sobre la casona y la finca el viejo a travez de fotografías antiguas.

 

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Que cansado es ver animales…

 

En la tarde comieron gelato en Potrero y regreasron a pasar tiempo con sus familias ticas. En la noche todos nos reunimos en el punto de encuentro para hacer un pequeña fogata, jugar frisbee y cantar canciones alrededor de la fotoga.

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Que deliciosos se ven esos helados