Pura Vida, Costa Rica!
Costa Rica’s favorite phrase, pura vida, (literally “pure life”) is used all over the country as greetings and goodbyes, and shows up on billboards, souvenirs and of course, on t-shirts to say “full of life”! We definitely found Costa Rica to be teeming with culture and adventure and plenty of vida. We went to Costa Rica straight from Ecuador to visit EduTech Mission, one of MAF’s Technology programs, and to travel around the country with our friends Brendan and Emely for some vacation time.
Brendan has worked for six years in MAF’s Costa Rica office in San José, so he introduced us to some of the technology projects the team is working on. We traveled to the New Horizons Community Center located in La Carpio, a slum near San José, where he has taught youth computer classes. This beautiful place serves as an oasis for kids to come take classes, learn about God, skateboard, and play soccer. We had fun (and got very tired!) watching these kids play hard.
We then took some vacation time to travel to the Southern Nazarene University’s Quetzal Education Research Center (QERC) in the cloud forest region of San Geraldo de Dota. We spent a couple of days there hiking and relaxing.
We saw a quetzal! Many birdwatchers come to this area to see this ornate bird and we were lucky enough to see one right outside of our door.
From QERC, we hiked seven hours to Armonia Ambiental, a rustic lodge in the Providencia region to learn about all of the different organic foods they grow. We were fed some amazing meals of food all grown on the farm and learned how they roast coffee beans. We spent the night there and hiked back in the morning.
From there, we went to the area around the Arenal volcano. We visited Baldi Hot Springs, billed as the largest hot springs in the world, canoed on beautiful Lake Arenal, and hiked around the volcano.
We decided from now on we are always going to taking jumping photos in front of volcanoes.
We saw a whole band of these adorable animals called coatis.
After spending a few days back in San José with the EduTech team, we finally got to go to the beach! We rented bikes and rode to a couple of different beaches and even saw a sloth along the way crossing the road.
We were so blessed by our time in Costa Rica, both for our time off traveling with Brendan and Emely and for the opportunity to get to know the EduTech team. They are doing some amazing work and we’ll post more tomorrow about our trip to El Salvador with the group.
Pura Vida, friends!