Pura Vida!

Our first week in Costa Rica has been full of adventure! After a long travel day on Monday we finally arrived to our hotel in Heredia outside of San Jose. Luckily, on Tuesday, our first full day, we were able to take it easy. It was awesome to just rest and be together in our first home away from home. We enjoyed the surrounding mountain views, checked out the tropical vegetation in the yard and watched the afternoon rain from the safety of the porch. The group was already hitting it off, laughing and sharing together. We did a number of orientation and getting-to-know-you activities and we geared up for our adventure rafting on the Pacuare River the next day.

To say that our three days on the river were epic may be an understatement! We set out on Wednesday morning and after eating breakfast we were off, rafting the seven miles to the Rios Tropicales River Lodge. We cruised through the rapids with a few cool spots along the way to eat lunch, swim in a natural swimming pool with a mini natural waterslide. We also learned how to paddle as a team – something that would really come in handy on Friday. As we arrived, we soaked up the jungle views around us and settled into the river lodge, perched on the edge of the river, ringing alive with jungle sounds.

Thursday was our day to explore the area around the lodge. We swam next to waterfalls, jumped off of logs and marveled at all the wildlife around us. We got to do ziplining in the morning, too – buzzing above the jungle canopy. Many people definitely conquered their fear of heights! That night, we ate an awesome cake for Gabi’s birthday and laughed together before we were soothed to sleep by the sound of the river.

We were super pumped to be able to raft again on Friday and a massive rainstorm on Wednesday night provided totally superb conditions – “como en los viejos tiempos,” or “like old times,” as the experienced guides told us. We got an awesome workout and amazing adrenaline as we paddled and cruised through the class 2, 3 and even class 4 rapids. Needless to say, everyone was glowing by the end. On the way back to Heredia to regroup for a night, we had a bit of a detour in order to avoid mudslides on the main highway. While it was a long day, we made the best of it and got to see some extra scenery in the process!

Now, as we move into our week on the beach at Samara, everyone is excited and ready to take on language school and homestays and all the unique challenges and learning opportunities that that will provide. As they say here in Costa Rica, ¡Pura Vida!