Playas Del Coco and Saying Goodbye! March Break Travel Journal Post #4

Saturday afternoon we arrived at the Salvation Army to volunteer for Santa Cruz Kids. Our students were ready, excited, and maybe a little nervous at first to meet the kids, but as the children arrived, the nervousness slipped away and the fun started. We played soccer with the boys, who seemed to have endless energy, and jump rope with the girls, who loved to laugh when we joined and tried our hand at jumping. There were shoulder rides with Tara, some games with Sophia and Kate, drawing, bubbles, Frisbee and more. Our games came to an end when we started serving supper and handing out juice. 

After the meal, we had our big competition – the piñata! Starting with the smallest, the kids took turns taking a swing – we certainly saw some strong arms. It didn’t take long for the piñata to break and the scurry for candy to start. When it came time for goodbye, our heartstrings were tugged, hard. It was very moving to experience such appreciate for the little things, and the fun that we could have with kids, even when we couldn’t speak the same language.

We continued our journey to Playas del Coco, dropped our bags in our villas, had a wonderful supper prepared by our guide, Mario, and enjoyed our last proper night. Many students went out to explore the beach town, while other stayed an enjoyed some time by the many pools at Villas Mapache.

Sunday marked the last day of our Costa Rican experience, and it was packed full! After breakfast we set out to the beautiful Tamarindo Beach. We had fifteen students ready for their surfing adventure, while the other ten lounged around on the beach and explored the boardwalk. Our surfers had their lesson and instructions on the beach before heading into the waters with Francisco and our other surf experts. There were many wipeouts, endless waves to jump, and almost everyone was successful in standing up on their board, or at least riding the wave back into shore. 

We arrived back at Villas Mapache for a brief break before joining Mario for a cooking lesson! The group jumped right into their tasks, splitting into groups to make chips, salsa, guacamole, fried plantain, and sweaty chicken. After enjoying our home-made Costa Rican snacks, everyone cleaned up and got ready for our final night banquet. Derek and Mario had set up a beautiful beachfront view for our last supper together. After some speeches, trivia, and tying of everyone’s ‘Pura Vida’ bracelets, we ate, laughed, and gathered to watch the video from Krysty, with snapshots and memories from our time together. We finished the night with a beachside bonfire, complete with chips, pop, and marshmallows to roast.

Before we knew it the night was coming to an end. We had one final room check, packed our bags, and were up Monday at 4am for our early morning departure to the airport. It was a bittersweet goodbye, happy for our time together, and sad to say goodbye. It was a pleasure to spend time with such an incredible group of kids, and to watch them make new friends, and grow with each new experience.

Pura Vida!

Virginia

Activity Coordinator