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Under 18s - Pura Vida

By 5 years ago
Categories Jalova

We are now back in San Jose, all preparing for some very early departures tomorrow morning – this is involving a fair few loads of laundry and a lot or reorganizing rather wet suitcases. While I think we are dreading saying goodbye to each other, we have had an incredible time.

Friday was our last day working in Cocal, where we managed to finish laying most of the concrete for the floor in the classroom…which was an excellent acheivement. I definitely did not think that in three days we would be able to get it looking that good, considering we were pounding it with metal bars a few days earlier. I think we all value the experience of being in Cocal so much and certainly gained a new appreciation for how much you can get done if you work together. We had a lovely farewell dinner with the local guys we had been working with on Sunday before setting off for the adventure week the next morning!

On Tuesday after breakfast we were picked up from our hostel in Turrialba and headed to the Pacuare River in order to begin our rafting trip. We were kitted out and taught the basic commandments before swiftly departing down the river in three separate rafts, each with a (rather crazy) guide. On the river we were either floating and peacefully being carried by the current or rushing through rapids – both were great and somehow we managed to get through the day without anyone involuntarily entering the water. Along the way we stopped for the odd race or swim before ending mid afternoon at the guides’ incredible camp alongside the river. They cooked us a delicious, and very welcome, dinner before all having a relaxing and peaceful sleep in the cabins which rather than walls, superiorly just had screens. The next day we hiked up into the mountains where we looked around an indigenous village (village as in a couple of dwellings made from leaves and a tiny school with 2 rooms); it was very interesting to see how people manage to live so remotely. On Thursday we had another day of rafting and even a bit of jumping off rocks in a stunning canyon, before returning to Turrialba.

Today we spent the morning canyoning, which entailed repelling down 4 water falls, flying across the jungle on 5 separate cable ziplines and then crossing a suspension bridge comprised of two mere cables and a couple of bits of woods – bravery was certainly shown. Despite all becoming fairly cold by the end (as you would after, literally, descending down cold waterfalls), there was an incredible lunch waiting for us at the afterwards…we ended on a good note for sure.

So now we’re all just relaxing and debating whether to actually go to bed considering we’re leaving the hostel at 3:30 am, and becoming increasingly excited about the prospect of pizza for dinner, but I know that as well as gaining a newfound appreciation for the ever delicious combination of rice and beans, every one of us is so grateful for this invaluable experience and what it has taught us. Thank you Costa Rica!

Josie Gardner
GVI Costa Rica Under 18’s Volunteer