Livermore Pura Vida 2014

Livermore High Pura Vida 2014 Blog #5

Written by Monique L. of Livermore High

Day 10- Goodbyes

After saying goodbye to our dear Walter, our chauffeur, and Roy, our outstanding tour guide for this trip, we have arrived at the Costa Rican airport in San Jose. We are currently at our gate after going through security and waiting in a humongous line for getting boarding passes. Along with that we have just found out that we are not allowed to board the plane with liquids. Meaning no water and no drinks. However, snacks are allowed.

We will miss Roy and Walter dearly. Especially when Roy kept saying he was cute in a high pitched voice or when he started splash fights while white water rafting. We will also miss Walter’s poisonous insect jokes even though we didn’t know what he was saying at first and his sly but hilarious motives to make us laugh.

This trip has been so precious and we learned so much. Like how Kaitlin can sleep anywhere or that Walter has the best poker face, or even that if you try something you think you won’t like, you might actually end up liking it.

This trip will last in our memories for a lifetime. Since this will be my last official blog post, I would like to thank everyone who had a part in making it happen. And a special thanks to SeƱora Gonsalves, Ms. Edgar-Lee, and Susan Schai for getting us ready for this amazing trip and being there for us along the way.

Thank you everyone! Gracias por todos!

Livermore Pura Vida 2014

Livermore Pura Vida 2014 Blog #4

Written by Monique L. of Livermore High

Day 9

It’s June 25th! Kaitlin’s birthday. We went white water rafting today and had a blast. Roy, our trip guide, was the only one to fall out of the raft into the rapids. We got drenched and it was a lot of fun. The white water rafting took up the majority of today. However, after lunch we celebrated Kaitlin’s birthday with cake and singing.

We are now getting settled in and ready for dinner at the Costa Rica Tennis Club. Tomorrow we leave Costa Rica for the United States. Our first flight leaves in the late morning/early afternoon. Then we have a short layover in Texas. Adios por la noche!

Livermore Pura Vida 2014

Livermore Pura Vida 2014 Blog #3

Written by Monique L. of Livermore High

Day 7

Today was mainly a travel day. We crossed over from Panama to Costa Rica. We crossed over on foot, over the bridge that holds the old railroad tracks. This bridge joins Panama and Costa Rica as it is over the natural border, the river. We are now staying in a beautiful hotel located in the jungle area near Cahuita. It has a beautiful pool and the rooms in the Goddess hotel each hold two sets of wooden bunk beds and either a twin bed or another set of bunk beds.

Today we also visited the town of Puerto Viejo. We looked around, shopped a little bit, and ate a delicious lunch. The town of Puerto Viejo is quaint and a little bit touristy.

Then after a short ride to our hotel, the Goddess Hotel, we swam in their huge, amazing pool and then shortly after it started pouring rain. It poured for more than three hours before dinner.

We spent time at the pool and played card games while listening to music. We had a lovely day!

Day 8

Today we visited the Cahuita National Reserve in Costa Rica! We took a nature hike that ran parallel to the beach. It was beautiful! We were in the jungle yet still on sand. We saw armies of leaf cutter ants and fire ants. We saw a total of eleven sloths and two of those were baby sloths clinging to their mothers. We saw five capuchin monkeys and one jumped out of the tree about a foot from us then hissed at us and climbed back up. We also saw a couple mantled howler monkeys. We saw a couple keel-billed toucans which were pretty, some lizards and chameleons and a lot of different insects. Some of the lizards we saw were the anole lizard and the emerald basilisk, and we saw a couple iguanas in the trees too.

After the nature hike we ate lunch at a great restaurant on the beach and we found a swinging bench suspended from the trees that hung right over the edge of the water. We could not go snorkeling because a storm had come in last night and churned everything up while another one was on its way. There were also too many riptides to even swim at the beach in Cahuita.

So we just settled into our hotel for a night’s rest instead.

Livermore Pura Vida 2014

Livermore Pura Vida 2014 Blog #2

Written by Monique L. of Livermore High

Day 4- On the Road & Zip-lining

Did you know that when Costa Rica plays a game in the World Cup, the whole country is under executive orders from the Costa Rican president to close every store for 2 hours to watch the game?

Today we traveled to the Caribbean side of the country. We left at 7 and arrived around 1. We were all very sad to leave our host families. The drive was long but beautiful and we listened to the game on our bus’ radio. We stopped in the other major district of cities in Costa Rica to buy soccer jerseys. In the middle of the city in the plaza there was a stage with a Jumbotron on it and there were hundreds of people ready to watch the game against Italy. Even though Italy was favored Costa Rica won 1-0. On the way to the Caribbean side, one of our bus’ rear tires blew out. We pulled over at a family’s home and they helped us change the tire. While we were waiting, the little girl of the family who was about 5 years old was talking to us and showing us her pet dog that was really sweet and friendly. The dog’s name was Jackie.

We also went zip-lining in the forest. It was much warmer than it was at the home stays and not as dark and cloudy either. We saw two monkeys, a sloth, a poison dart frog, and a few bullet ants. The land is so green here. It’s a nice change from the Livermore hills, which are already dry and gold. We are at the hotel for the night in Cahuita. Off to dinner!

Day 5- Panama

Today was fun! We got to cross over into Panama on foot, have some down time, and work with a local seashell artist. We had a choice to make either a bracelet, a key chain, or earrings. It was really neat.

When we traveled into Panama it was an older customs area. It was really cool. The border is actually a river. We had to cross the river by foot along a bridge made for the railroad. It was so beautiful. Then we had to take a short ride in our buses to a boat taxi that took us to Bocas Del Toro. It was a 45 minute boat ride to Bocas but we got to see all the little villages along the water. Oh! And the water is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom. We spotted starfish and other creatures really easily.

The water is a bright but clear blue-green color. It’s perfect! We are off to dinner soon so adios por la noche!

Day 6- Snorkeling

Today we spent the day snorkeling. We saw jellyfish and many reef fish. We also learned about coral’s defense mechanism, poisonous bubbles. We also swam through sea grass, a plant that is a necessity for life on the ocean floor, and saw many sea cucumbers. The Caribbean ocean was so warm and clear! I have never seen water so clear.

Some of us got a little sunburned even though we used tons of sunscreen! We were all very tired by the end of the day. And tomorrow we are off to Costa Rica again! We are having so much fun!

Livermore Pura Vida 2014

Livermore Pura Vida 2014 Blog #1

Written by Monique L. of Livermore High

Day 1- Airport

Hey everyone!

We are currently at our gate in Houston. Leah has been trying to figure out the new GoPro accessories while some of us played mini ping pong and made new friends. We are all pretty tired but some of us did sleep on the flight here. We will be in Costa Rica soon!

Day 2 and 3- Fundacion Nubotropica & Coffee Tour


Today we went to Nubotropica, a nature reserve, and learned many things. We learned how to plot and measure the circumference of a tree and how to make a scaled drawing of the tree plot. We also learned that 92% of Costa Ricans have never seen a soldier and that 38% is under ecological protection. Their goal is to put 45% of the land under ecological protection.

While we were at Nubotropica, Ari put Tapatio sauce in her sister Chloe’s coffee. When she figured it out, Chloe ran outside to dump the coffee. She ended up accidentally pouring it on the venomous snake Masten saw earlier that day. She screamed and we all ran to take pictures. We are also at our home stay right now and are having a blast speaking Spanish.

Moving on to the food. It is out of this world! Rice and beans are definitely a staple food here. And my roommate Emily and I tried a bright yellow vegetable called chayote. It was surprisingly sweet. At the reserve we had a delicious lunch with a dessert of guava in cinnamon sugar water. It was really sweet.

Everyone has been drinking tap water because that same water is actually being put into bottles nearby.

And on the way back to our home stay, the girls in the back of the bus were giggling really hard, and they started saying “maybe we had too much coffee.” And “I have to deal with her tonight? She’s so hyper!” Then we were back at our home stays.