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Costa Rica – Eco Lodge, Beach Time, Pura Vida!

February 8, 2017

Welcome to Costa Rica

It was safe to assume that Costa Rica was going to be a very exciting and enjoyable trip. But the non-stop state of awe that occurred was definitely unexpected.

I can confidently state that everyone’s first reaction of Costa Rica is something along the lines of — “Holy Guacamole this is amazing!” << accurate summation. Although I have been to quite a few tropical/exotic places, Costa Rica stood out as the most naturally stunning, only beating out Bali by a little bit.

Arenal Volcano, one of the many natural beauties of Costa Rica

Eco Lodge Costa Rica

After landing in the afternoon, and a long drive down and back up the mountain, we arrived at our eco ranch, our accommodation for the next 4 days. The ranch is a beautiful 300-acre self-sustained property in the middle of the rainforest run by a handful of staff that keep the property running year-round, while also cooking incredible meals, three times a day, for FIFTY people! They inspire and educate individuals and large groups on topics such as wilderness medicine, renewable energy, natural building, and permaculture, through workshops, apprenticeships, or regular visits.

Learning plants medicinal values in Costa Rica
Learning plants medicinal values in Costa Rica

Walking around the property, literally surrounded by jungle and fruit everywhere, was such an awesome experience. It felt like I could take a bite out of anything around me and it would be healthy/edible. I was very tempted to pick a pineapple from the plant, but apparently they take about 18 months to fruit, so I felt bad. Did you know you could make pineapple leather? Pineapples are the best.

Beach Time Costa Rica

After 4 days spent working/learning about agriculture, construction, and even helping out with normal housekeeping around the ranch, it was time for the second leg of our trip, beach-side Hotel! Yeeww! (And a more reliable Wifi connection :D). Although I really had an amazing time and learned a lot at the ranch (like how to make chocolate from cocoa beans!), I was looking forward on going surfing with the group.

After spending the day at an elementary school building desks, chairs, and repainting the school walls, we packed up and headed straight for the beach. Surprisingly, 99% of the group actually managed to catch a wave or two on their first day. I was anticipating far less success considering the few times I went surfing, I drank half the ocean and nearly drowned a few times. But apparently I can now successfully stand up on a surfboard without falling on my face.

Surfs Up, Costa Rica
Surfs Up, Costa Rica

Until Next Time Costa Rica

Best of all, I got to enjoy all these wonderful experiences with my co-guide, Mel (who I consider the Queen of Costa Rica), an amazing group of students who were extremely enthusiastic and positive minded, and four awesome teachers that made me want to go back to school again.

Costa Rica, you were a treat. Hope to see you again soon — PURA VIDA!

By Derek Samaha

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