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This week has been incredible! We have closed out our stay with a visit to the Turrialba volcano, the second tallest volcano in all of Costa Rica. We started the day early in order to get to the volcano at 7 am. We then ate at a café near the foot of the volcano. Afterward, we began the hike up the volcano with two tour guides and their dogs.

We had a great adventure starting a hike near the Volcano, we walked through the “Bosque Quemado”, around beautiful views and with a cool breeze. We were able to take many photos while enjoying conversations. In total, the walk was 5 km long roundtrip. Once we got to the end of the trail up the volcano, we enjoyed the view very much and were grateful for the people who make this hike possible for us. So, thank you to the tour guides and the AMIGOS staff for this opportunity.

Also, we drove to a local school in Turrialba and visited our pen pals that we have been writing to in Spanish for a couple of days, with the help of our Spanish teachers Marcio and Jorge. We started by meeting our pen pals who gave us a tour of the school and tried to help us speak in Spanish as well as we could. The local students brought us treats from their cafeteria and played basketball and soccer with us. Then our pen pals helped us write about our experiences in Costa Rica in Spanish. Thank you to all of our Spanish teachers for helping us with advancing our Spanish speaking and our pen pals for being so kind and welcoming.

We started the next day by traveling to Parismina in the province of Limón, on the Caribbean coast. We started by bus and finished our trip by boat on the Reventazón River to reach Parismina. It was an incredible experience! Then we were able to take a tour of the community and meet ASTOP, where we learned about the place and about the activities they carry out to protect the turtles, as well as about the different species that frequent the local beaches.

Sunday was our first day in Parismina. We started our adventure with a tour of the canal we arrived on the previous day. We saw sloths, monkeys, an alligator, and many beautiful views. After the tour, we headed back to land and made a poster for Father’s Day, and had several fun team games ending with a huge water balloon fight. We then ended the day by walking around the community, getting to know the local people which helped us better understand where we are staying. And finally, we had dinner and went to sleep.

We had our morning off to rest, chat, and play some fun games. Then in the afternoon, we went to do volunteer work for ASTOP. We went to the beach and learned all about tagging turtles. Then we had a demonstration about how turtles lay their eggs and how to create nests for the turtles to lay their eggs. We also were lucky enough to see five baby turtles that had just hatched from the nursery. We also got to set them onto the beach and watched as they found their way to the water. Finally, we ended our volunteer work with 2 hours of cleaning off trees and branches from the beach to make it overall nicer and make sure that if turtles hatch on the beach, they are able to find their way to the water with no obstacles.

On Tuesday, we volunteered on the beach. We walked on the shore for 2 and a half hours picking up any loose trash we saw. In the afternoon we had an activity about climate justice where we were able to see and analyze historical differences, put ourselves in other people´s shoes, and reflect on the topic in general. It was very interesting! We then came back in the afternoon again to pick up more trash on the beach. However, at one point it started pouring rain! After changing into dry clothes and having dinner, we prepared to carry out night patrols with ASTOP on the beach.

We had dance classes with Maya, a member of the community. It was very fun to dance with her on the sand of the beach! Then, we attended the Craft Fair where we appreciated all the things that the members of the community make with their own hands. Their work was so detailed, and we were able to buy some things to take to our families at home. We thanked each person for their beautiful work.

We closed our week with a visit to the community primary school. When we got to the school, the students were kind and playful. Although it was hard to communicate with the students at times, we were still able to connect with them and have a good time. We played lots of games such as red light green light, frisbee, soccer, tag, and duck duck goose. Some of the kids also showed us their drawing skills. Once the kids were done playing, we went back to our hostel. We’ve had a wonderful time in Parismina this week.