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Last Days at CATIE

Escrito por: Kira S.

¡Hola! Since day four, we´ve been able to explore even more of Costa Rica, from the heights of the Turrialba Volcano to the valleys of Nortico´s cocoa crops.
After an early wake-up on Saturday morning, we welcomed the day with breakfast at a small café beneath an active volcano before hiking along its hills for a few hours. We were almost as enthusiastic as our tour guide´s beloved dogs, Gallete and Boti, who enjoyed round after round of fetch on their way up.

Group photo on the way to the Volcano

Animals were in no short supply at the Retus Farm, where we volunteered on Monday, either. Through shoveling out dirt for a new crop, hauling bags of manure, and milking cows, we got to see exactly how a small farm runs, and our efforts were rewarded with a cheese-making tutorial – and its results! We also enjoyed a traditional Costa Rican lunch at Rural House, a new experience for even the ticas on our trip.

Volunteering, milking, and cheese-making workshop

CATIE´s botanical gardens have also been a hotspot – we all took a night tour to see a variety of frogs, spiders, and snakes, some of which our braver volunteers even held! Then we headed back on a Tuesday morning to help paint, weed, and plant. With the introductory briefings out of the way, the AMIGOS educational curriculum turned to presentations about collective actions and environmental conservation led by the coordinators, as well as writing letters to Costa-Rican pen-pals. For two nights in a row, we got to shake out our legs on the dance floor of CATIE´s restaurant to a mix of reggaeton, bachata, and American pop.

Night tour – Curriculums – Dance Night

On Wednesday, our pen-pals welcomed us to the Jorge Debravo school, where we quickly traded quiet, partnered conversations for a group game of volleyball, and then the volunteers headed back to Spanish class to discuss the practice of global citizenship.

Photo group of people

We spent Thursday morning on the family-run Nortico Cocoa Farm. Ann-Elin, a global traveler from Norwegia, and Áldo Sanchez, a chocolateering tico born and raised in Costa Rica, were happy to show us the process of harvesting, fermenting, and sweetening cocoa into chocolate, and we were even happier to partake in the tasting.

Group photo in Nortico

On Saturday, we´re heading down to the beaches of Parasmina, but safe to say it´s only up from here!