Bienvenidos a Costa Rica! // Family Travel Edition // Tortuguero

Hola amigos! Guess what?! My family made it to Costa Rica!

So here’s what’s up – my mom loves to travel and wouldn’t miss a chance to travel somewhere new and since she has never been to Latinamerica she just couldn’t resist and booked a flight. Last year when I went back to Michigan to visit my former host family and friends, she wanted to tag along for a while but sadly it didn’t work out at the time.. so my mom, my sister and suprisingly my brother (who has just finished his apprenticeship yay!) flew out to Panama City on Saturday (7/28/18). After two days in Panama they flew to Costa Rica…

After my Tuesday morning class I cleaned up my appartement and waited for my family to arrive. It felt weird knowing they would visit me here, me being like a tour guide as if I knew all about Costa Rica.. I guess I really have gotten to know this country pretty well but there is still so much more to learn and experience here. Around 2pm they arrived with their rental car at my place and got everything organized and settled. I was very happy to finally see them again but it also felt so weird – in “my” appartment, on the other side of the world, where I myself have just spent a little over 5 months… we ate some food at a local Meditarranean restaurant, and my family got to know Charlotte after she came back from work. In the evening we all ate dinner together at our favorite Soda (Typical Costa Rican restaurant) which is right next to our house. The next day we cooked some pancakes for breakfast and then visited my workplace – LIDEPO (Liceo de Poás). My students have been so excited to meet my family and when we got there everyone introduced themselves in german and we handed out some german candy that my siblings had brought. We also got to know Wiebke, a german university student from Hannover who is doing an internship for a month at the school. Later that day we all went out for dinner at a local Soda (Wiebke, Charlotte, Lina – she came from Heredia, Marco & Isaac – the german teachers, and my family) and just talked for a while. The next morning my family and I drove out to Mi Cafecito –  a local coffee plantation and production site north of Poás (close to San Miguel). We had a great tour and learned a lot about the origin and production of coffee, and it was awesome to see a local, fairtrade workplace after living in the mountains for so long and seeing huge coffee plantations everyday. Afterwards we drove further towards Guápiles and stayed there for a night. On Friday morning we kept driving towards Tortuguero – we left our rental car at the secured parking lot and took a boat towards the little town of Tortuguero, which was about an hour long drive through the connecting rivers. We arrived at our home for the next two nights – Tortuguero Natural Hotel . Later that night we went on a tour to see the turtles – we we’re a group of 6 people and waited patiently for the turtle watchman to bring us to the beach. Disoriented we walked through the darkness, closely following our guide. A turtle was spotted and group after group we were able to see it laying eggs with the infrared flashlight focused on the turtles lower body. It was so intresting and amazing to see an animal laying eggs! We stayed a little longer and were also able to see the turtle camouflage the eggs by putting more and more sand on top of them. I learned so much about the green sea turtle – for example they return to the same beach they are born at to lay their own eggs and out of over 100 eggs only about 2 baby turtles survive as they walk towards the water (all the others get eaten by predators). I learned so much more and if you want to know more just do a little google research – or visit a hatching site or National Park! It is definitely worth it! If you are an animal and nature lover, Tortuguero is  a must-see in Costa Rica. After an adventurous night, we didn’t stop exploring and spent 2 hours on the river on a Kanu with a local guide. We saw some amazing wildlife like Caimen (small alligators), different types of monkeys and birds and some smaller turtles. We had a lovely morning out in nature and spent the rest of the day chilling in our hotel’s hammocks, laying at the beach and exploring the trails of the National Park. On Sunday morning it was already time to leave again, and we took the boat back to the parking lot after we ate breakfast. From there we drove back to Guápiles, where I took a bus to San José and from there I went back to my place in Poás while my family continued driving towards Puerto Viejo on the Carribean coast.

We had a great family reunion and I’m so excited and happy that my family is here to explore this beautiful and unique country that I was able to call home for almost 6 months now! They are staying a total of 3 weeks and I will meet up with them again next weekend for some more adventures. For now I am enjoying my last 2 weeks of volunteering at the school…

Hasta pronto!

//Olivia

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