Written By Isabel, Latitudes ’19 Costa Rica

Hola Chicitos! Hace 2 meses que estoy aquí en Costa Rica… Que loco!

Time flies, let me tell you. I am located on a peninsula on the Pacific cost of the small, but beautiful country of Costa Rica. Approximately 5 hours from San Jose. Secluded from normal civilization, I am at an organization called CIRENAS. A 3 hour walk to Santa Teresa, a known surfing and yoga town, and an hour walk to a town that consists solely of a mercado and a soda. Sodas are traditional family run restaurants that have local Costa Rican food, the most popular dish is a casado. A casado typically consists or rice, beans, salad, platanos, and chicken or fish. Amazing traditional food for a low price.

Anyways… CIRENAS is an organization that works with turtle conservation and permaculture. It stands for Center for Investigation of Natural and Social resources. CIRENAS will do anything to make the people happy and the Earth happy. To be honest I first came here wanting and expecting to be working with traditional farm work, but it ended up being something quite different. Our main focus up until now has been the tortugas!! Without much expectation, it has been so amazing to work with the turtles. Such precious animals! Two months in and I already have a second family, my Spanish is better, and I have a mindset much different from when I came here. I am the only independent volunteer here, so it has been a little hard keeping the workflow when groups leave but I keep adapting and making the best out of the situation. Some of the hardest days and nights were when I was alone with no other volunteers, but those days where when I was able to realize the most about myself and what I came here for. I have had the chance to go surfing on my off days and go into the town of Santa Teresa and enjoy my weekends there. I have met and made friends with so many new people around the world! There have been volunteers from Finland, Brazil, Peru, Germany, and more countries. My weekdays have been filled with hard work of picking up trash on the beach and separating the plastic, building a new turtle hatchery, making a plant nursery, turtle patrol in the early mornings and late nights and feeding the chickens and the tilapias daily. Overall, CIRENAs is a beautiful place, and if you ever find yourself in Costa Rica, be sure to stop by for a week or two! Gracias y pura vida!!!