On Saturday morning, our road trip began bright and early when the bus picked us up at 5:15. After about six hours, we switched modes of transportation and found ourselves on a boat ride. We were welcomed into Tortuguero National Park by a crocodile, an iguana, some monkeys, and many more tropical animals. An hour later, we arrived at Pachira Lodge, our home for the next few days. After cocktails and lunch, we were able to settle into our rooms in the middle of the rainforest. The remainder of our day consisted of a canal tour, showcasing the area's beautiful plants and animals, pool time (during which we practiced our new merengue dance moves in the water), and a calming night spent with quality friends.
The next day in Tortuguero brought even more adventures. Our morning began with a walking tour, where we were able to see sloths, birds, and far too many giant black spiders. The majority of the group chose to spend our free time going zip lining through the forest, while others had a massage, a facial, or just time in the sun. In the afternoon, we all boarded yet another boat and visited the town of Tortuguero itself. Tortuguero is situated on the small strip of land that separates the Tortuguero River from the Caribbean Sea. The site plays a major role in the breeding of sea turtles, as four species choose to place their nests on its beaches. After exploring, buying gifts for our friends and families back home, and eating ice cream, we enjoyed the cool Caribbean breeze and dark, black sand. Finally, our second day in Tortuguero ended with even more time spent in the pool with friends. We were all very grateful to have this weekend to decompress after a busy few weeks of non-stop action.
Monday was essentially a travel day. After a delayed start, we eventually boarded the boat at 10:15 and began our journey back to Hacienda Vieja. Several hours and many naps later, we all made it home safely and rested up for yet another early morning.
Although we were all anxiously awaiting Tuesday's arrival and our beach day, it was a bittersweet day for many of us as we spent our final day together in Costa Rica. A six hour journey landed us in Manuel Antonio National Park, a beautiful location complete with two picturesque beaches and more monkeys than you can count. We were able to spend three hours soaking up the sun and cooling off in the Pacific waves. I think it's safe to say that we all agree that our Guatemalan and Costa Rican adventures could not have ended in a better way. Although sunburnt beyond belief, we were a very content group.
After our 10:00 pm arrival back at our host families, we began packing and writing thank you cards. Some of us chose to stay awake while others squeezed in two hours of sleep before our 2:30am departure for the airport. Two flights and another bus ride later, we made it back to Luther safely! We thoroughly enjoyed our experiences these past three weeks and sharing them with you, and we hope you had fun reading our stories. ¡Nos vemos! (See you later!)