**These posts were written on my old blog and I have copied them over/made small edits**
This was my first summer leading a summer camp in Costa Rica. On the first night, we made our way to Turrialba for white water rafting. I thought I was going to hate it, but it was AMAZING! The views were gorgeous! I also got paid to jump off of giant boulders into the water and to swim through waterfalls. I was truly blessed. We stayed in open air cabins in the middle of the jungle and it was so so peaceful to hear the water rushing by and to hear the animals chatting to each other. I do have to say, though, that it was scary getting up to go to the bathroom since the bathhouse was a walk away and the jungle is scary at night!
After Turrialba, we arrived in Parismina, an island on the Caribbean side, to spend a week there working with turtles. I LOVED this village. It’s a village of about 400 people and the community was so friendly. We were steps from the black sand beach and the ocean was so soothing to listen to at night. We spent the day doing various activities like swimming, making coconut candy, drinking from coconuts, visiting a farm, and taking Spanish lessons (I helped translate from English to Spanish if need be).
At night, we had a shift of 4-hours where we walked the beach looking for nesting mothers or nests. Parismina is a poor village and poachers are a problem, so the ASTOP sea turtle project is around to help decrease the amount of eggs/turtles that are taken by poachers. All eggs are relocated to the hatchery and are monitored 24 hours a day so as to be protected from humans and animals alike.
Hatchery at ASTOP
We saw 2 mothers returning to the water on the first walk, but they did not nest. We then went a few days without seeing anything until we hit the jackpot. We saw THREE mothers that night, two of which we got to see nest! The girls also got to work on FOUR nests and find the ggs! It was a beautiful night and a breathtaking experience. I honestly think it was our saving grace for the trip, too, because the dynamic of the group definitely changed after that night. We even got to see a nesting Hawksbill, which is incredibly uncommon. The girls (and ME!) really lucked out! After a week, we left Parismina and headed to Monteverde, one of my favorite places on Earth.