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Recycling, Spanish and Waterfalls

I’ve only been in Costa Rica for a week but I’ve already fallen in love with it. We arrived at Jakera on Monday evening after a long drive/ferry crossing from the capital, San Jose. Jakera is beautiful - located in the middle of the rainforest yet only a ten minute walk to the beach.On our first morning we were introduced to the town of Santa Teresa, where we’ll be staying for the majority of the ten weeks. The town is centred around a singular, semi-paved road. It’s very different from the UK but I love it. Everyone travels around on ATVs and mopeds and you very often see them holding a surfboard under one arm whilst doing so! The town has so many different places to eat, from tacos to burgers and so far it’s all been amazing. On our first evening out we all went out for burgers. During the meal it started to rain which rapidly got heavier and heavier - unlike any rain I’ve seen before. We all had to evacuate the restaurant to get back to Jakera as it’s over a river and word got out that the river was rising very fast. It turned out that we had left it too long so we spent a couple of hours camped out in a supermarket, dancing and singing along to music. When the rain had stopped we made a human chain across the river as it was still covering the bridge and finally got back to Jakera not long before midnight! It was an adventure that I definitely wasn’t expecting to have in Costa Rica!We volunteered several times this week. We sorted out rubbish from the local area and separated the recycling which definitely was not the most glamorous job. However, seeing the amount of bags of recycling we had cleaned and separated at the end made me realise that our work would certainly have a positive impact on the environment as it wasn’t all going into landfill meaninglessly. Later on in the week we also picked up litter from the beach. We’d been on the beach plenty of times before but I hadn’t realised just how much plastic there was on it. We only covered a small section of the beach but we collected about three large bin bags full of plastic and other rubbish. The damage that the plastic could have done (and other plastic is doing) to marine life is so sad. Even making the small change of using recyclable or metal straws instead of plastic ones would make a huge difference - there was a huge amount of plastic straws on the beach. Alongside volunteering we also had Spanish lessons this week. The lessons are super informal and fun but I’ve also feel like I’ve learned a lot just in the few sessions we’ve had so far. The lessons take place on a balcony overlooking the rainforest and we regularly see iguanas during them.On Wednesday we went on a hike to a waterfall which was amazing. Both the hike through the rainforest and the waterfall itself were beautiful. On the way back we followed the river, climbing down another waterfall with only a rope to help us down. It looked scary at first as the river’s pretty fast moving but once we got going it was so much fun - definitely not an experience I’ve had before!Despite being busy volunteering, learning Spanish and climbing waterfalls, we’ve also had a dance lesson as well as a yoga lesson. We’ve explored Santa Teresa every evening whilst finding new places to eat and went to a party on Saturday night which we all enjoyed a lot. Today (Sunday) I spent lazily at the pool as the week has been so full on and because tomorrow we start a week of surfing lessons!!!

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