Category: Volunteer Vacations in Costa Rica
El Sur de Turrubares, Costa Rica

El Sur de Turrubares, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in all of my travels. The people were so sweet and humble. The food was rich and full of flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Costa Rica and was impacted greatly. A group of seven students and two professors from Bethel University branched out to impact the lives of people in a glocal way by taking an Alternative Spring Break trip to Costa Rica. Each day we learned the culture of the locals as well as working to better their small village. Five families were involved in a group sponsored by Globe Aware called EcoSur. These five families were the the sweetest, most loving people I have ever met. Being away from home for a week and leaving a daughter, fiancé, and family behind was tough, but these people made El Sur feel like home and made the homesickness not so bad. They became our family for the week and showed us the true meaning of family, love, and community.

My Costa Rican volunteer vacation

I took my 15 year old daughter with me on a Globe Aware Costa Rica volunteer vacation and we both absolutely loved it.

I was a little worried that she would not have a good time, but she certainly did. We did the Rain Forest trip in El Sur. It is a small village of about 40-50 people. Our group ended up having a total of seven people (including ourselves) and everyone got along great and had a great time.

Our project was to paint the inside of their school building and help the families get familiar with the laptop computers they just received from a donation while we were there.

The trip was a great experience and balance of volunteer time with cultural immersion and downtime. We ate lunch and dinner with five different host families while we were there. It was a great way to understand how they live, eat their traditional foods and just get to know them as people.

Mario (one of the hosts) took us on a hike through the rain forest at the start of the week (definitely bring hiking boots or rain boots that you don’t care about), as well as a horseback ride towards the end of the week. They showed us how they make sugar from the sugarcane and cheese from the milk of their cows.

All the children loved us and wanted to spend time with us. Be warned, they may get you for some games of “duck, duck, goose.”

We really could not have had a better experience for our first volunteer trip. I spent months researching various organizations and had it down to Globe Aware and a few others. This just seemed to be the perfect “fit” for us.


Costa Rica Volunteer Vacation

We recently returned from our wonderful experience Globe Aware Volunteer Vacation in El Sur.  It was absolutely amazing and such a great trip.  I can’t wait to take my next volunteer vacation.

I put together a video of our time in Costa Rica.

Please feel free to share it.  Enjoy!

Evelyn Barnes

Volunteer Vacation in Costa Rica this July – can’t wait!

Honestly, a huge part of me wanting to take part in Globe Aware is the travel aspect. I have always loved to travel and I love experiencing new cultures.

But, after traveling to Costa Rica with Globe Aware, my views on travel changed a bit. I can’t begin to say how much I annoyed my mom by telling her that I was done traveling to luxury hotels (she likes that) and sitting on the beach! Yes, that’s nice, but, it’s fantastic to do something real with a vacation. It’s the most amazing experience in the world to go to a different country, see what it’s like beyond the tourist aspect, and help people there.

Kimmy Trauner, past Costa Rica volunteer, going to Cambodia in July 2010

Our volunteer vacation in Costa Rica: Pura Vida!

volunteer-vacations-costa-ricaIn April 2010, as best friends, we embarked on our Globe Aware volunteer program, traveling to Parismina, Costa Rica. Pearl owns a micro-brewery in Sackets Harbor, NY with her husband Tom. Jennifer is CFO and Corporate Vice President of a non-profit substance use disorder treatment and prevention center in Seminole County, Florida.  Neither of us knew what to expect- this was our first out of country service project!  We were told that our jobs could vary so we went with open minds, ready to take on whatever task was handed to us.

The heavy rains kept us in San Jose for an extra day before we were able to drive to the Caribbean Coast with our guide, Federico. On Sunday we reached our destination as our little boat pulled into the tiny Port of Parismina, population around 600.

The next week turned out to be, hands down, one of the best weeks of our lives…EVER. Although our accommodations at first appeared rudimentary, by the time we left our Casona was our castle.

The food prepared by our host mom, Seylin was always plentiful and delicious, prepared with love and “secret” ingredient, Lizano sauce!! We had fresh juices at every meal…the tamarind juice and limeade were our favorites.  Seylin and her children Jeremy and Kendri were all fantastic to have around, and they made for great guides around the island on our morning and afternoon walks. The people of the island were all so friendly and welcoming…even the spiders were nice!

We loved stopping in the little store each day to purchase platanas and cookies for the kids. In the evenings, a visit to Alex’s Bar, Rancha La Palma, for an Imperial was always a special treat. Seylin’s brother Imer was our faithful companion. He was always there to find and open up water coconuts for us when we were thirsty. He helped us clean turtle bones and shovel sand in the recycling center. He taught us how to fish with an empty plastic bottle and fishing line. He enthusiastically searched for the enigmatic sloth to show to us, and helped us paint the turtle shack. He definitely gets the award for best ambassador to Parismina.

The kids of the island we will remember always … Cristopher with his dramatic gesturing, Melanie with her sweet disposition and school books, Bianca- Beautiful Bianca, Kendri- the first one we met and therefore the nearest and dearest to us, little precocious Jefferson, and so many more. They were always there, ready to laugh and play, but also often accompanied us to work, not hesitating to grab a shovel and help out. On the evening when we had no electricity, the kids entertained us with songs and games. They were very forgiving of our bungled Spanish and when we’d say “no entiendo- mas lento, por favor” they would slow it down and enunciate each syllable of each word so that we’d comprehend.

In retrospect, we both wished we had brushed up on our Spanish speaking skills a bit more before our trip. Although the people were so kind and patient with our “Spanglish”, it would have been nice to be able to converse with them a little more. That being said, we did just fine and had some hilarious moments trying to understand each other with sign language, drawing pictures and scouring our dictionaries for the right words! And if there was one thing we wished we would have brought with us, it would have been some soccer balls! They love soccer (“futbol”), especially the kids and it would have been so simple to have tossed in them into our bags!

We really went into with this with an open mind and that’s the key. You have to be prepared to just roll with the ways of the island, the people, their lifestyle…as long as you do that, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way…It was one of the best experiences of our lives- truly. We are definitely going back and look forward to the day when we will see all our Parismina friends again!

Pura Vida!!!!!!

Jennifer Small