#R5PuraVida Blog #3
Another Region 5 All Star trip has come to an end and we have had an awesome time in Costa Rica. We have challenged the rapids, observed the wildlife in their natural habitat, made new friends at the beach, took in the breath taking (and walking up did actually take our breath away) views of the volcano and waterfalls, spent many an hour in a bus, and made a difference in many Costa Rican gymnasts lives. I would say this trip was a fulfilling one to say the least. We wrap our Pura Vida All Star Team blog with a perspective of the last few days from Andrea Li, Bridget Killian, Anastasia Webb, and Mati Waligora
Here is Andrea Li, Legacy Elite
Friday October 21
Hola! We started the day off at 8 o’clock. We took a 3 hour bus ride up the volcanoes. We hiked up steep trails to see the first crater and when we got to the top all you could see are clouds. I started telling everybody “Welcome to heaven” because it was so bright. When a little bit of the clouds cleared up, you could see the ring of the crater that was filled with water. We then hiked for another 10 minutes before reaching a beautiful river and took many pictures. Since we were so high up the air was thicker and harder to breathe in and all of our legs were on fire. I did not like the trails because there were trees surrounding us and tons of bugs flying around. We took a huge loop ending where we started and went back on the bus. The bus driver drove us 20 minutes to our second destination which was the La Paz Waterfall Garden. We ate a delicious lunch buffet there and everyone took a short bathroom break. We walked to one section of the garden where we saw many types of birds including owls, hummingbirds, parrots, toucans, ducks, etc. Everybody was trying to make bird sounds. The coolest part was when we got to hold toucans because it is something that I’ve never done before. We went to see butterflies and I was terrified because I hate bugs. Bridget had a small one on her finger and passed it over to me so that I could take a picture with it. I smiled but I was crying on the inside. We watched a butterfly come out of it’s cocoon and fly with the others. Next we saw monkeys swinging on branches and one of them even posed for the camera. Then we went to see my favorite which were the snakes. I love snakes because the Chinese zodiac signs show I was born on the year of the snake. We saw some of the world’s most poisonous snakes. The last animal we saw were jaguars. There was a very cute baby jaguar that walked around very quickly on the branches in its cage. It would come up to the glass wanting someone to pet him/her. There were four large jaguars, three were sleeping and one was up roaming around. After that we went to see three different waterfalls. The first one was the biggest and when we walked close to take a picture everyone got wet. The second was slightly smaller and we got to see the inside of it. The last waterfall was known to be magical because we were told to be able to see some type of illusion. We then walked up many stairs to a souvenir shop and looked at keychains and shirts. We took a green school bus back up to our original bus and drove 5 hours in traffic to the gym. We quickly got ready and started helping the girls from Costa Rica. I did a couple skills and we all conditioned together at the end. Then we got together, sat in a circle, and gave each other massages. Lastly we walked back to the hotel and ate at 10 o’clock. I ended the day by doing some homework.
Here is Bridget Killian,Legacy Elite
Friday, October 21
We started the long but exciting day on the bus up the mountains at 8:00 am. The trip up the mountains was so beautiful. It was incredible to see the towns below as we got higher and higher into the clouds. It was cool to see all of the towns we passed heading up to our first destination: the volcano. When we got up to the area where the bus dropped us off, we had to put on our jackets because the temperature was so much colder up there. We hiked very steep hills and steps all the way up to the top where we saw the crater. When we first reached the top we couldn’t see anything because there were clouds everywhere. For a few minutes the clouds moved and we got to see the crater/volcano. It was so cool to see because none of us had ever seen anything like it before. After spending some time taking in the beauty of the volcano we hiked up to a pretty, blue lake. At the lake we took a lot of pictures and started to head back down. We took many, many steps down and made our way back to the bus where we would find our next destination: the waterfalls. When we reached the La Paz Waterfall Garden area we ate a delicious lunch. After lunch we decided to check out some of the animals in this area. We got to see so many different types of birds. My favorite bird was the toucan. Everyone got to take pictures with a toucan on their arm. After the seeing the birds, we passed through the monkey area. I was excited to see the monkeys because they are my favorite animal. Next, we went through the butterfly exhibit which was sort of scary because i don’t like insects that much, and there were butterflies everywhere. I got over my fears and had a butterfly crawl onto my finger. Having the butterfly was so cool because i really got to take in the beauty of the animals. After the butterflies we went through the snake exhibit, where i didn’t last very long. We then headed over to the jungle cats where we saw the jaguars which was really cool to see them that close. After the jungle cats we made our way to the waterfalls. We hiked pretty far to see each of the waterfalls, but it was all worth it in the end. The view of each of the waterfalls was so breathtaking. After we stopped at each of the waterfalls we took the bus back to the gym. We went straight to the gym due to the crazy Cost Rican traffic. Once we got there we immediately put ur stuff away and started helping out the gymnasts. It was so fun to help coach them and see their enthusiasm. We ended practice with conditioning all together and a massage circle that everyone enjoyed. We then headed back to the hotel where we ate a late meal together with lots of laughs. We all were so tired from the exhausting day so we headed up to bed as our night concluded.
Here is Anastasia Webb, IGI
The view of the mountains, lake, and volcano where all worth seeing after the two hour bus ride. We walked many stairs and got a lot of exercise while traveling up to see the crater of the volcano. I felt out of shape because of the high altitude which made me breath a lot more . When we reached the crater of the volcano the sky was not clear at all, instead it was full of clouds. The view looked like ” heaven”. After some beautiful photos of the volcano we traveled up hill to go back to the bus. The bus driver then took us to the Lapaz Waterfall. The view to the waterfall was amazing because I could see the diversity of people and the differences between towns. When we reached the Lapaz Waterfall I would say this was my favorite part of the trip because we got to interact with many animals such as toucans and butterflies landing on my arm. Also the funnest part of the trip was when Todd, my coach almost got hit in the head while a duck was flying. After seeing all the different kinds of animals we traveled very far to see the three waterfalls. It was definitely worth it because I’m not used to seeing huge, loud waterfalls in Chicago. The view was breathtaking! After we saw each waterfall it was time to head back and train at the Gimnasio El Lider. The bus driver told us that it would take approximately two hours, but with Costa Rica’s heavy traffic it took four hours! This made us very late for practice. When we got to the gym we helped all the girls and showed them new drills and tips for gymnastics. We ended our practice with a massage train and many laughs with all the girls. We all then headed back to the hotel and ate our dinner. The day was very exhausting so we went straight to bed and began our next adventure in the morning.
Here is Mati Waligora,Olympia
Friday, October 21
Hola from Costa Rica! Friday morning we woke up bright and early. After eating breakfast, we hopped on a bus that took us to see beautiful sceneries. Once we got there we took a trial to go see a volcano. The trial was a 20 minute walk uphill. The higher we got the harder it was to breathe, and our bodies got tired quickly. When we got to the volcano, it was hard to see because it was so cloudy, sometimes the clouds would blow by and you could see parts of the volcano. We got some group pictures up there and then headed to the next trail, taking us to a lake. After walking on more steep trails, we got to the lake. The lake was really pretty, the water was so clear, and there were so many beautiful mountains all around the lake. We headed back to the bathroom and then to the bus. By the time we got back to the bus we had walked around 3.5 miles. We drove 30 minutes to La Paz Waterfall Garden, where there was waterfalls and animals to see. First we ate a yummy lunch and the walked to see the bird aviary. We saw all kinds of unique birds here that you would never see where we live. There were parrots, toucans, unique owls and hummingbirds, ducks and much more. We also got to get a picture holding a toucan. This was my favorite part about the whole day. Then we went and saw butterflies. All of the species of butterflies were very colorful. Some of the butterflies would land on your hands and crawl all over you. After seeing all the pretty butterflies we headed towards the snakes… Although these are my least favorite animals, it was still cool to see all the venomous snakes. Then we headed to see the cute monkeys. The monkeys were very playful and fun to watch. The last animal we saw was a jaguar. There were several jaguars that were sleeping and some that were walking around the cage. Finally we went to see the waterfalls. We got to see 3 of them. The first waterfall that we saw was the biggest and the prettiest. This is were we all got a group picture. The second waterfall that we saw was still big, but not as huge as the first. I liked that the second waterfall was the only waterfall that we could get behind a little. The last waterfall that we saw was said to be magical, because when you look into it, it is supposed to look like an optical illusion. After we saw all the waterfalls it started to pour. We all walked back to the bus in the rain and hopped on a bus to go to practice. This bus ride was only supposed to be 1 to 2 hours, but it ended up being 5 hours because of traffic. This bus ride was going to make us late to practice so we had to come up with a plan. We all decided that it would be easier to just go straight to the gym instead of going to the hotel to change. We also decided that today was just going to be a day of helping the Costa Rican girls learn new drills. Once we got to the gym we jumped right in and started teaching and interacting with the girls. After practice we came back to the hotel and ate dinner in the restaurant at the hotel. Then we went up to our rooms and went to bed quickly after a long day.
Hasta la vista Costa Rica! PURA VIDA!