#R5PuraVida Blog #2
We have had a great time here in Costa Rica this week. From the white water rafting to the wildlife at the Manuel Antonio National Park and now working with the Costa Rican gymnasts…. its been an awesome time. We continue our #R5PuraVida blog with Payton Richards, Sierra Brooks, Leah Clapper and Emma Prichard.
Here is Payton Richards, Aerial
Wednesday was a very long day. We began the day by waking up around 5:00 A.M to walk around the resort and look for monkeys. We had every intention of seeing monkeys but it began to rain and they didn’t come out. Although we did not get to see any monkeys, the time spent with all of the girls was worth it. I also get to say I have walked in a real rainforest which i think is amazing. Soon after that we headed to the National Park. We took a short bus ride there and got started. It’s very hard to put into words how amazing this experience was, from seeing pretty flowers, sloth laying in a tree to monkeys arms reach away. At the end of the trail there was a beautiful beach, the girls and I took many pictures and enjoyed time in the ocean.These guys asked us for a picture with them and we also taught them region 5 chants.I think was very cool to be able to share our region traditions. On the way back it began to rain really hard. Everyone was soaking wet, and very hungry.
We got food, and then got the chance to look at the souvenirs. The next day was Thursday and we had to leave our resort and head to San Jose. The bus picked us up at 8:30 and the ride was 4 hours long. When we got there it was time to get ready for practice. Going into this I was extremely excited to meet new girls, and share our region 5 pride. When we got there, the girls were very nice and I was put with the level 2s and 3s. I loved being able to help the girls and work out with them. They were so cute, and they reminded me of when I was little. They all have a true passion for the sport and I am very thankful that I got this opportunity to be here with them.
Here is Leah Clapper, Gym America
Wednesday, October 19th
We started the day off early with a walk on the resort’s monkey trail. There was a lot of steps and steep inclines, but the views were worth the leg exercise. However, we failed to see any monkeys (little did we know we would see tons later in the day). After our brief 6:00am hike, we filled up on delicious breakfast food in preparation for the long day ahead! Soon after, we piled into a bus, which drove us to the National Park in Manuel Antonio. Everyone lathered on sunscreen and bug spray, and we began our trek through the rainforest. We strolled through the trees, stopping frequently to look at the wildlife. The guides were friendly and super talented at finding animals camouflaged in the greenery. Every time someone spotted something interesting, the guides would set up a telescope so we could see it up close. We could even take pictures through the lens! We saw several sloths, monkeys (which swung around and jumped right in front of our faces!), gorgeous butterflies, and more. All in all, there was so much to see, but my favorite was the monkeys carrying babies on their backs!
At the end of the hike through the national park we hung out at the beach. It was a stunning beach undeterred by the ominous clouds. I enjoyed taking pictures and relaxing in the calm water. After spending a couple hours at the beach we started heading back toward where we got dropped off, right as it started pouring. It was only a fifteen minute walk but it felt like an hour. We were WET, WET, WET everywhere! Even my socks, money, and towel were dripping, but I was still smiling. We ate at a local restaurant and shopped at the nearby souvenir booths.
After our adventure in the rain, we headed back to the hotel to clean up and chill out before dinner. It definitely felt nice to take a hot shower! Dinner was filled with lots of laughs and good bread, but nothing compared to the apple pie a la mode!
Thursday, October 20th
We woke up bright and early to hop on the bus that took us back to San Jose. It was a three hour drive, filled with impressive views of mountains and rivers. We made our way down the winding and hilly roads, and we finally saw some sun (despite Costa Rica’s rainy season) on the ride. Halfway through, we took a pit stop to search for souvenirs, take a bathroom break, and even buy some (delicioso) ice cream. San Jose was quite interesting, since it has a lot of Costa Rican culture but includes many things you would find in a typical American city. Once we got to our new hotel, we ate some lunch and headed over to the gym for our first workout!
Practice went well, and it was great getting to know the Costa Rican gymnasts! I had the privilege to work with the youngest group (level 2/3) which was a lot of fun. It was super neat to learn Spanish words for skills and share a bit of the American culture with them. After practice, we ate at another local restaurant. We tried our best to use our (very few) Spanish skills to place our orders. Overall it was a good day!
Here is Sierra Brooks, Aspire
Costa Rica has been great!
Wednesday, we woke up around 5:30am to see a monkey trail, have breakfast and wait to be picked up, so we could be taken to the Manuel Antonio National Park. After the ten minute drive, we arrived to the park, where we would see many more animals than we anticipated. We grouped up with three gymnasts, two adults, and a tour guide, who knew so many specific details about everything we saw. We made it about 15 feet, but stopped because our tour guide already found a sloth! Right after that, we saw three tiny bats along the branch of a tree. Each tour guide carried a telescope that magnified to an extremely detailed point, so we saw every feature of each animal. We then continued walking, pointing out things we have and haven’t seen before, including bugs, plants, and animals. There were about 4 or 5 groups of us walking, and suddenly we found ourselves all looking at the same thing. I finally made my way around everyone and realized that they were looking at another sloth, but this time it was much closer. If I took stepped into the start of the forest about three feet, I could probably touch it. During this walk, I had my camera and made sure I got a picture of this animal because it was an awesome opportunity to. Our guide informed us that it was a male because of the long stripe that it had going down its back. So, we continued on and kept finding more and more animals…including three different types of monkeys, a camouflage lizard, crabs, and a unique butterfly (although its an insect). The monkeys were amazing to see because they were not caged up in a zoo, they were truly interacting with their environment; climbing trees and carrying things around. It took about an hour and forty-five minutes to make it though, but when we made it it was worth it. The tour guides all provided towels for the beach and a variety of fruits for each of us to eat. The beach nice weather, clear water (that wasn’t cold), and beautiful places to take pictures. About 45 minutes in, we all started getting eyed by an older man and his family. He eventually came over to us and asked for a picture, which we accepted because we could use this for our task of the day. The task was to get someone from Costa Rica, to pose with us holding up a 5. Their family proudly did it, yelling “Region 5”. In fact, the man who originally approached us, assumed I was Simone Biles and ran over to me for the picture saying, “Simone!!” After that we took a few more pictures, and headed over to the next small beach. On the way there, we saw four monkeys with babies that were literally about a foot in front of us! It was really cool to see, but due to it starting to rain, we all only got a few pictures. We continued to the next beach that we looked at, but soon turned around because it had officially started to pour like cats and dogs. We all rushed back down the path, trying to put on our rain jackets, ponchos, and get out our umbrellas as fast as possible. We eventually made it to the start of the trail soaking, with water dripping down everyone’s faces, backpacks completely drenched. Across the street, we all ate lunch that was pretty good, taking about an hour. We had about 20 minutes to spare, so we headed to the souvenir shops and got a few small things. Then, we headed back to the bus and made it back to our rooms. We all rested for a few hours and headed to dinner, packing and going to sleep afterward because we were switching hotels the next day. That was the long, exciting, and thrilling Wednesday.
Thursday, we once again woke up early for breakfast bringing our luggage down to the lobby to get it ready for the bus. All of us ate and were ready to go. We all got on the bus and got ready for our three hour journey. I can’t tell you much about the bus because I slept, but we did stop after about two hours for more souvenirs. Most of us got things for our moms, dads, and siblings. We hopped back on, then made it to our hotel. From there, it was fast paced. There were more fast food places that we are used to in San Jóse where our hotel is, so we all spread out. The majority of us ended up at Subway. We ate and then had to change into our leos in the hotel bathroom because none of our rooms were ready. Thankfully, my leo was already in my backpack so I didn’t need to go through my luggage. We walked to the gym that we would be training at for the next three days, called Liter. We arrived and immediately were welcomed.There were many smiling faces toward us from the little seven year olds to the fifteen year olds. Six of our twelve gymnasts were put in the front to lead warmups while the others were put in the back. We lead warmups and then headed to split into groups. We counted off into fours, three of us in each group. The groups were split into levels, me ending up with their levels 7-8s. They were all super nice and could speak almost 100% English, which was impressive coming from the US where we don’t speak much Spanish. Gymnastics wise, we did mainly drills on each of the four events because we had a little limit of space, there being so many of us. Each event was 30 minutes and we had a lot of fun getting to know each other’s names. Practice felt like it went quickly, but before we left everyone did flexibility and conditioning. A few of the Region 5 coaches lead, while we did what we were told. The task of Thursday was to take a selfie with one of our new friends! We took a group photo, but also took another one with our friend Ce! We all exchanged snapchats and said our goodbyes. Leaving the gym, we grabbed an apple and headed along the side of the street to get to where we would eat dinner. We got to the restaurant and ate, while having some entertainment from a man who left the US, to come to Costa Rica (from my understanding). He was super social and had a kid with him, Jacksan, who wanted to meet ‘American Girls”. He was super shy when we all approached him, putting his head underneath the table. We left, ate dinner and two of us headed over, me and Mati. He was more aware this time, me speaking a bit of the Spanish I know to him, and we got his consent to take a picture with him. This time he finally smiled with us, which made us all super happy. We left and headed back to the hotel…where I started blogging;)
Thanks for reading!
Here is Emma Prichard, Gym-Xtreme
Wednesday, October 19th
We started our day early at the Monkey Trail. Unfortunately we didn’t get out there early enough to see them. After the monkey walk we went to breakfast then we hopped on the bus, for a short drive to the national park. When we got there we applied bug spray and sunscreen. We got into groups and we were off! Our tour guide took us through a two hour trail of exotic animals. We got to see sloths, monkeys, butterflies, crabs, lizards and lots more! At the end of the trail there was a beautiful beach, where we spent some time in the ocean and took some photos. We started packing up from the beach when it suddenly started raining. We started heading back on the trail and it started pouring. After getting soaked and mud all over our legs, we finally made it back. We stopped by some souvenir shops and hopped back on the bus to the hotel.
Thursday, October 20th
We woke up early, got breakfast, and started off on our three hour bus ride to San Jose. When we got to San Jose, ate lunch, got ready for the gym, and then headed off to the gym for practice. When we got to the gym, all the girls faces lit up. We took off our clothes, introduced ourselves, and got started stretching. After stretching we split off into groups
and started on our first events. All the girls were very nice and worked so hard. When we finished practice, we got pictures with the girls and got their snapchats.:) After practice we walked to dinner. The menu at the dinner was all in Spanish, so it was very hard to understand. At dinner we meet a very drunk guy that LOVED gymnastics. After dinner we walked to the hotel and started blogging and now we are done.