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costa rica travel

GoXplore part II Animal Rescue Center

This time we headed out to an animal rescue centre. My driver/guide gave me good briefing of the animals and why they ended up at the rescue centre. He told me about crazy stories, for example, a family had a pet monkey, and fed him unhealthy food and gave him beer. So, this monkey was an alcoholic. When they rescued this poor monkey, he became aggressive since they stopped giving him alcohol, he basically had withdrawal symptoms. The reason he is still in the cage in the animal rescue centre is because he wouldn’t survive in the nature, since he’s too domesticated.

Another crazy and sad story they told me was about when a toucan lost his beak. A cruel human had cut his beak off and the poor toucan was not able to eat, drink or anything! The population of Costa Rica had a fundraiser to help this poor toucan get his beak back – they were able to raise enough money and the new beak was designed in Canada. The beak is also fully functional – so it’s a happy end for this sad story.

Other animals that end up here are, for example, those that get hit by cars, are mishandled, injured birds, orphan baby animals, wild animals kept as pets and animals trafficked for business reasons. And yes, this happens a lot over here and in other tropical countries. Costa Rica is such a great country that the people really care about the nature and its wildlife. They invest more money in nature preservation instead of an army. Fun fact, you can drink the tap water in most areas in Costa Rica!

The animal rescue centre itself was far from what you’d expect a rescue centre to look like. It was more like a zoo or jungle. The animals feel like they are in their natural habitat, since the shelter is planted with rainforest trees and flowers, the cages are big and they are well taken care for. The volunteers who work here, all have different tasks in different areas of the rescue centre. They feed them, prepare the food, clean the cages and have guided tours for people who are interested in visiting the shelter.

I did a short video about this project that I’m going to upload for you. In the video, one of the volunteers is describing what it is like to work over here with all the animals! Remember to check out this project at GoXplore over here in Costa Rica, if you are interested in volunteering and working with animals. Costa Rica is a perfect place to explore and experience new culture, since this country has endless opportunities with activities and volunteer programs! The weather is pleasant all year around, except for heavy rain in November, but that’s it! If you have any questions about this project, feel free to ask me anything!

If you are interested to participate via Goxplore to this project click on this link over here or go directly to GoXplore site. If you are interested in the animal rescue center program, press this link.

Pura Vida,

costa rica

GoXplore Costa Rica (turtle conservation)

I got this amazing opportunity to visit an animal rescue with GoXplore and to check out their volunteer programs across the country. When my week in Santa Teresa ended, I was picked up by one of CRLA staff from Puntarenas. We drove to the first project in Camaronal Refuge. This was located next to Samara Beach, where I got the opportunity to explore this absolutely stunning village. The area was surrounded by white sandy beaches and palm trees, I also found nice organic vegan cafes and you could rent a surfboard almost anywhere and go surf. We had a nice chat with this nice guy from CRLA, he told me everything about Costa Rica and about these projects. So, let’s get into it…

The main reason they have this turtle conservation is to save baby turtles from being eaten, kidnapped or destroyed by animals and humans. What volunteers do in this project is to go to the beach by night to, for example, patrol the beaches when the turtles will come and lay their eggs. It’s not that simple though, since the turtles will come the day before and look for a good place to lay their eggs. The turtles leave their footprints in the sand so that they will find back to the spot they’ve chosen the day before, and then they will lay their eggs there.

The volunteers then take the eggs to the hatchery, the eggs will spend up to 42 days there until the baby turtles hatch. It’s important to keep them safe from racoons, eagles, birds and humans as well, humans tend to steal the eggs to then sell them at different markets. Can you imagine, in the Caribbean islands for example, these humans who steal these turtle eggs (they sell them as “good for your health” if you eat them, pets etc.) make tons of money? So, don’t get fooled by these turtle thieves! Imagine, a turtle can lay 100 eggs during this season, and they sell these eggs for 1 dollar each! There are so many cruel people on this earth and by not supporting this business you can help to put an end to this cruel market.

There are 4 turtle species in Costa Rica alone, and 2 of them are really endangered. The project is there to ensure a future for the turtles. They are there to save, conserve and increase the numbers of the turtles born there. Mother nature will not/cannot of save all of them, because I saw it myself last night. It was time for the baby turtles to take their first steps towards the ocean. Some of them are so weak that they already die during their first steps, some get eaten by fish / animals in the water. Only 70% of the baby turtles will make it, even if we try to save them from most threats.

During the release of the turtles, you are not allowed to have any lights on, the only light we used was a red light when needed. Also, you should only wear dark clothes and usually this process takes place during the night and when there is not too much moonlight. This mimics the natural hatching season.

It was an amazing experience to witness, we were also really far away from civilisation. So, when I looked up in the sky… wow… I haven’t seen so many stars in my entire life. It was so beautiful…magical. Yeah, words can’t describe and the camera itself didn’t do justice for the actual night sky, so I didn’t really get any good pictures. You just have to come and see it by yourself 😉

I will do a follow up and keep you updated with my adventures with GoXplore. I will get the chance to see so many places in a short time! I’ve also been filming a bit so you can soon check out my YouTube channel for some nice footage from my trip. Also, I am here for any questions you may have… I will answer them all.

CLICK HERE If you are interested of being a part of the GoXplore volunteer experience in Camaronal beach saving turtles!

costa rica

Lapoint Surf Camp Costa Rica PART II

I was bit nervous and excited to come back here and do some surfing. I completely missed these mornings’, when you can just wake up and the only thing you have to do is to take your surfboard (and maybe grab a banana for breakfast) and start your morning with catching some nice waves during the sunrise. The waves are amazing in Santa Teresa, I have been surfing a lot in different places and I can really recommend Costa Rica for both pro and beginner surfers.

We were surfing at Playa Hermosa with our skilled surfing instructors and they really gave that extra when it comes to surfing. They were always ready to help whenever they were needed. I learnt a lot in only one week – and I do surf a lot most of the year. In our group we had many beginners and it was so amazing to follow how they became better and better each day. A big thanks to our amazing instructors at Lapoint!

When the surf lessons were over, we went back to the camp to enjoy some fresh fruits and some good Costa Rican coffee. The cook prepared a lot of good and variable breakfasts for us during the week. I am a huge fan of papayas, and oh dear, every morning was like heaven for me! Can you imagine what it feels like sitting in a hammock with some good coffee and having the best view over Santa Teresa? (the camp is located on a hill – so you could see everywhere!). The camp also has a nice infinity pool, as you can see in the pictures under ;)!

Some days’ we had some yoga, which is really good for you if you surf (well, I guess you know it already if you surf). Our camp manager was a really good yoga instructor, and I could feel how my tense and sore muscles relaxed after a week of surfing. My muscles are no longer in pain… well, maybe a little bit. But that’s a good sign, right?

We organized many fun activities that made the week full of laughter and tears. I remember the ping pong tournament really well! I suck at ping pong to be honest, but I was actually pretty good at it on the last round (blame it on beginner’s luck or maybe the good wine had something to do with it?). Some of the group went ziplining and when they told me how it was, it sounded so cool! Last year when I was in Costa Rica I tried it too – and I can assure you, it’s a must if you visit this place! It’s one of those once in a lifetime moments, when you’re flying over the jungle like a bird, all you can say is wow…. You’ll get this amazing feeling of happiness and an equally awesome feeling of adrenaline rushing through you. You can also join the famous Tortuga Island tour or rent ATVs… Anything is possible and there are so many activities you can do over here. The camp could helped you at any time so you were never bored or lost at any point. So, thank you for the amazing hosts!

I think the best part of the week was the Full Moon party and the dinner at Banana Beach. There was a big bonfire, we watched the stars, danced all night long and enjoyed the heat of Costa Rica. I mean, could nights like this last forever…? I was literally in paradise during this week – I would return back for sure and I will do it in the near future!

(You can meet Oscar in Lapoint Surf Camp, he likes to chill by the pool with you!)

(Are you a health freak like me? Santa Teresa is full of amazing health and organic cafes, like this bowl I ate in a cafe just next to Lapoint Surf Camp!)

I am here to answer any of your questions about the camp! So, if you’re looking for the best adventure of your life, don’t hesitate to ask me. I know I had an amazing time at Lapoint camp!

// In the next blog post I will write about tips and things to do in Santa Teresa and why you should visit Costa Rica.


costa rica

Lapoint surfcamp Costa Rica part I

Day1 – 

So I finally arrived to my final destination at Lapoint surfcamp in Santa Teresa. It was a really long trip all the way from home, back in the north, but it was so worth it! I finally made it to paradise!

I found it easy to get over here, even thought Santa Teresa might be a tricky place to travel to, if you have no clue on how to travel in Costa Rica. Thanks to Lapoint camps service, they booked a hotel + transfer package for me, that made all of this so easy for me and saved me from all stress and worries.

Even thought my flight arrived in the middle of the night to San Jose (which is not the best time to arrive), they made it so easy for me! The clear information and the ready booked hotel, with good guidance, I couldn’t be more happier! Plus the hotel was super nice, it was clean, good pizza and comfy beds! Now I feel rested enough for my week at the camp!

I will soon do a vlog about my typical day over here at the camp, so stay tuned for amazing pictures and vlogs! Vlogging is really new to me so all suggestions and tips are welcome! I hope you will enjoy my work and remember, you can follow me on instagram @bellamarias for awesome pictures or watch my snaps (beatricevk – snapchat) of my everyday life in the tropics.

Pura vida!