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IVHQ Video Tour: Costa Rica

George and Kate's video tour ventures on to our Costa Rica program - catch up with their time in country before we launch the video!

Our week in Costa Rica begins in the capital city of San Jose, a bustling metropolis home to over one-third of the countries entire population. The vibrant university suburb of San Pedro is where the IVHQ volunteers live, housed in various homestays with local families.

Sunday 18 November

Visiting an organic farm in Costa Rica with IVHQIn the early morning we take the scenic bus ride to the hill region of San Luis, Monteverde. Here lies La Bella Tica, 122 acres of beautiful farmland, which is home to 26 local families. The production of coffee sustains many of these families and they plant, harvest and roast the coffee right here on the farms. Volunteers that work in this project stay with local host families and help throughout the different stages of the coffee process. Volunteers also undertake a range of other agricultural work depending on the season in which they visit.

After lunch we hike to the San Luis waterfall, which would serve as a beautiful oasis to cool off after a hot days work on the farm. In the early evening we watch the sunset from one of the local families farm, easily the most beautiful spot on hill with the view stretching all the way out to the Pacific Ocean.

Monday 19 November

Today we are given a tour of one of the coffee plantations, learning about the entire process right through from planting to roasting. It is just entering harvesting season so the bright red coffee berries are starting to adorn the trees.

Zip Lining in Costa Rica as an IVHQ volunteerAfter lunch we head up into the cloud forest to undertake one of Costa Rica’s most famous adventure sports, zip lining. A truly exhilarating experience, zip lining sees you swinging like Tarzan over the forest canopies and ravines. 

On the way back to the farm we stop off at the local cheese factory, where you can learn about cheese and ice cream production as well as purchase the products. Here we sample the delicious ice cream and carjeta, a traditional caramel-like sweet.

Tuesday 20 November

Catching a sunset as an IVHQ volunteer in Costa RicaAfter travelling back to San Jose from the coast we join a walking tour of San Jose with one of the staff members and an IVHQ volunteer from the US. We visit the main market, Mercado Central, where you can buy anything from locally grown coffee beans to a wide range of exotic fruits and vegetables. 

The centre of San Jose has many historical buildings and sites to visit, such as the National Theatre and Jade Museum. We also stop into the Artesian Market where a beautiful array of locally made arts and crafts are on display. It’s the perfect place to pick up unique gifts for friends and family.

On arrival, all the IVHQ volunteers go on various walking tours in both San Pedro and downtown San Jose to familiarize themselves with the areas they will be living.

Wednesday 21 November

Visiting Drake Bay while volunteering with IVHQMid-week we take a quick flight to the remote area of Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula. Here the Sea Turtle Conservation project run by the Corcovado Foundation is located. This not-for-profit organization was developed to conserve the natural resources on the Osa Peninsula. 

Their main focus is to promote the conservation and sustainable recuperation of the marine turtles in the area. This includes not only turtle protection but also educating the local community on the importance of conserving the natural resources here.

The IVHQ Turtle Conservation program in IVHQVolunteers are involved in a wide range of activities such as working in the hatchery, which might encompass tagging the turtles, relocating nests and releasing hatchings. 

Other work may include environmental education at the local schools as well as helping out in various community projects. During our visit the IVHQ volunteers are involved in a construction project where they are helping rebuild a part of the community centre.

Volunteers in Drake Bay either stay in the Corcovado Foundation Camp or are placed with a local host family.

Thursday 22 November

IVHQ volunteer teacher in Costa RicaThis morning we are off to visit a few of the many projects that are based here in San Jose. The first stop is La Casa de Oracion, an Evangelical Church in a very poor area called La Capio. The church houses a school for local children and here several IVHQ volunteers are working in the mornings teaching English. Volunteers are also involved in various construction projects at the church. This morning they are helping to weld a stairwell that leads up into the school.

IVHQ childcare volunteers in Costa RicaWe then drive to another slum area called Rio Azul. Based here is Rayito de Luz, a small daycare centre offering free childcare to local children aged 3 months to 10 years. It is a very important part of the community as many single mothers in the area depend heavily on the childcare services. Volunteers do arts and crafts, physical activities as well as English learning.

Again the IVHQ volunteers here in San Jose are making the most of their weekends! Early Sunday many are heading on a group trip to the coast to soak up some of that Costa Rican sunshine.


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