Pura Vida - Pure Life, it's what the Costa Ricans live by. Last month I was in Costa Rica leading a #tripofalifetime for a bunch of grad students from Canada in a place just outside the city of Liberia for the company
It may sound tedious having to watch out for a bunch of drunk 17/18 year olds who just graduated but I have to say I actually really enjoyed myself despite the lack of sleep. The students ended up being some of the coolest people and for the most part they were pretty well behaved. Of course there was all the things you expect like sneaking out after hours, changing rooms, super drunk ramblings, cuts, scrapes and even some bee stings (myself included on that one) but overall it was a solid group of around 150.
We stayed at the Allegro Papagayo on the North West coast of Costa Rica and it had absolutely stunning surroundings. I can't say that Costa Rica was ever really on my bucket list of places I need to go but I'm really happy I was able to have this experience. I had no idea where S-Trip! was going to send me when I signed up but after going I'm glad I got this trip. The Costa Rica trip is more geared towards the adventurous students instead of just a 24/7 drink fest which was nice. There were a ton of adventures we went on including Zip Trekking through the Costa Rican forest, horseback riding, hanging out in volcanic hot springs, volunteering experiences, a day on a catamaran and ending it all with a day in the famous surf town of Tamarindo learning how to surf! We also did fun things like feeding the monkeys that lived on the beach at the resort and of course, parties! My personal favourite adventures would have to be the ZipTrek through the forest and surfing. While I was on the ziptrek I was able to go upside down hundreds of feet above the forest and also did what they called "The Superman." Just think of Superman flying and that's basically what it was like. It really hurt my stomach but it was worth being able to look straight down and feel like you're flying. It's kind of ironic that I'm afraid of heights on buildings but when it comes to stuff like this I love it. I also really enjoyed learning to surf in Tamarindo. I'd never been before but I'd always wanted to try. On my first attempt I kind of got up but quickly bailed. On my second attempt though I go up right away and surfed all the way into the shore. The next 5 times after that only got better so I think I've finally found a sport I can get into! HOLLA!
Feed a money? Don't mind if I do!
I'm not even going to pretend that it wasn't a lot of work because it was. As trip leaders you really don't sleep that much because you're the last to go to sleep and the first to wake up. At night it's bad cause all the students are drunk and trying to run between rooms and all we want is for them to stay in a room! I was so tired sometimes I didn't even care who's room it was, I just wanted them in a bloody room so I could go to sleep. I have to say I really liked our trip organizers Jay and Roxy, they were awesome and I can't believe they actually stayed for a month living with practically no sleep when just 1 week almost killed me. I also loved the other trip leaders who were there, especially Becca who was the other leader who came with me from Toronto with all the students we were in charge of. She's the coolest of beans and we had an absolute blast being goofs on the trip together.
Kicking it with Roxy on our last night!
Now to the main bit, the student! Like I said, they were all really amazing people. From the start I knew we had a really great bunch that we were going with. Some of them were a little bit harder to work with but for the most part they all knew how to have a good time but also listen to us when they needed to. We had amazing parties planned for them every single night including Canada Day night, Tight and Bright and many more. Pretty much it was dress up and drink after all the daytime adventures were done. On the off resort night we took them to an outdoor club in town which they all went bonkers at but all in the name of fun. I have to admit it was a pretty damn good dance night out for sure. As a trip leader you spend a lot of time with the students and one of the best times I had was when I got a beach volleyball game going on and we all had a blast. Some had some serious hand-eye coordination problems but we decided to place blame on the drinks instead of the person, haha. By the end of the trip I had one student calling me grandpa and I also called HER grandpa, we're still not sure how it happened. Also a bunch of them decided to give me the nickname "Calzone" which I'd never had before but I have to say it's a pretty kickass nickname, I may just have to keep using it.
Tight & Bright Night!
Calzone kicking it at the best beach volleyball game ever!
Birds eye view of the pool and swim up bar
S-Trip! Costa Rica 2014 was definitely a trip to remember and I'm very grateful to have had the experience. Would I ever do it again? At this stage of my life I'd have to say probably not as I've moved on to other amazing traveling ways with my new career as a flight attendant with Emirates but I do highly recommend it to anyone thinking about it! Thanks S-Trip! It was a slice!
Until next blog post, keep loving life!