Thursday
Aug132015

Saturnino Cedeño Cedeño

As those who are already present on our Teaching Project are aware, we have recently begun working at a new school in Puerto Jimenez: Saturnino Cedeño Cedeño.

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Wednesday
Aug122015

Do You Even COOK Bro?

While on the Teaching Project, cooking has to be one of the best parts of my day. Every day after school we get the opportunity embark on a new culinary exploration. 

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Wednesday
Jul292015

Top Five Things to Do in Puerto Jimenez

Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica, is a tiny town but full of opportunities for exploration and adventure. Despite only having a population of 4,000 people, it is still the largest town in the Osa peninsula, located in Southwest Costa Rica. The Osa is home to the famous Corcovado National Park where you can find many unique and endangered animals including the Scarlet Macaw, Pacific Green Turtles, and Baird’s Tapir.


Due to its location, Puerto Jimenez is the best place to stop in for a few days before heading to the prestigious Corcovado National Park, and it is a great place to experience “Pura Vida” (pure life).

Puerto Jimenez is a bustling frontier town, so there are many things to do even for those with limited time. Although it is outside the jungle, there are many activities that will prepare you for the bigger adventures waiting in Corcovado National Park!

“… Puerto Jiménez is very much a close-knit community at its core… While it is understandably difficult to resist the pull of the deep jungle just beyond, consider putting the brakes on and lingering here for a few days.” – Lonely Planet

1.    Kayaking

Prepare your biceps and triceps for a phenomenal experience. Kayaking can be seen as simply paddling along some sort of body of water, but it is more than that in Puerto Jimenez because every 20 minutes of paddling rewards you with a different scenic experience.

As you paddle along the Golfo Dulce, you will get the opportunity to see boats of all sizes, a lighthouse, mountains, Playa Puntarenitas, River Plantanares, and the famous mangroves. Mangroves are an interesting and ecologically important habitat with a diverse population of flowers, birds and other wildlife.

The picture above shows the scenic view: a beautiful strip of land separating the Plantanares River (Left) and Playa Puntarenitas beach (Right). Entering the Plantanares River might seem a little scary, but in reality the further you enter the better it gets. At $5 an hour, Kayaking is a MUST when staying in Puerto Jimenez. You might get lucky and see some Dolphins or even Whales so keep an eye out!

2. Dolphin Tour

Brace yourself; this is better than any Aquarium!

As soon as you get to Puerto Jimenez, there will be a lot of signs and people promoting tours!  TOURS! TOURS! TOURS! There will be many options and it may seem overwhelming, but do not worry and trust me, go on the Dolphin Tour!

This tour is a combination of a boat ride, snorkeling, sight seeing, snacks and DOLPHINS! For just a couple of hours you can have everything you have ever wanted in life. In Corcovado you will not get to see dolphins, so take the opportunity to be inches away from them!

The tour guides are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the creatures in the Gulf and the mountains around. Do not forget to ask questions and learn about the animals, history of Costa Rica, and anything that catches your imagination! WARNING this tour is both educational and exciting!

“Situated in the Golfo Dulce, Puerto Jimenez has a wonderful beach where one can relax while taking in the superb beauty of the Osa Peninsula.” – Go Visit Costa Rica
 
3. The Beach

Puerto Jimenez is a very hot place. However, the town is filled with opportunities to keep cool!

My personal favorite is going to the beach. The beach is a magical place. From reading book on a hammock, drinking fresh cut coconuts, to playing soccer with your buddies, you have an endless amount of opportunities to stay cool and chill by the beach.  The beach is your canvas so use your creativity and make it a great experience!

Keep an eye out for the famous Scarlet Macaws snacking at the top of almond trees by the beach! Get used to their colors and loud calls because there are tons of them in Corcovado National Park.
Do not forget to pick up after yourself because every piece of trash in the ocean will harm our future generations, especially in Costa Rica! Costa Rica’s focus on sustainability and its beautiful landscapes are two major attractions of the country. Costa Rica relies heavily on tourism, so the preservation of its land is vital for the future of the country.

As long as you make the best out of your time at the beach, neither a cloudy day nor a broken flip flop will ever ruin the moment. Be as open as the ocean, and enjoy the sand between your feet, the cold water dripping down your hair, and your skin soaking up the sunrays. Do not forget to bring sunscreen and to have fun!

4. Bike Rentals

Taxis can be pretty expensive when trying to explore places beyond Puerto Jimenez. However, with a two-wheeler and your leg muscles you can get anywhere!

First, grab a helmet, water, snacks, and close-toed shoes. Then, take the scenic routes into the green forest, drive through hidden roads that lead to abandoned beaches, or cycle through town and explore different areas of Puerto Jimenez. All that really matters is to enjoy the ride.

Just like the guys in the picture above, make sure to stop and look around because who knows what you might see. Puerto Jimenez and surrounding beaches have the best wildlife in the world. If you hear rustling in the trees look up because you never know what it can be!

5. Bar and Restaurants

Do not expect the nightlife in Puerto Jimenez to be as poppin’ as London, Chicago, or Ibiza. However, during the day and night there are always places to go and have drinks or meals with your friends. You will not see nightclubs, but you will see seafood places, ocean themed bars, and amazing restaurants with a variety of foods.

You will not miss American food whilst here because every restaurant has Costa Rican and American food in their menus. Your cravings will be satisfied either way!

My personal favorite is the Mail.it pizzeria next to the soccer field. They have numerous of toppings and amazing spaghetti! It has big tables to have late dinners with your friends. It is also relatively close to one of the best bars called Iguana Iguana where you can have drinks, play pool and Ping-Pong, and dance to your favorite tunes! The bars in Puerto Jimenez are very chill and full of new faces to meet! Enjoy your last few local beers and foods before heading into the jungle!
 
Enjoy your time in Puerto Jimenez, and do not forget to eat plenty of local fruits and drink a lot of coconuts!

 

By Estrella Vargas - Media and Journalism Intern

Find out more about the Costa Rica Teaching project.

Check out what volunteers in Costa Rica are up to right now!

Monday
Jul202015

English Workshops 

All Costa Rican schools are currently on their midyear break. Two weeks off is a lot of time outside the classroom! However, Frontier volunteers are keeping the children busy by teaching them English from Monday through Friday at 10am and 2pm.

Many of the kids arrive 20 minutes earlier than the scheduled times and even stay after to revise what they have learned so far. The volunteers, including myself, create a lesson plan for each session in order to make use of the 2-hour sessions.

The workshops are for children ages 7-12 because those are the most important years of a child’s development. However, we do not turn anyone away because of their age, if they are willing to learn then they we are willing to help. Although there are younger children who are not as advanced as the older kids, we try to accommodate everyone’s level of understanding. Usually we separate the younger children who are still learning how to read and write, and we teach them the basics of the English language like the ABC’s.

In just one week, the children have learned how to say and write the alphabet, continents, foods, days of the week, months, and seasons. Throughout these various lessons, we make sure the children are engaged with the class. Saying what they have learned out loud is very important; therefore, we call up children to the front of the class to explain or repeat what is being taught. The children help each other on a regular basis.

Working with the children is extremely fun because they have so much creativity and energy that keep the ambience alive! I asked the children “What words do you know in English?”, and one child answered “The Walking Dead”. That day the children learned the actual meaning of the famous TV-Series in Spanish, which is “El caminar muerto” in other words, ZOMBIES! The children laughed and became more enthusiastic about the lesson being taught! Although we try to keep the environment fun and casual, sometimes we have to be a bit serious because the children can easily get very distracted. However, moments like the one mentioned above bring bright smiles to the children’s faces.

By Estrella Vargas - Media and Journalism Intern

Find out more about the Costa Rica Teaching project.

Check out what volunteers in Costa Rica are up to right now!

Monday
Jul132015

Life as a Gringo in Puerto Jimenez

Travelling abroad, the focus is often on the local culture: the new experiences that are offered by a step into the unknown. We tend to think about what we gain from this foreign environment, whilst pretending that we leave nothing behind of our own.

Yet the truth is that the mantra ‘take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footsteps’ is a fallacy. Cultural interaction is a to-and-fro; a relationship that passes back and forth between the resident and the visitor, and creates a unique precedent for further interaction.

Being a ‘gringo’ in Costa Rica is not like being a foreigner in the depths of the Amazon jungle. Far from it, people will barely bat an eyelid as you walk down the street (unless they are trying to sell you a tour or coconut oil). It takes years of endeavour to be considered a ‘local’ whilst travelling abroad, but in Puerto Jimenez Gringo culture is at once separate and well-integrated with Tico culture; difference is recognised and, for the most part, celebrated.

The benefits of a healthy tourist culture in Costa Rica are that home comforts are that much easier to find. There is a good stock of foreign biscuits and Nutella in the supermarket, and the hamburgers and pizzas in town would make you think you were sat in a restaurant at home. And yet, outside the supermarket, tamales and pipa fría are sold from stalls, and the menus run in alphabetical order through casados to hamburgers and tacos de pescado.

In Puerto Jimenez, expats, tourists, and locals blend like water running into the ocean. Though our origins may be different, we live alongside each other and learn from each other. We take the best of both worlds, and as a result, you can always take a taste of home on your next adventure!


By George Shankar - Field Communications Officer

Find out more about the Costa Rica Teaching project.

Check out what volunteers in Costa Rica are up to right now!