Entries in #travel (4)


Teaching in Puerto Jimenez 

Teaching is an exhausting profession that offers immense rewards. I have watched in awe of my mother for years as she has tirelessly changed the lives of so many of her students.

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Couch Positions

Naps are essential to get you through the day, but with the weather always being scorching hot, sometimes sleeping in a room is not an option. In the volunteer house we have one big couch that sits 3 people, perfect for a solo nap, and 2 smaller couches. People are always sitting in the big couch, so once in a blue moon will you get to have a full body nap on the couch.

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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!


Dinner on the Sea Shore

When it’s a special occasion – like on somebody’s last day, or after a long day of dolphin watching, or we’re just hungry – we sometimes all go out together for a massive seafood meal (other options are available, such as pizza!).

One of our favourite spots is the Marisqueria, famed for their camarones al ajillo, ceviche and great value $4 ‘Bocas’ menu. They set us up a large table, just across from the sea, and cook up some real fishy delights.

The waiter, aptly named Marlin, is a friend of ours; he often pops into our parties to share a glass of whisky or rum with Alex. In his native merry manner, he brings us steaming plates of fish, tacos, nachos, Central American classics. A Costa Rican speciality is the fish taco, an unorthodox combination, but I can personally vouch for its quality! We wash it all down with a cold beverage, and slowly make our way to the bar, the beach, or the pool table.

Some people like to stick around until the early hours, playing pool and chatting away. Thanks to the large diversity of volunteers, we have a number of all-play pool games to keep us going, and loads of interesting topics of conversation! As we leave, we can hear the waves lapping against the shore, and a soft padding as a friendly local dog tried to follow us home.

By George Shankar - Field Communications Officer

Find out more about Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates & Turtles Conservation.

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