Today after yet another delicious breakfast as Casa Aquiares, we traveled to Cartago town. Cartago was the original capital of Costa Rica. Through our amazing tour guide Jorge, we learned that many Costa Ricans (2-3 million out of 5 million!) make the annual pilgrimage to the church in Cartago, Basilica de de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. Many Costa Ricans do this pilgrimage by foot, which takes many days. We then visited the ruins of the Santiago Apostle Church located in the town square. Here we saw a brand new sculpture to commemorate the 200th year of Costa Rican Independence (2021). After that we walked to another church and saw the Costa Rican Institute of Technology, and the got to walk around the central market and check out all the different food and shop stands. We then went to the City Museum, where we learned the history of Costa Rica through a beautiful and huge mural. Before heading to lunch, we spent more time in the central square, where we got a basketball to bring back to our hotel and took a walk around.

Lunch was a delicious casado plate at a local restaurant, which means that everything was on one plate! During lunch, it started to downpour really hard! Our afternoon plans of swimming in our pool and playing basketball took a turn, and instead, when we got back to the property, we played board games and cards, read, and did crafts. It was a cozy afternoon listening to the rain.

Before dinner, our Program Coordinator, Sonia, led us in some dance lessons. We learned the basics of salsa, merengue, and bachata. It was really great to see the students, even those who were initially shy, get really into the dancing. Wade wanted to end in a community dance so he taught everyone the cha cha slide! We were then all ready for dinner, which was a delicious soup, salad, and rice.

We ended the night with our reflection time and nightly meeting, where we reflected on the impact that a nation’s history has on its present. Students made insightful connections both to what they learned in Cartago, and also our own history in the US. We, the groups’s GGLs, passed the torch to tomorrow’s Lideres del Dia (Leaders of the Day), Valeria and Wendy. Our first student leaders! Moving forward, your nightly blog will be written by the students, starting with them tomorrow night! As of this writing, it is still pouring. We are getting the full tropical experience and the students are loving it. Pura Vida!