Hello friends and family,

Today we learned more about Costa Rican history during our day in the city of Cartago.

We enjoyed our breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs before leaving by bus to Cartago.

Our tour, led by our passionate guide Alvaro, began in the town center. We moved to the ruins of an old church, which was built in the colonial era but destroyed by natural disasters. It was turned into a beautiful park with bushes, signs, and a pond. In the same area was the Statue of independence. We walked through the streets and a busy market.

Then, we visited the Cartago Municipal Museum and went to the mural in the back of the museum. Alvaro explained the story behind the mural which was about Spanish colonization and the suffering of the indigenous people. We were impressed by the size of the mural and the small details.

Outside the museum, we snacked on rambutan and granola bars and then moved on to the church. Since mass was in session, we tiptoed around the back. Though we only got a glimpse, we loved the peaceful atmosphere.  In the basement for visitors, we learned about the story of La Negrita, the stone made sacred because it kept returning to the same place it was found.

To the side of the church were pipes flowing with holy water. Some of us bought figurines of the Virgin Mary and bottles to collect the holy water from a stand.

Across the street, we ate lunch at the restaurant La Cocina del Santuario. The food was great, especially the fried plantains!

Afterwards, we walked through the rain to the souvenir shop a couple of blocks away and had fun picking out gifts for our loved ones. They had so many cool products. We dropped into the bakery next door and then headed back on the bus. At the base house, we had time to hang out, nap, and swim in the pool.

Finally, we had dinner- refried beans and rice with meat. At our nightly meeting, we passed the torch to Eddy, Omar, and Jose.

As leaders, we learned how difficult it can be to manage a group of people and how important it is to be confident in yourself. We’re glad we know more about Costa Rican history and culture 🙂

Signing off,

Eliana and Chi Chun 😀