We had a good turnout for our bowling event at Gold Coast. Thanks to everyone that participated, those who volunteered, and our sponsors: TGI Fridays, Live Loud LV, LV Popz Shop, and LV ATV Tours! The money raised will go to Angels of LV and the toys will go to UMC Children’s Hospital.
The adventures continued as I took a quick bus ride to a small beach town North of Uvita, called Dominical. It’s famous for its surfing culture. I rented a board and gave it a go but without much success. I mostly ended up just trying to boogie board with the surfboard. Oh well!
One of my longer trips from Uvita was to Quepos and Parque Manuel Antonio. From Uvita, I took a bus North to the city of Quepos. From there I took another short bus ride to the Parque. The scenery to the Parque was beautiful along the coast of C.R. Make sure to buy your ticket in advance online for the Parque if you ever make it there. The Parque was interesting consisting of walking trails through the forest and along the beach, spotting various animals and foliage along the way. Watch out for the monkeys, they are food thieves! I wish I had brought my bathing suit because the beaches looked great. Now I know and knowing is half the battle (GI Joes)!
I was able to attend another round of soccer games, this time we traveled to the nearby town of Matapalo. My refereeing services weren’t needed so I got to relax and watch the games. Uvita won ¾ games, go Uvita!
For a while, Costa Rica had been at the top of my list of destinations. However, I wasn’t just looking for a vacation spot, I was instead looking for a unique experience. I started researching online volunteer programs and happened to find one coaching soccer in Costa Rica. With my soccer coaching background, this seemed like the perfect fit. https://www.volunteerworld.com/…/soccer-assistant-coach…
I arrived in San Jose, late Saturday night on December 4th and was picked up by Alvis, who works for the volunteer organization. Since it was first my first time in CR, it was nice to immediately meet a friendly local or as they call themselves here: Ticos. He then brought me and another volunteer who was doing a different program in Uvita, to his house where we stayed for the night. The following day he took us both to the bus station where we hopped on a bus and about 4 hours later, we were in the small Western coastal town of Uvita.
Uvita is known for its beaches and The Marino Ballena National Park, which basically consists of the beach and the surrounding habitat. After taking a quick taxi ride, I arrived at the house of my host family for the next 2 weeks. The house is kind of a combination of a youth hostal and family home, consisting of the grandmother, Mayela, her granddaughter Melissa, and great grandson Jorny. Mayela’s daughter and family live nearby and are often over at the house helping out. The stay with Mayela as well as 2 meals/day are part of the program. Luckily, Mayela is a fantastic cook and even used to cook in a nearby restaurant.
The following afternoon I began helping coach soccer for local youth ages 6-15. The soccer program is part of an academy and there are several other volunteers helping out that had already been in town for a while. George from Bermuda, Grace from England, Pasquale from Germany and Yerim from France. Practices continued each afternoon for the next couple days.
There were a couple days without practices, so I took advantage by hitting the beach and doing a whale watching tour. Unfortunately, the whales were on vacation from Uvita, but there was still plenty to see including birds, dolphins, and great landscapes. Snorkeling was also included in the tour. Although most of the fish also seemed to be on vacation, I was still able to get some good GoPro footage.
The other volunteers and I were invited to the team BBQ at one of the players houses. It was an extremely nice house on top of a hill, with a beautiful pool and view of the ocean. This experience was what locals say: Pura Vida! Or in other words, living life!
The following day, Saturday was game day. Each age group had a game against another local town, with 4 total games played for the day. I was chosen to referee the second game of the day and did a good enough job to not get yelled at by any fans, players or coaches.
That concludes my first week in Costa Rica, I won’t have to do much coaching this week, so I plan on doing a lot of cool things in and around Uvita, hope you’ll stay tuned! Thanks for reading as always, I hope you’re running good on and off the felt!