Traveling to Costa Rica in 2021

Traveling to Costa Rica in 2021

Marina Brockus

Hi, my name is Marina Brockus and I am 20 years old. I was 19 years old when I graduated from high school in June 2021. I enjoy riding my scooter around Los Angeles, California.  I love to read, go to the beach, go on  walks, hikes and spend time with our family’s pets.  I play Roblox and Minecraft with my friends.  I grew up as a military brat – my dad served in the Coast Guard and is retired now.  I love to travel and have visited dozens of cities and countries in North America and Europe throughout my life. Most of them were visited between the ages of ten and thirteen.

Read Marina’s story below!

Last summer, after finally graduating from high school, my class at Urban Homeschoolers took a trip to Costa Rica. We were originally going to go to Fiji, so we had classes about Fiji all year long. However, Fiji had already closed its borders because of Covid-19, so the trip destination was changed instead of postponing it again.

Vacationing wasn’t the main goal for visiting Costa Rica, even though there were fun activities like ice cream,  surfing, and a dolphin-watching boat ride. The main goal was to help with turtle conservation at Camaronal Wildlife Refuge.

We were in Costa Rica for eight days. During the day, we would  help clear the beach of wood and trash. Then, at night, we would walk the beach looking for turtle eggs. Getting to visit Costa Rica and helping the turtles was the best part of my summer.

We arrived in Costa Rica at night and spent the night in San Jose, which is the capital city. The next day, we waited for the bus to be loaded with all of our suitcases before getting on. I sat next to my mom, Vanessa, who didn’t let a concussion and broken wrist stop her from coming with the group.I spent the whole ride looking out the window watching the buildings and traffic and greenery pass. All the trees and plants were bright green and alive. In the middle of the drive, we stopped at a delicious ice cream spot with statues of giant dinosaurs. We would stop at the same place, Restaurante Monte Verde, on the drive back also.

We drove the rest of the way to our hotel in Puerto Carrillo, where we would be staying for the rest of the week. They had delicious breakfasts and a pool that was fun to swim in. I would like to stay at this hotel again next time.  I wanted to get up early to listen to the howler monkeys, but I slept too long every night we were there.

The two best nights I spent there were during a rainstorm and turtle egg hunting. The rain poured into the pool as lightning glowed overhead. I sat at the top of the stairs entranced by the rain gushing from the dark sky.

The turtle egg hunt I participated in was about three nights into the program. We were looking for eggs to put in a hatchery building.  My mom was feeling dizzy because of her concussion, so she stayed behind while I went with the group and the leaders to Camaronal. We ate dinner at the picnic tables before walking to the beach. As usual, I wasn’t very talkative, but the food was delicious.

The leaders checked the turtle egg building for baby turtles to let loose on the beach. The outside fence was electrified to keep out egg-snatching raccoons. We got lucky and got to watch three baby turtles crawl across the sand towards the water. I could have watched them for longer, but I stayed with the group and went further down the beach.

I watched a turtle lay eggs and volunteered to fill in the notes on the clipboard about the momma turtle. The lucky three kids chosen got to scoop out the sand and eggs while the mom was laying them. My friend at the time, Ayanna, was one of the kids scooping out the sand and eggs. The eggs were then loaded into a black plastic bag.

Another person got to carry the bag of eggs to the hatchery. I volunteered again and was picked for that job. This job is important, because only about one turtle in 1,000 survives past childhood. I held the bag of eggs close to my chest with one arm and hand underneath and the other one holding the bag closed from the top. I kept imagining myself tripping over the wood in the dark, so I paid close attention to where I was going.

My nice teacher, Tammi, walked with me way behind the group. When my shoulders started to hurt, I carefully switched hands and kept walking. I finally reached where the group had paused for a moment. I walked back and forth because my shoulders were too painful to let me be still. The whole group watched the second turtle of the night laying eggs while I paced. The pain from holding the eggs was getting to be too much for me. I could probably have held them longer except I didn’t want the bag to slip out of my hands. I told Tammi I would like to have someone else hold the turtle eggs now. I passed them off to one of the other kids. I spent the rest of the night watching the kids find the eggs.

I could write a lot more about hurting myself surfing, not getting seasick on the dolphin tour, or getting unknown black buzzing bugs stuck in my hair, but I don’t have time. We packed up our stuff and loaded the bus again. The trip back was uneventful except for my hurt ankle.

We said goodbye to our funny and friendly leaders and ate dinner in San Jose. I had to limp run to keep up with the group lugging my suitcase and stuffed animals. I made sure my mom bought dinner for the flight from the airport before boarding because our flight to Costa Rica had no lunch.  Thank you Urban Homeschoolers, Rustic Pathways, and my mom for a wonderful trip. I learned a lot from my trip to Costa Rica and had a wonderful time.

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