Volunteering in Uvita, Costa Rica

In the beginning of 2010, me and my girlfriend decided to take a break from our jobs at home and to look for possible volunteer positions in Central America. We started by contacting several organizations and soon it was clear that Costa Rica was the country with most possibilities in this area.

We flew to Costa Rica in November 2010, ready to start working in December. We stumbeled upon the company Bahía Aventuras on www.sustainabletrip.org And it seemed to offer everything we wanted: the possibility to work in a marine environment, a connection to a national park and interesting fields of volunteer work. Travis was very quick in answering our inquiery and soon a skype meeting was set up. The enthusiasm of Travis regarding his work and the possibilities for us made it easy to decide that we would like to join Bahía Aventuras for one month.

We came to the community of Bahía in December and were able to find a nice apartement ten minutes away from our office. The first day at worked was all about introducing ourselves to the staff and making a working plan for the next four weeks. Bahía Aventuras resulted to be very cooperative and flexible – we were able to bring in our own ideas, wishes and suggestions. Finally, we agreed on the following things: our work would consist of optimizing and reprogramming the website www.bahiaaventuras.com, taking (tour) pictures for the company as well as evaluating the tours offered and defining measures to improve them. In exchange, we would be able to join the tours for free and use the surfboards of Bodhi Surf without charge. An employee of Bahía Aventuras also rented two bikes for a reasonable price for our time in Bahía. We also appreciated the possibility of using the wifi internet connection of our office for private matters.

Our working week was never the same – our timetable was pretty much defined by tour schedules, wheather conditions and the quality of the internet connection. Some of the work (editing photos, writing reviews of the tours, drawing sitemaps and a guideline for website improvements) was able to be done from our appartement, everything related to website programming and staff meetings had to be done at the office. It was a good feeling to have a list of goals which we should achieve after our month of work instead of having concrete times of work. That made it possible for us to connect work and leisure time in a flexible way (Waves are good in the morning? Let’s go surfing before we head to the office!) .

Travis took very good care of us – we installed a formal meeting once a week where we discussed our progress and other oportunities of working outside of the company (e.g. surf lessons for the kids of the community, GPS training, spanish lessons, taking photos of surf lessons etc.). We felt very welcome in the company and the community itself. A number of other volunteers made it easier for us to compare our experiences. We definitely made a good choice :-). All the people had a very friendly, open hearted attitude and soon we felt at home in Bahía. The small number of inhabitants made it easy to get a good feeling for the way of life in the community. Personally, we had the impression that many people are taking the pura vida lifestyle too seriously instead of life (work) itself.

Again, we want to thank the whole Bahía Aventuras team, expecially Travis and Walter, for their support! We will never forget this time! — Chris and Anja

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