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Group Vacation in Costa Rica

Our Costa Rica Vacation Was the Perfect Church Group Getaway

Guest blog post by Carolyn A.

river-rafting-youthWhen our church’s youth leader said that he and his wife wanted to take the kids somewhere unique, I had no idea he meant somewhere as far away as Costa Rica. Richard and Samantha wanted the kids to pick their own trip destination, though, and Costa Rica was the place. Rick and Sam had the kids write a short essay on why they wanted to visit Costa Rica and most of the kids wrote that they wanted to see the amazing places God has created. They had heard about Costa Rica being one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, and they wanted to feel the sense of awe that they had heard others describe about the wonders God had created.

Rick and Sam thought this was a great idea and brought it to me. I’m the pastor of our church. When I heard that they wanted to visit such an amazing, far-away place, my first thought was, “How will they come up with the money?” Our youth group is small, about 19 members in all, but I still thought it could be a daunting task. I gave them my approval on two conditions. That a portion of the money that they raised would be donated to our local elderly population for the winter food cupboard, and that they would take me with them to Costa Rica. That last bit may have been a bit selfish, but I was determined to work alongside them to raise my portion of the money.

Within 6 months after a few car washes and bowl-a-thons, spaghetti dinners and countless weeks of church bake sales we had achieved a few things. Our church congregation was a bit larger, our local elderly population would be well-fed throughout the winter and we had the funds to go to the Los Suenos Resort and Marina in Costa Rica.

Our first day in Costa Rica was spent admiring the tropical beauty around us. We were in awe of the clear blue of the Pacific Ocean. This was the first time any of us had seen pink or black sand. What a treat! And the first night, it was as if God had painted the skies fiery red for us.

We had planned a few activities for the group throughout our 3 day stay and the second day on the trip was packed with kayaking and canoeing the Hurradurra Bay and zipping through the jungle on zip lines. The zip-line tour was so much fun. We climbed to the treetops, hooked to a cable and slid down through the treetops to our next tree stand destination. Many times the zip lines took us over rivers. We zipped right overtop of crocodiles!

Hiking the rainforest the next day gave us perspective on the uniqueness of God’s creations. Many of us had seen rainforest monkeys in local zoos, but the tapirs, anteaters, and wild boar that we saw in Costa Rica were simply amazing.

On the last day in Costa Rica we were excited to go snorkeling. On our first day while kayaking and canoeing, we had seen the coral reefs from a distance. But snorkeling among them up close and personal was a completely different experience. We were face to face with parrotfish, butterfly fish, and snappers. Thankfully we didn’t see any (shudder) barracudas. Below us on the sandy sea floor, we could see live sand dollars and starfish creeping along in the light of the waning sun.

The Los Suenos resort was a beautiful place and had we not been so focused on the natural beauty surrounding it, we may have spent more time enjoying the many beautiful pools and restaurants. I can tell you one thing, though. I have to go back with my family someday!

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