I was very reluctant to go on this trip, and was so nervous about being far away from home, meeting new people, not speaking the native language, and having to deal with COVID. I told myself I needed to step out of my comfort zone - and I most DEFINITELY did. We went all over Costa Rica (spent the most time there), Panama, and Belize (we didnt go to Cuba because of COVID and bad politics at the time in the country) and moved around every 3-5 days by bus. There were definitely some loooong travel days (be prepared for 5-12 hr bus rides and complicated flights). But we were in the mountains, on the beach, and everything in between. One of my favorite things in Costa Rica was working with baby sea turtles. Then in Panama we went to a privet resort, were in Panama City and also provided basic health care to a rural community. In Belize we went scuba diving and got certified (one of my favorite parts - wish we spent more than 10 days there)! I spoke 0 (literally) Spanish but by the end of the program I had completed a 1 week homestay and language school with a local and could order my food in Spanish. I had awesome instructors (shoutout Laura and Carl) and a great group of people. The group was so so close only a week in and were basically siblings by the end. If you are reading this, this is your sign!
TIPS/THINGS TO KNOW:
- bring extra money for snacks because the meals can get very redundant
- bring a sweatshirt because in the mountains it can get cold
- filter ALL your water (would not recommend a SteriPen)
- accommodations have a very wide range
- pack lightly (very hard but you have too) because your bag gets really heavy fast
- journal every day to remember all the cool stuff you do :)