Everything went really well!  Federico and I had no issues meeting up at the airport, and from there everything was great.  He was a blast to spend time with, and helped provide a lot of perspective on the local culture, not to mention the wildlife and vegetation.  He's practically a walking encyclopedia.  He also set up transportation for me to visit the LaPaz waterfall park on the morning of my departure, which turned out to be really cool and something I'm very glad I did.  I wasn't aware of it until the night before I left when Federico suggested it.  But getting to see toucans so close up was cool, and the area where they let you hold test tubes of nectar while hummingbirds whiz around you was probably a once in a lifetime experience.  The waterfalls were really dramatic too.  And I got to really experience the true meaning of cloud forest after getting rained on while there.  

Being only a single volunteer might have limited the day-off activity options a bit I guess, but I don't think my choices would've been much different had there been more people there.  The rainforest hikes were pretty cool, although I probably could've dressed better (bugs!).  The hot springs were really cool, especially being able to stay after dark like we did and getting such a phenomenal view of the city lights in the valley below.  The hot springs area itself was really well manicured and reminded me of Hawai'i a bit.  As it turned out, there weren't very many other people at the hot springs that day, and most left just before dark, so it was cool to have that area so quiet and peaceful.  Really relaxing.  Getting to see Paco's farm was also a nice treat.  I had watched a video of it online before going, so he was a little famous in my mind, and getting to see the whole place in person was fantastic.  

One of my friends here has been down there a few times, and was able to make some helpful suggestions to me before going.  Taking a book turned out to be a great idea, as I had a couple hours each night to unwind, and was able to read quite a bit, which was nice.  Having WiFi in the house was cool.  One of the things I like about international travel is unplugging and being inaccessible except at night, so I appreciated that.  

The setting in general was really amazing, much more surreal than I could've expected.  I also liked getting to see the surrounding areas like Cartago and Paraiso.  I always try to visit a church or cathedral wherever I go, and I love walking around old ruins, and got to do both not long after arriving.  The trip to the indoor market was cool too - I've been to several in different cities and find it fun to see how local people shop, and what their options are (local fruits and veggies).

So overall it was a great trip. Thank you for helping coordinate.  I took the survey, so my comments are in there as well.  There's probably some overlap with this, but hopefully it all gels as a fairly coherent review.

Thanks and have a great week.

Steve Jones

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