Crazy travel, fun adventures, sexy photos

150 things I learned from 5 weeks of volunteering at Blue Osa

I am sure the majority of you have noticed on my Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler facebook fanpage that I have been posting way too many things about Blue Osa. I mean, a lot more than about any other place I’ve been to.
There’s 2 reasons why: 1st, I honestly fell in love with that place, and 2nd, I spent 6 weeks there (they both come in hand with each other!) Incredible, right? It was my first time volunteering ever and also my first time that I’ve ever spent so long in one place since I quit my job in March 2011 and became a full-time nomad leaving to Mexico for the first time to travel on my own for long.
Out of the 6 weeks at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat and Spa I spent the first week promoting Exotic Yoga Retreat with Gayle Olson there and the other 5 weeks volunteering – helping out with social media, blogging, photography, writing, some ideas …
The whole 6 weeks were such an incredible experience for me that I cannot even find words to describe it. I was happy I didn’t have to move around like crazy as I usually do which gave me a chance to get to know one place better, chill out, and believe me or not, I even enjoyed getting into a sort of routine.
I did yoga, swimming and walking along the beach as much as I could as those 3 things recharge my batteries.
Volunteering at Blue Osa taught me a bunch of things – more about myself, other people, Costa Ricans, habits in Puerto Jimenez, volunteering itself, yoga practice, wildlife etc.

150 things I learned from 5 weeks of volunteering at Blue Osa:

 

 Yoga

1. morning silence is the best thing ever
2. there’s yoga teachers and then yoga teachers – every yoga teacher has a completely different style of teaching (some are very strict, some will ask you to bring tons of chocolate and have a drink and dance at lunch)
3. you can easily put on weight at a yoga retreat
4. each yoga class in the jungle becomes a hot yoga class
5. farting at yoga classes is not a big deal
6. some obese people are better at yoga than super skinny athletic ones
7. yoga on the sand is challenging
8. some people going on yoga retreats are dealing with a lot of problems but it kind of makes sense
9. people cry a lot at yoga retreats
10. doing a lot of yoga freaking hurts! You discover muscles you never thought you had.
11. even at a yoga retreat place you can spend a few days without practicing yoga at all
12. yoga does make you feel awesome, beautiful and calm

 

yoga at Blue Osa

yoga at Blue Osa

 

Wildlife, nature, garden, food

13. iguanas love to eat bouganvillea and hibiscus flowers
14. both iguana and lizards eat all the greens from the garden, and I mean like all the time
15. toucans and scarlet macaws live in couples for life (scarlet macaws live in groups made of couples)
16. watermelons do grow on the rainforest soil
17. cucumbers and spinach grow way too fast in the rainforest Costa Rican soil
18. even scarlet macaw couples argue with each other
19. frogs and toads like to hang out in showers and along pathways and most of the time they do not even move when you walk by
20. black vultures like to eat anything dead
21. crabs are faster than you and will run back to their hole in the sand with even the slightest movement around
22. howler monkeys howl exactly the morning you want to sleep in and they disappear when you are finally widely awake
23. living in a rainforest makes it impossible to stay up later than 11 pm and wake up after sunrise even if you are usually a night owl person
24. each sunrise will take your breath away, no matter how many you watch
25. pineapple does not have to hurt your mouth if you overeat it – that’s the easiest way to differentiate between and organic and a non-organic one
26. stunning black and red Tanager birds are very difficult to photograph
27. the capuchin monkeys are really the most aggressive monkey species, yet cute from far
28. little ants will appear a few minutes after you leave any food unattended and just eat anything that is in their way
29. wild cilantro grows even in the jungle and it’s very tasty (especially in the smoothies)
30. not all the jellyfish stings hurt for long – for the first time ever I saw that when a jellyfish stings you, it disappears within a few minutes
31. yellow ylang ylang trees smell the best just before sunset time
32. guanabana has to be eaten within 24 hours of getting ripe, otherwise it turns bad
33. #jungleproblems becomes your online hashtag
34. what different kinds of bugs and other insects living out there in the jungle have in common is that they are all attracted to light … and to you
35. cicadas make more noise if they hear OM sound, serious
36. you can grow organic even in the jungle but it’s more complicated
37. 100% organic natural cosmetics is so doable, smells cool and leaves your body very fresh and beautiful (thumbs up to Rainforest Solutions for that)
38. it is impossible not to sweat in the jungle
39. hummingbirds just sit on tables and close their eyes so you can take photos of them
40. everything gets dirty in the jungle after a few minutes
41. toucans love mango trees
42. scarlet macaws munch on wild almond trees
43. golden spiders do not do anything to humans
44. you can climb a matapalo tree
45. huila means woman in Peninsula Osa
46. hierbabuena herb tastes better than menta and even though both are translated as mint in English, hierbabuena doesn’t get dry that easily in the hot weather, smells more and its greener
47. there’s a sort of sweet sponge inside old coconuts
48. there’s a violet and yellow kind of passion fruit, both equally delicious
49. geckos just fall off the ceiling – just like that when you least expect it
50. the baby geckos just 1 cm long are the cutest thing ever but you have to look up close to see them
51. cicadas love to fly right into your face if you are sitting in a lit place
52. blue and red starfish are more beautiful than the common orange ones
53. lemons in Costa Rica have green peel and are of orange colour inside (vs. yellow and yellow like those we get in Europe)
54. mosquitoes, ants and bugs of all the sizes do bite humans
55. you can see shooting stars pretty often in Osa Peninsula, mainly when getting all dirty sitting in the back of a pickup truck
56. a lot of fire flies around
57. cantaloupe melon grows well in here
58. starfruit juice is very refreshing
59. white pineapple is tastier than the common yellow one
60. there’s herbs that taste disgusting
61. there’s monkeys who will take your hand and show you where to scratch them
62. people still have no idea watermelons should not be mixed with other meals but eaten on their own to prevent the fermentation and slow digestion (watermelons can get out of your stomach within 10 minutes thus always should be eaten between the meals)
63. nature changes very quickly in the rainforest
64. there’s squirrels living in the rainforest too (it’s not just a North American/European animal)
65. there’s hundreds of fallen tree leaves that the staff has to swipe out of the grass every single day
66. funky small red manzanas de agua (water apples) grow wild here and taste like something between apple and mango
67. you get to see wildlife when you least expect it
68. looking up at the skies at night is an extraordinary experience, stars are so worth staying up later and the sky is pitch black when there’s no full moon
69. flies are annoying even in the jungle – they have violet heads and clean them up with front legs
70. always when you don’t carry your big lense or camera at all, there’s the most wildlife out there

 

ylang ylang flower

ylang ylang flower

guanabana

guanabana

different kinds of passion fruit

different kinds of passion fruit

climbing a matapalo tree

climbing a matapalo tree

a sunrise at Playa Tamales Blue Osa

a sunrise at Playa Tamales outside of Blue Osa

a squirrel Osa Peninsula

a squirrel

a capuchin monkey Osa Peninsula

a capuchin monkey

a baby gecko

a cute baby gecko

old coconut sponge

old coconut sponge

a green iguana

a green iguana

a scarlet macaw couple Osa Peninsula

a scarlet macaw couple

jellyfish stings Osa Peninsula

jellyfish stings

 

Costa Ricans, Osa Peninsula, Blue Osa and people in general

71. Costa Ricans love hugging and throwing compliments at you
72. nuts and seeds are very expensive in Puerto Jimenez
73. Golfo Dulce is actually very salty and not sweet like the name says (translates to Sweet Gulf)
74. men who really enjoy helping out their women with cooking and cleaning do really exist and they don’t do it because they are supposed to
75. gay culture is still not widely accepted in Osa Peninsula but pictures of naked women are found in the main newspapers (not logical, how about naked men for us women too? Let’s be fair)
76. there’s extremely cute dogs that will swim with you each time you go to the beach
77. roads are way too bumpy and dusty
78. foreigners should take their passport with them when traveling around Peninsula Osa to show to policemen when pulled over, otherwise you might spend some time at the police station
79. there’s Costa Ricans with extremely good English and then also those with zero one
80. many locals are very religious
81. Costa Ricans are so generous and lovely people they would really do anything for you
82. local guys dance better than foreign girls
83. Costa Rican guys are very attentive
84. locals cannot get used to heat either and they sweat as much as the foreigners from colder countries do when in the tropics
85. many locals have kids at very early age
86. swimming pool turns into a hot tub in the rainforest hot and humid weather
87. natural pool filtration turns your light hair and white bikini green
88. locals spending lives surrounded by palm trees do not really like coconuts (am I the only person obsessed with coconuts or what?!)
89. men are better cooks than women and they honestly enjoy it
90. women really do live for their children, dedicate their entire life to them and also dreams
91. almost all men enjoy fishing, soccer and surfing in here
92. the majority of Costa Ricans do not travel abroad
93. it’s way too dusty in Puerto Jimenez town and all around, your clothes, gear and whole body is permanently covered with a layer of dust
94. people talk about everything and everyone in Puerto Jimenez, primarily about the things and relationships they have no idea about (I mean a pretty normal small town thing, right?)
95. motorbikes and pick-ups are the most common transportation means around Peninsula Osa
96. not everyone wears a helmet when riding a motorbike
97. both hair and nails grow way too fast in Peninsula Osa
98. locals do not like healthy raw nor dark chocolate
99. similarly to other Latin American countries, locals here do love sugar too
100. an operating eco-resort is not just a dream
101. there’s dryer machines that leave holes in your clothes
102. you get more hugs and kisses from the Costa Ricans per day than from most other nationalities per year
103. there’s extremely generous people who do not expect anything from you
104. some Costa Ricans have incredibly beautiful green eyes
105. clothes are extremely expensive in Peninsula Osa
106. it’s easy to get a ride in here – hitchhiking is very common at Osa Peninsula
107. vegan home-made natural ice cream made with coconut milk is worth all the money
108. people still think being raw vegan is unhealthy and that one cannot survive just drinking fruit + green smoothies while it’s THE healthiest diet on Earth
109. plantains with guacamole is the meal one would die for
110. sea salt chocolate is very popular in the US and Canada (I mean who wants salty chocolate? Always thought the purpose of eating chocolate was because it’s sweet!)
111. pens disappear in every part of the world and no one ever takes them
112. any paradise can turn into a stereotype one day
113. every person has a dream, some just do not do enough to fulfill them
114. Blue Osa coconut-chocolate dessert is finger-licking
115. Blue Osa staff can prepare the best gluten-free vegan pesto pasta in the world (even though I wish there was no vinegar in the recipe)
116. gluten-free vegan pizza made at Blue Osa can taste better than ever expected
117. I never thought so many amazing people could work at one place
118. the simplest way to happiness is being grateful for waking up every morning, being able to walk, breathe and have another day of life – it’s just one of many things you will learn from the modest happy Costa Ricans

 

motorbike Osa Peninsula

motorbikes

locals fishing Osa Peninsula

locals fishing

gluten-free vegan pizza Blue Osa

gluten-free vegan pizza at Blue Osa

healthy raw vegan green smoothies at Blue Osa

healthy raw vegan green smoothies at Blue Osa

home-made vegan ice cream Puerto Jimenez

home-made vegan ice cream in Puerto Jimenez

Steve begging me to go swimming with him

Steve begging me to go swimming with him

my favorite Blue Osa staff

my favorite Blue Osa staff

 

 

Volunteering and what I learned about myself

119. I procrastinate a lot in the jungle
120. I don’t need a hot shower in the jungle for weeks
121. volunteering can be both fun and stressful
122. there’s very few places where you can volunteer right on the beach and take a swim in a pool whenever you want to
123. trying to focus mentally outside in more than 30 Celsius degrees is a hard task
124. trying to focus with 20 people walking around and hugging you every 5 minutes is even harder
125. after a few days in the jungle you learn what kind of birds are flying above you without even looking up just because you recognize the noise they make
126. I can live in a shipping container without any problems
127. it’s hard to say no to chocolate even though milk in it does no good to me
128. sometimes you gotta listen to your body
129. I can have stomachache even from the best food in the world
130. no matter how many showers per day I take, I will always sweat in the rainforest
131. walking barefoot is the best thing in the world - I can spend 90% of my time walking barefoot and really enjoy it
132. random palm leaf flowers and animals are the best present and can make me happy for a few days
133. I can get excited seeing the same bird over and over again every single day
134. I am more afraid of jellyfish and wood branches touching you in the ocean than you are of sharks
135. there will always be people who I like (or even love) at first sight and then also those who, let’s call it nicely, who are simply not my cup of coffee
136. each time I thought my skin knew all the insects already, I got bitten by something new (right now I still have 4 different bites)
137. I would randomly find dead ants or flies hanging out on my boobs. No idea how they got to the bra at all but I was sure they must have been male though.
138. the worst thing ever is being stopped by a bunch of people I love to give me a good morning hug when I am running to the bathroom for my first morning pee that has to be done RIGHT now. Squeezing me tight does not help :D
139. the heat does not let my brain work at full speed no matter how hard I try
140. I can feel sad, angry, nervous, anxious or with no energy even in the paradise
141. I learned to sleep (half-) naked without any blankets even if I sleep all covered everywhere else in the world
142. if there’s something moving just outside of my room, I prefer not to know what is making the noise
143. I never walk without a flashlight at night as I really do not want to step on any night animals
144. sometimes you have to go with the flow
145. the sexiest outfit on the beach in the jungle is a sports bra, lose pants, dirty feet, messy hair up and sweat all over
146. I want to lick myself during a chocolate massage
147. I really cannot stand drunk people
148. I really need a blender when traveling
149. simplicity is the key to happiness

150. I fell in love with Blue Osa.

 

my volunteer room at Blue Osa shipping container

my volunteer room at Blue Osa in a shipping container

palm leaf birds

palm leaf birds

a palm leaf flower

a palm leaf flower

Blue Osa always in my heart

Blue Osa always in my heart

 

*** It took me more than 3 hours to write this post.

10 Comments

  1. Comment@ memographer:
    Thank you so much, it took me ages to write it all down but was worth the time :)

  2. I’ve thought it’s a joke about 150 things… Wow! A long list, Alex! Took a while to read… but, ALL TRUE!
    Amazing photos! Love the portrait of Begging Steve!

  3. Comment@ Agness:
    Haha funny, Agness! I have days when I do not enjoy yoga either, but then, sometimes I just want to do no exercise too :D Anyway, getting used to yoga and enjoying it every day more and more :)

  4. I tried practicing yoga so many times, but I am way too impatient for that. I love working out, but yoga freaks me out. I love to sweat!!!

  5. An awesome idea, I miss my blender so much!

  6. I am going to go on a trip with my blender!
    Beautiful post :)
    Nadia vs. the World recently posted..Gdy marzysz o podróży, a w kieszeni pusto… Sprawdzony trik!

  7. Thanks Franca. Time spent with animals is the best for me, and if you add delicious organic food and nice people, who could complain? :)

  8. What an incredible experience! Volunteering with animals has been a learning and changing experience for me too, I’ll do it again in an heart bit. The food looks so fresh and gorgeous, the animals are incredibly cute. Thanks for sharing! :)
    Franca recently posted..Zaragoza – Surprisingly Full of Street Art

  9. Comment@ Sue Stephens-Wright:
    Thanks sweetie, highly appreciate your time reading my post :) We should both return soon x

  10. Alex, So beautifully written. I am envious of your time and experience at Blue Osa, I am planning to return very soon. xoxo Sue

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