Ultimate Costa Rica
A group of Senior Section members went on a Centenary
Adventure in Costa Rica.
Due to the Icelandic volcanic ash, the group were unable to
return to the UK when they were expecting to and while they were
waiting for the 'dust to settle' spent some time in Texas, where
they made friends and were event mentioned in the local
Read the article from Texan online news - The Courier.
Another news article about the girls is available on My Fox
Houston along with a great video to watch.
Read the article from My Fox Houston.
Friday 23 April
By Amie Duggan
HOUSTON WE HAVE (another)
Ready for our shopping trip - yes, we do like our shopping - we
are hit with the news that there is a problem with our flights and
we will no longer be flying home on Sunday :( But we don't have a
long time to be sad as Theresa, Pam, Debbie and co arrive to take
us shopping, but a much needed cheering up is needed before
shopping so we head to the cinema to watch 'The Back-Up Plan',
which was hilarious and thoroughly cheered us up. Now, time to
shop-till-we-drop, a task we are more than prepared to take
Shopping bags in hand we rush back to the motel where we get ready
for the most exciting night in Texas so far, the BASEBALL GAME! But
in true celeb style we have to arrive early so that we can meet the
baseball players and, yet again, be interviewed for TV and
Celeb duties completed, we receive yet more free food as well as
free T-shirts and an Astro's cap. It was then time to sit down,
relax and enjoy the game. During the game Chloe finally met her
The Astro's won their game, and of course it was due to the
fabulous support of their new UK friends.
Thursday 22 April
By Amie Duggan
We are starting to get used to the early Texan rises. Today our
adventures are taking us to Galveston Island off the Gulf of
Once at Moody Gardens we are let into a little secret - WE ARE
GOING TO BE INTERVIEWED BY FOX 26! After we had calmed down we met
up with the camera man and began our trip around the aquarium,
whilst being filmed, we got to meet a penguin backstage as well as
go to the top of the Caribbean tank. It was then time for our close
up. We eagerly answered all the cameraman's questions then
headed to the beach.
At the beach we tried, and failed, to play volleyball, so it was
back to the good ole game of football. Once we had tired ourselves
out it was time for a relaxing dip in the ocean.
Cooled off and ready to go home... well to the motel at least,
though I have a feeling we will still be finding sand in strange
places for a very long time!
Wednesday 21 April
By Amie Duggan
Yet another early start to a beautiful sunny Texan day. We are
again picked up by our chaperon who takes us to the Natural History
Museum where we get in for free! I'll tell you, being a celeb
definitely has its privileges. At the museum we visited the Faberge
exhibit and the butterfly garden after which we then ate for free
at McDonalds. Once we had stuffed ourselves on free food we resumed
our tour of the museum, which included a magic show and a trip to
We then headed to Theresa's house where we had a barbecue by the
pool and met the girls from bowling. Once we had, yet again,
stuffed ourselves on Texan food we had a campfire complete with
s'mores and action songs.
Tuesday 20 April
By Amie Duggan
We eagerly jumped out of bed this morning in anticipation of our
big Texan day out. Our chaperons from the Girl Scout Council
arrived at 9am to take us to the Council headquarters. Once at the
headquarters we were shown around the Girl Scout museum, which
included a film called 'The Golden Eaglet'. We then proceeded to
raid the shop of all its badges. After this we had a quick photo
session, which culminated in being given more cookies!
After a hectic morning we were taken to a Texan barbecue place
where the burgers where bigger than our heads and the cups where
literally buckets! Tired out by all the food we had consumed we had
a tour around the local neighbourhood, where we happened upon the
mall, so we decided that a small shopping trip was required. At the
mall we met up with some local Girl Scouts who showed us around
some of the places to shop.
Revitalised by our shopping trip we headed to the Main Event, which
is the local bowling alley. There we were greeted by more Girl
Scouts and their Leaders, but most surprising of all, a NEWS
REPORTER! After being interviewed and yet more pictures taken, we
got down to the serious task of bowling. Then in true celebrity
style we were given a free pass to the arcade, which kept us busy
for quite a while.
It was safe to say after this exciting day we had worked up an
appetite, so to Red Robin we went! Now, you would think that girls
aged 16-22 would not be excited by someone dressed up in a Robin
suit, but then again we are Senior Section members, so more
pictures had to be taken with the Robin.
Completely exhausted we returned home ready for the Texan
adventures that now lay before us.
Monday 19 April
By Amie Duggan
Today we are under house arrest. There is no leaving the motel :(
Many under desperate circumstances decide to study, but perhaps
most shocking of all some are so desperate that they hit the
During this time of house arrest, our fearless Leaders call up the
Girl Scout Council. Now at this present time none of us are happy
to be stuck in Texas, however, our American counterparts could not
be more excited that we are stranded here! Hearing the words 'how
wonderful' and 'wow, that's so exciting that you'rE here!' were not
what we envisioned.
Later on during the day Gina appears at our Leaders 'door ready to
do our washing and buy us pizza! Just give us a second to pick our
jaws up off the floor. Once our Leaders assure Gina we are not in
dire distress she leaves and starts her new job as our agent.
Once we had exhausted all the activities in the hotel and made
numerous trips to the petrol station we are summoned to an
emergency group meeting. We were not ready for what our fearless
Leaders had to tell us.
Gina had been busy all afternoon and she had arranged for a local
Troop Leader and her daughter to visit us later this evening, but
the most exciting aspect for us was that she had arranged a day out
for us to the local Girl Scout council and wait for it... BOWLING!
Well I think you could hear the screams of excitement all the way
In anticipation for visitors this evening we all rushed out our
Leader's room and started to get ready...and yes we even put on
make-up! Once our visitors arrived we shared the story of our
Ultimate Adventure to Costa Rica, but the best part of our evening
was when our visitors provided us with GIRL SCOUT COOKIES, and boy
were they good! :)
Sunday 18 April
By Amie Duggan
Well we are supposed to be home by now :(- stupid volcano! But
never fear Wal Mart is near! The day's activity (if you haven't
already guessed) is a six-hour shopping spree to Wal Mart. Now you
would think that it would not be a great ordeal to get 16
girls five miles down the road to Wal Mart, well you would be
wrong. In Texas you need a car to get anywhere, and when I say car,
I mean small tank!
But after two hours we all finally arrived in Wal Mart and boy, is
After a quick bite to eat we set off on our expedition around Wal
Mart where we discovered that they sold MASSIVE grills, gold fish
and the most exciting item we found - marshmallow in a jar!
Six hours later we return tired out by our expedition around Wal
Mart to watch - you guessed it - Fox News!
Saturday 17 April
By Amie Duggan
4am early rise :( so we could get up and get going to make our
flight from San Jose to Houston, Texas. We were all tired but
really excited to start making our journey home.
After a sleep on the plane, we arrived in Houston, Texas
We started making our way off the plane and through security. As we
reached Customs I was asked 'where are you in transit to?' to which
I replied 'The UK'. Well, if the laughing didn't make it clear,
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM!
Thanks to the Icelandic volcano ash cloud we were stuck in
We had to wait five hours in the airport whilst our Leaders sort
out trying to get us flights home. During our five-hour stint in
the airport we played Uno and spoke to a lovely Texan family who
gave us the contact number to the local Girl Scout Council. Once
our fearless Leader returned, we're shocked to find out that we
will be stuck in Texas for over a week!
But never fear! We have a place to stay for the evening so we all
crammed ourselves into the minibus and headed off to the motel we
would be calling home.
After settling into our new rooms it's pizza time! Goodness, don't
we deserve it! Then it was off to the petrol station next door to
the motel where we purchased food for the evening's tea. Tired out
by our trip to buy food we returned to our motel where we spent the
rest of the evening watching our new favourite channel - Fox
Wednesday 14 April
By Hannah Marshall
When we woke up we were in the middle of a freak thunderstorm.
So much for sun! However, after breakfast it had died down so we
all had a long walk on the beach and collected a number of sand
dollars and pretty stones (all of Lucy's were pink). When we got
back to the hotel and had showers then we headed back on the bus,
along the bumpy road to the Quepos for lunch. We went to the local
supermarket and got some bread and crisps and munched on crisp
butties on the beach. After lunch we headed to the local port to
get on a trimaran! It was big enough for 40 people but there were
only 16 of us and another couple so we had lots of room to
sunbathe. We were lucky enough to see dolphins in the sea. They
were really beautiful!
Before long it was time to get into the water ourselves and go
snorkelling - wow! When we got in it was a bit surreal at
first with the fish swimming all around us but after while you got
used to it. We saw countless number of different types of fish!
When we got back into the boat we enjoyed some freshly caught fish
with, yes you guessed it...RICE! We enjoyed our dinner while
sailing back to land watching the mind-blowing sunset. On the way
back to the hotel we rang in to the local radio station and
requesting the song 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' and the phone call
(Chloe speaking) was broadcast! It was a perfect end to a perfect
Tuesday 13 April
By Hannah Marshall
After a busy morning of packing we dragged our heavy suitcases
to the bus and enjoyed our last breakfast at the Mountain Paradise
Hotel then headed off on the six-hour drive to our next hotel. A
few hours into our journey we stopped off at a gift stop and we
spent most of our money on souvenirs for friends and families and,
most importantly, ourselves! Back on the bus we went to a jungle
crocodile safari - exciting!
Before seeing any crocodiles we saw many birds and lizards,
including one called the Jesus Christ lizard which walked on
water!!! At one point our boat driver stopped to feed a huge croc,
and some of us touched its tail, which was a bit crazy really. We
continued on our journey and after going along another bumpy road
we got to our hotel, The Timarai Bamboo Resort, which was
right on the beach. We hit the pool to cool ourselves down.
For dinner there was a selection of fish, chicken or pork ribs with
a yummy chocolate pudding for dessert. Leah wasn't impressed. The
evening ended with a nice bonfire on the beach.
Monday 12 April
By Hannah Marshall
A lie-in today, with breakfast not until 7am. We jumped on the
bus and headed to a museum where we learnt about Costa Rican
traditions, including how they make tortillas, how they crush sugar
cane and use it to make traditional Costa Rican fudge. Next we went
by tractor cart to the local school, where we were greeted by
children aged 7-12 years in their dancing costumes and armed with
flowers and cute smiles. They came into show us their day off. We
were extremely impressed and agreed that would never happen in
England! They performed five fantastic dances for us and at the end
we gave our best attempt to show them how to sing the 'Hokey
After giving our praise we went outside and did our reforestation
by planting some trees in the school garden for the children. We
waved goodbyes and set off in our tractor-trailer to a farm, which
Andres showed us around with pride, showing us the different plant
and animal species. After that we headed back to the main house and
enjoyed a traditional Costa Rican lunch, which involved rice and
beans.... yum. When we got back to the hotel we headed to the pool
to cool down and enjoyed the poolside bar and munched on some
chips. For dinner we headed to the local town where we finally sat
down to eat in an Italian restaurant called Luigi's. We
were in a usual mood... starving! Katie ordered a medium pizza
(biggest medium we have ever seen) and ate it all herself! Whilst
waiting for the Leaders to enjoy their desserts, which had around
10 tons of sugar, we had a little game of Uno.
Sunday 11 April
By Hannah Barnett
After an early start (6am!) we ate a very healthy (or not)
breakfast of cookies and cakes at the hotel, before jumping on the
bus and heading to the canyoning place. We had a drive up (and up
and up!) in a 4x4, before donning harnesses, helmets and gloves and
setting off on a short walk to the first rappel.
Legs shaking (for me at least!) we listened to the safety talk,
before hearing the first rappel was a mere 50 metres high! Trying
not to look down, we abseiled down the alongside the waterfall,
before finally landing on the ground. The next four rappels
were through the middle of waterfalls, and add the fact that it was
absolutely pouring with rain (although it was still warm wearing
just a vest top) and you have 16 very soggy, but very happy Guides.
But all that abseiling left us at the bottom of a long climb back
up to the 4x4s, and then a drive back down to the centre for
Back at the hotel, we set off on a walk to Arenal National Park. We
hiked up until we reached a point with an amazing view of the
volcano and the surrounding lake. On route, we saw some incredible
wildlife including monkeys.
After a quick shower back at the hotel, we headed out to La Fortuna
Saturday 10 April
By Hannah Barnett
After a luxurious lie-in, we left the tents and set off on the bus
to La Fortuna. En route we stopped off for a loo break and saw some
incredible iguanas close up outside the shop. We jumped back on the
bus and arrived at La Fortuna in time for a MASSIVE dinner of
traditional Costa Rican Casado (which is includes rice, beans,
fried plantain, salad, tortilla chips and a stew). After looking
around the town (and spending thousands of colones!) we saw some
Scouts in the street who had just finished a meeting. We stopped
for a chat and gave them some of our swaps, including a pink
We then travelled to our hotel, which turned out to be total
luxury; we enjoyed an amazing view of the Arenal volcano (the third
most active volcano in the world), our very own hot-tub and a
waterfall in the bathroom! After a dip in the pool, we headed to
some local hot springs for some relaxing time, before eating in a
VERY posh restaurant. Then we fell into (our king-sized) bed for a
brilliant night's sleep. :)
Friday 9 April
By Amelia Scholey
This is the day everyone has been looking forward to the most.
Once in the Ranch we were allocated a horse, with the smallest
girls getting the largest horses and largest girls getting the
smallest horses! Some took a while to get the hang off it with
Chloe's horse going around in circles, Julie's doing its own thing
and Amelia's and Harriet's trotting well ahead. We go through the
rainforest and see a sloth! The horses went through rivers and
Then we head to the canopy and get equipped with harnesses,
helmets and gloves. Safety talks were given and off we zipped
through the rainforest.
After dinner we all get into our wet gear ready for white-water
We were given helmets and much needed life jackets. We started off
great but after the first rapid Amelia fell out of the raft and
Alex the coach driver had to come to her rescue! We stopped at the
side for some time to ride the waves in kayak. We carried on down
the river and there were lots more rapids to complete. PURA VIDA!
We were met at the end with towels and watermelon.
After drying off and having a good laugh at Amelia's staged
pictures of her falling our the raft, we headed off to the tents
expecting a basic tent but found we were in the poshest tents in
the world! There were wooden beds and ensuites with running water
and electricity sockets in the trees.
Thursday 8 April
By Amelia Scholey
We leave Tortugero after breakfast by boat, seeing more animals
on the way. We met back up with the coach and our driver Alex who
we missed very much! After a few hours driving, we stopped for
dinner for some typical Costa Rican food rice and beans. We
travelled on some more until a pineapple plantation was in
We got in a tractor for a tour of the pineapple plantation learning
which pineapples we should and shouldn't eat. The tour guide
instructs the driver to pick us a pineapple and chopped it for us
to eat. Even those who didn't like pineapple at home liked it.
Lovely, warm and juicy. More and more pineapple was chopped up. We
got out of the tractor and around the factory we went to see the
pineapples that had been packaged. We ended up back at the start
with more pineapple and a pina colada in a pineapple. Needless to
say we were pineappled-out by the end! But much fun was had by
We then headed to the hotel, which was a round bungalow with
separate rooms. A dip in the pool was in order!
Wednesday 7 April
By Amie Duggan
We had an early rise so that we could be raring to go for our start
at 6am for our kayaking trip down the river that ran through the
middle of the rainforest. As we travelled down the river we took in
the amazing scenery and wildlife that the rainforest has on offer.
No one fell in, though a few got stuck in the reeds! After a water
fight initiated by our guide Andres, we headed back to the lodge
for a well-earned breakfast. After breakfast we went on another
boat ride down the river to observe the local wildlife where we saw
tiger herrings, howler monkeys, white Capuccian monkeys and a
little blue heron.
After two hours on the boat we visited the local town of Tortuguero
where we shopped until we dropped and invested in Costa Rican photo
albums. After we exhausted ourselves shopping we chilled out by the
pool and had a snooze in the hammocks.
Then after a chilled out afternoon we went on a late night turtle
watch, though we didn't see any turtles :( . We did get a
good laugh when Amie fell in the ocean after which we then sat on
the beach and watched the stars - definitely something to
Tuesday 6 April
By Amie Duggan
Today we enjoyed a traditional breakfast of 'Gallo Pinto' (rice and
beans) in a restaurant in one of the national parks.
We then experienced a 'Costa Rican massage' which involved
travelling down a gravel road. En route we saw a banana plantation
where we saw the whole process, from bananas being grown and
covered in bags, to the cutting of the individual bunches from the
'hands'. The whole process was really interesting and even involved
a banana crossing!
We finally arrived at Puerto Cano Blanco where we boarded the boat
that took us to Mawamba Lodge. The boat took us on a river that ran
through the heart of the rainforest and we saw a sample of the
local wildlife including egrets and a bird eating a fish
After a quick relaxing swing in the hammocks when we arrived at the
lodge, we set off to the local town of Tortuguero where we visited
the local turtle conservation. Afterwards, we had a swim in the
pool, which included a group hug and the 'Hokey Cokey'.
Monday 5 April
By Amie Duggan
The whole group was up wide-eyed and bushy-tailed ready for the
adventures that lay before us by 7am, though a few were awake a lot
earlier. After breakfast poolside and wee paddle we met up with
Andres, who told us to bring a sweater as it could drop below 22
Our first adventure of the day was exploring the gorgeous
capital city of San José. There we saw the National Theatre and
Museum, but more importantly the Costa Rican Scout and Guide HQ! At
HQ we were greeted by the man in charge of the whole organisation
who showed us a video of guiding and scouting in Costa Rica.
Afterwards, we raided the shop and left it empty of all their
badges. Then after a quick photo session we set off back to the
hotel for a jump in the pool. Once in the pool we had another photo
session, which included underwater pictures and an attempt at
making the shape 100.
After our relaxing afternoon in the pool we set off in the bus to a
traditional Costa Rican restaurant where we sampled food such as
rice and beans and Yucca, which was a ball stuffed with
cheese. Once we had stuffed our selves on Costa Rican food we
settled down to watch traditional Costa Rican dancing, which was
fabulous. Chloe, Katie and Lauren were selected to show off their
skills at Costa Rican dancing. After the dancing we all took to the
dance floor for a group 'Macarena'.
After dancing the night away we jumped back on the bus to our
Sunday 4 April
By Amie Duggan
Sixteen Senior Section members met up at 7am at Heathrow to
set off on Ultimate Costa Rica, and to say we were all excited
would be a bit of an understatement!
Our excitement wasn't diminished even when we were turned away from
check-in to fill out online ESTA forms.
By 8.30am we had cleared security and were in Costa Coffee for
Julie's coffee fix. Once we all had our coffee fix we started
boarding the flight that would take us to New York and a bit
further to our destination of Costa Rica!
We were all sitting (well as best as you can when your bursting
with excitement!) on the plane when the apparatus loading our bags
onto the plane scratched it and left us stranded on the plane for
over an hour! But never fear, the movies 'Ghost' and 'The Blind
Side' were on hand to keep us entertained in the mean time.
Over seven hours later we landed in New York, New York! We
then cleared security again and then jumped on board our final
flight to sunny Costa Rica.
On arrival at the airport we were greeted by a man holding a
Girlguiding sign, just like in the movies! We then collected our
bags and followed the man outside into the fabulous Costa Rican
heat. There we were greeted by Diego, a Costa Rican Scout, who
presented us with mini Costa Rican international neckies, and
Andres our tour guide. Then onwards to out hotel for a well-earned