My name is Jacob, I was born on Caye Caulker, Belize and lived there half of my life before moving to Oregon in the USA for high school and now university. I first found out about the ARA Project on my gap year and volunteered at Manzanillo for a month in January of 2017.
After leaving the project I instantly regretted my decision and when Emily (from directive board) invited me back, I instantly bought a ticket! Having now had enough experience around Ara Manzanillo and Punta Uva, I’d like to pass on a little knowledge:
– Once you have completed your daily tasks, bike down to Playa Grande, or Punta Uva, or Playa Chiquita, or Manzanillo for a swim. If you are a surfer like me, you’ll want to spend lot of time at Playa Grande.
– Bring books! Ask Emily to borrow some if you don’t have any.
– I usually would go sit at the local pulpería (Punta Uva general store) and hang out with some locals/expats and have a drink. They have good internet there, you can even download Netflix!
– Ask Duaro for a climbing lesson! It’s incredible!
– I usually got a party vibe every other week or so and would go into Puerto Viejo to party.
Don’t go alone! Be prepared to spend a good amount of money. If you are a guy, try to make friends with Machón [Luis]. If you are a lady, try to make friends with Tirza. They are both incredible people and awesome to hang out with.
– Don’t be afraid to go out and explore and come crawling home in the dark. Most people are very friendly. If you speak Spanish, you’ll get along great. If not, make friends that do!