I answered straight with traveling.
I'm certainly not a world traveler. I don't think I have seen even 1/4 of this beautiful world. But it is a love of mine as I get older and fortunately do have money to spend.
So now to share with you all my week in Costa Rica.
We traveled to San Jose on an early August morning to arrive in the capital city. Emotions at an all time high, my cousins, Sammy and Kristi, along with my twin, Brandon, eagerly began to explore this Hispanic town. Initially, we became directionally disoriented trying to find a lunch place that came highly recommended to us. And boy was it for good reason.
When we eventually found this hole-in-the wall restaurant called La Gloria a few blocks from our hotel, two very sweet Costa Ricans, who spoke English better than I could speak Spanish, helped us decide we wanted to try the hometown cuisine.
Not only was the food completely satisfying, but Sofia helped us decide what we wanted to do with the rest of our Saturday.
If I'm being honest, La Gloria was the highlight of our time spent in San Jose. This city was friendly and welcoming and the food was better than other countries I have eaten at, but besides seeing the main drag and a casino where Brandon happened to win around 50 bucks, there really wasn't much to it. We ended the day around 10 in preparation for our early start the following day.
We woke up with the birds at 5:30 the next morning to head over to the east side of Costa Rica. More specifically, we were headed to Tortuguero, a smaller town on the Caribbean that can really only be accessed by boat. Our bus picked us up from San Jose and took us on a winding ride through Braulio Carrillo National Park. This park, they described to us, was the typical rainforest that any tourist would see in Costa Rica. The bus traveled up through the mountains and volcanic conservation area and back down into the swamp lands. This part of our journey involved packing our things into the boat which would then whip us away to our lodge. The boat ride reminded us very much of Jurassic Park, since most of the movie was filmed in this country, and after we got our fix of Snapchat pictures, I fell asleep. Tortuguero lodge came quickly as we passed the "downtown" shortly before arriving to our breathtaking resort and lodge for the next two nights.
If I could describe Costa Rica to everyone in two words it would be: luscious foliage. Everywhere you look, there are plants and trees and monkeys hanging from the limbs of the trees. This resort was the epitome of Pura Vida. You step out of your room and everything is green; the beach on the other side has the picturesque lonely palm tree with coconuts everywhere.
We toured the beach and it's black sand and turtle tracks. We took the boat back into town and learned the simplicity of life lived in these swamp lands. There really are no luxuries. They love living there. It's minimalist at best, and I'm glad I was able to experience it.
What we have to remember here is that Costa Rica only has two seasons: rainy and dry. Dry season happens March and April while rainy season is pretty much every other month. During our boat tour this particular morning, it rained. But there is something to be said about sitting in a boat and letting the rain fall without a worry. Nature sucomes to the water, but at the same time our senses became enhanced as the weather made us more aware of life in the rain forest.
We did get cold at some point, so we donned our rain jackets and listened as our tour guide taught us everything.
We had a brush with nearly 10 agitated white faced monkeys. The "Jesus Christ" lizard popped up out of nowhere on several occasions, and of course the foliage and forest we were in proved as green and luscious as ever.
The rest of the day included another trip into town to finally eat some local cuisine. Coconut water is must everyone. The water is not as enjoyable as the actual coconut, but refreshing nonetheless. We headed back to the lodge where we anxiously awaited for the sea turtles that night.
This was one of the best things about this trip.
At 10 at night, we headed to the beach with our tour guide. They explained to us the entire nesting process for the Green Sea Turtle. I don't want to bore you with too many details, but I do want to say that this animal is incredible. They (very slowly) make their way from the sea to the shore, lay hundreds of eggs, bury and camouflage them, and make their way back to the sea never to see their babies again.
We took the long boat ride back through the swamps until we reached our Ecoterra guides that would lead us to our next destination: La Fortuna.
In the mist of another rain forest and at the base of the active Arenal Volcano, was our lodge. In an effort to stray away from redundancy, I'll simply restate how luscious and green everything was. As we were quickly learning, the main focus and number one joy these Costa Ricans exhuberated was ecotourism. Each and every native we met genuinely wanted to share their love for their country and its ecosystem, and it became infectious. So much so, we began to love the croaking of the frogs.
Casa Luna spoiled us. We spent the rest of our night drinking in the hot tubs enjoying the peacefulness of the jungle until we headed to bed.
If you know me at all, hungry is a very common adjective used in my everyday vocab. Come the next morning at 7, it had come at me full fledged and I was ready to try the cuisine. Rice and beans was on the menu for breakfast as it was too difficult for me to try and remember "over easy eggs" in Spanish.
The main event for the day was Zip lining through the forest Parque Arenal Mundo Aventura.
Zip lining felt like flying. I will never get over that sensation. The views certainly added the the experince. After we had completed it, we ended up taking the bus back up to the start, so that we could head over to the La Fortuna waterfall. After a strenuous hike, we made it! With our clothes still on, we jumped right in, and freezing as it was, we still let ourselves lose track of time swimming. I mean come on...look at that view! We ended up running back down in order to catch our next excursion to the Volcano.
The Arenal Volcano held plenty of exotic wildlife that could frighten almost anybody. Be that as it may, we found ourselves genuinely loving all of the creatures. It was the tour guides compassion for each and every spider and bird and monkey that left such an impression. Seeing his admiration for even the smallest of things became contagious.
Our last full day in Costa Rica saw us doing something we always wished we would. White-water-rafting. We took our van west of La Fortuna to a town that showed us some light. Don't get me wrong. We began to appreciate the rain, but I was elated to have the UV rays shine down on my skin. To keep this short and simple, white water rafting was the adventure we were seeking! If anybody takes any advice from this post, it's to do this without a doubt!