For our last trip in Costa Rica, we went to Limón. It is on the coast, and it has a very unique Caribbean vibe to it. We visited a park on the beach which was very much like Manuel Antonio. At the park we saw an awake sloth up-close and a raccoon sleeping in a tree. I also saw the largest anthill I have ever seen. It was larger than a kitchen sink! It was full of fire ants marching to and fro carrying green leaves. This was probably one of the coolest things I’ve seen in Costa Rica.
We ate at a little restaurant near the park. We ate casados while listening to reggae music. The casados were amazing once again. I’m going to really miss the food when I leave.
After lunch, we stopped at a store full of tropical clothes made of bright patterns. I bought a pair of shorts, and Rhiannon bought a dress. The store owner was a really neat person, and she and Dr. Zapata became friends. Dr. Zapata meets friends everywhere!
Today was a study day. We did homework in the apartment all day, and then we went out for dinner. We took a taxi to a Colombian restaurant in San José. It had an open store front so that we could view the street and listen to the sounds of the city while eating.
I ordered a large strawberry juice, and it was very good. We all ordered arepas, which are a typical Colombian food. They have a type of breading that isn’t quite a tortilla, and they are filled with whatever you want. I ordered one with cheese, beef and chicken, and I loved it. We ate so much at this dinner!
Day 8: August 10, 2014
Today our activities were all in the San José area. We began our day with traditional breakfast at the hotel followed by a walk in a park nearby. Since it is a Sunday, the park was packed with people! Many people were playing soccer- on the soccer fields, in open patches of grass, on the pathways– everywhere!! It was as if the entire town was in the park! We walked around looking at the plants.
After we walked through the park, we went to an art museum. It was incredible. There was so much history within this museum. There was artwork several different people. The museum was the airport many years ago, and grasped the culture of Costa Rica. We spent about an hour and a half inside the museum.
After the museum, we left to go meet a writer named Alfonso Chase, who lives in downtown San José. He was Dr. Zapata’s professor and has traveled all over the world. He has more than twenty published books. We talked with him for over two hours. It was very interesting to hear his perspective on several topics including writing, the arts, and politics. He mostly talked in Spanish, and I was excited that I understood the majority of the conversation. He gave us each a copy of his new book and signed them for us! The entire experience was incredible, and was one of the best parts of this trip!
After we left, we found a restaurant that series typical Brazilian meals. We shared a big plate of vegetables and various meats. It was delicious. It is the nicest restaurant we have been to during our trip. We left the restaurant and returned to our hotel for the night. Day eight has been filled with rich culture and great experiences!
Day 7: August 9, 2014
Today we woke up at four AM. We had to wake up super early to meet Sergio at the van by 4:45. We left the hotel and left to go pick up Marta, Alexis, and Alexis’ kids, the same people we met on the first day. We all left to go to Volcan Arenál, which is another volcano here in Costa Rica.
On the way we stopped at a restaurant to eat breakfast. Kevin, one of the children is learning to speak English. Throughout the day, and especially at breakfast, he’d ask us questions in Spanish and we asked him questions is English. It was a lot of fun! For breakfast I ate sweet plantains and drank Mango natural juice, which was very sweet.
We continued on with the drive, which in total took approximately three hours. When we arrived at our first location, the hanging bridges, we were surrounded by a rain forest and many animals. Right away, we saw a parrot sitting on the roof of the ticket counter. It was beautiful.
During our walk we crossed many bridges. The hanging bridges were a little scary because they swayed back and forth; however, they were a lot of fun and the views were extremely beautiful. We saw many trees and a waterfall along the way. I loved being so close to nature during this walk. We heard the calls of several animals. The most interesting animal we saw on our walk was a boa constrictor! The snake was gigantic! We had to pass the boa in order to continue on the trail, so we were only about four feet away from it! We shortly finished the walk after passing the boa. Near the ticket building and restaurant, there was an incredible view of the volcano! We stopped to take several pictures.
Our next stop was on a lake near the volcano. We took a boat tour so we could get closer views and better picture opportunities. It was very peaceful and the views were incredible. We were able to get out and walk around. This gave us the opportunity to see several different types of birds and butterflies.
After our boat tour, we left for the hot springs! When we arrived, we ate lunch. Shortly after, a storm arrived and we were forced to wait a whole before entering the springs. After the storm passed, we were able to get in the water. There were several different pools. Some were warm and others were very hot. It was extremely relaxing! There was an amazing view of the volcano from these pools as well.
After the hot springs, everyone packed into the van and we began our drive back toward San José. We drove for about two hours before stopping for dinner. We ate at a traditional Costa Rican restaurant. We ordered a meal where they bring a bunch of food out to the table and everyone shares the meal. The food was incredible! My favorite part of the meal was the chicken. There was so much food on the table and most of it was extremely healthy to eat. I am frontier going to miss the food when we return home.
After we left the restaurant, we left for San José. Approximately one hour later, we arrived at our hotel. Day seven was a very long day but it was extremely fun! I think this has been one of my favorite days so far!
Costa Rica Day #6 Aug 8th, 2014
Today we went to the Cafe Britt plantation for a tour. During the tour, we learned how coffee beans are grown and how they are processed and roasted. Coffee is one of my very favorite things, so I was excited to learn these details. It started to rain pretty hard during the tour, so we went to the theater on the plantation to have a coffee tasting. The tour guides spoke both English and Spanish, and they were hilarious. I’ve noticed that many people, especially in tourism businesses, speak English here.
For lunch, we ate in the Britt restaurant. We all had empanadas, which are a type of meat pie from Argentina. I don’t think I’ve had a bad meal here.
Our taxi driver drove us back to the hotel. It was around 3:30 P.M., which is evidently their rush hour. The heavy traffic paired with Costa Rica’s insanely aggressive driving style made the trip pretty annoying. However, we made it to the hotel safe and sound!
Tomorrow we are going to the hanging bridges with the family we met on our first night here. I can’t wait to talk to them again!