Costa Rica · 29 Days · 39 Moments · May 2015

Costa Rica June 2015

26 June 2015

Hoxtons. My favorite bar! I will miss free drinks on Tuesday and hanging out with some of the greatest people I have ever met. I'm so happy I had the opportunity to meet them and spend an entire month in their company.

20 June 2015

Puerto Viejo! We went the Caribbean side of Costa Rica in Limon! It was raining a lot but we got a few hours of sun! It was fun and our hostel had a lot of people. The workers were rude but everything worked out!

19 June 2015

Today we went back to Cartago with my class! We saw the church again and went to a market!

17 June 2015

Cafe Britt Coffee Tour Today my program has their cultural activity of the month! A coffee tour! This was one of my favorite things of my whole trip. We learned how to grow coffee, the process it takes to make the coffee beans, and how to be expert coffee tasters. Along the way we even got to try raw chocolate. ( The orange fruit) You pick one of the square middle parts out and suck on it. It tasted very sweet however, if you bite into it, it is very bitter! At the end of the tour, we got to taste the different chocolates and coffee. It was a lot of fun!

16 June 2015

I haven't posted much recently because I haven't done many exciting things! I definitely have a routine now and most of my trips are on the weekends. Yesterday I had school and then I went to the mall with some friends! Today after school, I had lunch with all of the API group members at La Musa Confusa. It is such a cute little cafe! Ariana, Claudia, and I went to Pequeño Mundo afterwards and I bought a swimming suit for $4! They have a lot of bargains there! Definitely going back before I leave! Tomorrow I have a coffee tour after class too! This weekend I'm heading to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast!

13 June 2015

Monteverde! We hiked up the mountain this morning for 4 hours. All the hills and stairs were the death of me. I need to start working out! It was so pretty! At the highest point, you can see the Caribbean ocean and Pacific Ocean on each side of the country. We also saw a waterfall. Very beautiful!
More pictures from Monteverde.
Monteverde! The first flower that's small and red has a very interesting name. Labios de Putas. "Lips of a Bitch". 😂😂😂

12 June 2015

We are heading to Monteverde this weekend! It's a rainforest climate in a mountain! tomorrow morning we are going on a hike! in the afternoon, my friend Claudia and I are zip lining and bungee jumping! I'm excited! More pictures tomorrow!

11 June 2015

The swing is an art exhibit at the school I go to do. Granted it is an art and design school.. After we met at the school, we went to a bar called La Concha! My friends here are amazing!
Today I ate at Emme's Cafe! It's such a cute little restaurant near our school! They made amazing vegetable soup! The other pictures are on my wall back to my house! I never want to leave this place! 😍🌸🌺🌴

9 June 2015

We go to a bar called Hoxton's every Tuesday night and I saw a really awesome quote on the bathroom wall. "We don't need a man to be happy."

8 June 2015

Cultural Differences Part 3! Él Baño. The Bathroom. Okay, the bathrooms are the weirdest things I have noticed here in Costa Rica. You can not flush the toilet paper here. You throw it in the trash can beside it. It is definitely hard to break that habit. Additionally, there are no hot water heaters in the houses. You either take cold showers or there is an electric heater on the shower head. It sounds extremely dangerous to me, but I guess it works. However, you don't have much water pressure if you want the water to be warm. Luckily it is always super hot and humid so you only want a semi warm to cold shower anyways. Everyone is every conservative here. They turn off everything every time they leave a room. Even if you are just going to the bathroom. Also, you always wear shoes in the house, which seems counter productive to me if you want to keep the floors clean. There is no A/C in most houses here which sucks sometimes but the nicer hotels and my classroom has it.
Cultural Differences Part 2! In America, it is rude to stare. Here... not so much. Because I'm part of the minority population here, I get stares everywhere I go like the other gringas. It was awkward at first but you get used to it. Also, personal space here is non existent. It is uncomfortable at first. In the states, your bubble is about arms length from another person so 12-18 inches. Here it's only 10-12 inches and it doesn't need seem like a lot but it is really close. Girls are greeted by touching cheeks and making a kissing sound on one or both sides. Men just shake hands. It takes some getting used to. While conversing with a local, you will get super uncomfortable by the amount of times they touch you either on the arm or shoulder. It's like every 30 seconds. And I guess it's used to emphasize their point. Everyone is super close and touchy.
Cultural Differences I've noticed quite a few things that seem "weird" to me. The lifestyle is completely different here from the way they dress all the way to using the bathrooms. The first thing I noticed upon arriving was the fact that everyone wore long pants. There aren't many locals wearing shorts here even though it is CRAZY hot. I don't know how they do it. Jeans are very popular. Another thing I noticed within minutes of arriving is the outrageous amount of times they honk their horns. And it doesn't necessarily mean bad things. Usually it's just because they see a pretty girl on the street or a gringa (White girl). But it can also mean that they are asking permission to change lanes or someone needs to get out of their way. It's basically a tool of communication since they don't seem to use their blinkers. :)

7 June 2015

La Playa cont. On the beach, there were many people trying to sell you something. Cervezas, coconuts, bracelets. The coconuts were really really good but anyways... The sand was a golden brown color with tons of seashells, crabs, snails and worms on it. The ocean unfortunately wasn't see through because the waves kept kicking the sand up. I learned how to body surf and I think when I go again, I'll take surfing lessons. Also, there were some riptides but they weren't strong enough to pull you out. The coast wrapped around into a nature park with an even more beautiful beach. Palm trees lined the edge of the sand. I stayed in a hostel for both nights I was on the beach. it was actually not as scary as the movie. Everyone there was super nice and hung out in the common area. There were board games and hammocks, even outside kitchens for people to use. The last morning I was there, monkeys kept dropping coconuts on the roof and woke us up. We saw two different kinds of monkeys!

6 June 2015

La Playa! 6/6/15 Yesterday we traveled to Tamarindo! today was went to the beach to swim and tan! There's all sorts of tourist-y things to do here, but they are pretty expensive. the beach was beautiful! We are staying in a hostel called Pura Vida. It's actually really nice in my opinion! Only $10 a night! Tomorrow we leave at 2pm!

5 June 2015

6/5/15 Today marks my one week anniversary of arriving in Costa Rica! I love it here! I'm not going to want to leave at the end of the month! :( Today also marks the first weekend trip we take without our program! Ariana, Justin, Claudia, Mary Jane, Cheyenne (pronounced Shane) and I are traveling by bus to Tamarindo, a beach on the Pacific Ocean. We are going to be staying in the Pura Vida hostel. We have no idea what we are going to do other than go out to the beach! I'm spending most of today riding the bus but we had class from 8-12 again today. Our bus left at 3:30 and we should arrive around 10pm. And then we will find something to do for the night! :)

4 June 2015

6/4/15 I had class today from 8-12 am 😩. After class my group and I ate lunch waiting for the rain to let up. (It didn't.) We made it to San Jose to buy our bus tickets for tomorrow. We planned on going to Puerto Viejo. A beach in the Caribbean. There was supposed to be a lot of students from Universidad Veritas but the guy who told us that they were going said the wrong beach. So... We had to change our hostel reservations, make brand new ones, and buy the right tickets. Definitely cutting it close. Dance Class Every Tuesday and Thursday there is a dance class at my school. We had a good time. La Concha Our bar of the night! One girl in my group forgot her ID but we got in anyway! We are mastering this going out thing. The most interesting part was getting home. We walked from the bar to all of our houses. It took 30 minutes. At 1:30 in the morning. :) We ran into some sketchy people trying to sell us drugs but luckily Nic walked with us. We even found an awesome view!

3 June 2015

Tonight was so much fun! This group of people is so awesome to be around. Tonight we went to a relaxed bar called El Gaff! they serve their own specialty beers and have drink specials. We tried their strawberry sangria. Muy delicioso!

1 June 2015

Yesterday was pretty awesome! I had class in the morning from 8-12. After class I didn't do a whole lot except go to the store and read. I finished my homework and hung out with my host family. At 8pm we had a dance class at the university! It was really fun. They taught the salsa, the meringue and others. Some people from my group decided we would check out the nightlife here in Costa Rica and ending up at a bar called Hoxtons. It looked like a frat house when you walked up to it but it was really fun. They had a live DJ. Since it was ladies night, there wasn't a cover. We got back around 1 am. Today I have been to class and lunch with my API group! About to take a nap and do my homework!
Today I have orientation for my classes at Universidad Veritas. The campus is super awesome! it's a design and architecture school primarily. Everyone here is super nice! The even showed us a traditional dance. After orientation, my group and I went to a small store around the corner and then decided to travel to San Jose on our own. We walked around for an hour trying to find a bus stop. While being hopelessly lost. Finally found one and it was a ten minute ride to downtown. We went shopping and ate ice cream. It was definitely an interesting experience trying to figure out the bus system. The whole trip cost me less than $1.

31 May 2015

Volcan Irazú Part two! Also, there were these raccoon type animals that kept trying to steal everyone's food. They were funny to watch. They actually jumped on a girl to steal her popcorn. Our program director told us that rabies has been completely eradicated from Costa Rica, so that's a little comforting! :) At the sea level we were visiting there is a certain type of vegetation that grows. The plants usually have small, thick, hard leaves to protect it from the acid rain produced when volcanic ashes get into the air. One plant that was interesting to me was what they call the Poor Man's Umbrella. People actually used the plants as umbrellas once as they are huge and thick. I didn't get a picture but they look like elephants ears!
Currency! I only have a few of the bills and coins on my right now. Their currency is Colones. 1000 (red) is like $2. 10000 ( green) is like $20. They also have a $4, $10, $40 and $100 bill. the coins. 500 ( not shown) is like $1. 100 (biggest coin) is like 20¢. 50 (middle coin) is 10¢. 25 (smallest) is 5¢. 10 (not shown) is 1¢. Kinda confusing to convert on the spot!
Orosi Valley We visited another church in the valley. Yet again, it was beautiful. The cemeteries are weird here though. This was one of the first types of this church built in the Americans. A lot of the Indians were converted Catholic here. It was really cool! As we were leaving, several parrots flew over the church! They were the first wild ones I've seen. Tons of banana trees and rainforest vegetation on the way there!
La Casona del Cafeta This is where I ate lunch! Super fancy Buffet and view! Right next to a lake where some one was jet-skiing. After lunch there was a trail my group explored. Closer to the lake a guy was fishing for craw dads and he showed us his catch! I took a bunch of pictures of the flowers and vegetation for my mom! Everything is so colorful here! My mom would love the flower nurseries!
Cartago! We stopped at this city on our way back from the volcano. This is a really popular church. Every year on August 2nd, people from all over Costa Rica and surrounding countries walk to this church as a pilgrimage! From where I'm staying it would take approximately 5 hours. It is very beautiful on the inside! It's a tradition that people walk on their knees down the main aisle to show their humbleness. Also, it was built around a supernatural rock that a girl found in the woods. It had a doll on the rock and the little girl took it back to her house. The next day she traveled back to the rock to find another doll but when she came home, she found that her first doll was gone. She did this several times. it kept going back. The priest got involved and realized its holiness. This was a turning point in converting the Indians to Catholic because the doll ( the Virgin) was dark skinned like the Indians instead of the white man.
These are some other random pictures that I took along the way. Most of just an awesome view! The blue building was a school near the volcano. Cauliflower field. Lots of shacks and houses.
Volcán Irazú National Park At 11,260 feet above sea level, there is the Irazú volcano. There is a chain of volcanoes that surround it and it's not a typical triangle volcano. More like a string of mountains. We were worried about not having a clear view because in San Jose it was super cloudy. It turned out that we drove up past the clouds, so high you could feel the pressure in your head and ears. It is the highest volcano in Costa Rica! There is two opening I guess you would call them. One ( Diego de la Haya) hasn't been active recently and has a sediment layer on top of it ( the shallow picture of a hole with black sand). I couldn't get a picture of where the lava comes out of the other hole (main crater) because it was too deep to see over the ridge. But I did get a picture of the different colored rock and shapes where it comes out of. There also was tons of pumice stones (the ones you use to get dead skin off of you). Cont....

30 May 2015

I am literally a block away from Veritas ( my school). We had chicken and potatoes and rice for dinner. My host mom is a good cook! My house is super nice and they have a dog (English springer) named Ika! (sp) Tomorrow my group is going to Irazu Volcano. We have to meet at the school at 8 am. I will have breakfast at home. This is such an awesome experience!
Today I toured the city of San Jose! It is very Americanized. We have a lot of the same stores. Name brand things such as Nike are a LOT more expensive here! People go to the U.S. and buy stuff and sell it here for twice as much! The driving here is crazy. They do not wait for you if you are walking across the street. If the light is green you better not be in the way. After the tour, we went to the school I will be studying at and my host mom's friend picked me up. My host family had a activity by the airport they had to go to. On their way back they got stuck in the rain and picked up supper for us. I talked a lot to my host moms friend. Long life talks. I met my host family a few hours after I arrived at their house. They are really nice. And my host dad speaks English! (however, they are not allowed to speak to me in English because I'm learning spanish!) My host mom is a teacher! They have a daughter who is 20, but I haven't met her yet. Cont.
City Tour! Here are some more pictures from downtown San Jose! This city is really awesome! I'm heading to Zapote now which is where my house family and school is. It is about a 15 minute walk to the National Park that we saw today. We are checking out of the hotel and leaving downtown San Jose as I type!
City Tour! This is the Catholic Church we saw while walking. We toured the ENTIRE city of San Jose. We went to all the bus stations to familiarize ourselves with the ways we can travel to other parts of the country. There is a lot of shopping strips. We walked through two pedestrian streets. One being Central Avenue. I swear we walked 10 miles today! It was really warm too!

29 May 2015

Day 1 of Costa Rica is in the books! After arriving at approximately noon, I met with my program advisor and another student, Claudia from Texas. We took a cab back to the hotel (refer to previous crazy drivers post) and got to relax for a few hours. I took a nap! 😴 At 4:30, we went over guidelines and procedures, and our director answered all of our questions! There are 5 of us here in my particular program: Claudia from Texas, Mary Jane from Texas, Ariana from Oklahoma, and Justin from Arkansas. We will meet more students in our university on Monday! After our meeting, Claudia and I took a stroll down the block to check out the stores. She ended up buying KFC for this guy from California who got pick pocketed. For supper, our program director took us to an Asian place. (I know right?! 😂😂) I ended up eating chicken stir fry that was super amazing! Also, I tried the Passion Fruit soda (amazing 👍🏼!!) Now it is off to bed! I meet my host familia tomorrow! ✌🏼️
Well I have arrived to my new home for the next month. On our way to the hotel, I took a few pictures of what looked neat. The mountainside right outside the San Jose airport and a Catholic church on the way to the hotel. Right now I'm just relaxing for a bit before I meet up with the rest of the group at 4:30 for dinner! The driving here is crazy! I don't think there is a speed limit. Lots of honking. The taxi driver just weaved in and out of cars. Motorcycles drove on the dotted lines in between the cars and people stood in traffic near stoplights trying to get you to buy something! We finally made it to the hotel, which is really nice, and a lot of people speak English! 🙌🏻
30 minutes until I arrive! Feeling nervous! Hopefully it isn't raining!
UPDATE: I forgot how awesome these airplane cookies are. I wonder if I can order them. 😂
I am sitting on the airplane now! Mostly anxious and nervous, but tired as well. I've been up all night waiting for this trip. My parents and boyfriend accompanied me to the airport. First stop Atlanta! ✌🏼