North America · 36 Days · 81 Moments · May 2017

Courtney's journi to Costa Rica

1 July 2017

Said goodbye to the biggest blessing Michaela and I could've ever had. Dona, our mama tica, has been so wonderful and kind to us; she truly made this trip perfect πŸ’™

30 June 2017

To cap our trip, we headed to Barrio Escalante to celebrate. Ranging from chocolate and Jack Daniels ice cream, sangria, oatmeal stout, to a Caribbean Paradise slushee, it was perfect. Being surrounded by so many great people reminded me how much of a paradise I have been in this last month. Definitely challenging to say good bye to so many amazing people πŸ’™
Had our last supper with Dona.. she made us spaghetti with carrots and prunes for the salad. For dessert she made us flan--so delicious! She even surprised us with her favorite candy for the trip back.
Ate at Emme Cafe for one last time. Michaela and I got our toes done after to wrap up the trip!

29 June 2017

Finished up classes today. Such a relief! Said goodbye to some great people. Very blessed with this opportunity to learn here!

26 June 2017

Tonight, from 5:30-7:30, I got the chance to help teach English to 4 locals. It was so much fun! We covered leaving messages, prepositions, and subject/object pronouns. Hearing the accents applied to English was great; we made sure to put extra attention on the pronunciation of "beach" 😎

25 June 2017

Made it back for lunch, consisting of rice, beans, salad, plantains, and chicken with peppers, onions, and delicious Caribbean sauce. Had to say bye to my buddy, too..
Maura showed us the tower near their home, and we climbed to the top for the beautiful view. Crazy to think off in the distance we were able to see Panama.
We stopped for a bit at the home of Maura, the main woman in charge of the Bribri tribe, the indigenous group we were visiting. Crazy to think they endure that hike every time they want to run into town! They owned 4 stray dogs. With barely enough food to adequately feed themselves, it is sad seeing how skinny and sickly the dogs look. Sadly that's how all of the dogs in CR have looked..
Went on a hike up the mountain. Our class definitely wasn't mentally or physically prepared for the muddy paths and steep slopes!
For breakfast we had a fruit salad with yogurt, granola, and homemade bread. The yogurt here is very thin and has a soupy texture.

24 June 2017

For dinner Adlantida served us a BBQ, consisting of rice, beans, veggies, salad, pork, chicken, beef, sausage, and fries. I ordered a Tequila Sunrise to cap off the night. Even made a new buddy, Jaereb, the son of the hotel owner. Don't let that cute face fool you.. he's quite the trouble maker.
Walked around Playa Negra (the beach near our hotel) for a bit and took in the beautiful scenery, and the soft black sand. The sound of the waves is so unbelievably soothing! Our class did yoga on the beach later that evening.
For our class, we walked around Puerto Viejo and interviewed several Afro-Caribbeans regarding their health care decisions and home remedies. Saw a glimpse of the beautiful Caribbean, and got some fresh strawberry gelato 😊
Made it to our hotel, Adlantida, in Cahuita (part of the LimΓ³n Providence). Of the resorts we've stayed at, this is definitely the lesser of the 3. But, still very nice! They served us a traditional CR meal for lunch -- rice, beans, salad, chicken, and plantains. But, seeing a sloth at our hotel was definitely a highlight!

23 June 2017

Checked out El Gaff last night with the girls. ☺️ Ordered a Pilsen (CR beer) and Chifrijo, typical bar food consisting of pork, rice, beans, and pico de gallo.
Visited National Museum of Costa Rica today. It was all very interesting!
Got kicked out of a pool today after 20 min for not swimming. Doing good.

22 June 2017

Went to Las Lenitas yesterday for lunch. Nachos and fresh mango juice definitely hit the spot πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

21 June 2017

Visited a nursing home in Heredia today for our Spanish class. Even though I understood maybe 20% of what she said, Maria was such a joy and ball of life for 87 years old 😊

20 June 2017

Got lunch at CafΓ© BrΓ»lΓ© today! Probably should've chosen something with more substance, but I listened to my sweet tooth instead...

19 June 2017

Mojito Monday at October Sports Bar was well needed 😊

17 June 2017

For lunch on the island, the travel agency prepared us salad, potato salad, veggies, rice, chicken, and fish. To go with the meal we received wine and rice pudding. It was all very delicious 😍
Soaked up plenty of sun on the island today. The water, sand, and palm trees were so breathtaking! Couldn't have asked for better weather, either πŸ’™
Waking up at 4:45 was definitely worth this beautiful experience. Took a 2 hour boat ride to Isla Tortuga. The water was beautiful and the weather was perfect πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

16 June 2017

Checked out Costa Rica's Craft Brewery Co. tonight. Although it was about a 45 min drive, it was well worth the travel! πŸ‘πŸΌ
We stopped at La Criollita for lunch today while in Barrio AmΓ³n. The food was very good! I had cas (the green juice made from cas fruit), soup, bread, shrimp and rice, chips, salad, and vanilla ice cream with a peach to end the meal. Very good and very filling πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ
Toured Barrio AmΓ³n today. This area of Costa Rica houses many old buildings, including some built by plantation owners and lawyers in the 1900s. The area was very nice and filled with museums and parks to relax in!

15 June 2017

ISA hosted a cooking class today for the students. It was more watching than cooking, but the food was good! They made a classic dish, arroz con pollo, that is often made for birthday parties and larger gatherings. It also included beans, chips, and pico de gallo. It was all very good!

14 June 2017

Dona made us a delicious supper tonight -- probably my favorite! It consisted of rice, with a mixture of chicken, pineapple, peppers, onions, and broccoli to coat. In addition, we had toast with avocados. So good! ☺️
Visited El Museo de Cultura Popular with my class today. The museum grows many plants and shares the many different nutritional uses for each, down to every root, stem, and flower. To end we learned how to make prestiΓ±a, an Indian flatbread type of dessert, lightly coated with molasses. Finished it off with coffee, with beans grown at the farm.

13 June 2017

Watched Costa Rica beat Trinidad y Tobago 2-1 at my first professional soccer game. Very loud, but well worth the experience!
For lunch, Michaela, Jaclyn and I tested out a restaurant called Spoon. Little pricey, but very good!

12 June 2017

For dinner Dona made us pollo con arroz (chicken and rice) with yuca (similar to French fries) and salad (lettuce, shredded carrots, and hard boiled eggs). She even gave us a piece of limΓ³n pie for dessert!

11 June 2017

Dona made us an empanada with beef tonight, along with some carrots, mashed potatoes, and corn & chayote
Stopped at Jaco for lunch on our way back from the beach πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ
Soaked up some rays at the public beach before heading back to San Jose β˜€οΈ
Enjoyed some breakfast at the hotel before hitting the beach on our last day of Quepos/Manuel Antonio!

10 June 2017

Enjoyed some drinks at the hotel with these lovely ladies β˜ΊοΈπŸ’™
Update: our hotel for the weekend is beautiful πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ
Manuel Antonio National Park took my breath away.. both literally and figuratively -- those waves were coming in hard.
Saw some monkeys on our walk to the beach! And quite a few crabs, too πŸ¦€πŸ’

9 June 2017

For supper tonight Dona made us a pepper, cooked in flour and egg, stuffed with chicken and rice. She also made us sausage with beans to go into our "gallos" (tacos). To finish off, we had fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.
With only Spanish class in the morning, Michaela, Lexie, Kayla and I went to DT San Jose for the afternoon. We did some souvenir shopping and stopped at a pizza place for lunch. The slices were so good, but so big! We also ordered pineapple and strawberry juice. It's basically just fruit blended with water. So simple and so fresh -- absolutely delicious!

8 June 2017

Dona cooked us up some spaghetti with meat sauce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Simple but always good 😊
Traveled to Heredia to the Arch Herb Botanical Garden. It encompassed 74 acres, housing 1200 different plants -- 300 having discovered medicinal purposes. The entire presentation was very interesting! Definitely enjoyed the garden part, but the 5 hours of traffic there and back (could've easily made it in 2 there and back) wasn't as enjoyable.
Tried an empanada today for lunch. It was a corn type breading with shredded chicken on the inside. Cabbage and many sauces were added (mayo, ketchup, mustard, picante). It was so good, and super cheap! A guy had a grill right inside Veritas serving the empanadas as well as burgers and other foods.

7 June 2017

Typical day today: class, lunch at al parque de Barrio Escalante with ISA students, more class, gym, and supper. Tonight Dona made us chorizo with potatoes and onions, gallo pinto (rice and beans -- trademark of Costa Rican food), salad (lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes), and a dinner roll.

6 June 2017

Tonight Michaela, some ISA students, and I went and saw Ed Sheeran in la Parque Viva in Alajuela, a neighboring providence. It was so cool experiencing a concert in another country! Getting back was challenging, but well worth it ☺️
Dinner tonight consisted of a white fish, salad, plantain cooked in milk, and another dish that I'm not sure the name of...
Michaela and I began our Spanish class today.. it'll be intense, but it'll be good! After class we headed to the mall to exchange some money. I got Chinese food.. sooooo good! Got some ice cream to top it off 😊

5 June 2017

After a rainy afternoon and an unsuccessful trip to the bank, we had supper with Dona and her friend, Maria. We had soup, paella (rice with veggies, chicken, and seafood) and carrots.
Not a fan of the rain here..

4 June 2017

Finally made it back to Dona's for the evening. She had tamales, empanadas, and plenty of veggies ready for us πŸ‘πŸΌ
Although our planned hike to see the sunrise got cancelled by a thunder storm, we still enjoyed a little bit of relaxation before heading back to San JosΓ© (even though in the two hours we tanned, we maybe had 20-30 min of straight sun)

3 June 2017

After a little swimming/tanning, we had some more delicious food from the restaurant. To top it off, we spent the evening admiring the beauty of this country πŸ’™
ISA definitely picked a beautiful resort for us to stay at 😍
Slowly falling in love with the countless beautiful flowers here πŸ’™
While at the farm, they did a demonstration for us, and showed us some popular foods grown there. The small seed in the pictures comes from a cocoa plant. We sucked the outer white coating off, and threw away the seed. Next several volunteers smashed a sugar cane and "juiced" it to a fresh sugar liquid. It had an interesting taste to it. They also provided us with fresh sugar cane to suck on.
That afternoon, we headed to a Sustainable Farm. There they fed us delicious food; 80% was grown at that farm itself. The coffee was the best I've ever had. It was a slow drip coffee with an accent of honey, and flavored with pure cane sugar. So delicious!
To begin Saturday morning, we grabbed breakfast at the buffet and headed to Pure Trek for our canyoning adventure. The activity included rappelling, little bit of zip lining, and some free falling. Such a great time! We all got soaked, but didn't regret one moment. They ended by feeding us a traditional Costa Rican meal at their campgrounds.

2 June 2017

Although the country side of Costa Rica is beautiful, it was nice to make it through the 4 hour bus ride to our resort. We stayed at Los Lagos, a resort with several pools and hot springs, butterfly garden, crocodile garden, frog farm, ant farm, restaurants, and several bars. For dinner they served a buffet of delicious foods. Following, everyone went to the pool for some relaxation and drinks. My piΓ±a colada was phenomenal πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ
Today we say the beautiful city of Cartago, as well as the church within. After touring the town, stopping for a drink (pinodillo con leche -- milk with cinnamon and rice mixture), we went to the super market. Next stop: Arenal Volcano!
Breakfast today was simple -- eggs, toast, coffee, and freshly juiced papaya and bananas with water. Now we are off to the city of Cartago for some site seeing! Later in the afternoon then we will head for Arenal Volcano. Needless to say, Michaela and I are very excited πŸ˜†

1 June 2017

Went and checked out the night life with some ISA students. We chose a classier place with a lot of security. Well worth the extra money for drinks! πŸ‘πŸΌ
Dinner tonight consisted of fresh tomatoes & cucumbers, sticky white rice, zucchini baked with egg, and meatloaf πŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ
For the morning, Michaela and I headed to DT San Jose to explore (definitely got lost). We did a little window shopping, had some delicious freshly squeezed OJ (only Β’500/$1), and stopped at the bakery on our way back for a treat. I went with rice pudding, and Michaela got ice cream.
Breakfast today included pancakes, eggs, cafe con leche (with a lot of sugar), and deliciously fresh mango and banana. The fruit is definitely one of my favorite parts about this beautiful country!

31 May 2017

We had a blast learning to dance! ...even though my hips were a little slow to go πŸ˜…
After class today, Michaela and I stopped at the French bakery for some coffee. I had a macaroon, and Michaela got some crescent roll with an almond mixture within. Both were very good! For supper we had slow cooked pork with minimal seasoning, salad (consisting of cabbage, carrots, and avocados), some vegetable (tasted like potatoes) and a biscuit type thing with cheese within. All very interesting, but good! Tonight I am going to the Latino dance class, then calling it a day ✌🏼
After our meeting regarding our upcoming excursion this morning, Michaela, Alexis, Kayla and I headed to the local super market, about a mile away. We got some food, and had a little picnic on the grass. Alexis and I got some delicious sushi for only about $4! The sites throughout the town are so beautiful. Little humid, but well worth the trek πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

30 May 2017

Michaela and I had our first Alternative Health Approaches class today. Looks like it will be incredibly interesting. We are excited! There are even a few excursions through the class -- one to the beautiful beach of Puerto Viejo. We ended the night with supper, consisting of plantains, chickpeas and chicken, as well as rice and vegetables. The seasoning on the vegetables was cumin, and added great flavor!
Michaela and I enjoyed a small Costa Rican cafe for lunch today. The juice, a mixture of freshly squeezed papaya, pineapple, and mango, was delicious! My plate included soup, meat pies, plantains, rice, beans, zucchini, potato patty, and a salad consisting of lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers. We ended the meal with coffee. Michaela wasn't a fan of the coffee πŸ˜‚
Started out the day with a banana and some oatmeal (made with milk to give it much more flavor), topped with cinnamon, sugar, and homemade granola. Headed the gym after for a quick workout. The facilities here are fairly nice! Not a lot of clean platforms, but the rest of the lifting equipment was available.

29 May 2017

Visited the Central Market, the main attraction of Costa Rica, today. Saw a lot of beautiful handmade pieces of art, as well as some delicious and exotic fruits! Tried fresh mulberry juice, while Kayla got guava, and Michaela got watermelon. They all tasted very fresh and good! For supper, Dona made us delicious tomato soup, a turkey pastry thing, sautΓ©ed zucchini with some added spice, and fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. To finish the night, most of the study abroad students attended a dancing class at the college. Lot of fun, but a lot of work!
Started out the day with toast and guava jelly, some fried thing (tasted a lot like cheese..), and freshly juiced banana and papaya. Headed to Veritas for orientation. For the college being made up of only 2 buildings, there are a lot of levels and rooms within! They served us pizza following. We even got to extra a biology lab, with a professor currently researching shark conservation. Ended the Veritas experience with a visit from 5 dancing people in costumes, with some drums and music to accompany. Definitely different culture!

28 May 2017

Did a little site seeing in downtown San Jose in the afternoon. Went to a few shops, got an ice cream cone, and sat down at a bar to try the local beer. Aside from getting over charged by our taxi driver on our way down, it was a solid evening! Finished the day with beef lasagna, beans, and salad.
Started the first day with an orientation session, then took a bus tour of the city. You can definitely tell it is the raining season... πŸ™ƒ

27 May 2017

After waiting for customs/immigration for 2 hours, and waiting for our bus for another 3, Michaela and I finally arrived at our host family's house. Dona was so great to us, and we are so appreciative of her sharing her beautiful home. She made us supper consisting of chicken with a brown spicy sauce to top, potatoes with carrots, broccoli quiche, and toasted bread. I am excited to learn her ways in the kitchen, and hopefully replicate them when I get home!
Officially made it to Costa Rica! The terrain is beyond beautiful. So excited for the journey ahead 😊
Landed in Houston. Next stop, San Jose!