Hola from Costa Rica!
My name is Courtney and I'm currently on my second week of Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica. I have to say, the Costa Ricans are crazy about their Pura Vida way of life and I decided to take it on for this trip and take it back to the states with me! We have been staying with host families and our school is called CPI. The professors and families are not allowed to speak English to us so we have to figure it out on our own. There is a lot of "lost in translation" but we always figure it out somehow!
Costa Rica has a few different micro-climates, which means there are a lot of different climates all in one small area. Our first week we visited Monteverde which has Mountains and Rainforests. It rains almost every day and is around 65 degrees normally. There are a couple of reserves in the area but we visited "La Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena". They have mountain lions, sloths, tarantulas, colorful birds, and many other crazy animals we don't see on a daily basis. Another adventure in Santa Elena was our ziplining trip through the cloud forest! Since we were at around 4000 feet and inside the clouds, it was very wet and you couldn't see the end of the zipline! The cloud forest is definitely something you don't want to miss out on.
The next week of my trip was in Flamingo Beach. The beach here is about 20 degrees hotter and it rains way less frequently. Our host families don't live right on the beach, but about 15-20 minutes away in a town called El Llano. The water is so clear at the beach that you can put some goggles on and see what's below! While at Playa Conchal, I saw lots of poisonous sea urchins and a bright blue starfish. We also went on a snorkel cruise to a private island where I saw many pufferfish and a camouflaged stingray. The animals that you can see here are very different from where I live in Wrightsville Beach. The tides go all the way up to the road so creatures wash up a lot. A few days ago an Electric Eel washed up next to us and I had never seen one before then. I am definitely going to miss the Costa Rican beaches!
Our next and final two weeks are in the city, Heredia. Some things that are nearby is the Brunca Indigenous Group, the Irazu Volcano, and the Manuel Antonio National Park. Since we are in the city, we are doing a lot of service projects with the Humanitarian Foundation. Even though Costa Rica sounds dreamy, there is a big percentage of people in poverty here. In fact, as I'm typing this post, El Llano's water supply is shut off so no one has any running water. These are common things here, including the fact that 99% of houses do not have air conditioning. All these things come with the package of being immersed in the culture. So I'm soaking it all up before it's over!
|These Iguanas are all over in the beach towns!|
|Me and Luna soaking up some sun at Playa Conchal!|
|Zipping my way through classes!|