This week I got to experience the beauty of Costa Rica’s nature. My group visited Manuel Antonio; it was really different from San Jose. I know that any true Tico would see me as just a Gringa- a foreign girl- but they don’t know that I get the experience of living as a local in Costa Rica. Maybe I am becoming a local snob when I say this, but I did not like how they commercialized “Pura Vida.” I could tell the servers were trained to say it, and it wasn’t used as a greeting at all. Manuel Antonio really was a lot of fun though and when I say the food is so good, I mean it is SO good!
Great food is not only found in Manuel Antonio, however, the food in Costa Rica in general is so wonderful. I was nervous when I heard that their food didn’t have a lot of flavoring; however, fresh is the flavor here. I hate tomatoes in the states! Nope, not in Costa Rica; it’s completely different here. They use natural ingredients to flavor their foods. My Mama Tica even buys eggs from a farmer’s truck every other day! Even if, for whatever reason, you are homesick and you just want some American food, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC and Taco Bell are all still accessible.
If you ever study abroad, it does not matter where you go, make fun weekend plans; do not let money be an issue. I am paying for my entire trip here and I am not going to waste what I have already spent to stay in San Jose and not explore the country while I’m here – you have made it this far, just do what you can while you can. We left on Friday afternoon for Manuel Antonio and I loved every second of the way there (besides the bus, the road was pretty rough also) but the view was amazing. You can see the mountains everyday from Veritas and it was so great to finally reach them. I really felt like I was in George of the Jungle! The nature of Costa Rica is incredible.
I suggest studying abroad with a group such as CEA or ISA – those are the two that are here with Veritas this summer, and they are both awesome. When we arrived to Manuel Antonio, CEA made reservations for our breakfast and dinner on Saturday, and as usual, it was delicious. CEA, my group, had a tour guide work everything out and show us around the national park where the nature was so abundant. There were monkeys, sloths, iguanas, all kinds of birds, trees I had never even heard of and beaches… ah, the beaches.
I prefer the public beaches because the restaurants would let us buy a pitcher of daiquiris, we would take them across the street and just layout or play in the waves. There were people surfing, but the waves were smaller than anticipated. I have heard that some waves are too big for inexperienced surfers, but maybe that is in different regions. We came back home on Sunday afternoon completely exhausted. We read up on a small amount of homework, and got ready for our week back at school.
By Monday, the high of being in Costa Rica was gone, we were in school, exhausted from the weekend, and maybe just a little homesick. When I say, we’re living for the weekend, we really are. We had forgotten that we are students and we have midterms this week! Already! The time seems to already fly and I am only half way in, so don’t just live for the weekends while in San Jose, see everything you can and enjoy it for what it is- and also be a good student!