This past weekend was filled with a TON of adventures! I went on my first excursion with our CEA group to Manuel Antonio and Bahia Ballena. Manuel Antonio is a small town in Costa Rica that lies along the shores of the Pacific Ocean and is best known for its national park. The beaches at Manuel Antonio are truly some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of beaches being that I’m from California). We also went to Bahia Ballena, which literally translates to “Whale’s Bay.” The reason for its name is that at low tides, if one were to look from an aerial view of the bay, it forms the shape of a whale’s tail. Additionally, many tourists come here for whale watching!

When we first arrived at our hotel in Manuel Antonio, there was a downpour. One minute we were driving through beautiful sunny weather, and before we knew it, it was pouring. Perks of being in a rainforest, right? As soon as we arrived, a few of us ran to the beach (which was literally right across our hotel!) and got in the water. Now, let me tell you that I am definitely not the kind of person who loves rain and loves getting wet. In fact, I’m the complete opposite. I dread rainy weather and one can find me indoors when it is raining. However, Friday was different. We embraced the rain and thunder and lightning and took in the breathtaking beauty of the beach. The incredibly warm water perfectly complemented the cold, stale air. At that moment, as I looked out into the horizon at the pretty oranges and pinks kissing the ocean, as I let the rain soak my skin, I did not care about the fact that it was very likely I would get a cold the next day, I did not care about the wetness of my hair nor did I care about the fact that I was in the water with my clothes completely drenched. All I cared about at that moment was frankly just to enjoy that moment. That is definitely one of my best memories of Costa Rica so far.

The next day, we drove about an hour out to Bahia Ballena. We split into two groups and each group got onto a boat. Our capitán took us about 45 minutes out into the ocean and we were fortunate enough to see tons of dolphins! It was such an amazing sight to see. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see any whales, but the dolphins definitely made up for it. We were then able to see some natural cave formations, and even sail through one of the caves–they were stunning. As we were sailing back to a nearby cove where we would be able to go snorkeling, we saw dozens of pelicans sitting on what is called “Pelican’s Rock.” I felt like I was in Finding Nemo; I had never seen so many pelicans in my life! Finally, we ended our tour with snorkeling near a cove. Let me tell you, it was absolutely AMAZING. I don’t know how to swim (I know, ironic, since I’m from California), so I was definitely scared to be in the middle of the ocean, but seeing the wildlife under the water, my fear went away. It was absolutely staggering seeing all the fish swimming in the water–all of different colors, shapes, and sizes. We weren’t able to see a whole lot, but from what I was able to see, I can tell you that I definitely want to go snorkeling again.

Later that evening, after eating lunch/dinner (linner?), Bhumi and I went jet skiing! It was both of our first times, but it was absolutely incredible! I was pretty scared (again, because I don’t know how to swim) that the jet ski would flip into the ocean, but thankfully we did not have any accidents. It was such a great feeling accelerating out into the deep blue ocean as the sun was setting and darkness began to fill the night sky. I don’t know how Bhumi and I were so brave, but we even switched drivers in the middle of the ocean. I know it sounds like a really stupid thing to do, but I wouldn’t have changed any part of it. Every bit of it was so exhilarating–from changing drivers, to trying to accelerate quickly without losing control, to making a turn that could have been a little too sharp and could have ended with both of us being in the water. The entire time, I felt like I was in the Bollywood movie Dhoom. We definitely enjoyed ourselves!

Finally, we ended the weekend going to Manuel Antonio National Park early the next morning. It was quite a trek, but it was SO worth it. We were able to see white-faced capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, and various other animals. What an adventurous weekend! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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