While studying abroad it can be easy to become so wrapped up in the nightlife and popular tourist attractions during your free time.  But sometimes some of the greatest experiences occur when you take the time to discover nature, because it contains the very essence of a country.  I had the opportunity to travel to Puerto Viejo with my Alternative Health Approaches class.  The main activity was our hike through the jungle to visit an indigenous BriBri family.

The hike was incredible.  Our guide told us about many of the plants and trees and how the indigenous people use them.  He told us about the importance of taking care of mother earth.  The BriBri people believe that nature provides many things for us to use, but we must always remember not to take too much and to always give back.  Also, during our hike up the mountain we were able to see different insects and animals such as ants, a mother and baby sloth, and a toucan.  At the top of the mountain the view was absolutely breathtaking!  It was also very peaceful and quite in the jungle.  The hike down was an adventure as well because it was slightly muddy, but I had a blast jumping from place to place trying to stay on my feet.

If hiking is something you enjoy, I highly suggest taking a guided hike through the jungle whether it be to visit the BriBri tribe or somewhere else.  Even if you don’t really enjoy being out in nature I recommend experiencing the nature of Costa Rica at least once during your visit.  Learning about and witnessing the ecosystems of this beautiful land are two things I believe help to make the study abroad experience complete.  The plants and animals in Costa Rica are unique and beautiful!

Soaking in the sun on the beach and enjoying the nightlife vibe are the things that nearly every study abroad student in Costa Rica wants to experience, but the country has so much more to offer!  Immersing yourself in the culture of the country in every way you can will help you get the most out of your study abroad experience.  This includes experiencing and appreciating nature and its importance to your host country in the past, present, and future.


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