EF College Break: Costa Rican Adventure Review

Just 9° off the equator, Costa Rica is full of sunshine and tropical beauty. In the past month, Joey and I have had the pleasure of spending ten glorious, adventure-filled days in this paradise. While we encountered snack-stealing monkeys, slumber engulfed sloths, and daring Costa Rican natives; the most excitement we had emanated from zip-lining, bungee jumping, and even white water rafting! Costa Rica treated us very well, to say the least. 

After several hours of flying and airport dwelling, we finally arrived in San Jose around 3pm on the first day of our adventure, where we gathered our bags and took the bus to our first hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Villa Tournon, a quaint, little hotel tucked in between the large businesses and restaurants, located just a few blocks away from the main town square. Little did we know, the first night we were there, happened to be the same night as the Festival De La Luz (Festival of Lights) in downtown San Jose. The festival is a way for the city to celebrate the official beginning of the Christmas season. The white, paper like confetti is thrown all over the city, as a representation of snow. Needless to say, we enjoyed a few drinks and watched the parade; then we celebrated into the wee hours of the morning. Night one in Costa Rica was a success! 

In the next few days of our trip, we had the opportunity to learn about Costa Rica’s wildlife, climate, and natural resources at the INBioparque, as well as take a trip to the Poás Volcano. Unfortunately, when we got to the crater of the volcano, it was much too foggy and rainy to see the crater. It was disappointing, but that just means we’ll have to take another trip there to see it! Unlike the rainy day before, the next day was full of sunshine and kayaking. After a short drive to Lake Arenal, which sits at the base of the ominous Arenal Volcano, we split into pairs and grabbed our paddles. We kayaked for about two hours around the lake and its many coves, and then took a swim in the frigid water! With a race back to the boat dock, the strength in our arms was depleted. So we ended the evening with a relaxing three hours at the Baldi Hot Springs, which is one of the nicest places we have ever been to! It has a resort style atmosphere, but all of the water is naturally heated from the nearby Arenal Volcano. The relaxing evening was definitely necessary for our sore arms!


Over the next two days, we traveled to Monteverde, (best scenic drive, ever!) and visited a local elementary school. The visit to the school was one of the most humbling and charming things I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. The children were all dressed up in costumes and they performed a few traditional folk dances for us. After, we played a few games of soccer, in which, they completely owned us! They are some talented kids. And now that we’ve learned about Costa Rica, met with locals, and enjoyed the hot springs, it was time for some real adventure! Horseback riding! This was actually my first time ever riding a horse and it was awesome! Our group took a scenic, two-hour ride through the hills of Monteverde. Yes, we were all very sore the next day, but it was so worth it! And that was just the beginning of our adventures. Through the last few days of our trip, we zip-lined through the canopy of the rainforest, bungee jumped from a cable car with a 460 ft. drop, AND went white water rafting in class three rapids! Costa Rica exceeded any and all expectations we had before and we truly had the time of our lives! We experienced the thrills and adventure, we were humbled by the locals, and most of all, we learned that life isn’t about the things you own or the amount of money you have, it’s about the experiences and the memories you make along the way! Thank you for an awesome time, Costa Rica. ¡Pura Vida!

To view the video from our trip, click here.

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Dallas, TX