Living in Costa Rica
When I was 12, my family of 6 lived in Costa Rica for 6 months. It was an amazing opportunity, living in the small coastal town of Playa Hermosa, which in English means beautiful beach, and that it was. The sights were awe-inspiring. The days were hot, and the humidity was high, but watching the sunrise over the mountains, then we looked over the ocean to an amazing sunset and listened to the sound of the howler monkeys howling every night.
We attended school at Lakeside International School, which was inland, near Libera, a major city in northern Costa Rica. There my siblings and I were able to learn Spanish, to the point of being fluent as a 12-year-old, live the culture, and learn how different the world is compared to our bubbled lives back in the US. My family participated in many service projects, rebuilding schools, getting families access to clean water and delivering food and supplies to people in need all over Libera.
When we weren’t in school we would adventure throughout Costa Rica. One of my personal favorites was going to the nearby Cataratas Llanos de Cortés, a beautiful waterfall hidden in the jungle about an hour away from our house. We would go and swim in the pools underneath the falls whenever we had the chance. This is one of many amazing waterfalls that Costa Rica has to offer!
Costa Rica has over 60 volcanos, 6 of them are currently active. My family and I had the chance to visit a few, the most memorable was Volcano Arenal. We stayed a few nights in a jungle resort a mile or so away from it, and during the night, we could see the lava flowing down from the towering cone. We had so many fun adventures while there. We surfed at Tamarindo beach, we ziplined through miles and miles of jungles and canyons in Guachipelin, and explored a Costa Rican Walmart in San Jose, the nation’s capital.
Living in Costa Rica wasn’t all waterfalls and ziplines, however. Living in the jungle brought some “fun” learning experiences with it. For example, we once had a three-foot iguana crawl its way into our pipes. My little brother and sister, (10 years old, and 7 years old) were brushing their teeth, and getting ready for bed. Suddenly it jumped out of the drain on the floor, only to get its back legs stuck. There it hissed and lunged specifically at my little brother, who screamed, leaped over the small dinosaur, and left the room traumatized. To this day, he still shudders at the thought of it. There are many animals that we saw on a daily basis, mainly iguanas, howler monkeys, lots of bugs, and we even had a very friendly frog (we named Kermit) who called our unused bathroom home for the duration of our visit.
There are over 5 million people in the country of Costa Rica. I was lucky enough to call it home for 6 months. Costa Rica isn’t free from the troubles the rest of the world has, but the community is strong, neighbors help each other, and the people are happy. As a kid, it is something that I picked up on, and strive to achieve in my life now. I’m very grateful that my (somewhat crazy) parents brought four kids under 15 to this amazing country and to teach me how to be culturally-sensitive, service-minded and adventure-oriented!
The country saying is Pura Vida, which literally translates to pure life, however for Costa Ricans it means, live the easy life, or go with the flow. I can attest that that is exactly what the people of Costa Rica do. Once we were driving into Libera and we were stopped in traffic, and after about 15 or so minutes, we drove around to see what was holding us back. We found a huge sloth that was laid out on the road. People didn’t try to move it or drive around it, but just sit and watch. Although the sloth in the middle of the road didn’t happen often, other things like that did happen, and that is the norm there, go with the flow!
Experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a beautiful tropical country in the heart of Central America. The remarkable scenery and friendly culture are just a couple of reasons why you need to visit Costa Rica! This experience is one that I often take for granted, but as I grow older I realize how amazing my parents are for bringing our family to Costa Rica. I keep in touch with the friends that I made in those 6 months. As mentioned before, Costa Rica’s saying is “Pura Vida” which means pure life, and when you’re there, you will understand what that means. When you travel with us, you will see how Pura Vida feels, so, be almost as crazy as my parents were, and come visit this amazing country with Legacy Tours!