Costa Rica, January 2010

Trip Cost $1500, 8 days

When I was about 13 years old, I met a girl who had just moved to Canada from Costa Rica. She would tell me all about it and even teach me bad words in Spanish. I was always fascinated by the idea of a tiny county holding so much beauty. Rain forests, amazing animals, active volcano’s and black sand beaches. 10 years later, I finally went.


I stayed in a resort with a black sand beach with green parrots and fed adorable monkeys every day. The down side is about 5am every morning, the howler monkey’s get really loud. So bring ear plugs or don’t stay in the jungle. While our room was clean, there are a lot of insects and reptiles around. It took me some time to get used to the creepy crawly wildlife, but after a couple of days, I realized it was no big deal. I’m from Alberta, we don’t really have bugs, so I might be extra sensitive.


While black sand beaches are so, so beautiful. You can’t really lay, or walk anywhere the sun is shinning. It burns like white sand never could. Luckily, the country is home to some of the most beautiful white sand beaches as well. Black sand makes for great souvenirs for those who’ve never seen it.


One of the best days of my life was in Costa Rica. One morning, my (now) husband and I, went to a volcanic spa. We started by going up the volcano on horse back. The spa was completely outdoors and natural. You start by going into this steam cave created by the natural hot springs. The steam opens up your pours so you can reap the benefits of the next step. Covering yourself head to toe in mud that contains volcanic ash. Women all over the world pay unbelievable prices to get a small jar of this exact volcanic mud, so get your fill while you’re there and cover everything. Just hang out in the sun until the mud dries and then soak it off in the hot springs. It is so relaxing. This is what all spa’s should be like. Experiencing the beauty and benefits of nature, without aestheticians accusing you of washing your face wrong while they slather you with chemicals that have little (if anything) to do with beauty.


The great thing about staying in Costa Rica is that no matter where you stay, you can always spend a day in Nicaragua. I did. It was a stark contrast between the neighbouring countries. Nicaragua has a completely different political climate leading to completely different problems. In Costa Rica, school, all the way into post secondary is mandatory and free. In Nicaragua, only elementary is considered compulsory, even that, not all children attend. Nicaragua has a military, while Costa Rica abolished there military. These differences are apparent when comparing a major Costa Rican city to a Nicaraguan city. The Nicaragua portion of my trip was the part where I actually noticed I was in a different country and behaved as such. In Costa Rica, I might as well have been in an unusually beautiful part of Canada.


I did have the pleasure of checking out some active volcanos. Ryan and I even went right to the edge of an active one. It was very smokey, and felt posionous. Like chemicals were coating your teeth. Even with that unpleasantness, I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything (including another day at the spa).


I loved Costa Rica, I would recommend it for anyone. Especially those of you who can’t seem to shake the Mexico habit.


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