The first thing that comes to mind as I look back on my trip to Costa Rica is all of the vibrant colors. From the bright orange house with a purple painted living room that I stayed in to the colorful fruit filled markets and lively people that roamed them. As outsiders in this vivid new world, we tried new fruits and drank from coconuts cut on fresh by their vendor. I kneeled down to pet the man’s scruffy dog as he sliced off the tops.
I can close my eyes and hear the sounds of the rainforest as I picture myself gliding over the treetops on a zip line. The views were like nothing I had ever seen before: expansive, luscious treetops that stretched until they reached the horizon, the same way the ocean meets the sunset. The sound of thousands of bugs and beetles filled the air around us. Birds and monkeys were never far off, made apparent from their calls to one another.
I felt fully immersed in this lively culture as I practiced my Spanish with my host family and local bartenders. I remember dance and cooking classes where I learned the bachata and diced hearts of palm. I can almost still taste the fresh, sweet plantains and yellow rice that was served with every meal.
The days passed quickly as we hiked to roaring waterfalls and visited coffee farms and animal sanctuaries. We’d put on long pants in the heat of the day, as it was what the local school required as we played with the kids in the yard.
My trip to Costa Rica was a brief one, but in the short time I was there I was still able to steep myself in the bright “Pura Vida” lifestyle. The number one thing I brought home with me (aside from one of my best friends) was the beauty of the culture and land.