Seeing Costa Rica: Playa Hermosa

When I first thought about living in a new country for an entire two years, especially a smaller place like Costa Rica, it seemed like it would be oh-so-easy to see and explore every region, city, and pueblo.

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Well I was WRONG.

Between community work, meetings, trainings, and out-of-country vacations, it’s actually been a little difficult to visit all the places in Costa Rica that I have on my list.

As PCVs, we accrue 2 vacation days per month and are allowed 3 OOC nights (out of community) per month. Those 5 days might sound like a lot but the the majority of us save vacation days for trips home or with family and friends and try to use those OOC nights to scramble around the country when we’re not working in our communities.

And, with basically having one foot in Panama, it makes it extra difficult for me to get to places that aren’t in my region, like northern Costa Rica where the heat is hawt and the beaches are bumpin’. Continue reading

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Hiking Cerro Chirripó

Last week I stood on the top of Cerro Chirripó, the highest point in Costa Rica.

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It. was. incredible.

At 12,530 feet, Chirripó is the highest mountain in Costa Rica, the 5th highest peak in Central America, and the 37th most prominent peak in the world.

Just a few behind Mount Everest…

Well more than a few but they’re on the same list which, yeah…I know.

Cerro Chirripó is located in Chirripó National Park in the southern region of Costa Rica. The main trailhead to the park is located in a small town called San Geraldo de Rivas, just 1.5 hours from the city of San Isidro and about 7-8 hours from my site.

I swear everything is 7-8 hours from my site.

For the past six months, I, along with a group of seven other volunteers, have been planning, anticipating, and training vigorously (ha just kiddin’) in preparation for our hike up Chirripó.

Between reserving park permits for eight people, overnight lodging at the bottom and top of the mountain, and pulling together the few pieces of cold-weather clothing I brought to this country, this three-day overnight trip took a bit of planning.

But that didn’t stop us, even though the days leading up to our departure were wet, rainy, and cold.

Our basic itinerary went something like this:
Day 1: Stay at the bottom of the mountain near the park entrance at Casa Mariposa
Day 2: Begin hike at 5:00am and arrive at Crestones Base Camp (11,155ft), 3.4 miles from the summit of mountain, at 12:30pm.
Day 3: Begin hike at 3:00am to arrive at the summit for sunrise at 5:00am. Leave Crestones Base Camp at 8:30am and arrive back at Casa Mariposa at 1pm. Continue reading

Visiting La Casona: An Indigenous Reserve

In less than one week, one of my closest PCV friends Evan will complete his service and leave Costa Rica.

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It’s a bittersweet thing. On one hand, I’m happy and excited for him to start the next chapter of his life and on the other, I’m selfishly sad to be losing a nearby neighbor and friend.

But as we say goodbye to Tico 29, the group of volunteers that will COS (close of service) in May, we welcome in a new group of Community Economic Development Volunteers, Tico 33, that will graduate from PST (pre-service training) and head to their respective sites in mid-May.

They have some big shoes to fill.

Shoes like Evan’s, a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) volunteer who spent the last two years working and living in the indigenous reserve La Casona.

La Casona is an indigenous community located in southern Costa Rica that was established just 2 generations ago by the father of the current cacique (chief). Continue reading

Nicaragua Itinerary: A Perfect 2 Weeks

Last month, I went to Nicaragua.

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Granada at sunset.

It was increíble. .

It had everything I love when I’m traveling–colorful and historic cities, vibrant markets flowing with local fruits and vegetables, kind and welcoming people, budget-traveler friendliness, the mountains (well volcanoes) and the beach.

What more do ya need?

In just two weeks, I visited three cities, swam in two lakes, escaped to an island, hiked to the top of a volcano, and even made it to the ocean.

Nicaragua, a country booming with character, history, and landscapes for days, will have you wondering which part of the country you should explore on your next vacation.

Well wonder no more. Because I’ve got you covered. If you’re looking to… Continue reading

El Juego de Los Diablitos

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The Game of the Little Devils

If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably saw that I did something a little different to celebrate the new year this year.

To bring in 2017, I went to El Juego de los Diablitos festival in Boruca. Continue reading

Seeing Costa Rica: Puerto Jiménez (and all about Tech Week)

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When Peace Corps volunteers arrive in their host country, the first 3 months are spent in pre-service training. Every program and country is different but the training includes Peace Corps and program specific classes, safety, language, and cultural training. Usually, volunteers spend these first months living with a host family to ease the integration process and make moving to site somewhat easier.  The training in general is kind of like taking the dip-the-toe-in-the-water-first approach to swimming but the twist is after you put your toe in you head straight to the deep end all by yourself. No noodle or nothin’.

The most helpful and relevant thing (en mi opinión) that we did during training was Tech Week. Halfway through training we were sent in groups to visit a current serving volunteer and experience the real deal. On the ground. Hands in the dirt. Experiencing the corps to the core.

Continue reading

Seeing Costa Rica: Poás Volcano

 

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It’s crazy to think that I’ve already been in Costa Rica for a month. Time has seriously flown by since arriving in San José on February 22. While I am excited to finish pre-service training and start my official Peace Corps service, I’m trying to savor the time that I have left in Concepción, San Isidro with my host family and fellow PCTs (Peace Corps Trainees).

Over the past 2 weeks, I finally got the chance to explore some of this beautiful country. Two weekends ago, my host family took me to Poás Volcano National Park. It. I had never seen a volcano before so you can imagine my excitement when they asked me if I wanted to go (¡ahhh Sí, por supuesto!).

Continue reading