Costa Rica–cool place to visit and my first big international trip

Originally published June 14, 2017, on

This past week, my mom and dad treated me to an awesome adventure. It was a gift for graduating from high school. I wanted to go somewhere in a foreign country and somewhere by the ocean so we decided on Costa Rica. My dad had heard that it was a cool place and not as touristy as some places like Mexico. So, we got our passports updated and made our plans. The plane rides were kind of painful because we had long layovers getting down there and the seats were uncomfortable. But, we made it without any issues. As we got there, we took a shuttle bus to our rental car place and picked up a car. Then, we hit the road. Speaking of the road, it was pretty beat up and had tons of potholes. It was a very bumpy ride. It was cool though because we were in the real back country of Costa Rica. There were people riding bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, horses and just walking along the road. You never knew what you were going to see around the next bend. There were also dogs running free wherever you looked and chickens roaming around outside of coops. There were also these very cool looking cows all over the place and horses just tied up on the side of the road. It was very different than the USA where everything is behind fences and people all drive cars even on short errands. Costa Ricans are probably healthier because they get lots of exercise. Anyway, we made it to the house that we rented for our stay. It was really cool. It wasn’t real big but had nice wood ceilings and a great courtyard with hammocks and a swimming pool. My favorite thing was that it was very close to the beach and we could just walk to everything that we needed. It was fun to just be outside and not reliant on a car. I loved all of the trees and you could watch these cool little crabs crawling all over the place in the evening. They had vibrant orange legs, bright purple claws, black bodies and yellow eyes. They looked like little Halloween decorations. Plus, they kept sneaking into our house. We would just be laying on the couch, would look down and there was a crab staring up at you. It was kind of funny.
The beach was awesome. It went on forever and the sand was perfect and clean. My dad liked to dig up crabs that had buried themselves in the sand after the tide had passed. All of a sudden, he would jump down and scoop up two handfuls of sand and there would be a crab sitting in the middle of his hands. I’m not sure how he knew where to dig because it all just looked the same to me. My dad is like a little kid sometimes. He gets excited about little things in nature. Every time any deer come in our backyard, he has to go watch them. I think the ocean animals have the same effect. I love that about him.
So, anyway, it was fun to swim in the ocean. It was really salty and the waves kept pounding you so it was hard to stay out there too long but I loved being around it. The waves have a soothing rhythm. It helps my anxiety. In fact, I really didn’t feel hardly any anxiety the whole time we were there which is pretty amazing. My OCD never was problematic in spite of all the changes on the trip. That’s pretty cool.
The next day, we decided to go on a zip line adventure. This turned out to be one of my favorite things on the trip. It was in the mountains away from the ocean so we all rode in the back of this truck on another really bad road, full of steep climbs, overhanging trees and huge potholes. That was probably the most dangerous part of the day. It’s a good thing we all had our helmets on for the zip lines because they came in handy on the way there. It was like an adventure by itself. We heard some howler monkeys in the trees but couldn’t see them. The jungle canopy was very dense. We made it to the top and got our final instructions and then it was time to go for it. I looked down at the zip line cable as it disappeared into the jungle and I’ll have to admit that I was pretty nervous. But, it was too late to back out and I really wanted to do it so I just manned up and went for it. The first time, one of the guides rode with me. That helped calm my nerves. It was so awesome!
It felt like I was flying through the air like a bird. Actually, part of me just wanted to let go and just hang by the harness but I couldn’t make myself do it. At one of the sections, my guide asked if I wanted to go upside down. I said no but I should have tried it. My dad did it and said it felt surreal. Maybe next time. I definitely could do this again some day. I loved overcoming my fear and doing something completely new and exciting. How plain would life be if we never tried new things? I love having the opportunities that I have been blessed with to be able to go on adventures and to experience different things. Thanks mom and dad.
The next few days in Costa Rica were spent just relaxing and hanging out. My dad took a surf lesson and he spent a few hours practicing what he learned. My mom and I had some good moments walking along the beach. I loved just being out there even though I didn’t feel like swimming any more. We watched the sunsets and took some pictures and just enjoyed nature. Oh, the spoiler each night was that the day had to end.
Overall, I loved the trip. It was so beautiful there. I liked the people and the food. I didn’t have to branch out too much from my usual diet much to my dad’s dismay. Maybe next trip, Dad.

Aaron. International traveler. Zip line champion. Lover of oceans.

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