Summer ’17 was one that I’ll always remember, full of good times with good people, and when I think back to my favorite part, I think of Costa Rica with my best friends.
Costa Rica was incredibly beautiful, so tropical and relatively untouched. We landed in Liberia after a 3 1/2 hour flight, but had another hour drive to the western coast. This proved to be quite the issue since we had to fit the luggage of 7 girls plus 9 boxes of other supplies into 2 cars! Because we were staying at a friend’s house, it was apparently cheaper and easier to buy food and other supplies like toilet paper in America and bring it with us to Costa Rica than buy it locally. I soon understood why when all the gallons of milks in the local grocery stores were spoiled.
It always interests me to see how different it is to drive in other countries, and driving in Costa Rica was absolute craziness. I don’t think there is a single traffic light in the entire country! You swerve around ATVs, bikes, and people , passing cars by driving into the opposite lane. I didn’t see many two-lane road either, come to think of it.
Though every inch of me was sweating squished in the back of a packed mini-van, mostly fearing for my life, I was incredibly excited for the coming days: zip-lining, horseback riding, sailing, and relaxing at the beach with my friends.
The days were packed with adventure, but some moments stick out, mostly for good reasons.
The first day we went on a hiking trail, which you could enter near a resort. The hike was fun, but so humid and hot. We all had our hair down at first, but gradually we each put our hair up because it, as well as our clothes, was drenched in sweat. As we walked, we sang along to our favorite songs: “American Pie”, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and of course, Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb”. Karaoke became something we attempted every night.
The next day we went to a beach in Potrero Bay, to SUP and tan and just have some fun in the waves. We stayed out there all day, even kayaking to nearby beaches. Let me just say, some of those currents are strong. The beach we found may not have been worth the two hour kayak adventure, but I appreciated the workout.
That beach day was one of my favorites, and I vividly remember standing in the ocean with the sun setting in the background, an ombré of pinks and oranges, and suddenly a massive wave came. As the wave crashed, a huge school of fish leapt out of the waters around us. I laughed in disbelief, as even the fish were enjoying the waves here.
By our third day, the final two cronies joined us to experience the pura vida. While it was fun and relaxing, I had a pretty unlucky day. For lunch we decided to cook a pizza in the oven, and after a draining morning in the sun, we were starving. The instant the pizza was out of the oven, we began to devour each piece. I unfortunately and hilariously burned my lip on the pizza, and was blessed with a nice, big blister.
Our nights were chill, and we filled our time with movies, karaoke, and my personal favorite: the card game Egyptian Rat Screw. Exhausted and stuffed with cookies and trail-mix, we crowded around the small table to play the game. There was lots of yelling and slamming the table — It got very intense.
The next day was a big day, filled with zip-lining, horseback riding, and tubing. If you ever go to Costa Rica (or anyplace in South America), you must go zip-lining — the skyscraper trees, the great ravines, and bustling rivers give the experience an extraordinary flair.
After zip-lining we immediately went horseback riding. The horses were pretty cute, but smelled worse than sewage. We took the horses along a trail that led to the river, and a rider-less baby horse decided to tag along. This guy was a trouble-maker and would derail many of the other horses, whether it was picking a fight, going off the trail, or just holding up the line. The funniest part of the experience I captured in the picture below. Behind Taylor is Carmella, pointing disgustingly at her leg. Carmella was in the middle of telling us how the baby horse ran by her and got poop on her leg. It still cracks me up.
Finally, upon arriving at the river, we went tubing. I expected it to be chill, like floating the Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas, because the river was classified as a class 1 rapid.
I was very wrong.
Looking back, I should’ve been tipped off by the fact that they made us wear helmets. The river could go fast and the drops were big; it was also easy to get stuck and left behind. By the end, I was exhausted, sore, and pretty terrified of going white water rafting the following day.
Everyone told me white water rafting was their favorite activity that they’ve ever done in Costa Rica, but I was still skeptical. The last thing I wanted to do was fall out of the raft into the freezing water. It rained the morning of, which only augmented my fear of strong currents and big drops. But, once we got on the river, it was extremely fun, and the water wasn’t as cold as it seemed. Luckily my raft didn’t flip at all, while the second raft my friends were in was not as lucky. After surviving a 10 foot drop, we felt victorious, and even spotted a little mono de cara blanca in the trees.
That night, we decided to start a bonfire on the beach, roasting s’mores and enjoying the sounds of the crashing waves. I looked across the bay and, for first time, took a true look at the Costa Rican night sky. It looked as though God painted the sky with glitter because of how the stars glimmered. It was one of those moments that you wanted to last forever, but soon the fire died and tired eyes led us all back to our rooms to rest for our final day in paradise.
On our last day, we went ATV riding in the morning and sailing on a catamaran in the afternoon. I got a lot of flack because I didn’t know how to pronounce catamaran (@nidhi and carmella). We were very excited for the boat, with hopes of tanning and snorkeling to our hearts delight, but then the storm clouds rolled in, and began raining on our dreams… and us. With nothing to protect us, we shivered under the rainy, sunless sky. After 20 minutes the rain stopped, but the sun didn’t seem like it would be coming out anytime soon. Moral was a bit low, so we tried to dry up and enjoy the our last few hours. But then, we had some surprise visitors to bring back the cheer: Dolphins.
Nothing bring back excitement like seeing a dolphin, which was our sole goal aboard the catamaran. The dolphins jumped and whistled, chasing the boat all the way to our snorkeling destination, where we were greeted with little manta rays that would randomly jump out of the ocean. We went snorkeling in the bay, and found some pufferfish and starfish, as well as an eel which we made sure to stay very far from. Though the excursion started off rough, we ended up loving the entire experience.
I don’t remember much of our last night except that it was bittersweet. I packed my bags and we all cuddled up to watch one final movie together. When morning came and it was time to go, we all cried. It seemed silly, because we would obviously see each other again before college, but it truly felt like the end of a high school era. Our days together were numbered and soon we would only see each other over holidays, if even that. We were always friends without much effort — we all seemed to click since day 1; however, our trip to Costa Rica really cemented the fact that no matter how far, how long it goes between seeing each other, we would always be best friends, and always be a part of each others lives.
Long live the cronies.
A special shout out to my best friends: Nidhi, Carmella, Loren, Natalie, Taylor, Kathryn, and Kallie. You guys are the sweetest people in the world, and always have my back. I know I can always call you with the best news ever or the absolute worst. I love you cronies tons.
Also shout out to the resident stray cat Splotchy, who was a real trooper when we played “soccer” in the front gate and always greeted us with a meow. Hope you’re feasting on some cockroaches and centipedes right now.