Wow, what a day! We saw so many things and learned a lot.
Our morning started off at 5:30 am. We got on our bus that was waiting for us just outside the hotel. Our first stop was the coffee plantation for a tour and breakfast. As usual, breakfast was great, and we got to go on a tour of how coffee beans are made. You wouldn't believe how long it takes to make coffee! The tour was really cool and the coffee smelled great.
Our next stop was the volcano. It is one of five active volcanoes on the island. It even had a sign saying, "in case of an eruption... stay calm." When we arrived, we had to walk up to this viewing area. When we got to the top, it was the prettiest thing I have ever seen. There was smoke arising from the volcano, and then when it cleared, you could see the crater. We decided to walk to another crater which had turned into a lake. The walk was pretty steep, and you were encaged by branches and leaves. I nearly passed out! We saw some wildlife along the way. When we got to the top, there was a beautiful lake. The landscape in Costa Rica is much greener than it is back home, and the air is fresh. After taking a couple of photos, we decided to walk back down to our bus to go to our last stop.
Along the ride to our next stop, we stopped for some local strawberries. They were delicious! We also got to try some Costa Rican candy. (I didn't like it.)
When we got to our next stop, it was a really cool rainforest resort with animals, waterfalls, and plants. We walked through and saw all of these really pretty butterflies, birds, and animals. Most of us got to hold a toucan! We got to go into a butterfly enclosure where the butterflies flew freely around. Some of them landed on us, and I got to take some really close-up pictures.
After that, we went on the waterfall tour. It, as well, had a lot of steep walking. The first waterfall was so cool. You could feel the mist hit your face. We kept walking to go see the other five waterfalls. There were a lot of stairs to climb in between waterfalls! At that point, we were all hungry so we got lunch at the resort.
Every day in the rainforest it rains, so we had to run onto the bus. We drove back to the hotel and while on the bus, i think everybody took a snooze. When we got back to our hotel, most of us swam. We got to Facetime with Jojo, and it was really nice to see her. We went to Opa! for dinner and had sandwiches and smoothies.
What another great day -- can't believe we only have two days left! I'm so grateful that I was able to come on this trip, and spend time with my friends.
Today started off like the last two days; we woke up early to drive to our next adventure. But today was a bit different. Everyone unintentionally woke up ten minutes before we had to leave. Everyone was really tired from yesterday's activities. When I walked into the lobby where half of us were, I saw a lot of exhausted faces, which validated my own feeling of tiredness. None of us was ready for what the day had in store for us.
Our third tour guide this week stepped though the door; it was time to go. Everyone squashed into the bus (slightly smaller than yesterday's). Our tour guide started talking immediately, and would never stop. Ever. Now this was not a problem because he gave us a lot of detailed and cool information.
Our first stop on today's adventure was breakfast. I loved the iced tea there, and I indulged immensely in it. Of course I also had the Costa Rican classic: el arroz y frijoles (rice and beans). After, we all went to see our first crocodile. Yes, a crocodile. We walked along the long bridge, cars zooming by, and there they were all 35 of them laying in the water quietly menacing. The closest I thought I would get to a crocodile.
Boy was I wrong. We took a boat tour along the Tarcoles River, and we got up really close. Right up to the side of the boat. At first I was freaking out. A real live crocodile, the ones that you see on TV eating a huge animal in Africa. But then I calmed down. The croc had not moved a muscle since we moved close to it. Seeing it in person is like nothing on TV or in pictures. Its long scaly body, fat with muscles, was ready to rip anything to shreds. Along the boat tour we saw many different animals, birds, reptiles, and some of the over 500 different kinds of trees.
Next we went to the long awaited beach (about 45 minutes away). The beach I had been wishing for since day one of our trip when I felt the immense heat that Costa Rica had to offer. As soon as we were ready, everyone hopped into the ocean. The water felt really soothing after the intenseness of the crocs. I got my first taste of salty water when a small wave crashed around me. Everyone had a wonderful time at this black sand beach, but it was nothing compared to the beach that was waiting for us after our solid lunch at the resort's buffet.
The beach in question was a white sand beach and even though it was a only a mile away, it was completely different. It was a very beautiful spot to lay down and relax, but we all decided to swim. After applying copious amounts of sunscreen, we all jumped in. The skies were filled with classic Costa Rican cloud cover, which always leads to rain. But not today. As we swam the waves got bigger and bigger. We soon discovered it was really fun to jump over them. This game got a lot more fun when the waves picked up. I looked up from the water and looked back to where Ms. Roxy was sitting. She had her slightly scared face, so I went over. "Can you guys come in a bit? The waves are getting a little too big," she said. It was amazing fun. I could have done that all day, but we had to get back to the hotel in time to have dinner.
After the one-and-a-half hour ride we were back at the hotel -- back from our last adventure in Costa Rica. After grabbing a bite to eat for dinner, we all headed back to our rooms to get ready for our next long day of travel. When I think about going home tomorrow, I can't help but think back on how different the culture is, and yet how the people have the same basic goals and desires as we do. In America we think about money and time a lot, but in Costa Rica they think about happiness. As they say, Pura Vida, which means pure life. We and Costa Ricans are fundamentally the same: we want to have a good family, a nice job, and be happy. We just approach those goals in different ways. I thought it was very interesting -- the differences and the similarities. I can't wait to come back again.
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