Before I came to Costa Rica, the furthest west I had ever been was Tennessee. Therefore, I had only ever seen the Pacific Ocean in movies, on television, and in photographs. Well, that changed last weekend. Not only did I see the Pacific Ocean in real life, but I stood in it, allowing the water to splash up around me as I took in the view. Now this may not seem like a big deal, in actuality is isn’t… but I love experiencing things for the first time. I’m only 21 years old, and I’ve experienced so little of what the world has to offer. Therefore, whenever I travel, I always excitedly acknowledge the things I’m experiencing for the first time.
To provide a little more background as to what I was doing on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica… My new friends and I (8 of us from my study abroad program and 4 international students from Germany) rented an entire house through AirBnB in Esterillos Oeste. Esterillos Oeste is a very small coastal town, just south of Jacó (a popular weekend destination for young adults in Costa Rica). The house sat on top of a hill, providing an incredible view of the ocean. The hike up and down the hill each day was not fun, but it was definitely worth it.
I had a truly relaxing weekend. We enjoyed the hammocks and the balcony that overlooked the ocean. We had two delicious dinners in precious small town restaurants (each had roofs, but were not covered by walls on all sides). We walked along the beach and went in the ocean (as a New Englander, I could not believe how warm the ocean water was). And most importantly, throughout the whole weekend, we had the sweetest little host! The caretaker of the house had a dog who accompanied my friends and I everywhere. I mean everywhere. She even sat under my seat while eating dinner at a restaurant one night. I felt so honored.
In addition to our little doggy host, the town had so many other animals. For the first time in my life I saw a whale (off in the distance), an iguana, and parrots! Of course, I have seen these animals in captivity before, but never in their natural habitat. It was so interesting to see dogs chasing colorful parrots through the streets, rather than squirrels!
I had such a wonderful weekend in the quiet, little, coastal town. I have quickly realized that the cities do not embody the true Costa Rica. The true Costa Rica is made up of the mountains, the volcanoes, the rain forests, the coastlines, the rivers, the animals, and the people. I look forward to experiencing these places in the weeks ahead and, of course, I look forward to sharing these experiences with you.