Exploring Cartago

As promised, here is part two of the photos I took in Cartago. If you missed part one, click here to read about my first time seeing a volcano!

After visiting Irazú Volcano, we explored various other parts of Cartago, taking in its beautiful views and learning about its history. Here are some photos from our adventures:

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Basilica de Los Angeles
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I’m the one sitting on the ground in the white shirt, fully aware this was being taken, but too lazy to turn around. 
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Got Chocolate?

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We later stopped for lunch at La Casona del Cafetal, where the food was subpar but the views were beautiful. Also, I had coffee… like without a flavor… normal, adult coffee… we will ignore the fact that I added three packets of sugar to that tiny little mug….

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And the highlight of my day? These little raggedy friends… especially the reddish-brown one 🙂

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It Was a “Lava-ly” Day

Before I begin, I need to give credit where credit is due. I did not come up with this pun myself… I owe it all to our tour guide who said this multiple times throughout the morning.

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This past Saturday I went on a grueling hike (11,000 feet up)….just kidding. This past Saturday I took a bus to the craters of Irazú Volcano in Cartago, Costa Rica. It was my first time seeing a volcano, so naturally I was overly excited. Irazú is the highest of Costa Rica’s 5 active volcanos. The volcano has three craters; the widest is from its oldest eruption and the deepest is from its most recent in 1994.

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When I first stepped off the bus, I was pleasantly surprised by the chill in the air. After experiencing so many humid days in Heredia, the cool air was quite refreshing. The view was beautiful, mountains all around and craters below… it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Moments later, we were standing in the very crater we had looked down upon, walking on top of volcanic rock as if it were a normal, everyday experience. Like always, I’ve included some photos, but  I would highly recommend traveling here if you ever get the opportunity.

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I’ve only see so little, but I can’t get over how naturally beautiful this country is.

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There was more to this day, but I worry that people get bored when I write too much… therefore to find out what I did after visiting the volcano, stay tuned for my next post!

 

 

My First Time in the Pacific Ocean!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

A Glimpse of San Jose

*This post is a bit overdue, but better late than never I suppose!

Last week the coordinators of my study abroad program took myself and the other students on a short walking tour of San Jose. I didn’t see a whole lot, since this tour was intended to show us how to travel between Heredia and San Jose using public transportation (it’s only about a 30 minute ride, maybe less, by bus or train). Of course, we didn’t leave without seeing a few things in the city’s center.

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Honestly, I don’t know what this building is used for. I just thought it looked nice and I like the way the Costa Rican flags are wrapped around the balconies for independence day (Sept. 15)
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The Guanacaste tree is the national tree of Costa Rica. 
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This isn’t the first time I’ve come across a tribute to John Lennon while traveling in a foreign country (click here to see the vlog I made while traveling around Prague).
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National Museum of Costa Rica

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Although my visit to San Jose was cut short when we realized we were going to be late to class, I’m sure I will return soon. I definitely want to spend more time walking through the parks. There are a lot of beautiful trees and flowers planted throughout the parks and I didn’t have time to stop and take pretty photos (I would have liked to take many)!

I hope you enjoyed the photos! Since my last two posts were quite lengthy and consisted of few photos, I thought I would keep this one light and easy to look at.