For the VIDA: Pre-Vet tour, we had 6 clinic days and 3 recreation days. I want to talk more about what we did on our recreation days for my 2nd blog post. Costa Rica is a beautiful country, and we visited at the perfect time of year. Our VIDA guide, Pablo, told us that Costa Rica really only has 2 seasons: A wet season and a dry season. We arrived in early January, which is right in between. Some days could get hot if we were standing in the sun for too long, but the breeze was always cool and in the shade the temperature was perfect.
Our first recreation day we went to La Playa Hermosa, which is one of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches. We arrived early in the day, around 10AM. We immediately found some guides that would take us out on a small boat to a good snorkeling area. The water was unbelievably clear, and it actually wasn’t cold. There were tons of fish, and some students even saw sea turtles. This was the day that every single person got sunburned! We all applied sunscreen, but most of us forgot about reapplying after a few hours. We didn’t leave the beach until 5PM!
La Playa Hermosa
Our second recreation day was spent horseback riding and tubing down a river. The horseback riding adventure was short but fun. Many of us hadn’t ever been on a horse, so it was definitely a learning experience. They gave us helmets just in case! We rode the horses down to a school bus that would take us to the start of the tubing area. The guides said it was a Level 2 whitewater river (I had no idea what that meant at the time) but it ended up being really fun. The water was cold, but the sun was out and we were all enjoying ourselves so much that we didn’t even notice. We all slept on the bus back to our hotel that day.
On the bus on the way to Liberia
Our third recreation day was spent at Santa Rosa National Park. We visited a very old estate that had been renovated to be a museum. We were able to learn about the history of Costa Rica, and they had some interesting artifacts on display. After we walked through the display areas, we walked up some outdoor stairs to a lookout point. The climb was long and sweaty, but the view was worth it! We all took turns posing and taking pictures. We even got to see some Capuchin monkeys up close. Our last recreation day was bittersweet because we went straight from the park to the airport hotel. I think we were all grateful for the experience, but we were also ready to go home.
The viewpoint at Santa Rosa National Park
I loved going on this study abroad trip. It was the perfect length of trip for me, and it went to a country that I would not have visited on my own. I would go on this trip again in a heartbeat if I had another year left in school.