A couple of Christmas’s ago, I went ona weeklong vacation with my family down to Costa Rica. “Pura Vida” – live free – is the national motto of Costa Rica, and what a life they are able to live down there. In the southern part of Central America, Costa Rica is probably the most democratic, modern, and safest countries in the region. As an American, I did not feel out of place or unsafe at all in the time I was there, and it might have been my favorite vacation I’ve ever taken. I could see myself living there someday. Here are a few of the aspects I enjoyed most.
First and foremost was the warm weather and location. In Costa Rica, no matter the time of year, the temperature hovers between 80 and 90 during the day and 65 to 75 at night (at least year the coasts). This is because the country sits at about 8 degrees latitude north, so very close to the equator. I have always said that this is my ideal weather, and I’m not lying when I say that I would never get tired of it. The country is also in the same time zone as Chicago, and only a 6-7 hour flight away. I could make the adjustment!
The access to the ocean and countless beaches is also a great part of Costa Rica. The country is an isthmus and has both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as borders. We visited the Pacific Coast, where surfing and bodyboarding were the main activities, My sister and I took surf lessons at one of the best surfing beaches in the country, which was such a cool experience. Even if you do not like to surf yourself, you can sit at local beachside bars and most nights watch the talented locals paddle out on their boards and have a little competition among themselves. We did this one night and it was one of the coolest things I’ve done.
Last, but not least, is the unique wildlife of Costa Rica. The national animal of Costa Rica is the sloth, and we saw plenty of these in the national park, but there is so much more going on. There, iguanas roam the streets of neighborhoods like squirrels. Macaws, the rainbow birds, are as abundant as pigeons. And capuchin monkeys run around like rats and try to steal your food whenever they can. The wildlife there is so unusual there compared with what I am used to in the US, and it was probably my favorite thing about Costa Rica.
As I sit here in 10 degree weather in Chicago and think about that trip, please take me back to Costa Rica immediately!