6 x 37: Costa Rica Trip!

Travel: February 17, 2015, I traveled solo to spend four days and four nights in Costa Rica. For my entire life, I dreamt to travel solo internationally. Okay, I admit, a dear friend met me at the airport in San Jose for our return flight; otherwise, I roamed completely on my own. I needed a learning trip, the first of my 40×40 Challenge; Costa Rica provided just that.  The trip also marked the end of my duties as the Independent Executrix of the Rowell estate, and the beginning of my new life of travel.

Reason: Have you ever traveled solo internationally? I think this counts as a solo trip, especially since I left with hardly any plans and simply figured it out as I went along. I enjoy the stories of many well-traveled friends, many with whom I wish to travel in the future. I learned a ton on this first, solo-travel experience. Though I plan many of my trips to take place with others, I now own the confidence to go solo when the opportunity presents itself.

Imagine: Spontaneity, and a light backpack, defined this trip. Initially, San Jose frightened me, but nearly all the world presents something frightening. In the case of San Jose, I suppose my fear arose from the apparent lack of noise reduction laws and seemingly less safe public areas. I realized mostly appearances make my place in Houston, Texas seem any safer. This helped me learn to get over it, quickly.

People: During this journey, I gained perspective on my “hard life” and long commute. I witnessed the people of Costa Rica experience both, where they commonly drive or ride over an hour to work in La Fortuna and other tourist areas. As to how they looked at me, most loved me, many seemed unsure how to handle my solo travel, but all shared one thing in common. They accepted well-deserved money in well-deserved ways, or they exhibited a wonderful attitude about life (which helped me more than the service they provided), or both.

The 40-Second Summary

  • I spent my first night in San Jose at El Presidente hotel on Avinada Central, which I previously mentioned finding it both frightening and noisy.
  • A captivating ride through the mountains brought me to La Fortuna, where I hiked the steep La Fortuna waterfalls with my pack.
  • Of course, a trip to Costa Rica must include a rainforest zip-line adventure, so I enjoyed mine at Arenal Paraiso. I also stayed there in a private bungalow and soaked in thermal springs, all while watching rainbow macaws over the Arenal River and unending lush rainforest.
  • I mountain biked a 36 km (22 mile) trail around Arenal Volcano, seeing it uncovered for the first time in months, according to locals. As I coasted downhill at the end of the ride, I stopped and drank coconut milk from a man who watched my uphill climb begin hours before. He served it to me straight from the coconut. Unreal!
  • Then, I decided to stay in a colorful place called Arenal Rejbar and ate dinner in a restaurant filled with flags from around the world (Finland hung next to the U.S., AWESOME!).
  • I took an opportunity to join a rafting tour down the White Cliffs River in pouring rain to see howler monkeys, yellow and black toucans, warblers, iguanas, crocodiles, and targons.
  • Finally, after a beautiful flight to San Jose, I stayed at a the Casa 69 B&B on Calle 69. I enjoyed watching “This is The End” in subtitles with the innkeeper and two calico kittens, resting from a great adventure.

The Talking Gallery

! I also met many wonderful people traveling from other countries. They spanned both young and old from countries including Germany, Canada, Russia, and Peru. A nice Swede woman, who only spoke Spanish, told me all about her son who discovered a butterfly. She even wanted me to visit her someday, and we hugged in the taxi we shared, but alas I failed to catch her name, or frankly where she lived. Fluent Spanish stills lies in my future, but each step I take like this one gets me more excited!

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