Adventures in Costa Rica

By Gordon House, junior


The wonderful country of Costa Rica harbors beautiful cloud rain forests and animal life like that of none other. For many years, I had been interested in traveling to this country, hearing from friends and relatives about how great their travel experiences were.

As someone who had previously never been to a country in Central or South America, my interests were peaked last school year when my mom brought news of a vacation to Costa Rica during the 2015 holiday break. I was excited, giddy if you will, and come the school year, I was also in dire need of a tan. My expectations were high, but I didn’t know what to expect. Something like Hawaii, but a little more exciting… I had no idea.

Costa Rica map

Suddenly, it’s early December, I’m a fresh 17-year-old who cannot comprehend how his junior year is flying by so quickly and how there is only one more year until he can be apprehended for his actions (lol). It’s the week leading up to my family vacation, and I’m lacking melanin like I live is some sorta cave. So, basically I’m excited for sunburns and aloe vera.

Landing in Costa Rica the hot and humid climate hit me like a bag of bricks as soon as I stepped off of the plane. The bustling city life of San Jose was too much. But it kept any driving we had on our schedule all that more exciting. With our sketch rental car, my parents and brother and I made our way towards our first destination, The Arenal Volcano. My god was it nice there. Higher elevation is a must for anyone who is traveling there. Remember that. The Volcano resort at which we spent our first 3 nights was beautiful, full of the colorful birds and reptiles and natural hot springs. The night life in the city of La Fortuna was just as beautiful with the culture of Costa Rica shining and the delicious food on display for my stomach. We ended our stay in La Fortuna with a kick-ass zip lining excursion through the friendly people at Sky-Trek zip lining.


Traveling down south to Ojochal, I found the heat and humidity to be undeniably unnoticeable. And if you think staying at the beach helps, you’re so so so wrong. I was ignorant enough to believe that approximately five minutes before jumping into the salt bath known as the Pacific Ocean down there. Hoping to escape the sweaty and muggy weather the ocean was no such escape and after getting stung on the foot by a fat jellyfish, I grew to hate the ocean there. My escapes were the beautiful hikes and waterfall basins full of cool fresh water. And Ice cream. My self admitted addiction of Ice cream was seemingly enhanced in the tropical climate and my parents acting as the ultimate enablers did not help. I’m not mad tho. So if you’re wondering, don’t stay on the beach for too long, and if you do, get a house with full air conditioning.


Finally making it up the coastal mountains and surviving the extreme highways, we made it to Hotel Mango Valley, near Grecia. The beautiful hills and valleys of this coffee plantation land was jaw dropping. Being higher elevation, we switched the 90 degree 90% humidity with beautiful days of 75 degrees and relatively no humidity. The cloud rain forests and natural parks were inspiring and the way this country takes care of their ecosystem and wildlife is absolutely inspiring. Spending our last three nights visiting all the rain forests, waterfalls and zoos we could, I was exhausted but fulfilled.

hotel mango valley

At the end of my trip, I was feeling homesick; I wanted nothing more than to feel the cold on my face and bundle up in sweaters and sweatpants near a fire. I had missed the holiday season and spirit but I wasn’t mad. I missed my friends and family and my girlfriend for two weeks. I was ready to come home. All the food and hikes and waterfalls and animals and landscapes were utterly beautiful. I had even added some tone to my skin! ​​I had made the most of my trip to this foreign country and was impressed with the beauty of their people and their landscapes. Above all, the people of Costa Rica take such good care of what makes them special, and I appreciate that so much.

Thanks for listening to my travel journal blog or whatever you would call it.

Until next time,

Gordon House


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