Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Hot Days and Glowing Waves

My first travel weekend was unlike anything I could have ever even dreamt up.

It was our first real “free” weekend without any orientation schedules or previously planned details. It was the first weekend after our extremely slow and tiring week of classes in Spanish. That first weekend was a boon for everyone.


Most of our school schedules worked out well by having both Mondays and Fridays free. This has extended every weekend so there is more free time than school time. So the first Friday without classes, a group of us decided to go on our first weekend trip, to Nicoya, then onto Nosara. There was a festival being held in Guanacaste celebrating its annexation from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. We arrived early to our bus station in San Jose, and sat there for a while trying to sort through our disorientation.
Finally figuring out which bus was ours, we ambled over and stepped onto the bus at exactly 7:30. The bus then proceeded to leave the station a minute later (no tico time with bus schedules) and we all looked at each other startled by the realization that we could very well have missed our first bus, making the trip go a completely different way. But that was the past, and we were now on our way to the first stop in our travels of getting to know Costa Rica. But man, did we feel every minute of that six-hour long bus ride. Especially when the cute toddler in front us suddenly became not so cute as she laid there in wait, watching and waiting for us to close our eyes to bark, “Hola!” and wake us up yet again. 360 hot and sweaty minutes later we got off the bus in Nicoya. Falsely believing that the weather could not get any more miserable, we made our way into the center of town for the festivities, which consisted of endless amounts of street food, and performances under direct sunlight and shoved between masses of people. After that first unbearably hot day in Nicoya we were all beyond ready to get to the beach in Nosara

We took this old school bus for our 2-hour long ride from Nicoya to Nosara, which was the bumpiest ride of my life, but also the most enjoyable due to the magnificent scenery, which consisted of every shade of green imaginable. All of the sudden the landscape transformed into white sand and blue water, and there was the sign for our hostel, which we spotted by accident. We then walked down the road passing signs to an enchanted forest and a sugar shack, and stopped briefly for a tree full of monkeys. At night we made our way down to the beach with a group of hostel buddies for some star gazing, and simply stood around admiring the glorious sky on that clear night. This was combined with wandering into the ocean and having phosphorescent plankton glow around our ankles every time a wave crashed in. The next morning we had our first brunch in Costa Rica, feasting on bagels and waffles, which we hadn’t had in three weeks, making Nosara seem even sweeter. Finally for our last adventure, we walked to the end of the beach, and into part of the forest, where a stairway spilled out onto an empty cove.

Nosara was our first destination, and we were infatuated, promising to return later in the semester. But as soon as our bus pulled away, we all knew that was only the first stop on a long list of places left to explore.

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