The Bittersweet Truth

Cacao beans with grinding stones.

I wish someone had been more honest with me. Have you ever believed in something to be so true that you could almost taste it? As a child, your life was as sweet as the chocolate melting on your fingertips on a hot summer morning… But growing up, you come to realize that it really isn’t like that. Life is bitter and so is real chocolate. Continue reading

The Four Farms of Mastatal

Markos and Erick investigate a pineapple crop.

It wasn’t until my time at Mastatal that I really saw the initiatives of global sustainability and cultural immersion intersect during this trip. It was there where one could rather clearly see the intimacy of community through the friendly encounters of the people of Mastatal. Sustainability was pervasive in the demands of everyday life, through emphasis on the minimization of impact on environment. Mastatal was a humble town of just a bit more than 120 residents. It was easy to walk along the main roads of Mastatal, even as part of a group that was visiting for a mere five days, to pass by someone who we’d previously met at the school or restaurant the day before. But what really tied it all together, through culture, sustainability, and community presence, were the four farms of Mastatal. Continue reading

The Magnificent Mangroves And Me

White Mangroves growing out of the water.There were a lot of things everyone was excited about throughout the Costa Rica trip. From homestays, food, and wildlife, it is not hard to imagine why we were excited. From the day I heard about the Costa Rica Program, I knew I was really excited about the cultural immersion aspect and learning about the wildlife in Costa Rica. However, as time went on and we learned more about the trip, I began to get excited about other things! In fact, a few hours before our flight, Jennifer asked the group what they were most excited about. From the top of my head, I knew I was most excited about ziplining and spending a night in the jungle since I believed those activities would give me a chance to learn about the wildlife and biodiversity in Costa Rica in an exciting way as well as a chance to get to challenge and get to know myself better because I would not normally do those things. Continue reading

A Night in the Jungle

A Bark Scorpion held by hand.

Our second day in Costa Rica we were given the opportunity to hike in the jungle. In order to reach the cabins where we would sleep for our night in the jungle, we had to hike about two hours, led by local guides Deiber and Rigo. Once there the team split up into two groups: one group would embark on a night tour of the jungle, while the second group would stay and have dinner before going into the jungle.

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The Secrets to a 5 Bar Connection in Rural Costa Rica

A rotting log supports wildlife growth in the forest.You find yourself hiking at the Hacienda Baru Wildlife Rescue in Costa Rica. The protected forest is turning out to be quite a scene; only five minutes into the hike and you are entranced with the sounds that raw nature has in store.

You look up and spot a three-toed sloth hanging on a tree, and as you glance a second time, you notice that it’s a mama sloth. Her youngling is hugging tight onto her belly. Suddenly you feel something crawling on your feet. You look down and there are hundreds of huge Hormiga ants marching single file onto your foot.  You are experiencing so much and you want to share the essence of the moment with your closest thousand friends on social media.  To do that you take out your phone, but you realize that you have zero service. How can you obtain a strong 5 bar connection? Well, unfortunately I am no cellphone expert, but I know a thing or two about having a strong connection with nature and living in the moment.  The following is a small guide that will help you experience Costa Rica closer to the way the locals experience it. These tips helped me feel more connected with the pura vida lifestyle while I was in country. Continue reading