In Fall 2017, I decided to take an Ecotourism class at school. With this class came a extra curricular trip to Costa Rica. I am not going to lie... I almost didn't go. I didn't know anyone going on the trip and my house had just burned down (side note; I lived in Coffey Park when the Tubbs fire came through and turned my life upside-down)... I was an absolute MESS.
Throughout my many years of taking college level classes, I had never really felt “involved” in school. The professors at CSUMB in the hospitality program are the BEST teachers I have ever interacted with. The professors have the best experience in the hospitality industry and they WANT you to succeed. They pushed me out of my comfort zone and made sure I am prepared for the amazing career that awaits me. The reason why I go on this tangent is because without these amazing professors I NEVER would have gone to Costa Rica. A few weeks before we left, I cried in one of those professor’s office. Not just cried… Like sobbing… Like you just watched the first 10 minutes of Up for the first time… She helped me find my inner strength. Three weeks and a few melt downs later I picked myself up and forced myself to go. But I am unbelievably grateful that I did.
Because this was a school trip, it was designed to teach us about Costa Rica's sustainability. I was SHOCKED at Costa Rica's sustainability efforts. There was a lot of water conservation and energy conservation. In this post I decided to focus on the parts of the trip that left me with the best memories.
One of my experiences was the Arenal Volcano. Half of the group decided we wanted to hike to the Arenal Volcano. We found the 1968 trail; which was created by the volcano. Personally... I am not a hiker... I am the kind of person that likes flat walkable land... This was not that... While the hike was MISERABLE, the views made up for everything. It was some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Not only was the landscapes amazing but OMG WE SAW A SLOTH. Like a WILD sloth. Well, as wild as a sloth can get... It just slept as we took pictures. After the volcano we went back to the hot springs to sooth our aching muscles.
Finca Rosa Blanca
One cannot visit Costa Rica without visiting at least one coffee plantation. We visited Finca Rosa Blanca because not only are they known for their coffee but they are also a beautiful hotel. The hotel was luxury in a small package. I have already decided I am going to this hotel for my honeymoon. Every room is romantic and welcoming. The view are stunning! Each room has something different to offer. Personally, I loved the bathrooms! Giant tubs in EVERY room! The tubs looked like jacuzzis!
After visiting the rooms we explored the plantation. fun fact, they water the coffee plants with banana trees (banana trees are like a natural irrigation). It helps save water and it allows gravity to do all the work! If you find yourself in Costa Rica, make sure to stop by Finca Rosa Blanca!
One of my favorite experiences on this trip was the zip lining tour. Our tour was through The Congo Trail Canopy Tours. These guys were the best! It was pretty helpful that a few of them spoke english and could teach us what to do. They also made the experience memorable! They were kind and playful!I hope we made their day as much as they made ours. I would absolute recommend this tour to anyone traveling to Costa Rica! There are a lot o options but these guys were the best!
We had gotten out of one of our meetings early and our teacher recommended going to Butterfly Kingdom. They even stayed open for us! We were able to walk around and feed the butterflies nectar! The butterflies would come over and land on us and they taught us all about the different species. I became the butterfly whisperer haha. Overall, this is a great experience for young kids and adults!
I saved the best for last! Punta Islita is not only a hotel but it us a destination. Not only is the hotel one of the most sustainable hotels they also have great values. The hotel motivates visitors to visit the local town. Where guests can find local art and a strong community. The hotel provides business, teachers, and education to the town. Workers can leave their children at the FREE daycare while they work! (What a concept!) I was so inspired by this town and it makes me want to make my community a better place. The locals shared food, drinks, and memories with us.
Overall, this was truly an AMAZING learning experience.
"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory"