Elective classes have officially ended, meaning it’s our “spring break,” or as it is called here in Costa Rica, Semana Santa. During Semana Santa or Holy Week, most people in Cost Rica have vacation from work and the week builds up to celebrate Easter. This is a very important time for Ticos considering the country is very Catholic. Most places close down in San Jose and many Ticos vacation with their families in the mountains or on the coast. I was lucky enough that my family came down to visit. I am so thankful they could come and not simply see, but experience the country. I want them to see why I love it here so much and have had such a fulfilling experience.
The first night they got here I had arranged for my American family and my Tica family to have a dinner together. Having an opportunity to bring both families together was an opportunity I did not want to pass up, and I am so glad to say we were able to pull it off. At first I was a little nervous because no one else in my family knows Spanish. Luckily my Tico brother, Tica sister, and her boyfriend can understand and speak English. Somehow everything worked out. My American brother and sisters were trying to learn some Spanish while my Tico brothers and sister practiced their English. And I had some good practice translating for my Tico parents, American parents, and my grandparents. In total we had 15 people for dinner, 7 people from my family the United States, 7 people from my Tico family, and myself. The night was great! I am extremely proud to have had both families who have shaped me into the person I am today sit at the same table together and get to know one another. I am truly grateful for what both families have done for me and this night was an experience I will never forget. After dinner we said our goodbyes to my Tico family for the next week while I got to spend time with the family I have missed for the past 3 months.
The rest of the week was a whirlwind. After staying in San Jose for one night, my family set out for Parrita, which is a relaxing beach on the Pacific side. We went to Manuel Antonio National Park for one day and were able to see monkeys, sloths, birds, and lizards on our walk towards one of the beaches there called Espadilla. My family was more than happy to soak in some sun and enjoy the warm water after having dealt with record snowfall in Massachusetts this winter. The next day we set out deep sea fishing. The day was full of dolphins, sun, delicious food, great shipmates, and catching sailfish. To top it off we watched the sun set over the beautiful Quepos Marina. Our last day in Parrita we stayed on the beach, only ten steps away from our hotel. The day consisted of reading, body surfing, boogie boarding, sleeping, swimming, and again watching another gorgeous sunset.
The following day we set out for the Arenal area to go ziplining. I went ziplining in Monteverde in January, which I loved. This zipline however was different yet equally amazing. We ziplined across the forest in front of Arenal Volcano. Flying through midair we saw the volcano in front of us and a large manmade lake to our side as the sun poked through leaves and branches above. It was an unbelievable view and I would recommend this zipline to anyone going to the Arenal area. We went to a restaurant on the side of the volcano to have dinner as we watched the sun go down over the lake.
The next day was very adventurous as well. It started off with a walking tour on hanging bridges. We saw different types of monkeys, sloths, rare lizards, snakes, and even a hummingbird nest: very cool. On the tour we walked across these bridges that swayed as we walked, so by the time we were in the center we were bouncing all over the place. Next we went to the La Fortuna Waterfall. I have been there before but that doesn’t mean anything. The waterfall was just as beautiful as the first time I visited, and it seemed a little more meaningful to have my family there with me to share the view. To finish off the day we went to the base of the Arenal Volcano and climbed up a little to where there was a lava flow. The enormity of the volcano was unbelievable. The last day before heading back to San Jose we relaxed by the pool at the hotel in Chachagua, smack dab in the middle of the forest. It was just what we needed. Unfortunately the week ended too soon but I am so thankful that I had the opportunity for my family to come to Costa Rica and get a little taste of the Pura Vida.