¡Buenas from San José!
I’ve finished my second of three courses during my time in Costa Rica—the trip is going by fast. I now know that the usefulness and enjoyment of my first course wasn’t a fluke—the teachers and classes at Máximo Nivel are great.
I went running after class today to try and decompress. I chose streets at random and tried to take in everything going on around me. It was great to check out areas I haven’t seen and get a workout in. I enjoyed exploring some of the quieter neighborhoods. I passed a soccer field tucked away among the buildings, dads playing with their kids on jungle gyms, a teenager smoking on a street corner… I’d highly encourage anyone who likes running to jog around the city a little bit and see what’s going on.
This past weekend I traveled to Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast. We stayed in a hostel called Costa Linda, a five minute walk from the national park (and even less to the beach) for only $10 a night. Saturday was spent hanging out on the beach. A couple of us rented surfboards from a guy named Alex, a friend of our field manager from Máximo. I talked to him a little bit about Wisconsin, and was surprised to find out that he had been to Racine before. Like most people I’ve met here, he was really friendly, and even let me use his shirt so I wouldn’t slide off the surfboard so easily.
On Sunday we headed out to the national park right after breakfast. I was exhausted from surfing all day and visiting the bars the night before, but hiking through the park was still amazing. I’ve always wanted to visit the rainforest, especially after watching so many episodes of The Crocodile Hunter as a kid. The main paths of the park were littered with monkeys. They had no fear of people, and we came across a few of them with running around with granola bars.
The rainforest didn’t disappoint: it was humid, exotic, and beautiful. Unfortunately, most of the western half of the park was closed, but we got our fair share of hiking in anyway.
The highlight of the national park was our exit—on the way out we finally encountered a sloth. It was right above the main path, navigating the power lines, slowly, in clear sight. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but its back is green from the algae that grows on its fur. The name for sloths is kind of funny. Sloths are called osos perezosos or simply perezosos for short, which translates literally as lazy bear.