Experience Costa Rica 101: Amazing Adventure & Discovery

Experiencing Costa Rica

When I was 12, my family of 6 lived in Costa Rica for 6 months. It was an amazing opportunity to experience Costa Rica on a real level. Living in the small coastal town of Playa Hermosa (Beautiful Beach), really was unreal. The sights were awe-inspiring. However, one draw back is that the days are hot, and the humidity is constantly at a high. Nonetheless, watching the sunrise over the mountains, or a sunset over the ocean was breathtaking. I remember often hearing the sound of howler monkeys in the distance. A true experience of Costa Rican nature.


We attended school at Lakeside International School. This school was inland, near Libera (a major city in northern Costa Rica). Here, my siblings and I were able to learn Spanish. Eventually to the point of fluency, despite our young ages. There we also gained experience in the culture of this country. As well as discovering that the world is different from country to country. Especially in comparison of countries to the life we had in the US. 

My family participated in many service projects while in living there. We rebuilt schools, and helped families get access to clean water. Plus delivering food and supplies to people in need all over Libera. 

Waterfalls in Costa Rica

When we weren’t in school, we would adventure throughout the country. One of the best experiences in Costa Rica are the many natural waterfalls. A personal favorite was going to the hidden waterfall of Cataratas Llanos De Cortes. Hidden in the jungle, it rested an hour away from our house. After discovering this sanctuary, we would visit as often as possible. Swimming beneath the falls is a favorite memory of mine.  

Costa Rican Volcanoes

There are 60 volcanoes, 6 of which are currently active in this country. As a family, we had the chance to visit a few. Most memorable of which was Volcano Arenal. We stayed a few nights in a jungle resort a mile or so away from the volcano, and during the night we could see the lava. 

experience costa rica
experience costa rica

Especially as the lava flowed down from its towering cone. Equally in that area, we experienced many adventures. Surfing Tamarindo beach, zip-lining through miles and miles of jungles and canyons in Guachipelin. Plus exploring a Costa Rican Walmart in San Jose, the nation’s capital.

The People

There are over 5 million people in the country of Costa Rica. I was lucky enough to call it home for 6 months of my life. It isn’t free from the troubles of the rest of the world, but the community is strong. Neighbors help each other, and as a result, the people are happy. As a kid, I picked up on that and now strive to achieve similar levels in my own life. I’m very grateful that my (somewhat wild) parents brought four kids under 15 to this amazing country. It has taught me how to be culturally-sensitive, service-minded, and adventure-oriented!

Wild Life

Living there wasn’t all waterfalls and ziplines, however. Living in the jungle brought some “fun” learning experiences with it. For example, we once had a three-foot iguana crawl its way into our pipes. My little brother and sister (10 and 7 years old at the time), were brushing their teeth when it was discovered. The iguana suddenly jumped out of the drain on the floor, only to get its back legs stuck. There it hissed and lunged at my little brother. 

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As a result, he screamed, leaped over the small dinosaur, and left the room traumatized. To this day, he still shudders at the thought of it. On a daily basis we saw many types of wildlife. Specifically iguanas, howler monkeys, sloths, lots of bugs, and a very friendly frog. Eventually we named the frog Kermit and he called our unused bathroom his home for the duration of our stay.

Pura Vida

The country saying is “Pura Vida.” Literally translated it means “Pure Life,” however, for the people it means live the easy life. Even, “go with the flow.” I can attest that is exactly what they do. Once, while driving into Libera, we were stopped in traffic. After 15 minutes we drove around to see what was holding us back. In the middle of the road, was a sloth. No one tried to move it, or even drive around it. Simply, they sat and watched it. Although sightings like a sloth in the middle of the road wasn’t a daily occurrence, other happenings would occur frequently. Every time, the norm was to just “go with the flow.”

Experience Costa Rica for Yourself!

Costa Rica is a beautiful tropical country in the heart of Central America. The remarkable scenery and friendly culture are just a couple of reasons why you need to visit this nation. This experience is one that I often have taken for granted. However, as I’ve grown older, I realize how amazing my parents are for bringing our family there. I still keep in touch with the friends that I made in those six months. 

When you’re there, you will understand what Pura Vida means. When you travel with us, you will see how Pura Vida feels. So, be almost as wild as my parents were, and come visit this amazing country with Legacy Tours! Create a custom tour to this beautiful country for just your family, or participate in our wellness adventure and meet new people that share similar values and ideals.

Check Out Our Tours to Costa Rica!

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