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Costa Rica: A trip to paradise

by Brianna Bush - Editor-in-Chief
Wed, Feb 5th 2020 06:00 pm
Costa Rica as a whole is the second most environmentally stable country in the world, mainly because of how its citizens take care of it. Many locals choose to live a simple life living off of what the land provides.
Costa Rica as a whole is the second most environmentally stable country in the world, mainly because of how its citizens take care of it. Many locals choose to live a simple life living off of what the land provides.

Pura Vida. It’s not only a saying but a greeting, a slogan and a way of life in Costa Rica. After spending more than a week exploring the vast rainforest and epic mountains, I had come to realize that this is how life should be lived — in its purest form.


The people who live in the more rural parts of Costa Rica, like Cartago and Paraiso, live off the fresh produce grown in the habitants backyards. The family that I have in Costa Rica live off the land; they grow all the food that they eat with the exception of meat and other animal products.


There is a river that runs through my great uncle’s farm, which he says the water is clean enough to drink from. The river looked more like a ditch that you would see in the United States, but I humored him, cupped my hand around the water and took a sip. It was some of the best tasting water, and it was crystal clear — small fish were visible if you looked close enough.


The “pure life” motto they live by is something to aspire to. Unlike the United States, Costa Rica is considered a developing country. It was noticeable as soon as we touched down in the plane; our surroundings were completely different in comparison to what I had been accustomed to.


No matter where you stand in Costa Rica, you are surrounded by mountains. There’s no such thing as flat land. To get from one place to the next, travelers have to drive through the mountains — a constant up and down.


Some people find the mountains annoying — I definitely did at first. You have to ignore the twists and turns of the drive, and look out the window and witness one of the world’s most environmentally stable countries — it is second, according to the World Energy Council.


The country uses 99% renewable energy, most of which comes from hydroelectric dams. According to ubelong.org, the Costa Rican government has made it illegal to drill or use open-pit mining. It protects the Earth’s resources rather than sell them to the highest bidder.


It is also common knowledge that Costa Rica makes up more than 5% of the planet’s biodiversity.
While protecting the natural beauty that is Costa Rica, the locals make use of the environment and surroundings by giving tours and excursions for free and for profit. Costa Ricans make sure that the tourists who come through treat their country like their own — showing them what to do and how to do it.
My cousin and uncle were able to take us on many different hikes while visiting. The most memorable probably being Monte Sky.


Monte Sky is a beautiful mountain outside of Cartago. It is home to many waterfalls and trails that are open to the public. At the makeshift parking lot there are walking sticks necessary for the hike. It is customary to return the stick once done with the hike.


Mid-way through the hike there is a lodge that a few people call home. They live on a mountain with just what they need to live. They do not have running water, they make use of the waterfalls on the mountain to wash and drink.


The waterfalls themselves are magnificent; they may not be as large as Niagara Falls, but they hold their own beauty. Many of the waterfalls on the trails were accessible, and we were able to go up and touch the cascading water.


There are seven active volcanoes in Costa Rica at the moment. I visited Turrialba, which last erupted in April 2017. The guide led us up the side of the volcano, a safe distance from the crater. He pointed out the remains of the town that was there before the eruption — it was decimated.


Past the volcanoes and more south are the tourist areas, one hot-spot we visited was Uvita — home of Whale Tail Beach. Unlike American beaches, this beach was not packed. People were all spread out — many walking out to the “tail” to see what the tide pools had trapped.


The beach bordered a forest where I could hear birds squawking at each other, and at one point two macaws came out chasing each other. It was quite a sight but comforting after having been stung by a jellyfish and bitten by ants.


With the world around us changing and slowly dying, we must take steps to combat climate change, like what Costa Rica is doing. We must take the initiative to sustain if we wish to remain.

 

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
Staff Photographer

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