Why Nosara, Costa Rica Is The Perfect Spring Break Destination

Why Nosara, Costa Rica Is The Perfect Spring Break Destination

"If you are lucky enough to live in Nosara, you are lucky enough." ~Unknown
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When I first visited the wonderful town of Nosara, Costa Rica, I fell in love with everything it had to offer. From my first interaction with the people in the airport when I landed, to the incredible foods that flooded my taste buds, to the amazingly beautiful sights I saw. I knew I had found a home away from home. Since being there for the first time when I was 15, I have only once returned but plan to go back and possibly make Nosara my home at a later point in my life.

This vacation is an under the radar gold mine! There are so many things to do and sights to see at a very low cost. So when you're contemplating where your next spring break destination vacation should be, keep these experiences in mind because I can't speak highly enough about them.

1. Exotic Wildlife Encounters

I have seen so many amazing creatures when I've been out and about as well as just hanging out in the house I was staying at. You're more than likely to see monkeys, butterflies, other assorted insects (that aren't too creepy nor crawly), dogs, fish, and different types of reptiles. The most amazing, in my opinion, would have to be the massive iguanas.

They blend right in with the greenery on the jungle floor and they give you a bit of a scare when you first spot them. They are more than likely to entertain your eyes with the unique way in which their bodies move. After seeing these iguanas, I have definitely considered getting a reptile of my own even though I know nothing can compare to these amazing creatures.

2. Downtown Nosara

Downtown Nosara is filled with friendly faces, delicious restaurants, tourist attractions, and many shopping opportunities. Seeing the locals zoom around on dirt bikes, hear their stories, and see what they have to offer is always a great way to spend a day. There are many shops that support local goods, environmental issues, and welcome any and all visitors. Whatever shop you decide to venture into, you're guaranteed to be impressed.

3. Beautiful Nature Scenery

As someone traveling from the bland and cold weather in Wisconsin, any type of greenery is bound to dazzle me. But the beautiful trees, plants, and bodies of water just blew me away. All the colors you see are so vibrant that it's hard not to stare in complete awe. The oceans are the bluest of blues, the palm trees are the greenest of greens, and the flowers are the most exotic of colors.

Not to mention, everywhere you go, it smells fresh. As odd of an adjective to use for that smell, I can't think of a better word to use. Things smell fresh, healthy, and full of life and it's a very refreshing thing for one's nose to smell if it's only been surrounded by snow and ice for several months.

4. La Luna

La Luna was one of the best restaurants you can eat at while staying in Nosara. Everything from the amazing customer service, delicious food, and mind-blowing view from any table you can sit at makes me give this place a 5-star rating!

As you enjoy a great meal, you get to watch the action on the beach consisting of surfers, kids building sandcastles, and families enjoying their time in the sun. But if you're lucky enough to eat in the evening hours, you get to experience a sunset like no other. If you are going to eat anywhere while on your vacation, La Luna has to be it.

5. Playa de Pelada

The Playa de Pelada is one of Nosara's many beautiful beaches. This one is unique due to its rocky shore. As you take a long walk on the beach, you're able to venture onto the rocks and get unique photo opportunities such as the picture shown above. I had tons of fun climbing rocks with my siblings, dipping my toes in the salty water, and taking many photos to commemorate such a glorious sight.

6. Agua Tibia Surf School

Nosara is known as a surf town with a 365 day a year of great surfing conditions. With that much of an opportunity, you have to learn how locals spend their free time! If you are wanting to learn how to surf or already know and are looking for board rentals, hit up Agua Tibia Surf School! I have gone to this place every time I have wanted to surf and have never had a bad experience.

You can tell that the employees are a tight-knit bunch and want every person that passes through to have the most positive experience. Surfing lessons include easy to understand instructions on how to catch the perfect wave while also keeping your balance on the board so you can ride it out. This is a great experience to have under your belt and also counts as a great way to get an awesome workout while having fun in the sun.

7. Fresh Food

This was easily one of the best cultural differences I experienced while in Nosara. Every single thing that is made in every single dish you can order at any café or restaurant has fresh ingredients. The sushi pictured above is a roll containing fish that was caught earlier that morning. The veggies included on the inside as well as on the side are freshly grown at the chef's garden. This is a cultural norm throughout all of Costa Rica.

I didn't have a single processed food item while I was visiting and could easily eat the healthiest I could eat at a very reasonable cost. Because of the garden-to-plate style that these places live by, the flavors are out of this world. I have never had a piece of fruit, fish, vegetables, bread, or any other type of food that has tasted as good as it did in Nosara. When you visit, feel free to eat as much as you want because it will not be detrimental to your health.

8. Miss Sky Canopy Tours

If you're a thrill seeker like my family is, you'll definitely want to check out the Miss Sky Canopy Tours. You get to zip-line through the canopies of the jungle while accompanied by experienced workers whose first priority is to keep you safe. You're taught how to properly coast along the zip-line, how to keep your hands from getting caught in any of the equipment, and how to have fun on the longest zip-lining experience you could have in all of Costa Rica. You get to check out the amazing greenery as well as the oceans that surround this beautiful country all while you're flying through the sky. This is 100% a must-do activity.

9. Eco-Friendliness

It's awesome to enter this country and see how much they really care about their environment. As of right now, there's a huge movement to keep the roads unpaved so that the jungle can be kept as natural as possible. They also are very big on conserving energy as well as conserving water. You will come to find that the bathroom regimen we have in America is very different than the one you will have when visiting Nosara.

Instead of flushing your waste as well as toilet paper, you will dispose of your toilet paper in a specific trash can and flush your waste by itself. This is meant to use less water and energy in all the buildings and homes so that pollution risks are at an all-time low.

You will also find that many people ride bikes around neighborhoods or will walk to their destinations if it isn't completely necessary to use a vehicle or motored device. If we have enough people bringing home like-minded ideas from this eco-friendly country, maybe we could improve our carbon footprint back in the states!

10. The Energy

My lasting impression on Nosara is obviously anything but positive. The people, activities, sights, and weather has the ability to leave a lasting impression on anyone that steps foot onto the city streets. This place will always have a special place in my heart and I will always be even more excited to go back than I was the time before.

The relaxed lifestyle that is able to be lived is something I strive to have in the end of it all. So when contemplating your next big adventure, please keep this little surf town in mind because as the locals say, "If you're lucky to live in Nosara, you're lucky enough."

Cover Image Credit: WikiMedia

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support

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First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,

Haiden

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Communication Is The Key To Cultivating Social Change

Dr. Yea-Wen Chen at San Diego State University offers her priceless, profound insight

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"Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don't listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don't listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what's behind the words. "--Roy T Bennett

After a brief interview with my professor Dr. Yea-Wen Chen, an Associate Professor of Intercultural Communication at San Diego State University, I was left feeling inspired and encouraged about the general state of the world. In a society that holds so many predetermined expectations, the secret to moving forward is not expecting an immediate reward from your struggle. We talked about how the youth of America is facing a diminishing capacity to inspire the changes we want to see in the world. We pondered how to define this disconnect between beliefs translating to action. Perhaps the youth's increased technology poses new threats to communication and social hierarchy? Or maybe an increasing distrust in our political leaders? We pondering several causes, but all of them ultimately led to the same question:

How will we communicate differences for social change?

Dr. Chen and I danced around this question and came to a conclusion: the answer to this is a variety of actions, none of which are completely concrete.

First, we can introduce the idea of education. We trust the idea of higher education to teach us how to heighten our communication skills, but is this the correct expectation to have given that 85% of the jobs we are training for have not even been created yet? Dr. Chen poses a qualified affirmation to this question, agreeing that focusing on the technology and logistics of the education is the wrong way to go about it. With so many advancements being made, there will always be more to learn. The key is to focus on the things that won't adapt, the factors that make us innately human. Qualities like empathy, curiosity, and the ability to internalize and process important information are what we need to truly address the fairly uncomfortable issues of our generation such as mass shootings or global warming.

Touching back on expectations, Dr. Chen references that when people or situations meet our standards or expectations we are not fulfilled, but rather only when these expectations are exceeded do we begin to feel satisfaction. Pulling inspiration from black feminist Bell Hooks, Dr. Chen is inspired by the idea that we must see/identify the other in ourselves, as well as ourselves in the other, for effective communication.

Without actively practicing empathetic thought, there is no way that communication between people can be effective. With increased diversity and globalization, new problems arise all the time. If we can allow ourselves to feel deep connection that reveals our truly human links, it will help us deal with the divide of "us and them" that historically hasn't been completely distinguished.

In a society where listening is subordinate to using our voice, Americans need to learn to take a step back sometimes. By thinking to ourselves," why do I need to understand that?", or "what is the true importance of this issue?" we can cultivate a real conversation about the future. "It all comes down to personal experience", says Dr. Chen. And after all, life is too short to live it all ourselves, so sharing experiences can make all the difference.

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