5 Tips For Visiting Costa Rica

5 Tips For Visiting Costa Rica

Here's how to make the most out of your Costa Rica experience!

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If you're planning a trip to Costa Rica anytime soon, you're in for a treat! Costa Rica is beautiful and can be so much fun -- not to mention a surfer's complete dream. This summer I lived in the heart of Costa Rica studying Spanish and traveled all over the country exploring. Costa Rica has everything from mountains to rain forests and beaches to cities, there's seriously something for everyone here.

Costa Rican people or "Ticos" are some of the most kind-hearted and genuinely happy people I have ever met. The quality of hospitality you will see here is unmatched! To make the most of your experience here, check out the following tips!

1. Use your Spanish!

Before traveling to Costa Rica, I assumed that most people there would speak both Spanish and English. Needless to say, I was completely wrong. There were a few English speakers at the hotels we stayed at and a few excursions we went on, however, the majority of Ticos spoke Spanish only or had very limited English. Even if the only Spanish you know is from high school -- use it! They will appreciate it so much and will be so happy that you're speaking to them in Spanish.

In order to save yourself from a translation disaster, download the app "SpanishDict." It has insanely good translations and you don't need wifi or cell signal for it to work! This app is a life saver!

2. Exchange your money at the airport and use Costa Rica's currency "colones."

Most places in Costa Rica will take American money and even give you change in colones if that's what you want, however almost every place has a slightly different exchange rate. In order to make sure that you get the best exchange rate, be sure to exchange it at a bank in Costa Rica or the airports.

3. Always have a copy of your passport (or some other official form of identification) on you at ALL TIMES. 

Similar to international travelers coming to the United States, you must always have proof of who you are. You will also need to show your passport or a copy to check in to your hotel. This is SO important!

4. Don't spend the whole trip trying to get the perfect Instagram picture. 

On your Costa Rica trip, try and disconnect yourself from the rest of the world and focus on the serenity and beauty that will surround you. Who cares what Susan posted on Facebook or if Chad snapchatted you today -- you're in freaking Costa Rica!

Costa Rica is truly such a tranquil place that is perfect for disconnecting and "recharging" yourself. Let yourself relax and truly take everything in.

5. ¡Pura Vida!

You'll hear that saying at least 15 times a day while in Costa Rica, it means the pure life or the good life. Basically, Ticos are genuinely always carefree and happy and this one saying embodies the entire culture. It's pretty comparable to our saying "go with the flow".

So, when you're in Costa Rica don't think too hard about anything. Don't be scared to do the zipline or white water rafting. You're in Costa Rica -- live it up! ¡Pura Vida!




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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

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Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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