Monday, February 28, 2011

Nicaragua/Northern Costa Rica Adventuring!

I have SO much to share with you all!

Last week was the USAC Nicaragua/Northern Costa Rica field trip. We were gone for the entire week adventuring around the two countries. I cannot even begin to describe how much fun it was, but for the sake of you all wanting to know, I’ll do my best.

The first day (Monday) we all met at the University at 5AM. It was rough to wake up that early, but it was better so that we could get to Nicaragua as soon as possible. So we made a five hour bus ride to the border, then had to wait a few more hours while everything was being processed and off we went to Granada. Granada is a beautiful town. All of the buildings are brightly colored and it has an old colonial feel to it. The minute we got out of the bus at our hotel, however, there were kids in the streets asking for money and food. That was tough to have to deal with, but we got into our hotel and it was gorgeous! It was like a little oasis inside of this big city. Later that afternoon we went on a horse drawn carriage ride through the city and saw some amazing sites. Here are some pictures:
The next day we went on a boat tour of the Isletas in the lake right next to Granada. There are 365 islands and most are privately owned with huge houses built on them. The richest families in Nicaragua have houses on these little islands, but usually during the week they are occupied by the locals. After this tour (there were monkeys!)
we went to the Masaya Volcano Park. We went to look at the crater of the volcano and it was huge! Our tour guide said that there were some explosions in 2001 and that it could happen again at any time. On top of a hill was this huge cross and we all climbed it to get a better look into the crater.

We went into the city of Masaya for lunch and to visit the market there. Nicaragua is fairly new to the tourism industry because of the recent wars and in this market they sell a lot of handmade goods. I was able to buy a lot of souvenirs, all things that I was sure were made in Nicaragua, some things looked really generic. It was fun to walk around the market and see all of the vendors with their stores.


The next day we headed out to San Juan del Sur, on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. This was by far my favorite place, probably my favorite day. We got there and checked into our hotel around lunch time. We walked down the street to the beach and it was amazingly beautiful!

I rested a bit in the afternoon and later that day we went on a boat tour. We all got on boats and went out in the ocean. A couple of minutes into the tour we encountered at least a hundred dolphins that swam around with us and were jumping. It was absolutely incredible! Later we went to this little cove were we all got in the water for a bit and swam around together. From the boats, we were able to watch the sunset, and it was so nice to see a sunset over the ocean. We ate dinner that night and afterwards went out for some ice cream (which is my new obsession because of Costa Rica).  

The next day we left to go to Guanacaste in Costa Rica. We got to the Buena Vista Lodge around lunch time. This lodge is up in the hills and has acres and acres of land. After lunch we went on a horseback ride to this “spa.” It is this place where there are hot springs that are naturally heated by the volcano. First you sit in a sauna for five minutes, then you go put mud on your skin and leave it on for five more minutes. After you rinse off you get into the four hot springs with temperatures ranging from 75 degrees to 106 degrees. Our skin felt so soft afterwards, it was amazing!

The next day we went zip lining (again!) but I am gonna say that it was more fun in Jaco the first time around. I was able to see toucans for the first time though! Let me tell you, they look nothing like the “Fruit Loops” toucan. They are definitely much smaller than expected. After lunch there was a waterslide, but I opted to stay behind and sat by the pool to catch some rays (and came home with a tan! My little tica sister says I look much prettier with a tan haha!) Later that evening we went to the Sunset Bar to watch an amazing sunset and after dinner we went back to dance with some tico friends we made.

We all had such an amazing time. We were all sad when we got back to Heredia because it meant that we didn’t get to adventure together every day like the week before. But at the same time, I am glad to be back with my family.  (Let me now mention that I was sick this entire week, and lost my voice one day. But I didn’t let that keep me down and had an amazing time!!) I hope you enjoy the stories and the pictures. I really wish that I could better convey how much fun last week was. I am so glad that I went on this trip!


  1. Riles! Sounds so wonderful! So happpy you are having a great adventure!

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  3. Oh my goodness I am completely jealous! I want to see volcanoes and hot springs and toucans!

    I am so glad you are having so much fun and going on so many adventures. I'm still praying for you constantly. I can't wait till you get back and you can tell me about your semester over some Hurricane Popcorn and Sonic Dr. Pepper.

    Stop getting sick!!