Lea’s Hostel Experience in Costa Rica
“A moment that has remained strongly in my memory occurred on a boat trip on the sea. Since Uvita is known for whales passing by from time to time, I had hoped to see one as well. Then suddenly it happened: I was sitting at the front of the boat and out of nowhere a whale appeared right in front of us.”
Lea traveled to Costa Rica for a month with WanderWorld Travel. There she experienced many unforgettable moments in the hostel, in the middle of the rainforest of Uvita. In this report she talks about her time on site, her experiences and adventures in the project, as well as her free time.
MY FIRST DAYS
I enjoyed the first two days in San José very much. I didn’t have any culture shock, as I had actually expected. It was very interesting to look at this huge city. All the more I was looking forward to my stay in Uvita, away from the big city. Early in the morning of the third day I took the bus to Uvita and with it my excitement increased. I was also a little scared, but more in a positive sense, because I had no idea what was coming. The hostel was located in the rainforest, although fortunately for me, it rained heavily when I arrived. However, the rain was nothing like the rain I knew from home. Everything was much more tropical and the jungle that awaited me there was definitely the most impressive place I had seen so far. Still, it took me a few days to get used to the temperatures, humidity and routines. After that, however, I was able to feel completely at home in my new home.
A NORMAL DAY IN THE PROJECT
A typical day at the hostel for me usually started around 6:00 pm. Since I could take the late shift from the beginning, I had almost the entire day to do things independently and explore the area. Most of the time, I would have something to eat before 18:00 and then be on duty. The shift went until 10:00pm, but sometimes everything was done earlier. My duties included keeping the kitchen clean and putting away the dishes. This meant I was always getting into conversations with guests who were cooking or eating, and interesting conversations always ensued. I also helped other staff members when they needed help in other areas. I was happy to be able to get to know the everyday life in the hostel a bit, but without having to take on too much responsibility.
MY FREE TIME
My free time I have arranged every day. Sometimes I slept in, but most of the time I woke up with the sunrise and spent the morning alone and quiet on the beautiful terrace with sea and jungle view. Here I could sometimes sit for hours, writing down thoughts or reading a book. Of course, I also enjoyed talking on the phone with family and friends when it came up. Afterwards, I had breakfast and chatted with the other guests or staff. Often I spent the whole day in the hostel. Sometimes I also walked to the beaches. First you had to walk through the jungle and at some point you were standing on a beautiful tropical beach, sometimes with only a few other people. There was also the possibility to visit the national parks in the area, like the Parque Nacional Marino Bellena. Since there are always new corners to explore here, several visits are worthwhile. Often I walked alone or with other guests across the rainforest, without a specific destination. So we wandered for hours through the forest, listening to the animals and marveling at the different plants.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE CULTURE
Already when I arrived in San José I was greeted with “Pura Vida”. I already felt well taken care of at the airport, because everyone was very nice. Even when I took the bus to Uvita, the locals helped me find the right bus and made sure I got a seat. In the hostel, I then noticed a little less of the people themselves, since I was mostly surrounded by travelers from all over the world here. However, on my excursions or when visiting restaurants, I realized every time how open and friendly the Ticos (Costa Ricans) are. Whether they know you or not, they are always very happy to offer you their help.
THAT’S WHY I LOVE COSTA RICA
I am definitely excited about this country. It has an overwhelming nature that I have never seen before. It is also suitable if you don’t have so much travel experience, because a lot of things are designed for tourism. So someone always knew English and helped when needed. Being in Latin America offers you so much. Starting with great food, to a culture, with warm people.
MY MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT
I had many wonderful moments that I will never forget. However, one moment that has remained strongly in my memory occurred on a boat trip on the sea. Since Uvita is known for whales passing by from time to time, I had hoped to see one as well. Then suddenly it happened: I was sitting in the very front of the boat and out of nowhere a whale appeared right in front of us. I could hardly believe my eyes. To be able to see such an animal up close and in its natural environment is an indescribable experience that I can hardly put into words.
MY FAVORITE PLACE
Definitely the beach in the national park in Uvita. Here you could enjoy the wild and untouched nature best and it overwhelmed me every time anew. There I also felt the most comfortable, because you can completely merge with nature.
MY TIP FOR FUTURE TRAVELERS
I can recommend a stay abroad to everyone. I was only in one country in Latin America, but I still became a huge fan. It was an experience I would never want to miss. The great thing is that now you have a thousand memories that no one can take away from you. As a tip, I can summarize that it is good to start completely without expectations and be open to whatever may come. In my opinion, this is the only way to appreciate every little experience. There is so much to see and life is too short to miss this opportunity.
THIS IS HOW THE JOURNEY HAS CHANGED ME
My trip to Costa Rica made me grow beyond myself. I learned to deal with many things more calmly. Once you leave your comfort zone, you only realize how small the world is at home. Supposed problems seem less dire. I was able to gain a lot of valuable experience and learn how to integrate myself into a daily work routine and find my way around previously unfamiliar situations.