By: GoEnnounce Student Kelsi Brooks
One thing that I love the most about traveling in Costa Rica, is the proximity to other countries. For instance, Nicaragua is located in the North and Panama is in the South. Many people who are International students, studying abroad at Veritas University, have been tourists in both countries.
The last weekend of every month you are given a 3 day – break, so in the month of February we went to Panama.
Panama was gorgeous, the water was clear, the people were fun, and it happened to be Carnival that weekend. It was loud and noisy all night, but we had fun bonding with other travelers and getting to explore the island of Bocas del Toro. We took tours to La Isla de Estrellas (Starfish Island), and Red Frog Beach. Both were breath taking, the people amiable, and the water so clear. We even saw dolphins and went snorkeling near the mangroves. Que divertido!
*Fun fact: mangroves hold a good majority of aquatic life and are a great spot to see biological diversity. I would encourage you to visit them now because unless we take measures to conserve them, they will be destroyed by humans.
You know those beautiful hotels and beach houses that people build? Mangroves usually get cut down and destroyed in order to build them. Some of the beaches that you visit used to be a beautiful mangrove forest, which held a lot of plant and animal life (manatees, rare birds, cranes, etc.)
More about Mangroves:
This week, for a class field trip with my Intercultural Communications course, we went to a Free Trade market where they sold handcrafts from native peoples of Costa Rica.
The experience was truly amazing, and the prices were fabulous. We were given a tour of their history museum, where they shared with us some traditions of the Boruca natives, and the locations of where each native population was located. There was a good handful: the Maluka, Boruca, Talamanca, Bri Bri, Guaymo, Huetar, etc. All of these native groups try to keep ties with their land, which is crucial for survival. Their diets are not like those of mainstream Ticos.
More on the natives of Costa Rica
Overall I have enjoyed my experience in Costa Rica and traveling to various places is such a privilege. Being able to see the world in your early 20’s is not be taken lightly, so do it while you can!
Until next time, “Pura vida!”
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