The trip was completely planned out by myself, as i had originally planned to go alone but at the last minute invited an old friend to come tag along with me. We first went to Manuel Antonio and stayed at Vista Serena Hostel for the first week, a great little party hostel up in the mountains, where you can relax in a hammock and watch the breathtaking sunset over the ocean. they also have 2 cute little dogs there. oh, the bus from san jose to MA (actually 2 buses) was an adventure. it was sold out so we had to sit on the floor of the bus smashed together with a bunch of other people who were also "standing room only" for what.. like 4 hours. well once i found a comfortable niche sitting on my backpack next to a window, gazing up at the stars and listening to my music, it wasn't so bad :) once in MA, we checked into the hostel, the first nite i got ZERO sleep due to being in an unairconditioned room with 14 other people constantly coming and going all nite, talking, giggling, snoring,(and we all shared 1 bathroom with no hot water! it was an invigorating shower though, i must say).
beach inside MA national park
the next nite we switched to a 4 person room, which was fantastic- for only $5 more, ($15/nite instead of 10/nite) we got a window AC unit, hot water in the shower, and even though there were ants in my bed (they didn't bite), we got some very nice (and pretty quiet) roomies. I took a Spanish class at el Paraiso school the week we were there, to see what it was like. Now that i know how helpful those classes can be, i definitely wanna take more someday, like a few months worth, maybe in Guatemala where they are cheaper. The class was fun, also taking classes there were a crazy young german guy, a weird young french guy, an older american guy, and some very sweet girls- 1 canadian, 2 swedes, and one american from cali. the classes were held basically in the middle of the jungle and outdoors- so the mosquitoes were terrible.
i learned to coat myself in bug spray after the first day (ecosmart bugspray- smells nice works well and no bad chemicals:) the first couple of days i had a private class which was great- time flew by and i learned alot of things quickly. then halfway through the week i decided to switch to morning classes so i'd have more free time in the afternoons to go to the beach, so i was put in a group class with the swedish girl and the california girl as there were no more private classes in the mornings available, this class was more fun because i had classmates, but didn't learn as much this way. it was only for a week anyway. next time i will try to take a private class for any long term stay. OH! i felt an earthquake one day while at the school! it was so crazy to feel the ground shake under my feet and hear that rumble.
i have never felt an earthquake before. apparently it is a common thing in CR. even so, we all got pretty excited about it, even one of our spanish teachers panicked for a moment. anyway the school was great, we had fresh delicious fruit on our breaks and they gave us a free surfing class and a free salsa class, both were alot of fun. i was surprised at how well i did at surfing but i probably wont make it a hobby because big waves scare the crap out of me. salsa was so fun, and i got to practice it a little at a couple of different salsa clubs we went to throughout the week, although mostly it was with this odd little tico guy i met at the club that told me the best line ever: "it feels like im up in the sky" "huh? why?" "because i'm dancing with an angel.
" lol! i wonder how many times he has used that line with whoever he was dancing with. there was also this giant dinosaur/grasshopper looking thing that landed on my head!!! that was interesting.. anyway, we also went to the national park in MA (you have to go with a guide to see ANY wildlife there, otherwise you'll see only trees- the guide wanted $25 and but i offered 15 and he accepted- and it was totally worth it, he points out all the animals to you, lets u look with his telescope thing and take pix), at the end of the park they have a BEAUTIFUL beach. its not as crystal clear as caribbean beaches, but the surrounding jungles made it gorgeous in a less touristy kind of way. actually the beach outside the park is almost as nice, if you dont care about the wildlife, just hang out there for free.