In early 2005, I wouldn't have been able to point to Costa Rica on a map if my life depended on it.
Six and a half years had passed since my first, and only, backpacking trip (to Europe).
My life seemed to veer away from international travel after 9/11 and the cancellation of my trip to Egypt later that year.
I lost one job, gained another, and found myself able to afford a nice vacation.
Initially, I was focused on Switzerland, as I had missed it during my last trip to Europe, and had visions of beautiful mountain scenery.
I didn't want to admit it, but my mom was right when she tried to steer me away from it, saying it'd be the most expensive country I could go to (and should save it for when I'm older).
She suggested Costa Rica, as a friend of hers had been down there recently and enjoyed it.
Soon after, I heard the country's name mentioned by several others as well, including a coworker who grew up there, and was returning in June 2005 for a wedding.
After reading about Costa Rica in a few travel guides, and finding airfare to be at least half as expensive as Switzerland, I set the Central American country as my next travel destination.
What follows is my travel journal and pictures from the trip in May 2005.
Planned Budget$300 – roundtrip airfare on American Airlines $540 – daily expenses ($30/day x 18 days) $500 – adventure activities $1,340 – total Planning – Activities and Experiences Planning – Trip Inventory Day 1 – Washington, DC to San Jose – The Adventure Begins Day 2 – Poas Volcano Day 3 – Rafting the Mighty Pacuare River Day 4 – Lounging in Cahuita Day 5 – Snorkeling, Snakes and a Jungle Hike Day 6 – Arriving in Puerto Viejo with Alice Day 7 – Surfing Safari and a Sunburn Day 8 – Morning Musings in Puerto Viejo Day 9 – Puerto Viejo to La Fortuna, and About Last Night Day 10 – Tips for Happy Feet Day 11 – Erupting Arenal Volcano and a Steamy Hot Springs Night Day 13 – Hiking the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Day 14 – Surfing at Santa Theresa Beach in Costa Rica Day 15 – Santa Theresa to Montezuma Day 16 – Jumping Off a 30-foot Jungle Waterfall in Montezuma Day 17 – An Unexpected Date Night and Returning to San Jose Day 18 – San Jose to Washington, DC – The Adventure Comes Full Circle Reflections Upon Returning Home Trip Cost