In 1998, the University of Nevada student body counted at least three students from Hawaii. One of them was me.
One of the first people I met was a guy named Rory from California, and one of the first things he said to me was, “Let's go to Costa Rica!”
I knew nothing about Costa Rica Travel Excellence, just that Rory, despite being from the inland town of Grass Valley, was a surfing enthusiast.
He figured I must be too, being from Hawaii, and I used to surf, yes, but I wasn't an enthusiast. But I was willing to listen to Rory, who had already gone to Costa Rica once.
All I knew about Costa Rica were nerdy geographical facts I learned in my introduction to Spanish class.
I can still hear my professor saying things such as, “Mexico is part of North America, not Central America, which is considered a region of North America that is home to countries such as Costa Rica and Panamá.”
I also learned the capital of Costa Rica is San José.
I needed to learn more, of course, if I was going to visit the country, so I looked a bunch of stuff up online and found a lot about surfing, wildlife and family vacations in Costa Rica.
I did it again recently, as I never made the trip with Rory but began thinking about it again after Rory sent me a message last year from Hilo, my hometown in Hawaii, which he was visiting as part of his honeymoon.
As I scoured the net, I quickly noticed you can find everything from solo surf packages to all-inclusive family vacation packages in Costa Rica. Making a decision was about to get tough.
How would I choose from so many travel companies and offers? Luckily you always have Trip Advisor.
After everything I've read, I think the wildlife of Costa Rica fascinates me the most.
There are red-eyed tree frogs, white-faced monkeys and scarlet macaws, and that's just the beginning. There are bats and crocodiles and poison dart frogs, and hundreds of other species I would love to see.
Maybe I could do some zip-lining as well. I hear it's one of the best things to do in Costa Rica.
I just don't think I'll be doing any surfing. I went to Brazil recently, to the northeast, and got on the board again, at Porto de Galinhas.
I spent two hours in the water and caught only four waves, a sign that my best days of surfing — which were never great to begin with — are over.
So, sorry Rory, but my trip to Costa Rica is going to be a lot different from yours.
This story was brought to you in partnership with Travel Excellence.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.