My trip to Costa Rica began with a rough start. I had marked on my calendar that we left on January 4 (as our original itinerary stated), but the date had been pushed up 24 hours. I had missed the memo. At 4:10 AM on January 3, I received a phone call informing me that I had twenty minutes to get myself to the airport.
I had stayed up until about 2:30 AM then gotten back up at 4:10 AM to join my comrades at the airport. I was tired but in very high spirits as I saw familiar faces in the airport line. After being the butt of a few jokes, I was happily welcomed into the group of my classmates as we prepared to venture to Costa Rica for a 3-credit cross cultural engagement and recreation course offered through Calvin College.
We soon found ourselves in Atlanta, GA after our first flight. Preparing for our second flight, we were all told to check our passport expiration dates. We would not be allowed to leave the country if our passport would expire any time in the next six months. This information had been given to us previously, but with the great list of things, we prepared, not everyone had checked.
One member of the trip who had not checked found herself in a pinch. Her passport expired too close to when we would return and she could not fly with us. Our trip leader stayed back with her to resolve the issue as quickly as possible while we flew on to Costa Rica. As it turned out, these two that stayed behind were able to get a new passport issued and fly out the next day to join the group in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica.
Upon landing in the San Jose airport, warm weather greeted us and so did several of our Tico (native Costa Rican) guides. The Ticos were very pleasant and spoke English surprisingly well. We loaded a bus and drove three hours to Playa Hermosa, a beach on the Pacific Ocean.
We stayed on a Government-funded turtle sanctuary. The sanctuary protected about 900 turtle nests that spawned around 100,000 baby turtles per season. Due to the efforts of the men who run this sanctuary, the survival rate of the baby turtles is drastically increased.
As our first nightfall came in Costa Rica, we were surprised at the quantity of creatures that roam during the night. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of purple crabs with fiery orange legs. In dodging the crabs on the beach, I nearly stepped on a toad that was as large as my foot.
Insects were countless as well. I strung up my new hammock between two trees and pulled the bug net tight. The warm Pacific wind felt good as the temperature was about 60 degrees warmer than back home. I happily fell asleep in the warm Costa Rican weather after I essentially been awake for 36 hours.