I’ve been in Costa Rica for exactly a week now and it’s been so much more than I’ve expected already! Frankly, I didn’t think about what my expectations were, I just knew it was going to be great. I was excited to learn about Sustainable Tourism, to see what Costa Rica had to offer, and of course- to be back in the land of humidity.
Yes, call me crazy…. But I love humidity!
It’s been a whirlwind of nonstop learning, adventures, and experiences. If I were to tell you all of them, you’d be reading a few essays for the next 30 minutes so I’ll just tell you two of my highlights so far- and let the photos speak for itself! (I wanted to write more highlights but time is essential, and my schedule is super busy here!)
Yorkin Indigenous Community – The Bribri Tribe
This is by far one of the most special activities incorporated into our learning. We had the change to stay with the Bribri community for a night last week. They are an indigenous community that is secluded from main cities. We had to take a canoe for about 40 minutes until we reached where they were. Without wifi, only two homes in television out of about 200+ families, and it was- to the western standard- dirty, muddy, and undeveloped. But to the Bribri that was their home, their culture, and they wanted to show us who they were and what they cared about.
Their history goes a long way back, with stories that are only recorded verbally from generation to generation. They speak their own form of bribri language, and have traditions unlike any other communities. I’ll have to explain and describe how tourism began as a business within the Bribri community in another post- when I can focus, give you the correct information- and discuss even further.
They bring in about 30 maximum at a time, to learn about the community, the culture, and what they stand for. It’s one of their own ways to preserve the culture, employing members in the community, and profit goes back into their own use…. Sustainable Tourism in a nutshell.
During the 24 hours we were with them, we learned their history, their culture and values, how they use to hunt (a form of archery), how to put together the roof of a house by weaving leaves together, and learned about the cacao production system.
White Water Rafting – Pacuare River, Turrialba
My first experience white water rafting rocked my world! Pacuare River rafting is one of the best in the world- as mentioned in National Geographic, 24 kilometers long, with levels 1 up to 6 (we only went through 1-4) and had absolutely beautiful nature all around us. White water rafting require so much trust within the group, and especially the guide. Our guide had 15+ years of experience, and was incredibly fun to be around. He joked around, he knew we were scared but made us laugh through the whole ride.
There were scary rapids, some of my classmates fell off the boat and had to hang on for dear life, and then there were moments of serenity, peace, of being carried by the water floating in the river. It was sunny, it was rainy. It was simply magical. 4 hours later, my shoulders were a little sore, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
….. Never underestimate the power of water.
There are so many more adventures and trips to be had within the next two weeks, aside from the few essays and group projects we also have to finish for the class. But I’m learning an immense amount – and know that despite missing out on an internship with a big company for the summer because of my time restraints, I would’ve regretted if I didn’t come.
Sustainable tourism is so much more than we think it is. It’s a complex network of system thinking that involves everything from social, environmental and financial. Classes and these trips have allowed me to question my own actions and lifestyle, to think even more globally of how everything is interconnected within this global world- and I have learned more than I could’ve imagined.
Despite the writing of this post being a little rushed, I hope you’ve enjoyed a few photos of my highlights in Costa Rica so far. Please be on the look out for more posts in the near future!
As for now, keep up with my adventures through my photos on instagram!