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The Trip That Changed My Life

By Rachel Burt 

It has been seven years since my first trip abroad to a place that opened my virgin eyes to a whole new world. For one week, seven friends explored the jungles and many other wonders of Costa Rica. We were ready to go with very little but our backpacks, granola bars, digital cameras, bathing suits, sandals, and hiking sneakers. 

After a seven hour flight and finally landing at the small airport in the capital, San Jose, we had a two hour taxi drive,  a three hour waiting period, a ferry boat ride, and a long bumpy shuttle ride through the unpaved dirt roads until we finally arrived to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. What kept us awake was the excitement and our enthusiasm for adventure. Santa Teresa was the once untouched and laid back jungle safari.


It is no wonder Costa Rica is so seductive: The staggering beauty of beaches with prime waves; lush green jungles; howler monkeys; precious wildlife; waterfalls; an array of restaurants and nightlife; reggaeton music; spin lines; canoe riding; bungalows offering infinity pools that overlook the sunset; and various yoga retreats. 

Below are some photos from my journey that capture the meaning of pura vida, which is a commonly used phrase in Costa Rica and literally means "pure life" but better translates as "this is living." 

The food in Costa Rica is fairly cheap and because of all the expatriates, there are a variety of international restaurants. Although some sophisticated restaurants seemed appealing, my favorite food was found at the local sodas. Sodas are mom and pop type restaurants that serve typical Costa Rican food, which is big platters of fresh rice and beans served with vegetables, avocado, and your choice of meat. You will find popular local meals on the menu such as: casados (Spanish meal), ceviche (raw fish), patacones (plantains), gallo pinto  (a Costa Rican dish) and fresh fruit smoothies.

Me (left)

The locals are very kind and happy when they encounter tourists. With travelers from the entire world passing through Costa Rica, you feel a sense of camaraderie and this makes it easy for you to feel at home.

Costa Rica is a place that lures you in. One visit usually leads to another, and in many cases relocation. 

Out of all of my travels abroad, I could see myself relocating permanently to Costa Rica. Thanks to the wanderlust inside of me, it led me to many other places and many more travel stories to share. Stay tuned...signing-off from New York City. Until next time...

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