I moved to Costa Rica in July 2021. It’s been a little more than a year, and my friends say that I have explored Costa Rica quite a bit. I don’t agree with them! There is so much more to do, and so much more to see. You can never have enough of this incredible country!
I lived in my home country for 29 years of my life, and apart from visiting 2 other countries for tourism for a brief period, I hadn’t really got the chance of living in any other country. But, I used to travel frequently in my country, making the most out of extended weekends and national holidays. I used to backpack across cities, live in hostels, and visit hot tourist destinations.
When I came across the opportunity to move to Costa Rica, I jumped at it! This was my chance to explore not only another country but another part of the world. I googled it, and read everything I could about tourism in this country.
With more than a year of experience traveling in Costa Rica, I now find myself a changed person. I have changed in ways I could not even imagine earlier. Let me take you through some ways in which I have changed.
1. I feel connected to nature
Costa Rica is a pioneer of ecotourism, so tourism is different here. More than 21% of its land is marked for conservation, one of the highest ratios in the world. It has over 70 protected areas, and efforts are taken for the conservation and preservation of flora and fauna. Tourism is in harmony with the environment.
I have started feeling more connected to nature here in Costa Rica. I have experienced nature in its rawness, seen wildlife in its natural habitat, and seen vegetation that I didn’t know existed.
2. I take measures toward being a responsible tourist
Being one of the world’s prime ecotourism destinations, Costa Rica promotes responsible tourism. I, too, have started practicing responsible tourism. I take public transport, stay at local accommodations, eat at local restaurants, visit places that are dedicated to conservation, and support conservation efforts in whatever way I can. I play my small, but significant, part as a responsible tourist.
3. I feel more aware and educated
Wherever I go in Costa Rica, there is plenty of information about that place, its history, efforts taken for conservation, etc. Some places also offer guided tours where guides explain the process or significance of a particular species in the environment. This has helped me expand my knowledge and created awareness in me. For example, I am now aware of the importance of rainforests in the ecosystem.
4. I have learned to live in the moment
I am from a country where people are always in a rush. But, here in Costa Rica, Ticos take it slow. They have mastered the art of doing nothing. ‘Pura Vida’, which literally means pure life or simple life, is imbibed in the country’s culture and the people’s attitude.
After observing Costa Ricans on the beaches, I felt it was time for me to learn ‘to be where you are’. It was time for me to live in the moment, and not think about the past or future.
5. I am more open to different ways of life
I feel I have become more agile now. When you spend most of your life in one city or a country, you see life in a particular way. But, when you are exposed to a new culture, and even a new language, you realize that life is much more than food and family.
I am a vegetarian, and my native language is Hindi and/or English. Moving here meant having to make a lot of changes. But I welcomed the change with open arms and immersed myself in different cuisines and cultures. I have even started to learn Spanish.
6. I try something new on a trip
There are so many ‘firsts’ that I experienced in Costa Rica. I snorkeled at Isla Tortuga, ziplined at Monteverde, saw a turtle lay eggs at Tortuguero, watched a whale swimming at Uvita, experienced bioluminescence at Isla Gitana, and saw volcanic activity at Rincon de la Vieja. I had never done or experienced these before in my life.
This is something that I learned here. To be open to trying something new on a trip!
Few people, in their lives, get a chance to experience something new and life-changing. I am glad I am one of the selected few. I look forward to experiencing some more ‘firsts’ in this beautiful and welcoming country. Cheers to life!