Where Were You A Year Ago? – JUNE BLOG CHALLENGE

A year ago I was spending my summer in Costa Rica! That’s right. 10 weeks in a beautiful paradise with wonderful people and even more wonderful experiences! It would be hard to detail all these experiences so I’ll just give some highlights…

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One of my very first excursions in Costa Rica was to Monteverde! It’s about five hours away from San Jose in the mountains and is absolutely gorgeous. Monteverde is a cloud forest, one of the rarest ecosystems on earth! Hiking through the forest is like visiting another world. The trees are humongous and the clouds pass through the mountains effortlessly. As well as hiking through the cloud forest, my friends and I took a night hike where our tour guide told us all about different plants, animals, and insects! I learned so much that night and loved it every minute of it.

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After spending time in the mountains, I visited the beach in Manual Antonio National Park! People come from all over the world to see the beaches in this park and its no wonder why. It has some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen. This is also where I saw some of my first sloths and monkeys! The sloths were what you’d expect – lazy, slow, and very fun to look at. The monkeys were very different. They would get close to bags in hopes of stealing food and swing right over people! Manual Antonio was an exciting trip for sure!

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You see the girl jumping off the cliff into the waterfall? Yeah. That’s me. One weekend my friends and I went to a small beach town on the Pacific coast named Montezuma. While we were there went off the beaten path to this amazing waterfall! Luckily this was one of many waterfalls I had the chance to visit. The water was fresh and cool, and it was a lot of fun to just swim and chat with friends. Before we left I went ahead and jumped off the cliff! It was terrifying, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t make the leap!

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What else can there be to see after going to the mountains, the beach, and some waterfalls? A volcano apparently! Volcan Arenal is a beautiful volcano surrounded by a lake, a cozy town, and even some hot springs! We spent the morning hiking by the volcano and learning about it’s history and the ecosystem encircling it. Afterwards we spent a relaxing afternoon at Baldi Hot Springs! This weekend had the best of both worlds!

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This last photo was taken a day before I left my second home. In Downtown San Jose close to the government’s legislature is a sidewalk full of murals just like this! It was amazing to see such incredible art being encouraged in the city. A lot of the art dealt with social issues, but I absolutely adored this bubbly piece! It sums up how happy my time in Costa Rica really was.

Where were you a year ago? Where do you want to be a year from now? Let’s explore our past and future!

P.S. Looking at these pictures has made me seriously home sick for Costa Rica! I want to go back! 😦

Santiago, Chile

“I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests.” – Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda, one of Chile’s literary treasures, spent some of his life in the vibrant city of Santiago, Chile. While I have not been to this city, I chose to write about since I will soon be spending six weeks living and working in the city! So, let’s explore the fantastic city of Santiago!

Santiago was founded in 1541, and since that time it has grown into a thriving metropolis with a deep history surrounded by the quiet and elegance of the Andes and Pacific ocean. So which places are the best to experience all parts of this culture?

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In the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, you not only get to experience the being in the mountains surrounding the city, but the gorgeous view of the city below. The Parque has many many thing to do: El Zoologico Nacional, Parques Urbanos, and el Jardin Botanico. The Parque Metropolitano allows visitors to be with nature without ever leaving the city’s energy or the city limits.

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El Mercado Central was opened in 1872, and sells fresh seafood from the Pacific coast, ripe fruits and vegetables from the countryside, and restaurants serving the food with a local flavor! The Locos and Crab Pie are a must, and there is always something to see from the people watching, beautiful architecture of the market, and the vivid colors of the food.

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Finally, El Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos honors a darker chapter of Chile’s past. In 1973, Chile underwent a military coup oppressing much of the country. Although Chile has overcome the coup, it is still fresh on the hearts and minds of the country.

While there is more to Santiago than what I have explored, these are the places I am most excited to experience during my time there this summer. Hopefully I will have a chance to see these places and share stories about more local places as well!

Have you been to Santiago? Is there anything you have seen there or want to see? Please comment and share your stories, to help us explore the world!