When arriving in Costa Rica, I wanted to come in with no expectations, so I could take each experience in as it comes. It was night when we drove in from the airport in San Jose to ULatina in Heredia, where our host families awaited us. Even though it was dark out, I was still able to take in brightly lit buildings, towering palm trees, and the Ticos enjoying themselves at outdoor restaurants.
My roommate and I were greeted by a sweet abuela who seemed very excited to have us. She drove us back to her home which is located in a beautiful neighborhood. The houses are tightly packed together but still very spacious inside, ours even having a small courtyard that is home to our host mom’s garden. Our host mother fed us an amazing meal of chicken and vegetables after we arrived and we also got to meet the family’s adorable dog, Coco!
In the morning we were fed a breakfast of scrambled eggs, fresh fruit (the fruit here is so sweet and amazing), orange juice, and coffee. Then we headed off to explore the city! Heredia is beautiful. One of the places we got to see was the Central Park in the heart of the city. There were so many people there playing, relaxing, and listening to a band playing live music. Even for a smaller city, Heredia always seems to be bustling with activity.
For lunch, we were treated to delicious jugo frescos and the largest entree of chicken I’ve ever seen at Leño y Carbón Parrillita. We also got to enjoy our meal outdoors which made it even better. The weather was very nice today, it was warm with a cool breeze, but a little humid. The only downside was that we got caught in a downpour later in the day.
Costa Rica is everything I’ve imagined and more. The hospitality here is like no other place I’ve experienced, everyone is so warm and welcoming and you can tell Ticos take great pride in their country. The food is even better than I expected, which is saying a lot because I already knew it was going to be good. Heredia is a smaller city, but it is still so full of life and energy. It is so beautiful and I cannot wait to see more parts of the city and explore more areas of Costa Rica as well.