Before I left for my study abroad experience here in Costa Rica, I had a few expectations in mind based on prior knowledge. From taking Spanish classes in high school, I knew that Costa Rica meant “rich coast”, so I expected most of the country to be flatlands nearby a coast. Though Costa Rica does have coasts on the East and West sides of the country, it is full of so much more than just the shore. Mountains surround Heredia and the rest of the Central Valley, and the place I am currently staying at, Monteverde, is basically a forest on top of a mountain. With mountains and valleys, coasts and forests, Costa Rica is a much different place than I expected.
As I rode the bus for about three hours from Heredia to Monteverde, there was ample time to not only take a relaxing nap but also to take a look at the area surrounding the bus. Leaving Heredia, where mostly homes, neighborhoods, and some farmland exists, I began to notice a shift to more spread out houses and mountainous terrain. It was interesting to view the transition from flatter land to more uneven land with many hills. Soon, as we began to drive up the dirt road to reach the top of the mountain at Monteverde, all that flatland disappeared. Having stayed in the flatter Heredia and now the elevated Monteverde, I realize just how amazing the Costa Rican geography is to have such a low area next to such tall mountains.
Additionally, during my time in Costa Rica so far, I have noticed just how abundant and diverse the wildlife is. I knew prior to leaving for the trip that there would be some exotic animals, but what I have experienced has far exceeded my expectations. From colorful birds to tiny geckos, Costa Rica is truly full of many species that I have never seen before. It has been amazing being able to experience such a spectacular collection of nature in such a short period of time.