Today we left behind our home stays in place of a green mountain, Monteverde. While traveling the four hours to get there we experienced the different views and scenes that Costa Rica has to offer. We saw the dry lowlands transform into dense forested areas without much human life in between and then to sweeping hills and mountains that undulated into the horizon. Much stood out to me as we drove through the parts of the country: the people, buildings, and especially the scenic views. By seeing the drastically different parts of Costa Rica, my understanding of the country has vastly changed.
One of the most interesting things I saw while traveling was the apparent difference in lifestyle from landscape to landscape. The people in the lower basin, where San Jose is, appear to rely on modern ways of living. Going to stores, buying food, etc. However, the farther we went from the capital the more it seemed like these people relied more on local businesses and self-reliance. Without inherent access to stores, it seems that Ticos living in higher elevations have a more traditional or self-reliant lifestyle. More traditional housing and less modern influences were present the farther we went from the capital. While I noticed the influences of people, what caught my eye was the scenic views across the country.
The trip was smooth and pretty much looked the same: modern homes and business, tropical plants, PAVED ROADS. All this changed until we transitioned from a paved road to one that was, well let’s just call it a little bumpy. This road that was…a little bumpy took us from flat lowlands to highlands and changed my perception of the country’s scenery. I was familiar with green jagged mountains lush with plants but what I saw was yellow, brown, and green hills rolling across the countryside. Not only this but going through parts of heavily forested areas showed me how different tropical forests are from the ones I know from my home. Once we actually reached Monteverde we came upon a small town nestled in a heavy forest, cool and humid with an abundance of wildlife.
This trip that was four hours and…a little bumpy changed my perception of Costa Rica. While I assumed the change in people’s lifestyle and architecture as we moved away from the city, I did not expect the scenery of the country to be so wildly different as we traveled. From plains, to forests, to dry hills and valleys, Costa Rica’s variable landscape showed me how different it is from other places. It explained the difficulty in modernizing the country and the struggles it has to continue this. It made sense, while trying to develop a country, nature must be fought too.