My First Real Experience: Costa Rica - My Family Travels

I had never really traveled, never had any unique experiences other than our usual summer camping trips. But, one day, my mom presented me with an opportunity to go to Costa Rica. To me, this “opportunity” didn’t seem real, it was more like something that would simply be cool to do, but never possible. The fact that I was going to a different country didn’t truly hit me until we got there. 

            It was March 2009 at the Salt Lake City Airport. Luckily, it was too early to be busy, so we made it through the entire passport checking business pretty quickly. However, once we reached security, it got a little more intense. I had never been in an airport and naturally, I was a little nervous. The guard at the other side of the x-ray machine could see that. I glanced at him apprehensively. “You look nervous,” he growled. “Why?”

“I’ve never been in an airport before,” I replied, terrified. Just then, I stepped out of the scanner to see another guard holding my bag with a pair of latex gloves, as though it were evidence that could have no stray finger prints tainting its surface. “Whose is this?” he said. I managed to squeak that the bag belonged to me. “Follow me,” he replied, leading me into a glass box in the center of the area. “Sit there and DON’T move until I tell you!” I let out a little cry as my eyes began to fill with tears and my stomach flipped continuously. The man began rummaging through my bag, when I realized what he was looking for. In my packing confusion, I thought I would just put my sun screen and bug spray in my back pack, which­ just happened to be my carry-on. “I know where it is,” I said, pointing to the bag that contained the prohibited liquids. Once I got through that little mishap and off the plane, we were finally there.

The trip was a total of seven days, but it seemed much longer than that. In those seven days we traveled across the entire country of Costa Rica, from city to small town to the ocean. We saw it all and all of it was beautiful. My favorite city was called La Fortuna. It was nestled down in between green mountain ranges and home of La Arenal, an active volcano. Our hotel consisted of two rows of tiny cabins, surrounded by the most beautiful tropical garden I could have ever imagined. One morning my friend and I woke at 5 a.m. to the sound of a million birds whistling countless tunes. We immediately got up to go look outside at the fog covered volcano and dew sprinkled flowers. When the rest of the group was up, we enjoyed a home-made breakfast cooked and served by the owners themselves.

            In Jaco, we swam in the Pacific Ocean, another first for me. The waves were enormous, large enough for surfing. When the mounds of heavy water came near, we’d let out a squeal and dive against their powerful crash.

            In another small city we flew through the canopies of the rain forest on zip lines and jumped from a high cliff on the Tarzan Swing.

            The whole trip created countless memories, which could take pages to tell. It was a new world, so beautiful, so different, and indescribably amazing. It was a week of my life that I will never forget- my first real experience.



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