In my previous blog I left off talking about the many fun and culturally informative travels that I did with ICDS. Which I don’t think I ever said what ICDS was, but it stands for International Center for Developmental Studies and is the company that Drexel is partnered with to allow us to study in Costa Rica. In this post, however, I will be talking about the various trips that I took with the friends I made here in the program. In ten weeks I was able to see so many wonderful parts of Costa Rica, but definitely not enough. I really, truly cannot wait until I can come back to visit.
The first weekend in Costa Rica was dedicated to settling in and getting the lay of the land. By this I mean meeting all of the other students on the trip and team members of ICDS, getting to know our host family’s and unpack, as well as figuring out the public transport system and knowing where our classes were going to be held. But by the second weekend we were already all exploring various parts of Costa Rica. All in all, I was able to travel to some big ticket places in CR: Monteverde, Playa Heradura, Playa Jaco, Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna, and Guanacaste. All of my traveling was done as cheap as possible. This meant traveling by public buses and only staying in hostels or very cheap AirBNBs. The average cost per bus was about $10 USD, with the most expensive capping out at $15 for a 6 hour bus ride. There are a bunch of bud companies in San Jose which was really great, meaning that the country was at our finger tips. Companies my friends and I used over and over again were Terminal 7-10, Tracopa, as well as Travel Inteligente Guanacaste. Obviously they are not the most comfortable buses in the world, but they get the job done cheaply and safely. A HUGE recommendation I have is to bring LOTS of Dramamine from the States as it was a little pricey here. I cannot recommend motion sickness medicine enough, even if you don’t get motion sick. Most versions are also a light sedative and make it really easy to nap as you travel, making the time go by a lot faster and the trip a little more comfortable. As for accommodations, HostelWorld.com was a great tool to find great places to stay, as well as AirBNB. Prices for lodging really depended on what you were most comfortable with and what things you were willing to compromise on. If you’re willing to stay a little inland from a beach and take a local bus, you’ll be able go sleep a lot cheaper than right on the water.
Overall, traveling in Costa Rica can be relatively cheap if you know what you’re doing. I know I wish someone had given me some recommendations on where to stay, what to do, and how to get to places, so I hope this hits home for some other folks. The ICDS team is also a really good resource to find solutions to travel questions, or any questions in generally.