I was fortunate enough to go on a mission trip to Costa Rica in June 2015. It was one of the most memorable trips of my life and a place I definitely plan to re-visit with my family. I love, love, love mission trips for many reasons (I’ll save that for another post) but for now I want to share some of the reasons I fell in love with Costa Rica as well was reasons you should consider visiting there.
1. It’s a slower way of life. You’ll often hear the locals refer to “Tico time.” I’m not sure I saw any locals wearing a watch… that’s just not how they do things. They meet up around about a certain time of day and if the plan changes, just roll with it. It was so different from our everyday American lives where we rush here and rush there and our days are jam-packed for a full agenda. I could get used to living on Tico time.2. Friendly people. We met some super nice people and everyone wears flip flops. I mean, come on… If you read our About Us you know I’m a sucker for flip flops. 3. They have Toucans and monkeys and so many other cool animals (including poison dart frogs, although thankfully I didn’t encounter any of those). But TOUCANS! I’d never seen one. It was such a magical moment when we spotted a few in the trees surrounding our house one evening, I almost peed my pants… and now I love Toucans forever and ever, amen. I’m serious, it was too cool.4. BEACHES. Beautiful beaches. Need I say more? Okay, maybe I’ll say a little more. One evening I found myself alone on the beach near dusk and thousands of tiny crabs were skittering (is that a word? seems appropriate) all around me searching for food. I may or may not have spent several minutes chasing them (they are super fast, by the way) before I decided to be still and just watch. Definitely a surreal experience.5. Local dives. Who doesn’t love tacos? I also have to mention the open air eatery we ate at one night… the sound of the rain dancing all around us, entangled with the evening sea breeze was so refreshing as we sat and visited over dinner after a long, hot day. It was truly magical.
6. Unbelievable sunsets. This photo doesn’t do it justice in any way, shape, or form. Just trust me.
7. Plenty of Adventure. Long walks on the beach (I mean loooooong walks), hikes into the hills to swim in secluded waterfalls, zip lining through the rainforest, boat rides to private islands to relax and collect sea shells, and more. So. Much. Fun.
8. Room for solitude. I love to find a good spot where I can sit and be still, alone with God and my thoughts. Taking time to pray, reflect, and be thankful is good for the soul. There’s something so wondrous about the ocean. It makes me feel so small, yet so loved at the same time. God’s creation is truly majestic.
9. Different scenery. Being in new places and seeing the differences in architecture and lifestyles is always profoundly interesting.
10. Last but not least, there are plenty of opportunities for giving back. Several teams went to Costa Rica over a 4 week period to work on various projects. We painted the recreation area of a local church, did some landscaping, held sports camps and Bible studies, and played games with some of the local kids. I especially loved watching the kids on our team build relationships with some of the locals, like these moments they shared painting each others’ fingernails. Sometimes the smallest gestures mean the most.
I promise I’ll be back, Costa Rica!
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