Josh Log #2 Adventures from Costa Rica: Coffee, volcanoes and more

Joshua Loyd, Staff Writer

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     ¡Buenas! Professional hot sauce critic and number one Joker fanboy Joshua Lloyd here with another update from Costa Rica. We’re almost to the end of the third module of classes now and our group is busy studying Latin American Civilization and Culture. Together we’ve covered everything from ancient Aztec and Inca civilizations to the Latin American wars of independence in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

     A few of us took a day for a tasteful tour of Café Britt, a leading innovator in gourmet Costa Rican coffee. I’m not big on coffee myself, but fortunately Britt specializes in cookies, nuts and chocolates (would highly recommend the dark chocolate-covered pineapple jelly).

     Soccer fans will feel right at home here, as long as they root for C.S. Herediano in Heredia and Deportivo Saprissa in San José. Nothing personal, but team spirit is a big deal wherever you go in Costa Rica. Some friends and I ventured to the capital to watch Saprissa take on Limón at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá. The roar when Saprissa scored its first goal rattled the roof, but Limón fired back with its first goal only minutes later.

     Two weekends ago we piled into the buses to head to La Fortuna, a small town northwest of San José in the shadow of two huge volcanoes, but first we took a high-flying detour to a huge jungle zipline course. The Tarzan Swing (look it up) was an added bonus, not to mention the “Superman” line for the grand finale (it’s just as crazy as it sounds).

     Three hours later, our buses cleared a few hills and we got our first breathtaking look at Arenal Volcano, a 5,500-foot geological wonder with clouds surrounding the summit. Its most recent eruption was in 2010, and visitors can occasionally spot thin lava flows near the crater. We spent a night in the natural hot springs that flow from the Tabacón River at Arenal’s base.

     The next morning, our troop or ne’er-do-wells left Arenal for Chato, La Fortuna’s other volcano, complete with a rainforest trail that took us to the famous La Fortuna Waterfall. We returned to Heredia later that Sunday night, all kinds of tired but humbled by the sights of La Fortuna’s awe-inspiring wilderness. Or maybe we were just thankful Arenal didn’t launch any fireballs.

     Obviously, Thanksgiving’s not a thing here, so Ticos go all out for la Navidad and deck their halls with Christmas décor as soon as Halloween passes.
We’ll have the chance to bring a little Thanksgiving to our families here, though, since each of us will choose an American dish to make and serve to the host mamas at the end of the month.

     We’re coming into the homestretch now, and the daily rains have backed off as the dry season (mid-November to April) steadily approaches. What’s next for our intrepid band of adventurers? Everyone’s hyped for our four days in Nicaragua. We’ll be leaving on Thanksgiving Day for a long sojourn to Costa Rica’s border to reach its northern neighbor. Our thoughts might be turning towards home, but there are plenty of memories left to be made before we fly in December. Joshua Lloyd, signing off. ¡Pura vida, por supuesto!

Joshua is a Spanish and Interpersonal communications major. He is a staff writer for The Voice