Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a week dedicated to worship, food, and family, and the whole country celebrates. Everyone takes the week off and visits relatives all over the country. We were celebrating for a different reason, we had our coveted Spring Break during this week and my classmates and I scattered to the corners of Costa Rica to relax, backpack, and experience Costa Rica. Some found the rainforest, others the beach, and some stayed with host families to soak in the “Pura Vida” lifestyle.

My group and I took a long, crowded bus ride to the Osa Peninsula. A 12 mile beach hike took us to the heart of the rainforest in Corcovado National Park. The trails were littered with wildlife that walks, stalks, slithers, swings or flies. A sloth graced our presence the second day of the trip, conveniently posing for pictures. We kept our distance from a boa constrictor and a palm viper on the trails, giving them plenty of room when passing. A tapir curiously introduced himself, walking over to our group to check us out. And don’t even get me started on all of the new tropical birds I was able to cross off my list.

Backpacking actually turned out to be the easiest part of the travel experience. When everyone is on vacation at once, the bus system gets a little stressed. Our 8 hour bus ride turned into a 12 hour experience when our bus broke down near the top of a mountain in the chilly cloud forest. You know how the saying goes… You can’t win ‘em all. Luckily, some sympathetic ticos came to our aid with some extra warm clothes. Fortunately, all of the students made it back to the Center on time and good thing too, because now it’s Finals Week.