It’s a weird but exciting time here in Atenas, Costa Rica. We’ve finished our classes, taken our final exams, and are moving into the final stage of the program – by going into the field for our Directed Research projects. The project is daunting, the paper even more so, and with our ever-looming departure dates, can feel a little overwhelming thinking about it all. Luckily, we’ve had the past week to detox and head out for our semester’s long break. We split into groups, people who had family and friends visit, people who summitted the highest peak in Costa Rica, and people like me who dreamed of relaxing and taking it easy on beautiful beaches.

My group made its way to Manuel Antonio National Park on the central pacific coast, with a quick stop in San Jose. After spending a few months in the suburbs of San Jose, it was so cool to be back in a big city again. Wandering around the Feria Verde farmer’s market, happening upon small museums where we were the only guests, and eating Chinese food at a restaurant that seemingly was someone’s living room, the adventures didn’t stop during our whole weekend in San Jose. From there we headed to Manuel Antonio, arguably one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, which is hard for me to say, especially if you’ve been keeping up with our blog and seeing all of the incredible places we’ve visited over the last couple of months.

We hiked, met interesting people (both locals and backpackers), zip lined, hung out with some monkeys, and lounged on the smooth sand beaches, which was after all, our original intention. It was an incredible finish to our break and the perfect way to celebrate finishing classes and get excited for our next steps. Today was the first day of our data collection, and we headed out to Carara National Park to start laying out the grid we will use to help us collect bioacoustics records during our 8 days in the field. From one exciting trip to the next, I can’t wait to see what our last month has in store for us.

→ Sustainable Development Studies Semester Program in Costa Rica