With classes that typically run Monday through Saturday, a three-day weekend is the perfect time to get off campus and explore all that Costa Rica has to offer. I decided to spend this long-awaited weekend in Corcovado, a national park globally renown for its biodiversity.
Corcovado is located on the Osa Peninsula, and encompasses 164 square miles of protected area, accessible to visitors only by boat from the nearest port town. I assumed this boat ride would be just a means to get to our final destination, but it ended up being the highlight of the trip. The boat was small and weathered, but the views were mind-blowing.
The rugged coastline seemed to stretch as infinitely as the ocean itself. Waves rebounded off dramatic, rugged cliffs, and diverse forests blanketed the hills above. Every so often, a perfect sand beach appeared, inviting but untouched. I was completely captivated, and we hadn’t even reached our destination.
The boat eventually rumbled up to the shore, and we began what would be a day of adventure and learning. Our guide led us through forests and across beaches, pointing out an unparalleled variety of wildlife. We saw birds, tapirs, monkeys, crocodiles, bull sharks, and the much-anticipated sloth, among so many others.
The experience was undoubtedly a highlight of my time in Costa Rica thus far. Yet, in some ways, the excursion didn’t feel all that unique. In some ways, it felt like one of the many field lectures that we’re so fortunate to experience as a regular part of our coursework. This realization in no way diminished the value and impact of the trip. Rather, it made me realize just how lucky we are to have these internationally sought-after experiences as our norm.