Studying with Kulturstudier in Costa Rica, we have a lot of opportunities to travel during the weekends since we only have half a day in school on Thursdays and are free on Fridays. It is a very generous arrangement from the school. Kulturstudier does organize some joint travels, and some we have done on our own.

The most obvious trip is of course to our closest beach, Playa Dominical. You can absolutely go there just over the day by bus, but staying there is very nice too. If you are lucky it might be salsa night at a local club! Otherwise, you might enjoy the beach, eat some good food (other than the beans and rice that we mainly have in San Isidro), stroll the market or take surf lessons! My favorite cafe/restaurant is Mono Congo.

Another close-by adventure is Uvita. Kulturstudier organized a trip there to go whale watching. This was one of my best experiences so far! We were lucky and got very close to two whales jumping multiple times! The expedition did feel okay in terms of the animals’ wellbeing as well, we could not get too close and had to leave after a certain amount of time. Some of us stayed in Uvita at a hostel in the middle of the jungle. Besides geckos, big green crickets, and fireflies, we also had a giant scorpion in our room. It was surely an adventure. We hiked a short way to a waterfall nearby and just enjoyed the jungle.

Kulturstudier also arranged a trip to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast. You should absolutely go here!! The positive side of going with Kulturstudier is that it’s easy and safe. They provide the transportation and usually also someone to come with us on the trip. The downside is that the trips are quite short. For this one especially I would recommend that you maybe go for a few more days than just the weekend. There is so much to see and do and the Caribbean is just amazing. I really really recommend going to the jaguar rescue center if you have time. They do an amazing job caring for and rehabilitating wild animals in the area and work to make the nature around them more safe! It is a really good place if you want to really contribute to some actual good.

The only weekend trip I would not recommend is to St Theresa. If you want to go to that area you should definitely go to Montezuma instead. St Theresa feels like a backdrop for tourists. There is very little of Costa Rica to be found. The exact same restaurants and cafés, hostels, and stores can be found in Bali, Sri Lanka, or any other famous surf location. It is very expensive and my experience is that the people are not as nice as elsewhere.

Besides the arranged trips by Kulturstudier, you should definitely try to visit Manuel Antonio and Monteverde. These are legendary places not too far away from San Isidro. Monteverde is up in the mountains, therefore it does not matter if you go during the rainy season. Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica and if you can you should try to go when the weather is better.

You also have the opportunity to visit some nearby countries while you are here. The most common destinations have been Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia. The closer ones you can reach by a very long and exhausting bus ride, and the other ones by plane from San José. A lot of people actually go traveling before or after the semester starts or finishes as well.

Don’t forget to ask local people like your teachers or others working at Kulturstudier for tips on weekend trips! There are a lot of adventures close to San Isidro that you can do just during the day! Just make sure to go explore while you’re here!!
// Maja