Trying on traditional sombreros in Mexico!

As Costa Rica is so far from Europe there is often worth to visit some other countries while you are here. Both Panama and Nicaragua are reachable by bus, and there are various other destinations that you can reach with a 2-3 hour flight, like Mexico, Columbia, Guatemala and others. The trips abroad are arranged by the students, but the staff at UISIL are very helpful if you have any questions.

It is also worth to mention that previously you needed to go out of the country during the semester, due to the need of a visa renewal. Now, Costa Rica have extended their tourist visa to 180 days, meaning you can stay the whole semester without needing to leave the country and return.

San Isidro is 3 hours away from San José, where the airport is located. This means that you might want to spend more than a weekend away if you are travelling by plane. Luckily, the program allows for 80% of attendance in the classes, meaning you COULD skip up to 20%, without loosing your grade. This is of course a thing to consider when travelling, but I found it very worthy to explore some other countries and have some absence at school.

It was so nice to see one of the worlds 7 wonders, Chichen Itza!

I went to Cancún, Mexico for one week. It is so nice that we could reach this destination in only two hours. This trip was amazing, and we swam in crystal clear water, went on a catamaran tour, and enjoyed the sun. We rented bikes and biked along the hotel zone to one of the beaches. We had a lot of tacos, which was perfect for us, being a little tired of the rice and beans in Costa Rica. Of course, we were also served a lot of tequila and tasted tequila with chocolate and with mango.

Swimming in Cenotes in Mexico, so cool!

We also got to see the famous world wonder Chichen Itza, which was built by the Mayans. The place was very exciting, and we learned a lot from our guide. We also got to swim in a Cenote, which was made by the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs. Wrapped up, the trip to Mexico was an amazing experience, but it was very good to be back home in Costa Rica and go back to school.

The beautiful architecture of the cathedral in Granada, Nicaragua.

I also went to Nicaragua for one week. Nicaragua was pretty similar to Costa Rica but had very pretty colonial cities and the precious volcano island, Ometepe. We rented ATVs on Ometepe, which was a very good and fun way to see the island. The people live very differently from most people in Costa Rica, but like Costa Rica, all the people we met were welcoming and service minded. In Ometepe, you can swim in the largest lake of Central America, and the beaches are so cute.

We also visited Granada, a colonial city. The city had very colorful architecture and good restaurants. From here we also went to see real magma at the Masaya Volcano, it was amazing!

Exploring the architecture in León, Nicaragua.

The last stop on our Nicaragua trip was in León, which is a little north from the capital, Managua. Here we did volcano boarding, we hiked up a volcano and sled down! It was a very fun experience, and the hostel arranged an afterparty as well.

I definitely would recommend to go on a few trips to the other countries in the region while studying here, as this gives a better understanding of the Latino culture, and the region is amazing.

– Ingvild