After finding out we had some family issues to deal with this week, Brittany’s friend Courtney decided to step up and help us out with a blog post. Courtney is an avid traveler who ‘prioritizes adventure and discovery over stability and structure’ (her favorite quote from travel book The Lost Girls). She works in Marketing and Communications for an online start-up in Colorado and enjoys writing, exploring the outdoors and speaking Spanish…
My friend and I were beginning to discuss our post-college graduation backpacking trip to Costa Rica and needed to decide exactly where we were going to stay. With our very low budget, we knew hostels were the cheapest option. Still, it would add up to be a lot for the three week duration of the trip. We decided to look into Couchsurfing, or according to the dictionary, “when you stay overnight in someone else’s home while traveling.” We knew now that our itinerary would be based upon who would let us stay with them.
Neither of us tried Couchsurfing before, but I’ve always wanted to try it out. What better way to stay for free and with a local who knows the city, culture, and language well? I set up my profile and added as much detail to it as possible. Couchsurfer hosts are more likely to accept you if you’ve stayed with others before and have a detailed, and thus credible, profile. Since we hadn’t stayed with anyone previously, I figured we’d have a tough time finding someone who would accept our request.
I messaged many people around the country of Costa Rica. I heard back from more than I expected. We confirmed a stay for when we first arrived in San Jose with a girl in her mid 20’s. She had never hosted anyone before but was willing to let us stay. We asked her for her address and she said she doesn’t have one. What?! How the heck are we supposed to get on the right bus and know where we are going?! She said they use reference points to direct people around and told us what points to tell the driver.
When we arrived at her apartment, we were welcomed by our couchsurfing host. We knew right away we were going to like this experience. Our host was so kind and friendly right away. Given we just had a long flight from Colorado; we were utterly exhausted and wanted to take a nap ASAP. Before we slept more, she made us a traditional Costa Rican breakfast: white melon, beans, toast with cheese and a glass of freshly made carrot juice. Can you say delicious?
Once we woke up from some much needed sleep, our host asked what we wanted to do for the day. We wanted to explore downtown San José and see what sort of adventures we could get ourselves into. With no knowledge of which buses to take and how to get to downtown, our host was able to help us along the whole way. We walked to the nearby bus stop and rode into town for a day of exploring. Later that night we met her boyfriend and some of their friends. My friend was still wiped out so she went to bed while the rest of us went out for a night on the town. It was very relaxed and we talked for hours, mostly in English but in Spanish every now and then.
The next day our host and her boyfriend drove us to a Volcano with an amazing crater full of turquoise water and then had lunch at a local restaurant. It was our last night with her as we were bound for the beach the next day, so we meet up at her friend’s house for a chill house party. We learned so much about Costa Rican culture, the people and the language, all in only three days. As we said our goodbyes we said we’d keep in touch and she would always have a place to stay when she comes to visit Colorado.