Someone once said that change is the only constant in life. That same someone may also argue that this has been particularly true since March 2020.

Due to the pandemic there has been a total shift from “normal life” to the new normal: a virtual life. The world has changed and is changing. Many lives have been lost. Travel plans have been cancelled and there is uncertainty about even when some may be able to see and hug their loved ones again. 

On top of this, there is a world economy that has been severely impacted. Service and travel industries have been crushed. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing. When will it get better? Can it get better? 

Costa Rica’s answer to these questions: sí se puede!

Apart from being an absolutely stunning country, from its breathtaking landscapes to its warm, diverse citizens to its always freshly prepared cuisine, Costa Rica is a country that has made serious commitments to its values.

Costa Rica is committed to peace. Costa Rica is committed to working hard. Costa Rica is committed to caring for its natural resources, both flora and fauna alike. And holding it close as a national value, Costa Rica is committed to education.

At Idioma Internacional, we are so truly honored to be partnering with Costa Rica and its public and private entities in order to help bring this commitment to education to fruition for residents and citizens of this country, regardless of pandemics or other setbacks that may come.

In May 2020, with the pandemic and uncertainty still quite fresh and ever-unfolding, the Costa Rican government was still dedicated to providing hundreds of scholarships to people in an effort to educate them in English and assist them in gaining the skills to gain employment. Costa Rica was steadfastly focused on growth and so was Idioma Internacional. Together, we joined forces to combat uncertainty, combat a pandemic, and combat unemployment by taking actions to put into practice the commitment to education and language skills aimed at helping people and their families learn, become gainfully employed, and keep moving forward. 

Administrative staff in a planning meeting

Months later in August, and further into more uncertainty and a continued pandemic, the government once again showed its commitment to education and to its citizens and residents, approving hundreds of scholarships that will help them gain language skills that can translate into employment opportunities. With a quality team of teachers from around the globe, from Africa, Europe, and Asia to the Americas, Idioma Internacional was once again proud to partner with the labor ministry in its social and economic efforts to keep Costa Rica growing and moving forward.

Idioma teachers during a professional development workshop

As many of our students are now set to graduate after their intensive, months-long virtual English courses with Idioma Internacional, we are now partnering with the private sector via companies like Amazon, Snap Finance, Equifax and more, in order to host virtual job fairs for our graduating students in a concerted effort to allow companies exposure to our talented groups of graduates, allow our graduates to gain direct access to hiring teams from companies and help to complete the cycle and efforts of Costa Rica and its commitment to education.

And Costa Rica will soon be at it again! Despite a pandemic with still no end in sight, Costa Rica is poised to continue to invest in education and continue to invest in its people with a focus on growth and gaining employment. And Idioma Internacional is proudly poised to commit once again to helping the country advance, and to helping all of its residents and citizens gain the language skills they need in order to keep moving forward with their own personal and professional growth. 

 

-Brendan Mulhall

Upon receiving the exciting news that my friend and his father from the states were coming to visit me here in Costa Rica, I began searching for interesting things to do.  My friend and his father had only requested, “beach, snorkeling, chill.” Fortunately, Costa Rica is abundant with activities that fall into those specified categories.

My research paid off big time when I found out about Cahuita. It had everything that the boys wanted. So I booked the hostel and waited impatiently for my friends’ arrival. They got to San Jose late in the evening, but I made my way to their hotel to celebrate their arrival and have a few toasts.

We left 2 days later for the paradise by the Caribbean Sea. Our drive took us through some of the most twisted, and beautiful mountain views I had ever seen. As we neared our destination, we could see the ocean, a mere 20 meters from the road. Our excitement was palatable, a static energy you could feel at every pore. We rolled the windows down and breathed in the salty air.

The town of Cahuita is small, barely 5 city blocks worth of actual town, but it is densely packed with restaurants, bars, knick-knack shops, tourist companies, and mini markets. We made our way to the hostel, Cabinas Caribe Luna, and saw just what peaceful Caribbean life really looks like. We met with the owners Enrica and David. They had the sweetest and most welcoming demeanor. They were the essence of “Pura Vida.” Their property is tucked neatly back into the wilderness, but still close enough to walk to the beach, the town, the national park. The cabins are individually set back in a romantic garden that is well maintained by Enrica and David. David has even begun marking each plant and tree with their names. There is a small stone sitting circle that I dubbed the “philosophy classroom.” It’s a perfect place for meditation, relaxation, and the mental reset we all need at one time or another.

After setting up our gear in the hostel cabin, we left to get supplies and head down to the beach. The town itself is quaint, quiet, and beautiful. We picked up some snacks and beers and made our way to the closest beach (which was about 300 meters from our hostel). Our first day was spent lounging by the beach with beers in hand. The views are as incredible as you can imagine. The water is clear, the sand soft and warm, the misting sea salt air embraces your lungs.

That night we had a simple dinner at one of the local watering holes, where we enjoyed some beers and the company. We spent the rest of the night playing cards on our peaceful patio. The sounds of the night crept up on us and we all slowly drifted off to sleep.

I woke, sweating (it’s rather warm on the Caribbean coast), but I was delighted to get started on our day. We all had a meager breakfast of cereal bars and orange juice. The night before, we had booked our snorkeling and jungle tour. We were only an hour away from swimming in the largest coral reef in Costa Rica.

My companions and I walked the ten minutes to the tour company that we had booked with. We met our guide, received the simple instructions, fitted our gear, and followed Alex, our tour guide, to the boat. After a few minutes of getting everyone settled in the small boat, we made our way out onto the open water. We were never too far off shore, but the breeze caressing my skin felt like a lover’s hand stroking my beard as I drift to sleep. In other words, pure bliss.

When we reached the first reef stop, we were again reminded of the rules: no standing, no touching the corals, stay close to the boat, etc. We then plunged ourselves into a fantasy. The moment I was in the water with mask and snorkel at the ready, I was immediately in view of an underwater universe I had yet to experience in my life. There were fish of every color. We saw a nurse shark, held a sea cucumber, watched a school of fish whose numbers reached in the thousands. There was every variety of coral, alive and intoxicating to see. We eventually went to another stop a little closer to shore where the scene was just as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the first.

After about two hours of snorkeling, the group was ready to return to shore and begin our jungle hike part of the adventure. I felt like we were waiting forever, but in reality it was probably about 45 minutes. It is amazing how much anticipation can alter our sense of time.

When we finally embarked on the easy hike, it seemed as if there were too many people to see anything very interesting. I feared we would be too loud and keep the animals away. However, within ten minutes of the journey, I was corrected. Alex, our tour guide had already spotted the first sloth. Perched just a few meters out of reach, a mother and her cub were cuddled together gazing at the humans uninterestedly. This was how the hike went: about every ten to fifteen minutes, Alex would spot something else of interest for us inexperienced tourists. We were able to see golden spiders, white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, basilisks (both green and brown), a variety of snakes (both venomous and non), pelicans in the bay, tarantulas, and many types of butterfly. There may have been more as well, but it was a lot to see in one short afternoon in the jungle. There is no better way to describe it other than magnificent.

The rest of the day we ate lunch, relaxed at the hostel, and then enjoyed a bit more time on the beaches. The next day was more of the same. The adventure was complete, we never wanted to leave. We had found paradise.