Home at Last

Kylie Price, Guest Writer

You stroll into Costa Rica the first time and bask amongst the flora in a rainforest so intricate, so infinite that nostalgia emanates from the depths of your heart, a profound nostalgia that kindles tranquility and yearning. Seeking refuge inside Valentina’s Cafetería, the sultry rain descends on the blooms of an ancient citrus tree. Moseying down from the groves, the aroma of freshly ground coffee and damp earth fills the air. Fruit stands arise at the forest’s edge, and the variety of papaya, starfruit, guanabana, lychee, mangos, and jocotes leaves your decisiveness worthless.

You explore the city of San Jose, and even though it is pouring, gleeful children stomp in puddles, la abuelas shuffle to the rhythm of soulful guitar, and stray pups frolic in alleys. So you walk in wonderment, past labyrinths of handmade pottery belonging to indigenous Huetar tradition, past vibrant family-owned restaurants crafting hot plates, past a Spanish plaza where glistening streams spew from a marble fountain, past milkweed sprigs speckled with Blue Morpho butterflies and a lot of pulperías.

Farther west, past the sugar cane stalks and lazily roaming Brahman cows and the hydrangea chaparrals that look like steps to heaven, there is a different Costa Rica. It is almost void of mankind, with a cascade of waterfalls and towering volcanoes, many of which are shrouded in a light fog. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean there is still another Costa Rica, called Tortuga Island. It is in the middle of nowhere, and it is inhabited predominantly by wild pigs.

Sailing around again, heading southeast to Jaco back onto those pearlescent beaches, there is a feeling of sentimentality tugging at the strings of your heart. And then it surfaces out of nowhere, a marvelous arch of cerulean blubber with a sunken dip in between. Gazing into the waves, beholding the infinite horizon that cradles the fiery sun, you wish life was eternal, to preserve the moments on this ancient sailboat, when the whales glide underneath you and mothers braid orchids into their daughter’s raven hair before mass, across those velvet beaches.