Weekend in Heredia? Climb Barva Volcano!

Climbing a volcano is like learning a language: keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll soon achieve your goal.  Confused? Let me explain...
 
On one sunny, Sunday afternoon in Heredia, Costa Rica I decided to take on Volcano Barva. I had heard rumors that it was a difficult hike, but I decided to experience it for myself. How hard could it be, anyway?  I began my journey at 6 am, packing a light lunch and snacks to sustain me along the way. If you don't have a car in Costa Rica, no se preocupe! (don't worry!) You can take the public bus at 6:45 am that stops at the bottom of the volcano or the bus at 11 am for late-risers.
 
Once I arrived at the bottom of Volcano Barva, it was a little over 6 miles to reach the lagoon. Within those 6 miles I passed many cow fields, farms, cabins and all along the way were beautiful views of San Jose. I soon began to realize that the rumors were true! The hike was tough--probably an average of between 20 to 45 degrees steep the entire time! It took me about 2 hours to reach the national park where the scenery changed dramatically. 
 
Costa Rica Spanish SchoolForeigners pay around $8 to enter the park and it is well worth it! I walked down about a kilometer or so and then found the entrance to the forest on my right. My senses were absolutely overwhelmed with all of the different vibrant versions of green. There were trees of all sizes, some hollowed out on the inside so you could even walk through them. The weather changed as well. Soon enough it was sprinkling and then a steady rain-fall and I found myself wishing I had worn water-proof clothes! Once I reached the lagoon I was surprised by how gorgeous it was! Clouds were slowly settling over the water, and it was silent and peaceful--almost magical! Unfortunately the weather began to turn for the worse so we quickly started down the mountain. 
 
I found the walk down much easier than the strenuous hike up. It went by more quickly too, and I reached the bottom just in time to take the 1 pm bus back to Heredia. After having endured the 5 hour hike, I felt pretty proud of myself. It was a challenge--mentally and physically--and I had overcome all sorts of obstacles. It kind of reminds me of when I first came here to Costa Rica to learn Spanish. The beginning was difficult, and at times I wanted to give up! Nevertheless, I kept learning and improving and finally I can speak Spanish! So if you are coming to Costa Rica to increase your language skills, I will leave you with this little piece of advice:
 
Language learning is a process--sometimes a very LONG process. However if you continue to set goals and strive for fluency, you will be successful. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward until finally you reach the top. Trust me; it’ll be worth the wait!    
 
Blog contributed by Katie Horch!