Costa Rica 2018 / by William Bryan

The original inspiration for this trip was to get scuba certified. I’ve always wanted to explore beneath the waves that I’ve spent so much time in, and Costa Rica seemed like a great place to do it. Unfortunately, after arriving in Central America we started to drop like flies to an unknown sickness. A sickness that claimed five of the six of us, sparing only me.


After arriving in San Jose late the night before on the tail end of a long travel day from Berlin, we woke up early for our bus ride to the mountains for white water rafting. Along the way our bus driver made sure to pull over and snag some fresh tamales from a woman standing at the kitchen window of her village home.


After suiting up and getting on the water we got our asses kicked by a drill-sergeant of a raft guide on our way down the river. No matter how hard we paddled it was never hard enough in his eyes.

From the river, we made our way into the rainforest for a few days of hiking around volcano basins in search of birds, insects and monkeys.

As we chased monkeys through the trees by following the sounds of their screeches we were forced to dodge the water droplets falling from leaves above our heads. We couldn’t help but notice that the water always seemed to only drop where we were standing, as if the monkeys were waging war on us outsiders.

From the lush, wet forests we made our way to the coast for a few days of sun and sand before heading back to cold, dark Berlin. While at the coast the three of us that weren’t sick (yet) got our scuba certifications in murky water with hundreds of fish, eels and sharks. The two others that had just completed their certifications with me promptly fell ill the next day.

Surrounded by sickness on New Year’s Eve I walked to the beach alone and watched the sad fireworks show of the local sailing club by myself. The show—orchestrated by the sailing club owner with a barbecue lighter in his hand and 2019 glasses on his face—consisted of a few barrages and maybe two dozen roman candles bursting loudly over the bay.

After taking pictures I wandered back to the sleepy house we were staying at and promptly fell asleep, ten minutes after midnight.