ShelbySkinner's Travel Journals


  • 27 years old
  • From Yellowknife, Canada
  • Currently in San Jose, Costa Rica

My adventures through Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador

Weekly updates of my trip


Costa Rica San Jose, Costa Rica  |  Sep 13, 2014
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Well I made it to Costa Rica Monday evening safe and sound. When I arrived at the airport and the driver picked me up I knew I was in trouble. She only spoke Spanish and as most of you know I have never learned Spanish before but that was what this first week was for! When I arrived at the house here in San Jose I was greeted by a woman who also didn't speak or understand English. When I met my mama tica (Laura) she spoke a little English but not very much. Luckily she has a son Phillipe spoke English so he was the interpreter for the evening.

On my first day of classes Laura drove me to school and showed me the route so that I could bus back home that night. The school was beautiful with many gardens and patios to sit at in between classes. I had 4 other people in my class from Switzerland (Pascal), Hungary (Furcan), Norway (Cine), and the States (Lauren). They had all taken Spanish classes in school before so they were much better than me! The first day was very hard since I was a day late and missed some important stuff from the day before. I felt a little overwhelmed but all my classmates told me I was doing well considering. My professor Olga was very patient and an excellent teacher. I had 3 classes with the others and then one on my own. I feel like I learned the most one on one with the professor. I learned a lot of vocabulary, verbs, and had some practice having conversations in class. I speak very broken Spanish but I can usually get my point across eventually haha. My professor told me that in order to really learn spanish, I should have been enrolled for at least a month which I totally agree! I look forward to returning to the Costa Rica Language Academy some day soon!

The food in Costa Rica is amazing! For breakfast my mama tica would make pancakes, eggs, sandwiches, and cut up some fresh fruit. I wasn't a fan of pineapple and mango before I came but now that I have had it fresh I could eat them all the time. For lunch I would order salads at the school since my mama tica prepares huge meals for dinner and doesn't serve a lot of vegetables. Dinner consisted of rice, meat or beans, and potatoes. My favorite meal was hard boiled eggs and green beans wrapped in pork. It sounds like a strange combination but it was super yummy!

Today was my last day in San Jose so a friend and I went ziplining and horseback riding for the day! We did five short lines and two longer ones and it was fantastic! I would highly recommend it! The horseback riding was fun too. We went along roads, through fields, and up some hills in the forest. I hadn't been on a horse in years but it was lots of fun. We saw toucans, howler monkeys, and hummingbirds. The tour also included a lunch on a patio overlooking a river which was so beautiful! I also got my first sunburn of the trip and I am expecting more as I leave for the hot nothing pacific of Costa Rica for three weeks of turtle conservation tomorrow! I have enjoyed my time in San Jose but I am looking forward to being on the beaches with the baby turtles :) Ciao!

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  • User Profile Photo
    Lorna Skinner wrote: Sun Sep 21, 2014
    Hey Shelby hope you are loving your turtle project. So excited for you. I am sure you are taking tons of pictures. Can't wait to see them.

    Love you
    Love Mom and Dad
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    LindsayValentin has read ShelbySkinner's journal and gave it a thumbs up Mon Sep 15, 2014
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    It sounds like you're having a wonderful time, Shelby! I hope your weeks on the Sea Turtle project are amazing also, and you have an incredible range of projects coming up. Keep us posted, its awesome reading about your trip now that you are there!
  • User Profile Photo
    Mama and Fajah wrote: Sun Sep 14, 2014
    Shelby sounds fantastic we are so proud of you and Love you so much Enjoy your adventure we are now zipliners