Dos Semanas

Sydney Perlotto
February 19, 2014

Even though I have only been in Costa Rica for two weeks, so many exciting events have already happened. Orientation was wonderfully helpful in getting me acquainted to the town where I am staying, greater Heredia, and San Jose. I think that I finally have the bus system down!

This past weekend, my group took a field trip to Carara, a national park on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Not only was the park extremely beautiful, but it is also the first national park in Costa Rica that is designed to be universally accessible. Some of the paths are paved to be wheelchair accessible, and there are sculptures of various forest animals stationed along the way so that those who might not be able to view the animals are able to feel what they look like. While we were in the forest we only saw some leaf-cutter ants, flowers, and many types of birds (no monkeys unfortunately), but after our hike the group went on a boat ride in a nearby river filled with crocodiles. At one point, our guide got in the water and fed a crocodile, and then held the tail up so that we all could touch it! I was surprised at how calm it was, but our guide did tell us that it was almost 80 years old. Word of the Day: cocodrilo = crocodile

Saturday was certainly filled with excitement at Carara National Park, but Sunday was as well because it was the Costa Rican presidential election! I had the opportunity to go with my mama tica and another student to the school where the nearest voting was taking place. Outside the building there were several booths set up with supporters from the different political parties. While Costa Rica used to have a binary party system like the U.S. , there have been many splits and there are now thirteen different political parties. My mama tica strategically wore black and white so as to not be affiliated with any of the parties. Additionally, this election was also the first time that Costa Ricans living outside of the country were able to vote. When the election results rolled in that evening, no party was able to gain the percentage of votes to gain the presidential office. As a result, there will be a runoff election in April between the two leading candidates. Word of the Day: bandera = flag

My first week of Spanish class went well, and I am excited to be finally learning how to communicate better with friendly ticos!

Hasta luego,


Our guide giving the crocodile a kiss on the nose! The beautiful Costa Rican landscape as seen from our boat. Our brave guide feeding the crocodile - without shoes on! All the crocodiles enjoying the sun in the river. A pretty flower seen in Carara National Park. A small iguana was not camera shy as we started our tour. A sculpture of an anteater for guests to feel if they are unable to see the animals.

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Sydney Perlotto

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hello! My name is Sydney Perlotto, and I am a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park majoring in Global Social Change and Development and minoring in Latin American Studies and International Development and Conflict Management. I am originally from Atlanta, GA but came to UMD because of its proximity to DC (and snow!). You can often find me volunteering around campus, baking tasty treats, or just generally frolicking! After traveling to Chile for a short term study abroad my sophomore year, I have definitely caught the travel bug and hope one day backpack throughout Latin America. Costa Rica is bound to be an adventure of language, culture, and biodiversity - and I have my waterproof hiking boots at the ready!</span></p>

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