Aero: Alaiza Dominguez – Costa Rica 2015 – City Life


Aero: Alaiza Dominguez – Costa Rica 2015 – City Life
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Alaiza Dominguez – Costa Rica 2015 – City Life


Alaiza Dominguez

We traveled to a handful of cities and villages and although all of them had things in common none of them gave the same experience. There were various ways to get from place to place and they were all interesting in their own way. My favorite form of transportation was walking. Although exhausting, it was one of the best ways to stop and take everything in. Don’t get me wrong, our van rides were pretty great for sightseeing too. I will never understand how our tour guides could see sloths and iguanas from inside the moving van but those roadside stops are some of my fondest memories from the trip.

A walk through Alajuela was never just a walk. Getting to the park from my host mother’s house was a Tico triathlon. It always involved walking, a little jog to make it across the street in one piece, stop and go foot traffic, and some minor jumps. Crowded streets and uneven sidewalks may seem unpleasant but when you take into account where you are, who you’re surrounded by, and how great the weather is- a couple of five inch cracks in the pavement don’t seem so bad after all. Another thing I enjoyed was the fact that ice cream, clothing stores, the park, and groceries were all less than a ten minute Tico triathlon away in almost any direction. There was never a good excuse to be bored.

Van rides are another story. Half hour and four hour vehicle rides feel exactly the same to me. I can’t say I didn’t have fun during in the van but I can’t say I really enjoyed it either. Thankfully air conditioning was pretty constant. But the bumpy roads were a killer. My stomach hurts just thinking about it.


ML@FLCC Costa Rica
2015 Flickr Gallery

Second to walking, the Pablo-mobile was my next favorite mode of transportation. I don’t want to ruin anything for the next students who might have Pablo as a host brother but I have to say that when you take someone with his sense of humor, give them large speakers and their choice of music, and put them behind the wheel- it’s going to be an interesting ride.

Taxi and bus rides through the city were a little scary. Upstate tailgating has nothing on Costa Rican traffic. One thing that really got me was all the dirtbikes on the road. They’d weave through traffic with ease and without consideration for anyone around them. It blew me away. What surprised me more than that was how little people were phased by it. It was totally normal for a Yamaha to squeeze between two busses and take off.

Vehicles and people weren’t the only variables in Costa Rican traffic. One day while in the van I looked out the window and there was a herd of at least 15 cows marching up an entire lane. And on the way back from Arenal I saw a whole family of coati crossing the street.

The kindness of strangers made my travels much easier. I made a lot of friends in passing and it was great to have those unique encounters. Although brief, every conversation was memorable. I’m even continuing to stay in contact with some of the people I met. City life is the good life.

Alaiza Dominguez
LEAF Contributor