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March 12, 2020
Finding Inspiration In Costa Rica

digital marketing denver

As a digital marketing strategist with a love for adding creative flair to strategy, I’m constantly looking for new inspiration to fuel my creativity. Whether I’m experiencing somewhere new, wandering around Denver, or reading a book, I typically have some kind of takeaway that makes me to produce some fun things at serene mktg. So, when a friend of mine suggested a couples trip to Costa Rica, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. I thought: relaxation, culture, sun, and loads of creative inspo! These assumptions were correct and then some – the country was full of beautiful, natural places and the culture couldn’t have been more uplifting. Here’s an overview of the five-day trip and what I found most inspiring:

the people

I wouldn’t be doing Costa Rica justice if I didn’t hit on the natives and culture first. From our drivers to our Airbnb hosts to the people we’d pass on the street, no one could have been kinder. Instead of being turned off by us tourists, they seemed to really care about making sure we had a good experience and left with good things to say about the country. It was obvious that they took pride in their land and in the way they live life. I can say that stress didn’t seem like a huge thing either – I got the vibe that everyone tends to go with the flow of life and not put too much worry into anything. They also have this saying that they greet everyone with and even shout at you as you’re walking down the street – “pura vida“, which means simple life or pure life. If that saying isn’t an accurate depiction of Costa Rican culture, then I don’t know what is. 

I took so many things away from my interactions with the natives of Costa Rica, but the one that sticks out the most is that here in the US we probably worry and stress a little too much and don’t put enough focus on living simpler. Also, we can afford to be a little kinder because kindness never hurt anyone, right? As far as inspiration, the Costa Rican people have inspired me to run serene mktg a little differently and to think less about the hussle and more about embracing the process/ups and downs of being a business owner. 

La Fortuna

Our first stop in Costa Rica was the region of La Fortuna, aka the gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park. La Fortuna is a little city about 2.5 hours away from San Jose surrounded by hills/mountains and covered in rain forest. Everyday was overcast and slightly rainy, but we realized quickly that that is just how it is there because hello – it’s a rain forest. La Fortuna was our introduction to the amazing Costa Rican culture and their famous rice and beans, which is served with literally every meal. 

While there, we took advantage of the landscape and set out on a few excursions. We started with an ATV tour of Arenal Volcano. Although we couldn’t get too high on the volcano due to the terrain, it was still a blast seeing the scenery via ATV. Our guide made it even better with his positive attitude and love for his job. 

The following day we went zip-lining through the rain forest. As if zip-lining through the rain forest wasn’t enough, we would occasionally spot monkeys swinging around us just going about their day. It almost didn’t seem real. Again, the guides on this tour were amazing and had a love for the rain forest that is almost inexplicable. One of them in particular kept mentioning how much he loved the trees and that we really need to take care of our planet. He and his colleagues took pride in providing the zip-lining tours and you could tell they just simply ENJOYED LIFE. 

We had several other great experiences in La Fortuna. Take our Airbnb for instance – it came equipped with a pool and behind the property you could find a horse grazing and a lake/park area that was great to take a walk around in the mornings. In addition, the city of La Fortuna itself had some great shops and food and was fun to explore. I found La Fortuna inspiring for several reasons… of course, the scenery was amazing (I literally couldn’t stop taking pictures), but on top of that the way this simple city in the middle of nowhere had so much to offer – from the people and their positivity to the way they’ve made the most out of the land with doing little harm. It was refreshing to see and experience. 

Manuel Antonio

After spending a few days in the rain forest, we switched up the scenery and headed to the coast. Talk about a change up – the rain forest was warm and overcast and the beach was super hot and sunny. My pale skin wasn’t ready for it at all. Like most beach vacations, we took these few days to relax and get some sun. We also took some time to explore Manuel Antonio National Park which was full of wildlife and various plant/tree species. I would say it’s a must see if you ever catch yourself in Manuel Antonio. 

The scenery of Manuel Antonio was so different from La Fortuna, but still breathtakingly beautiful. It didn’t matter where you looked – you were either seeing lush and green or clear blue ocean. Not bad I must say. 

We ended the evening of day one watching the sunset among the locals from the beach. It was nice to see how many locals stuck around with their families to witness the colors dancing across the sky. It was Sunday though, which is essentially like a holiday in Costa Rica. If you don’t have to work then you don’t do anything at all but relax and enjoy life. 

Day two at Manuel Antonio consisted of a morning in the ocean riding the waves and an afternoon on a sailboat cruise snorkeling, enjoying a nice dinner on board the boat, then watching the sunset. Again, laid back and relaxing with Instagram-worthy views from all angles. 

The inspiration I took away from Manuel Antonio? First, several views that breathed creativity back into me and second, a reminder to take time to relax and enjoy the little things, like the sunset. Also, to not worry too much and to get in that ocean and ride that dang wave!

inspiration is everywhere

I found so much inspiration in Costa Rica and the littlest of things – like the stray dogs that wander around going about their life and the way the locals were so nice about us not speaking fluent Spanish. There was so much to love about this country and the little towns we visited. It just goes to show that inspiration is everywhere, you just have to be open to letting it in. As I mentioned above, I’m always on the hunt for new scenery and to experience new cultures because they truly do fill my tank as a digital marketing creative and business owner. These things provide a different perspective and force me to think in a different way, which only helps my work grow and evolve. You don’t have to go to Costa Rica to find inspiration or to set yourself on a creative journey, BUT I highly recommend it 🙂


P.S. these photos don’t do Costa Rica justice – it is 10x better in person. Maybe it’s time for me to invest in a nice camera?

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