Savvy Traveler Q&A: Costa Rica with Travel Blogger, Michele Smith of Booly Adventures

Jennifer Jedda

Posted on June 08 2015


Costa Rica will always have a special place in my heart. Back in 1998 I was awarded a full-ride Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to go study and promote good will and understanding in any country in the world were Rotary exists (It is around 200!).  I chose Costa Rica.

Stories of active, rumbling volcanoes with pristine hot springs flowing from the base, blue butterflies, poisonous frogs, colorful toucans, virgin rain forests and pristine beaches were so fantastical in my mind that living there for a year seemed like the only way to experience it all.

Undoubtedly those 12 months in that tropical country were some of the best in my life.  And even though it is comparable to the size of West Virginia, it was impossible for me to discover all of its rich corners...there is that much to see and do in this tiny peace-loving nation that has no official military.

I went back to Costa Rica recently to re-explore some of my old stomping grounds and enjoy relaxing time with hermit crabs on the beaches of Manuel Antonio (I will have to share a video later!). I captured these adventures in my personal travel blog which, amongst other posts, caught the eyes of the creators of a new travel blog called Booly Adventures

While I shared with them some of my savvy travel tips on Istanbul, I knew I wanted Michele, COO of Booly Adventure, to highlight her adventures in one of my favorite countries for our Summer Travel Series. I am excited to share Michele's interview here.

Pura Vida!

Name: Michele Smith
Occupation: Receiving Manager/COO of
Hometown: From Oswego, NY but live in Matthews, NC

When did you first fall in love with travel? 

I got bit by the travel bug my senior year in undergraduate school.  I minored in French and spent a summer semester abroad studying- two weeks in Paris with a group tutor and living in an international hostel, then 4 weeks in St. Malo living with a French family and going to school with people from all over Europe.  It was the most amazing experience of my life.

What’s your favorite way to get through a long flight? 

I CANNOT LIVE without my Kindle.

Most unique memory of your time in Costa Rica? 

We did a lot of things (scuba diving, horseback riding, zip lining), but I think my favorite memory is of the local wildlife.  I fell in love with the troops of Howler Monkeys that just hang out in the trees and make loud noise and sit there and look at you watch them.

One of the unique animals Michele saw in Costa Rica

Where was the favorite place you visited in the country?  

I loved visiting the hot springs at the base of one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Arenal!  We stayed at a resort called Tabacon near the base of Arenal with the hot springs running through it, and it was fabulous.

Did you have a favorite local dish that you tried in Costa Rica?

No real favorite dish, but I tried palmitos (heart of palm) for the first time there and LOVED them.  Now I can eat them by themselves or on a salad.

What was the most exciting animal you saw in Costa Rica?

Like I mentioned before the howler monkeys were amazing, but the other fascinating thing to see in the wild is the toucan.  They are absolutely beautiful.

Something you recommend everyone do if they go to Costa Rica?

Zip Lining.  It is the most fabulous experience to go flying through the trees!

Michele looking a bit tepid before her zip lining experience

*Photos by Billy Farmer, Booly Adventures and Me*

What did you learn about Costa Rica by visiting that you didn’t know before or surprised you?  

I was surprised (at the time) to learn that it was super cheap to buy property there and that it was then (and still now) becoming a big attraction for Americans who were not just retiring, but who wanted to move somewhere different.

Do you have a travel tip for Costa Rica?  

Pay attention to the local wildlife and plantlife.  It’s simply amazing and beautiful to take in.  Also, talk to the locals. They are so warm and welcoming.

What is one travel accessory you always bring with you on any trip?  

Something to take pictures with, no matter the type of device.


More about the Start-up Travel Blog, Booly Adventures:

Being travelers themselves, the creators of Booly Adventures could never find an online place that inspired their wanderlust. They hungered for an all encompassing space that inspired, taught, and pushed them to new heights in their travel quests. So when they realized that space on the web didn’t exist, they decided to create it.

Booly Adventures is a website for the traveler and the wannabe traveler.  We want to inspire, encourage, and inform. Want to go to Europe, but aren’t sure where? Let their writer’s stories assist you in your decision. Need the inside scoop on a faraway destination? Read all about it with their Cosmopolitan correspondents. Do you have a craving for exotic foods? Get the scoop with our A la Carte section!

You can follow Booly Adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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