When we were planning this trip last year somehow Costa Rica never really came up. I mean we knew we would come here, it was logical if nothing else because Guy really wanted to get to Panama and see the canal, but we just never really talked about it or focused on it. Then, when we arrived in Mexico and started having the inevitable ‘where have you been & where are you going’ conversations with expats and other travelers we heard over and over again how expensive Costa Rica was, with the comment of “but its really beautiful!” thrown is as an afterthought. By the time we go the Isla de Ometepe in Nicaragua and knew that Costa Rica was our next stop we were a little worried an in all honestly not that excited to be crossing the border.
We saw Howler Monkeys playing in the trees as we walked along the road!
To our surprise we fell in love with Costa Rica. We found the people so friendly (and they spoke a slower rate of Spanish than the Nica’s so we could actually understand most of what he heard) helpful and welcoming. The only thing we found lacking was a strong sense of a Costa Rican cuisine not because it doesn’t exist but during the only chances we had to try some it was incredibly similar to Guatemalan or Nicaraguan food. If we find our way back there one day I’ll definitely make an effort to source out some local restaurants.
We spent a couple of days soaking up the sunshine at Playa Hermosa which was nice but so expensive we ended up buying all our food from the local shop and making all of our own meals in our tiny motel kitchen (not a problem in itself except the shop wasn’t very well stocked. We had a lot of tuna and tortillas).
And we found another gorgeous cat – this one’s name is Egor (how badass is that!). Each day he would appear in our doorway, walk straight in meowing and jump up onto our bed headbutting one of us until we patted him. After a while when he got bored of that he’d attack our bedsheets (and anything near them). I love cats!
After a couple of days at the beach we caught a couple of buses to San Jose and we were really pleasantly surprised – having heard almost nothing nice about it from other blogs and travel books. We found San Jose to be a very modern, vibrant and exciting city. I loved walking the streets and catching glimpses of all the street art and watching the performers dance and sing on the main strip.
We also got to meet up with our favourite German! We met Jo six years ago in New Zealand as she traveled around it in a campervan with her boyfriend who was a friend of one of our friends. We hit it off straight away and have kept in touch ever since. It was absolutely wonderful to be able to see her again, she’s such a firecracker I adore her.
And perhaps my favourite part of the whole trip was that I finally found a Harry Potter book in Spanish! We traipsed around four different bookstores looking for the first one (I figured it would be the easiest since it’s the smallest) and finally found it. Progress has been slow ha, but I am enjoying it!
As much fun as we had unfortunately what people told us was true. Costa Rica is expensive, really expensive. We were spending double our budget every day and we didn’t visit any of the sights or museums and ate out only once. People try to make excuses for it by telling you how much you can make working there, and by listing all of the wonderful first word conveniences you can find there. And they’re right. And yeah there is fantastic infrastructure; the buses actually follow a timetable, the streets are kept clean and the tap water was drinkable – but you also pay for it.
But also it was another lesson for us to not always believe everything you read, San Jose wasn’t the first city we were surprised to like. Thank you Costa Rica, you were magical!!