I have a habit of writing mostly positive articles about my experience in Costa Rica. I don’t know why, because well–you’ll be surprised at this–not everything is always pura-vida-perfect. I hate to complain, but I feel it is my duty to share the hideous secrets I’ve been hiding from you all in my time here.
Before you follow us to this “dream-ish” country, remember the “nightmare-ish” cons that I’m about to reveal to you…
1. The beach is hot and your kids will always ask to go there.
Well, to be fair, it’s not always hot and the water is enjoyably warm. Our last trips to Montezuma and Jacó were quite pleasant, actually–but don’t be fooled. We’ve certainly had our feet seared against the darks sands of Playa Hermosa in the dry season.
If you move to a country that has dozens of mind-blowingly gorgeous beaches, of course you will want to see them. Once you’ve seen them, you will want to go again and again… and if you have kids, their pleadings will echo your own mind, “Go to the beach! Go to the beach! Go to the beach!” You will find it hard to resist going frequently, be warned.
2. The birds are loud.
Squawk-Squawk-Squawk-Squawk-SQUAWK! The spectacular birds of the country do make sure to have your attention. They’ll call you from your desk in the middle of the day–you’ll hear them and have to jump up, grab your camera, and run to the door. The real drag is when you rush outside just to catch a few shots of them flying away. Man! If you do happen to have a welcoming group of trees in sight, this “treat” will eat up your precious time, as the creatures are very entertaining–hopping from limb to limb, ripping open mangos and telling their friends how incredibly good they taste. Just before you can get “The Shot,” they’ll all swoop away and leave you sighing. It’s just terrible.
3. The people talk to you and take your babies.
You can compare the people to their parrots, they both like to talk. They go out of their way to greet you, kiss you, flash smiles–it’s ridiculous. Sometimes you just don’t want to be noticed. They even offer to hold your baby while you try on clothes or eat your breakfast, and that’s just weird.
4. The dogs run free.
Most of the dogs are friendly too. They’ll follow you on walks, sleep by your door, and sneak into your lap and right into your hearts if you don’t keep your eye on them. You’ll end up buying them food, toys, beds and even take them to the vet if needed. If you don’t like extra companionship, you don’t want to move here.
5. It rains for at least half the year.
Almost every day it rains from late April to early November. The heavens open up in the afternoon and sometimes it goes all night. Do you know how difficult it is to fall asleep to the sound of rain? And, how completely green this place gets with all this water? The vibrant color can hurt your eyes. You’ll feel the severe disappointment of finding out that there is no pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, too.
6. You will probably have to learn to cook.
Because of the darn high taxes on imported junk food from the States, you’ll most likely start eating healthier. You’ll spend hours in the kitchen each day, learning all sorts of new recipes. You’ll develop a distaste for “pre-prepared” foods and nasty ingredients. Another loss of time…
7. You will lose weight.
Add cooking your own delightful meals to all the time you will spend walking around snapping pictures of birds, flowers and sunsets, and it’s hard not to lose a few pounds of insulation. With cool nights in the mountains, the loss of this extra layer might force you to buy a thicker blanket! Your mom back “home” will start calling and telling you she saw your Facebook pictures, and wants you to eat more. You’ll have to get your clothes taken in or buy new ones. It’s a hassle.
8. You’ll make too many friends.
With all these gosh-darn friendly people, you’ll end up finding ones you like so much, you can’t bear to let them go. You’ll get implanted into large Expat groups and even start hosting potlucks. If you ever leave, you’ll not only miss the land, but the lovely people you’ve found. They’ll be so great that…
9. You’ll travel less or not at all.
I’ve heard the same story many times, “We were planning to travel more, but we fell in love with Costa Rica.” I myself had originally planned to stay only three months, but in less than a week, my spouse and I were smitten. Dang this amazing place! We’ll have to rip ourselves away from a country that we love, despite all these heinous reasons I’ve shared with you today. We’ll even come back! Our hearts were stolen right out from under us, so be prepared–yours might be as well.
You might think all of us lucky Expats are living in an uncommonly beautiful, healthy, care-free piece of Earth, but now you know the ugly truth…and my conscience can rest easy that I’ve shared it. My posts will revert back to the awesomeness here on out. Pura Vida!