Costa Rica is small Central American country with friendly people, English media, ex-pats and well-developed infrastructure that makes this a perfect location for new travelers to start their adventures. With the amount of things to do and places to visit there will always be something for you.
You can always count on Ticos, these guys are very helpful and are always willing to assist lost tourist. To get an ex-pat point of view on local and national issues, you can also find English newspapers online and in newsstands.
Its diverse environment offers the following:
* Cloud forest in the mountains,
* Coastal beaches with white sand,
* Jungles with birds,
* Sloths and a myriad of other animals.
However, not everything in Costa Rica is easy. Here are some of the challenges you are likely to encounter, and what you can do to handle them:
* The majority of people speak only Spanish, besides those working in tourism-related services. So it would be wise to learn some basic phrases in Spanish.
* Taking taxis and public buses, which are fairly cheap, might be a good idea, especially in San Jose, since their directions system is crazy.
* The currency is not that hard to learn. Dealing mostly with bills and just the larger coins until you get used to all of the different denominations might help.
* People say many bad things about public clinics. But is this true?
Let me share a personal experience I had.
I was in the middle of a trip in Cahuita, Costa Rica, with my family and all of a sudden my son became sick! He started coughing but I thought it wasn’t anything serious. But it turned out to be serious; he was burning up and waking up in the middle of the night crying from a sore throat.
So I decided not to wait and looked for a private clinic. I had lived about six years in Costa Rica and had heard about the horrors that happen in public clinics and didn’t want to take him there. But after running around looking for a private solution, I had to accept the fact that they were all closed and resigned to take my son to the public clinic.
They requested for my paper works and since I’m not a resident and I do not have any formal documentation, they treated me as a tourist. Luckily that helped us to see the next available doctor. Our experience there was awesome. The doctor was very good with kids, was fluent in English and extremely professional I don’t think I need to say that I was very impressed!
Then he gave us a prescription to take to the clinic’s pharmacy. The best part was when we asked how much we needed to pay and he replied, “The pleasure is all ours.”
Great medical service and medication for free? I was amazed at this and compared that with the situation in United States, you can easily understand our surprise and absolute gratefulness for their generosity.