Ten Things I Learned in Costa Rica


I mentioned in the 6-week-cure post that Dave and I were headed to Costa Rica for a week in November. We thought of this as a belated honeymoon for us since we never had a wedding and all that. In fact, we got married at a lawyers office on an otherwise uneventful Thursday afternoon in February when I was 11 weeks pregnant and on crutches from a sprained ankle. Its all a blur now. Actually, so is the trip since I am now back to life as usual.

Ten things I learned in Costa Rica:

1. It is very hard to eat primal if you are relying on traditional Costa Rican food for sustenance. The national dish is Gallo y Pinto (rice and beans. Although the small, casual Costa Rican cafes tended to have meat on the menu, they mainly serve up a lot of sandwiches and other bready fare.
2. It is easy to walk around in the rainforest for hours and never see an animal bigger than an insect. But you wont care because its worth it just to check out the incredibly huge moss and vine laden trees.
3. There are a lot of wealthy American and even wealthier European, young twenty-somethings hanging around on the beaches down there getting stoned. It seems that entire towns, complete with yoga studios and sushi, have evolved to cater to their trust funds. Over time, some of these kids have presumably been cut off from financial support back home. They have rubbed their stringy strands into dreadlocks and moved in. Either out of financial necessity or else a deeply repressed sense of work ethic they have learned to weave friendship bracelets that they sell at impromptu artisan markets.
4. It is possible for a leaf to grow the size of a large dog.
5. I can no longer tolerate very cheap hotels. Maybe some kind of switch gets turned off when you hit 30 or own a house of your own because back in college I used to do very well in hostels. Now I really want my own bathroom and for there not to be any strange hairs on the sheets.
6. Costa Rican coffee is incredible! We had some truly amazing cups of coffee while we were there. Disappointingly, however, if you buy some and take it home and make it in your own coffee maker it just tastes like regular coffee.
7. Costa Rican women tend to be overweight. Not any more than your average American but since the fashion there seems to be low rider jeans with tight- fitting shirts it was easy to notice. In all honesty, I found this devil-may-care attitude towards rolls of abdominal flab sort of refreshing.
8. In some parts of the world, monkeys really do swing impishly around bus stops and outdoor cafes eating bananas.
9. While plane fare to Costa Rica is pretty reasonable, it is otherwise not extra-special cheap to be there. Just something to think about if you ever plan to visit. It was easy to spend $2 for a cup of coffee and $25 for a meal.
10. A zip-line canopy tour is not really about exploring the rainforest canopy. Instead, it is all about the adrenaline rush that comes from flying through the air strapped to a metal cable. I highly recommend it!

Clockwise from lower left:  me on a zip line, beach, suspension bridge, walking along the beach in my Vibrams, Dave and I sunburnt on a bus.

Various photos from the two places we visited outside of San Jose - Montezuma and Monteverde. Clockwise from lower left: me on a zip line, beach, suspension bridge, walking along the beach in my Vibrams, Dave and I sunburnt on a bus.

6 Responses to “Ten Things I Learned in Costa Rica”

  1. Katie Vonderhaar says:

    Your at-home version of the coffee probably doesn’t taste as good because the water in an american drip-coffee maker doesn’t get as hot as it would if you poured boiling water over the grinds (like they do in many places in Costa Rica). Try brewing it in a percolator or a french press.

  2. Grok says:

    Congrats on your honeymoon! Looks beautiful there.

    It’s nice to visit other places once in a while. gives you a new appreciation for what you have (like clean sheets).

    Welcome back. We don’t have fat rice & bean butts here, but we have plenty of obese wheat faces 😉

  3. Karen says:

    Looks like a fun trip, thanks for sharing!

  4. Tracee says:

    That’s funny what your said about cheap hotels. I’ve noticed that in the last few years too. Eddie and I don’t sleep well and feel hung over when we stay at cheap hotels. When traveling we’ll pay the $100 a night to stay at a name brand place we know will be comfy. This completely goes against my otherwise cheap nature. Well, our dietary changes made in the last few years have as well. I guess food and a good nights sleep are a priority. Everything else comes from a flea market, garage sale or dollar store.

  5. shelley says:

    Katie – thanks for the info and the interesting link. I had already been thinking about getting a French press and your comment has finally convinced me. I’m going to ask for one for Christmas.

    Grok – thanks! Yes, I definitely appreciated sleeping in my own bed again.

    Tracee – Although not always, of course, it is amazing how often ‘afford’ has more to priorities than money. I used to think I couldn’t afford high quality food when actually it just wasn’t a priority. As for hotels, it’s nice to know you can pay $7 a night if you have to, and it’s also nice not to have to!

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