So, this is going to be my 1st rant type of my blog. So just focus on the warm waters of the picture and everything will be OK. :-) I recently was asked to admin a Facebook group. Oh by the Gods can these gringo’s and others in other groups, talk some smack about Costa Rica. They seem to only want to focus on the bad, and not one of them has anything good to say. I have heard them say things from , “Its too hot”, “Its dangerous”, “The people are all thieves”, “The government is corrupt” and I think my favorite of all is, “Why can’t it be more like the united states!”. A question comes to mind, “Why the hell are you here?” So this is going to be the topic of this blog.
Is Costa Rica to Hot?
I guess that all depends on where you come from and what area you will live and or visit in. My personal opinion is that some areas are too hot. I love the town we live in of Atenas. It isn’t called the Best Climate for nothing! Now I will not live in the beach areas. I have no problem going there for a day trip or a weekend, but it is way to hot, for this Gringo, but I come from Maryland and we get some harsh winter weather. I used to keep my thermostat in my house set at 68 all year long. Our house was never open and it was always cold. I loved it. As I got older and the weather in MD got worse I looked forward to sun and warm. So here I am and no in my opinion most of Costa Rica is not too hot! So please don’t come here and say, “Oh my God why is it so hot?” or “I didn’t realize it would be so hot!”. You are near the equator. It is Central America, its hot. Hello? Are you new?
Pura Vida is a bunch of Crap!
Let me 1st briefly explain what Pura Vida is. Pura Vida is a saying that means a couple different things. Pure life, slow life, easy life, whatever. It equates to slow it down and enjoy the world around you is how I take it. Now this coming from someone who worked 70 hours a week and was the poster boy for a workaholic back in the states. If you can not embrace the Pura Vida life style of this country you will not make it here and you will run screaming back to your home country.
What does this mean to every day life. You should not expect that if you hire someone to do work for you that they will be here on time and every day. Always keep in mind the pay as you go plan here. You pay them for the work they do that day. Sometimes you get a few days before they ask for a payment. You usually have to give them money for materials 1st and a little for them. Now if you gave them enough that day and something comes up, they may not be back tomorrow. That is ok because the day after the will be back, well hopefully. I did do a job here at the house and they came the 1st day and than didn’t show up for 3 or maybe it was 4 days later. Not the people showed in the picture above. These guys are great. If you want their names let me know. They got the job done and it was a good job. They got paid and everyone was happy.
Why was I happy? I knew before I came to Costa Rica that this is how life is here. We are in no rush. So, you say to your self this job is going to take 3 days to do. Ok that is is good. Now say to yourself, but I know that it could take 3 weeks to get it done. You have to be ok with that happening. The same goes for the price. You budget for $100, but understand that it could cost you $300. So plan for it. Now I do have to say all the work I have had done has cost what they quoted me. Don’t expect everything to be done yesterday. This is how I lived my life back in the states. I wanted it yesterday! Hurry, hurry, hurry! What over budget! Are you mad!!!!!!!!
So I would have to say in my personal experience that the Pura Vida life style is one of the major reasons people leave this country. They can’t handle it. It is also one of the best things about this country as well. It does give you a Pure life. One that can lower your blood pressure and fix many of your problems, if you can truly embrace it!
I don’t feel safe!
Let me 1st start off by saying yes! I feel very safe. Yes those are bars on the windows of that house. There is less crime in the town I am in here in Costa Rica than the City I lived in back in the states. Just like everywhere, you do have to use common sense. Don’t leave your camera on a table in a restaurant and come back 5 minutes later and expect it to be there still. In the states you will be lucky if it is still there. Don’t leave your GPS and Iphone sitting int he car unlocked and then complain that the crime rate is so high and it is horrible here. Don’t wear a ton of expensive jewelry and flash it around like no body’s business.
Bars on windows, high fences with razor wire along the time is common place here. Yes there is crime. Just like everywhere else. Here they take more precautions than we do back in the states. So you are going to see things you don’t see there as much. You do see bars on windows and door in the states. It is rare to see high walls and razor wire just everywhere, but it is there.
Now you will go to a store or a mall and there will be guards everywhere. They will be armed. I’m not talking just a pistol at their side either. Some of them have very big guns! That did take a little getting use to, but not long at all. I know they are there for my protection and to keep the peace. So it makes me feel safe.
I have been here over a year as I write this and back in the states there has been 1 maybe 2 school shootings, a mall shooting, and countless other gun related large events. That is just in the state of Maryland. Here I have never heard of any of that happening. So do I feel safe? Yes. Again use common sense. If you are a gringo living here or visiting here and don’t feel safe go back home. Really go. Where the violent crime rate in most states is much higher and your chances of getting killed at a mall or at school is much higher.
I hate the rainy season!
Really? Why? Are you daft? Are you on crack? Really? Ok yes that chart look bad! You have to understand a few things about rainy season. In most areas and not all so you have to do your research, it is once a day for about 2 hours. Here in Atenas last rainy season we got a storm that came though sometime after about 1pm and lasted for about 2hrs. When it rains it rains! Don’t go anywhere, don’t drive in it, stay where you are and enjoy the show. It is beautiful and deadly. The lightning is amazing and especially from our patio. We go out and sit and watch it as it comes in.
The rain comes and cools everything off, it lets the flower bloom and the plants grow lush and green. The country is so much more colorful during rainy season. Yes you may get the occasional non-stop all day rain, but that is usually very light so you can go out and do thing and not worry about it. I can only remember 1 day last season where it rained all day. We stayed in that day.
Now don’t get me wrong it does bring its challenges as well. If you have pets the cane toads are out more and that is dangerous for your dogs mainly. If you dog bites one or it spits its poison at your dog, you have 15 minutes to get them proper treatment or they will die. Most of the wildlife and insects comes out more during rainy season. They are looking for a dry place to stay and your casa is it! Lets remember people we live in a jungle. It may not look like it, but we do. So stop the bitching and moaning that it is raining during rainy season. Remember in the dry season everything is brown and nasty and you have water shortages.
The food here sucks!
Really? Again smoking crack? I can’t tell you how many times I hear this. I hate when they say, “All they eat is beans and rice. Breakfast beans and rice, lunch beans and rice, dinner beans and rice. I hate it.” So don’t eat beans and rice. Not like you don’t have a ton of options here. Eating out, depending on the area can be expensive. Eating at home is cheaper and healthier.
Let me allow the food to speak for itself.
I had to put one beans and rice dish in there. :) Let me tell you each and every one of those dishes in those pictures were amazing. Its fresh and its natural and its not covered in sugar or preservative. You have to ask and you have to experiment, but you can find some great food here. Not all are good. Beef can be very tough and very dry. They don’t like to cook it medium or medium rare or rare. You can find some really good meat if you look. The chicken and seafood is never disappointing. Pork is hit and miss depending on where you get it. So please give me a break, “Beans and Rice”. Yea sure…No problem…I got your beans and rice right here. :-)
Its so damn noisy!
Yep you damn unhappy gringos got me on that one. It is a noisy country. They love their music, dancing and karaoke to all hours of the night. There seems to be a bar in every block. They have the cars with the big speakers on the roof that is just junk mail advertising.
tipscostarica.com / Via tipscostarica.com
There are the dogs, the monkeys, the birds and all manner of jungle creatures that howl and bark, and make sounds all hours of the day and night. Yes this is a noisy country. Some areas more so than others, but you are going to have noise no matter what. Than again so are most countries. You eventually get used to it and if you don’t you find yourself a nice set of noise canceling headphone and you put on some tunes and you go to sleep. OH and don’t forget you sleep mask, cause the sun is going to wake your ass up at 5am every day! :-)
It so expensive to live here!
Well lets see are you trying to live like you did back in your home country? I’m thinking you are. I’m thinking you are looking for all the foods you are use to and looking for those brands you love so much back there. Well guess what? It is expensive if you live like that. Now I have to admit I do look for my name brand stuff. I do shop in places that are more expensive. The only difference is I don’t complain about it all that god damn time! I make that choice to shop at the pricesmart and the automercodo. I don’t have to. I can get everything I need right here in our little town of Atenas and for much cheaper mind you. Tico’s live on $700 or less a month. Now I wouldn’t want to do that, but most gringos who come here and embrace the life can do it for under $2K a month. Here is a budget from a friend who does a blog about living here cheaply.
Yes it is expensive if you try to live like you use to. It doesn’t have to be that way. I have made some changes on where I shop for some items, but I need to do more. If you eat out every night of the week, and complain about beans and rice, than again I say to you go back to the old country. You really are not happy here.
Ok, so I could go on and on and on, but why. I think I covered the top reasons gringos are unhappy here. What I think the top reason a gringo is unhappy here is they didn’t do their research and they can’t change their life style. That is what makes them unhappy. Sometimes they are just people who like to complain about everything!
So lets wrap this one up. Food sucks, its too expensive, its not safe, its noisy, its too hot, it too rainy, its dusty and dirty and the workers are horrible. So I would have to say I give unhappy gringos -100 out of 5 because they really have missed the point. Now I give living in Costa Rica especially Atenas 5 out of 5 for its beauty, wonderful food, friendly people, and just pure and simple way of life!
Update: After I posted this blog Roman Savin on a facebook group said and I quote: “There are two types of expats: parasites and fertilizers. Parasites come with “you owe” me attitude and look at locals not as humans, but a source of cheap food, labor, entertainment. Fertilizers are trying to integrate and enrich foreign culture with their own.
We live just once and Costa Rica is an amazing place to be. Let’s be fertilizers!”
I love love love this saying!