June 19, 2008
Originally PUBLISHED July 19, 2005
I've been to Costa Rica three times now, and I've spent a grand total of 31 days there. I'm going back again next month for at least ten days and maybe longer, depending on how I feel and what I run into. I really like that place.
I received this email today:
On my trips to Costa Rica, I've been pretty much all over the country, from both coasts to both borders. I know what I like, but I hesitate to recommend anything to anybody I don't know. What I like might not please you.
My two favorite places in Costa Rica are Jaco Beach and La Fortuna. Jaco is pretty laid-back, with beautiful Pacific water and surf, and you can find some really good food there. Plus, Jaco is more of a "live cheap" destination than places such as Tamarindo or Manuel Antonio.
La Fortuna is beautiful, right at the foot of the Arenal volcano. That sumbitch shook me out of bed at 3:00 AM the first time I was there. That's ALSO where I was mugged by a mango in total darkness after a night of singing Spanish karioke in a local bar.
The difference between Jaco and La Fortuna is like the difference between south Georgia and north Georgia. One is the beach, and the other is up in the mountains. BOTH are wonderful places.
If you visit the Caribbean side, you're entering "hippie heaven." The beaches are okay and the people are great, but you might not have hot water in your motel room. Of course, you can find a place to stay that's clean and decent for $5.00 a night there. And if you want to buy any kind of dope known to man, that's the place to do it.
I recommend that everybody spend a day or so in San Jose, just to walk through the market area in the morning when it first opens. That's quite a sight to see, and the noise is glorious. But I wouldn't stay there long. Get out of there and see the rest of the country.
Almost every town I visited had Spanish classes offered. I don't want to spend my time in Costa Rica sitting in a classroom, so I bought a phrase book, refreshed some of the Spanish I learned in college and spent a lot of time taking "lessons" from cab-drivers and bartenders.
I suggest you ask this guy for more information. He knows more about Costa Rica than I do, although I am determined to catch up with him some day.
Just go. Wherever you end up, you won't regret it.
All content © Rob Smith