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Costa Rica Summary Post
Wednesday, 2005 December 7 - 8:52 am
So here's what I've learned from my trip to Costa Rica.

1. Costa Ricans are generally friendly and polite. It's an easy-going, laid-back society. Sometimes people are a little too laid-back, especially when it comes to being on time for something, or getting a drink refill at a restaurant. But mostly, it's a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the United States.

2. Costa Rica is still largely a third-world country, but better developed and more advanced than probably any other country in Central America. There's a lot of new construction going on, Internet access is pretty widespread, and the water is generally safe to drink. But the condition of the roads is pretty awful, and there's a fair amount of poverty visible.

3. Costa Rica is a tropical paradise. The population is highly eco-conscious, and much of the country is environmentally protected. The diversity and beauty of the wildlife is astonishing.

4. Many Costa Ricans speak very good English, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industry; but as a visitor, it's good to know a little Spanish. I noted that store clerks, housekeepers, and some other service workers did not speak English.

5. Driving in Costa Rica can be a harrowing experience. The roads are riddled with potholes, the traffic flow borders on anarchy, and sometimes there are no road signs to direct you to your destination. I'd recommend taking shuttle buses if you can. If you are going to drive, I'd say: (a) let people pass you; (b) don't get upset if you get tailgated or cut off, because it's going to happen a lot; (c) drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle with plenty of ground clearance; (d) make sure to get a really good map, or a GPS; (e) keep an eye out for large potholes. Oh, and don't drive at night.

6. The Interbus shuttle bus drivers are nuts. They drive as fast as they can whenever they can. But they're good drivers, and they keep the buses on-time, so it's a good way to travel. Curiously, the drivers seem to have a penchant for American 1980s pop music; they're always playing it on the radio.

7. I think I'd like to go there again.

Here are links to my other Costa Rica articles.

Costa Rica Trip, Day 1
Costa Rica Trip, Day 2
Costa Rica Trip, Day 3 and 4
Costa Rica Trip, Day 5
Costa Rica Trip, Day 6 and 7
Costa Rica Trip, Day 8 and 9
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Posted by Ken in: lifetravel

Comments

Comment #1 from Crouching Hamster (Guest)
2005 Dec 8 - 2:36 am : #
In Uzbekistan they don't have road signs at all. The idea being that if someone invades the country, they'll get lost before they can do too much damage.

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