From the courtyard of the National Museum
After two months in Costa Rica it is time to say goodbye. I had a great time here and have seen a lot of wonderful things. I managed to see everything that I wanted to except for the beaches in northwest Costa Rica. The country is absolutely beautiful and has so much to offer. It is amazing that such a small country has so many different climates, jungles, forests, and beaches.
My Spanish teacher Nidia and I
I was fortunate to also find a great language school. I like the Costa Rican Language School because it offers much more than just language classes. There are plenty of common areas where you can easily meet people, they offer free cooking, dancing, and conversation classes, and arrange tours for the students. It’s nice that every weekend you can easily find someone with whom to go on an excursion.
I enjoyed living in the heart of the city much more than in Sabanilla where I lived my first month here. It was much easier to get around and believe it or not it seemed to be quieter than where I lived in the suburbs where every 15 minutes a car alarm would go off. I also found a great dive to grab lunch where for about $2-3 you get a typical casado with chicken, rice, beans, and platanos which I recently became addicted to.
A typical street in San Jose
There are also quite a few things that I don’t like about Costa Rica. Other than the wonderful temperature in San Jose I could find little else redeeming about the city. It is ugly, difficult to get around since the streets seem to have pot holes every few feet, the sidewalks are tiny or just missing, there is a fair bit of crime, and the city virtually empties out after six at night. The taxi drivers are terrible and will avoid turning the meter on or even lie about what the meter says; although if you speak decent Spanish, it doesn’t seem to happen that often. Despite the perfect temperature in San Jose the Ticos have yet to discover the concept of outdoor seating. I like the cheaper restaurants called sodas that serve casados but if you tire of rice and beans and want try something a little more cosmopolitan most of restaurants lack ambiance, taste and originality. In general the beef and surprisingly the seafood in San Jose are best to be avoided.
The other downside is that it’s not the best place to learn Spanish because you’re going to want to leave the city each weekend and unfortunately the majority of the areas you go to cater to just foreigners. Your Tico friends are not going to have time or money to accompany you on the weekends since most sites are at least three hours from San Jose and the prices are significantly higher than the city. So you basically end up hanging out with foreigners most of the time.
Regardless I have to admit I still had a great time in the city because of the people I met. I made so many friends from so many different countries and had a great time traveling with them around Costa Rica. The country is absolutely beautiful and definitely worth visiting.
My friend Angela and I in dance class The National Theater