Costa Rica Calls My Name

When I first got the thought to travel to Latin America, the first place I thought of going to was Costa Rica. You can blame that on advertising and marketing for this tropical country with monkeys, zip-lining tours, beaches, and lush, green jungles. It seems only slightly less cliche and touristy than going to Cancun, Mexico. I know.

Yet, somehow, the name kept coming up. Costa Rica.

The Ticos were subtly calling my name through the seemingly obvious signs. Magazines that landed in my mailbox allured me to the Central American country. Friends would talk about going to live in Costa Rica. In my inbox, at least two singles’ group trips were offered for a a Costa Rican adventure.  One day, I asked a friend if she could plan one trip that year, where would she go. Guess where?

I understand this is a very popular place for tourists to catch a glimpse of Latin America. Therefore, it really is no surprise that the country came across my desk and my thoughts. Yet somehow, I knew I wanted to go somewhere more obscure, less on the beaten path. So, I ignored the signs, shelved the idea, and headed to Ecuador instead.

While I was in Ecuador, I met several people who had mentioned going to Costa Rica. Yet, many discouraged me, saying it was touristy and expensive. After the off-the beaten path beach experience in lovely Canoa, Ecuador, I knew Costa Rica would not compare with that type of being-in-the-country feeling. I figured there were Wal-Mart’s and drunk spring-breakers that would dot both coasts of Costa Rica.

Then I read “Happier Than a Billionaire.”

A Billionaire in Costa Rica?

Reading about Nadine and Rob;s experiences not only had me laughing (Ecuador also has “Suicide showers”), but it reminded of the simple life I longed for when I set off the Ecuador. From reading this book, I would say Costa Rica is no Caucun or Disneyland.  I am pretty sure there are no Wal-Mart’s and high-rise condos are significantly lacking in much of the country.

The stories Nadine tells will have you in stitches and maybe even avoiding the thought of living there. For me, it enticed me even more. Life there is  simple, but complex at the same time. In other words, compared to the conveniences in the states, things can be a bit more complicated there. Those 24-hour Superstores we have here can make getting cough medicine in the middle of the night an easy task. In Costa Rica, not so much.

This was the same in Ecuador. Everything was, “Mañana. Mañana.” In an instant gratification culture Americans (U.S. Americans) are used to, this can be frustrating for some. Money can buy anything in the United States. Strip malls, chain restaurants, Internet, and electricity. If you are a billionaire, you can have it all in a capitalist nation. Money brings content. Happiness. Or does it?

Yet, somehow in Costa Rica, even with the difficulties, happiness is easier to come by. The happiness that money truly can not buy.

I still have not set foot in this country, but I know I must. The very thought of the Internet going down for hours brings anxiety and peace at the same time.  It seems that is what Nadine infers in her book. All the money in the world can not provide the simple joys that the simple life brings. No matter how unmanageable they may become.

Yes, I hear you.  I will be coming soon!

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