Before I went on my first "go with the flow style of travel which started in Costa Rica, I read up on blogs, tips and articles about other people's experiences. I planned to stay a month in the country.so I gathered ideas from what those who've gone before me are saying. In retrospect, I failed to take into consideration that I am a boomer, among other things, a female solo traveler on a budget and how I experience the pursuit of the same activities will ofttimes differ from a male solo traveler, those traveling as a couple or with a friend or family even though the sights and things to do are invariably similar.
I've heard nothing but superlatives whenever I come across articles or blogs about Costa Rica. It was so hyped up and it is a very popular expat destination as well. Such high expectations lead to a disappointing actuality for me. Perhaps I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
I arrived in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, on a holiday weekend (New Year's) and except for McDonald's, Subway and a handful of eateries, everything was closed. The streets were practically empty except for a few homeless people on the sidewalk. The city started to come to life the day after and was in full swing by Sunday.
My very first dorm. Fortunately, I was the only occupant during my entire stay. There are smaller dorms with fewer beds but from then on, I opted for a single room with private bath. There goes the budget but what price privacy.
From San Jose, I took a shared van to Monteverde. A third of the way was driving on dirt roads. My hostel was located at the top of a very steep hill and it was a 15-
I took another shared van to La Fortuna, also referred to as Arenal after the volcano. My hostel was a 5-
Time to move on again. Ah, the life of a nomad. I had to make a decision. Go to Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast first, then go across to Limon and Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side. The Pacific side seem to have really good beaches but after checking the availability and prices for accommodations, I decided to skip it altogether and headed to the Caribbean side. Limon, a port of call for cruise ships, would have been my next destination but the hostel owner warned me that it is a dangerous place and strongly advised me not to go. He said that cruise ship passengers usually go with guided tours which provide an umbrella of safety.
The main roads in Puerto Viejo are paved but the side roads like the one leading to my hostel are once again dirt roads. See photo on the right. The hostel itself is really nice, only a year old and owned by a Norwegian woman. My room faces the swimming pool and was the best accommodation I’ve had so far. It was a 15-
It was unfortunate that I didn’t get to see the endangered green turtles laying their eggs. I would have loved that experience but it was not in season. I also skipped the Pacific side where most expats probably are and would therefore be tourist friendly and have more conveniences.
I decided to go back to San Jose where I stayed a couple of days and took the overnight bus to Panama City. Altogether I ended up staying 2 weeks in Costa Rica, not the month I originally planned.
The entire trip was eye opening. It made me come to a realization, but that is another story.
Don’t Cry for Me Costa Rica