Updated: Apr 28
For the last two months, I’ve been here in Costa Rica enjoying the Pura Vida lifestyle. The beaches are beautiful and the atmosphere is chill and inviting; Being a tourist has never been easier.
There is plenty of tasty food to nibble on — El Chifrijo is my favorite. Although the typical Tico breakfast is great as well. Diets are all but useless in Costa Rica. I tried to maintain mine but quickly realized that that wasn’t going to happen. After day two, I gave up and embraced the inevitable.
During my time here in Costa Rica, I’ve been able to appreciate many things about the culture. The locals are very friendly and giving, and will always find an excuse to have a party. The laidback lifestyle of Costa Rica, and other Latin American countries, is something that calls out to me and keeps me coming back.
But under all that “Pura Vida” there is one negative element that makes me have second thoughts about revisiting: the tourism industry. Because of the high volume of tourists every year, the tourism industry has slowly turned into a greedy machine designed to suck every last dollar out of an unsuspecting traveler’s wallet. I’m not talking about normal costs associated with traveling. I’m talking about prices that are double, if not triple what one would consider is a fair rate. This price gouging is very frustrating and is a big turn off. The tour guides in La Fortuna are one example of this. They are very pushy and predatory. They will follow you in the street and not leave you alone until you listen to their little sales pitch. Fortunately, I speak spanish and am able to see through some of the charade. But an unsuspecting Gringo might easily fall into the trap and end up paying three times the normal rate. I find this to be very dishonest and not at all “Pura Vida.” Tourism in Costa Rica has grown to a point where the people associated with the industry think they can get away with anything when it comes to foreign visitors. If your goal is to kill tourism in Costa Rica, then keep sucking the visitors dry and give them something to complain about. I can guarantee they won’t recommend that their friends visit.
If you’re able to get away from the “touristy” parts of Costa Rica, you’ll be able to save some money and not deal with the headache of being “sold to” every ten feet. If you do decide to visit a touristy town — like jacó — just be aware that you will become a target and people will constantly be trying to sell you something.
All of that being said, I have enjoyed my time in Costa Rica, but am now looking forward to the next adventure: Nicaragua!