When talking about Costa Rica one must mention the famous phrase pura vida. People always told me that the only way to understand its meaning was by visiting; after several invitations, from a Tica-Panamanian friend, I decided to take a week to visit this country (“Tica” or “Tico” is what Costa Ricans call themselves).
Traveling between Costa Rica and Panama can be done in about 13 hours by bus, but we found a deal on flights, so we took the chance on a flight of less than an hour and a half, I saw how Panama City turned into Costa Rica.
These are the sights and curiosities that Costa Rica gave me in a week.
1. San José
I had no expectations about San José. I’d decided to let this place speak on its own, and one of the things I’ve noticed is that it is full of tiny but very interesting places. Basically, we went through San José by taxi, bus and Uber without any problems. One of the nicest aspects about the city is the green landscape that surrounds the city, I recommend visits to museums like the Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold with a really interesting exhibition, National Theatre and street markets which can be really interesting for those who enjoy collecting things or Central American culture.
As for the nightlife, I visited many places like La Concha de La Lora, El Cuartel de la Boca Del Monte and La Calle de la Amargura, most of them had all kinds of live music and people dancing. One of the places I liked was the Jazz Café where we saw a really good reggae band.
We also had the opportunity to visit the restaurant Ram Luna at Aserrí, where we had a spectacular view of San José and other places; at this restaurant we enjoyed typical Costa Rican food and show for 40$.
Costa Rican people are so friendly, that they are one of the many reasons to come back. Ileana was the person who welcomed me into her home for that week and I still cannot believe how nice she was to us. Besides being so nice, her cooking skills are so delicious that we barely visited restaurants. All Costa Ricans with whom I spoke were very open, cheerful and warm, while there was a table with food and drinks, as well as plenty of conversation flowing.
On the other hand I loved many words from their vocabulary, I visited Costa Rica looking for Pura Vida, and end up delighted with tuanis, ¡qué chiva!, ¡Diay! and other expressions. Ticos call my afro “Colochos”, so there’s another great way to call naturally curly hair.
3. Regresar Rodando
Eating in Costa Rica is kind of a big deal, there was A LOT of food in every table. I kept thinking that I would end up rolling back to Panamá. The food is so delicious, that it delayed my schedule sometimes. I tried the famous Gallo Pinto, which although delicious was totally strange for me to eat rice for breakfast. Another dish that was recommended was Chifrijo, so as a good Latina, I loved it.
On the other hand I tried Costa Rican coffee and beers; I was invited to taste Chiliguaro (several times) a drink that seems to be made with tomato juice and a few other things that I invite you to experience yourself.
No soy una persona de tantos postres pero debo decir que la Torta Chilena en Spoon, it’s a thing!
4. Colores and Landscapes
Everyone tells me how lucky I am to have met the Poas Volcano clear. The plan was to go from San José to Alajuela and from there to the volcano but we missed the only bus that goes by day, so we had to go up by taxi. We had the view of the crater and Laguna Botos. The pictures speak for themselves.
We also visited the Baldi Hot Springs Hotel, at the foot of the Arenal Volcano, a beautiful place with 25 pools of hot spring and of course overlooking the Arenal.
This and so much more can be done in Costa Rica for a week! I will definitely come back to visit the places that I missed.