So it has been a few days since I left Costa Rica, and I figured it was time for a few concluding thoughts!Costa Rica as a whole is one hell of a charming country, it has been running on only renewable energy for all of 2015, which granted has only been 3 months, but I consider this to be one hell of an achievement, as to my knowledge, no other country has been able to do this even for only a few days, let alone a few months at a time. Add the facts that Costa Rica has had no standing army since 1949, and that essentially the whole country is organic in its farming efforts, and you have one hell of a peaceful country!
Food over there was always delicious, mostly due to the fact that it’s all organic as mentioned above, and you can live a very healthy life there! Of course poverty is still an issue, as most locals do not make a lot of money, and their main diet is rice and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they are nonetheless much happier people than what you see in so called developed countries! In this domain the story that struck me most, was that of the owner of La Colina in Manuel Antonio. The owner an American expat who used to live in Russia where he met his wife and where they had a child, who turned out to be pretty much allergic to everything, and was sick most of the time. They then moved to Costa Rica where there child has since been pretty much allergy free, and she can even eat foods that back in Russia would have sent her straight to the hospital. Decide for yourself whether organic is worth the trouble or not, in my humble opinion it sure pays off for the country as a whole, as well as for the people that live there.
The Pacific coast in my opinion is a little overdeveloped as far as tourism goes, and somewhat too Americanised, but still is very charming, and has some of the best sunsets I have ever had the pleasure to witness! The national parks as well as the abundance of private reserves make it clear that as a whole the country has recognized that preserving nature is the way to go. Costa Rica, despite being relatively small has about 6% of the worlds’ biodiversity, and they work hard to maintain that level!
The Caribbean coast seems a little less developed and thus for me had even more charm than the rest! So if you want to experience raw and well preserved nature, be sure to head down the east coast of the country, especially down to the Manzanillo Wild Life Reserve where I got very lucky and saw what was probably a free living black Jaguarundi, something quite rare to happen, so take some time, and just quietly walk about the reserve, you may just get lucky!
If you plan on visiting large parts of the country, my recommendation would be to start on the Pacific coast for the sunsets, and then to head east through the country, as if you do it the other way around, the Pacific coast might turn out to disappoint you a little, but if you start there, you have memories of amazing sunsets, and all the rest just gets better the further east you head.
If you have food allergies or intolerances, consider visiting Costa Rica, as you might just be able to enjoy foods that you had to avoid for quite a while, in my case as I do not digest wheat very well, in Costa Rica I had my first slice of Pizza in forever and did not get sick at all. So that is a big plus! I am currently in Peru, and already miss the healthy cuisine of Costa Rica!
The people whether the local Ticos or the expats are all more than friendly, and crime seems to be at a very low level, not sure how it is in the capital, San Jose as I did not spend any time there, but for the rest I can assure you that it is as safe a country as it gets.
The only thing I mildly regret is not having seen the Tortuguero National Park, and the rest of the northern Caribbean coast, as I stayed longer down in the south of the Caribbean coast than I had planned, and I was coming to the end of my 90 day tourist visa but that is at least one reason to eventually return to Costa Rica at least one more time!
So whether you are setting out for a vacation or considering leaving your country behind for good, I think Costa Rica is an excellent choice!