It's been almost a year since I was in Costa Rica. This might be my favorite place on earth, and I was a flight attendant for years. Living in New York City was exciting and spontanious, Rome was surreal, Barcelona the beaches and architecture amazed me, China the mountains and mapo tofu a great combination, Japan fresh sushi and zen atmosphere, but nothing so far has given me that feeling I get when my plane touches the runway in Costa Rica.
As I walk off the ramp and through the airport my worries seem to subside into faded memories, I feel already lighter and free, and seem to walk with more of a happy sway, i find myself smiling for no apperant reason other than the fact i am miles away from home and on my way to paradise. It doesn't matter if I'm there for just a few days or 3 months the feeling is the same, pure bliss. Sure just like any other city you will have your crime, bad people looking to profit off of random acts of violence and theft. I've (knock on wood) in my 5 times of going down south for months at a time have never run into any bad experience that most hear about. I've been to some towns that had bitter sweet reputations of deserted tropical beaches and clear aqua waves, with theft, kidnappings, and rapist mixed in. What I don't get is when people go away somewhere they've never been, that might look picture perfect, they let their guard down. Street smarts doesn't mean you choose to use common sense 50% of the time, thats when you find yourself getting in trouble. I always took just a little bit of cash on me and locked up stuff in the safe, didn't tell locals my exact location where i was staying, walked in big groups when the sun went down, always had a friend or trusted new aquantaince watch my stuff when i was swimming, and gave off the aire I wasn't a deer in the headlights tourist, I was just going with the flow, and I was never bothered with. My one stupid experience was when I actually felt comfortable, I wanted to run in quick to the grocery store, left my rented bike literally outside the open door unlocked, and in under 2 mins when I came back outside it was already stolen in the middle of the jungle go figure. Luckily the kind locals all searched and ran around with there machettes they were cutting the weeds with and helped me find the bike that was stolen by a local young boy taking advantage of the opportunity.
Aside from what I just mentioned, Costa Rica in general has some of the nicest, down to earth, friendliest people I've met in my life. Locals wave and smile happily on their way to work, I've hitch free rides and when offered a few bucks for gas money they just smiled and say no no, they just wanted to help me out and maybe have a quick laugh or conversation. In some small towns where expats have planted their roots to raise their children in the jungle you will even see some people still trading services, a massage for a pizza, a doctors appointment for some household labour, its incredible.
I myself am a night owl, go to bed at 4 am wake up at 10 is the perfect day for me, but I find myself in costa rica the complete opposite. Nothing beats falling asleep after an exciting day play at the beach or lazy day relaxing on a hammock and reading to dozing off under your bug net to the soft pitter patter of rain falling on the tin roof at 8 pm, then waking up around 5 am to the jungle coming alive with chirTg exotic birds at your window, the monkies howing in laughter. I get to wake up to fresh fruit juices at a local soda shop for a buck, and eggs for my morning breakfast picked from the hen, and advacado chopped from the tree. Early morning surfers ride the crest of the waves in the distance, locals bike their way to work. I spend my time in Costa Rica writing, it's the perfect retreat destination for those wanting to write their first book, or seasoned writers who need the perfect setting to rewrite that novel. Time moves slower down there. I have time for three good relaxing meals a day, surfing, jogging, laying out and swimming, socializing with neighbors and still have 6-8 hours to write my books. The setting is so relaxing the creative juices just flow.
For those of you party animals there is plenty of night life to keep you entertained. Small beach parties can go all night long, discos serve cheap drinks and livley music, not to mention those of you lucky travelers who get to party at some of the secluded villas with pools a view and enough space for the party to keep expanding.
If you go on dry season Jan-early April, the weather will be dry, and hot. Not one drop of rain in March, and temperatures of 90 plus degrees. Rainy season in the summer can be relaxing because there are less people traveling, and scattered daily rain showers. Some days are just pure sun or fluffy clouds with a sprinkle here or there, most rain arrives later in the afternoon and over night, then you have a few days in between where you are forced to do nothing but listen to the rain pour down on your casita, while you relax in the hammock, its quite magical.
I have 7 more months til I'm headed down south I can't wait! Every time I go I come back with great memories and adventures to talk about. If you haven't tried out Costa Rica definetly put it on your to do list!!