Costa Rica is a small state in Central America. On the one hand it is washed by the Caribbean Sea, and on the other – by the Pacific Ocean. This is a very unusual country for the region. There is no army at all, and the population is mostly white.
The indigenous inhabitants of these lands gradually disappeared during colonization by Europeans. We know little about Central America, let alone Costa Rica. This republic remains a mystery to us, our ideas about it are a set of myths. We will try to debunk them.
Costa Rica is an island.
The main myths about this country relate to its geographical location. Many confuse Costa Rica with Puerto Rico. So it seems that the country is an island. This is a gross error. The country is located in Central America, at a distance of 900 miles north of the equator. North of Costa Rica is Nicaragua, and to the south – Panama. The size of the whole country is comparable to West Virginia in the United States.
Costa Rica is somewhere in South America.
The country is located in Central America, which is geographically considered part of the North American continent.
Costa Rica – these are solid beaches.
Thanks to the travelers, we feel that life on the beach is ideal. Every day you can lie in a hammock in the shade of a palm tree, drinking Pina Kolada, enjoying the breezes of the breeze. In reality, there is an incredible heat. And the cost of living is high, especially for coffee, milk and bread. Those who want to live on the beach will have to shell out for air conditioning in their room, which is not cheap. Costa Rica does offer such leisure options, but they are not the only ones. In a small mountainous country there was a microclimate, due to uneven surfaces in the form of ridges of mountains. Some inhabitants live at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. There is a constant temperature of 15-20 degrees throughout the year. This place does not need heating or air conditioning, as in the Central Valley of the country (there are two thirds of the population). That’s where it’s cozy to lie in a hammock and enjoy drinks, only there is no sea in the mountains.
Costa Rica is a third world country.
This country is considered to be backward for some reason. Many tourists are not even sure if there is an Internet there. The term “third world country” appeared in the 1960s and was meant to denote countries that are not friends either with the USSR or with the United States. After the end of the Cold War, developing countries began to show their economic competitiveness, so the term died. Now they call it the poorest countries, which do not have a normal economy, education, health care. In Costa Rica, infrastructure may not be as good as in the US, but it is constantly improving. The roads are being built, in most places there is the Internet. Every citizen has the opportunity of free education, the literacy rate exceeds 96%. The main industry is not agriculture, but tourism. Costa Rica is considered a progressive developing country, occupying 62 of the 169 seats in the UN Human Development Index. Here there are all modern technologies. Almost every citizen has a mobile phone, the houses are built taking into account seismic standards, and the medical system is one of the best in the world. And the democratic form of government has been stable for more than 60 years.
This is a very cheap country.
Tourists believe that you can rest in the “poor” Costa Rica for a penny. And what is their surprise when it turns out that the country is not cheap. It is the most expensive in Central America and the fifth in Latin America. Some expats, having lived here, even come back, saving their money. Spending is only 30% less than in the US. Simply, many are not accustomed to changing their way of life, believing that here it will cost less. You can really spend a little, but many habits will have to be abandoned. You can pay a servant about two dollars per hour, but 500 dollars for a luxurious life is not enough.The budget for ordinary life is 1200 dollars, for 1500 dollars you can afford some excesses, but you can really live well for 2000 dollars.
In Costa Rica, high crime.
In Latin America, many are afraid to go because of high crime there. It seems that local mafia clans can easily steal a tourist or kill him. Do people in Costa Rica go straight through the streets with weapons, and the constant gunfire rattles? Do not confuse this country with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador. There are really big problems with crime and the government’s inability to calm the situation. However, Costa Rica is generally a safe country. Here there are 8.7 murders per 100 thousand people. The main reason is drugs or family disassembly. The victim and rapist are often familiar. But this does not apply to emigrants who prefer to live on their retirement in this cozy country. They here feel safe.
Costa Rica is a real paradise.
In this country is really beautiful nature. On the beaches, the breeze shakes the palm trees, there are lush green forests with a diverse fauna. The temperature is the same throughout the year in Costa Rica, mainly “spring”. So it’s worth talking about the elements of paradise. But you still should not expect perfection. Lush greenery grows due to the semi-annual season of rains, when precipitation falls in places up to 5000 mm. Local residents are not busy enjoying life, but solve everyday tasks: how to survive on wages, what to cook, how to deal with bureaucracy, where it is more profitable to buy goods. It is also necessary to take into account the language barrier. The official language is Spanish, many simply do not understand English, which puts tourists at a dead end.
In Costa Rica, the heat is hot all year round.
There are two remarkable seasons in the country: rainy and dry. In winter, the rainy season begins, it lasts from May to November. At this time, the sun is sunny, and after dinner, precipitation usually occurs. In the dry season from December to April, rains are very rare. During the year, the temperature still depends on the location – in the coastal areas it is warmer than in the mountains.
The health system in the country does not meet international standards.
In reality, the public medical system is not only cheap, it also provides good care. Private health care is also developed. This makes medicine in Costa Rica one of the best in the world. WHO puts it in 36th place, which is better even than in the prosperous USA (37th place) and New Zealand (41st place).
Local water is not suitable for drinking.
Do not be afraid to poison yourself with local water. Almost everywhere it is suitable for drinking. The only exceptions are sources in remote villages and national parks. Such places are usually provided with a warning inscription. If there are concerns about the quality of water, it is better to ask local residents about it.
In Costa Rica, terrible roads.
Roads in the country did not receive awards for their quality, but they are not at all horrible. In rural areas there are many dirt and gravel roads. They are maintained in good condition, keeping passability all year, except for the rainy season. At the same time, blurred areas are restored. There are modern highways in the country. One of them allows you to get from the capital to the Pacific Ocean in just an hour.
The Internet and cable television in Costa Rica are only available in large localities.
The high-speed Internet is becoming more and more widespread all over the country. Here, the 3G networks are already working, the introduction of 4G has started. You can also connect to the Internet using cellular networks. Cable TV is in many towns and villages. In the same place where it is absent, there is satellite television.
In Costa Rica, spicy food.
Food in this country is notable for its softness, the emphasis is on herbs and spices. Local cuisine uses garlic, cilantro and sweet pepper, and pepper is rarely used.For those who love spicy food, it is worth looking for a hot sauce of pepper and spices of chillies, which is more delicious even than the famous Tabasco.
Monkeys roam around Costa Rica everywhere.
This statement is correct by half. In the country is really very rich fauna – even in the suburbs of the capital live parrots. But monkeys, like sloths, prefer more secluded and quiet places. Meet these animals can only be in small coastal cities.