Costa Rica is a hot spot for tourism right now. It has beaches and surfing, volcanoes, wildlife, you name it. For years it has been high on my list to visit, which is why I surprised myself by deciding to pass it up to save on time and money. Mother Nature had slightly other plans for me though. When all was said and done I spent around three days in Costa Rica and from start to finish it was not smooth sailing.
I’ll start with the border crossing. Costa Rica requires proof of onward travel to enter the country. I knew this all along.
Hoping my ticket from Argentina to Chicago would suffice I pulled out my Iphone to show the ticket confirmation… only to realize it hadn’t loaded. When the border officer then told me to go outside and buy a return bus ticket to Nicaragua, I obeyed and coughed up $25 for a ticket I’d never use. In hindsight, I’m sure there was internet around there somewhere to load my email or even print it out. Douh! Double check the electronic version or have a hard copy at all times. Travel live and learn moments.
The bus to San Jose seemed expensive at $10 after paying under $5 nearly everywhere else. The hostel, the food, everything seemed expensive too. But for one night, no biggie. Up before 5am, checked-out of the hostel and walked to the bus station all by 5:30…only to learn that the torrential rains had caused a road block and the bus was canceled. No buses would be headed that direction. Period. There was one alternate route, but the added hours/layover didn’t make much sense to consider. I’d just try the next day and wander San Jose instead. But in the end rain deterred me from becoming too motivated to do much besides gawk at all the plethora of retail shops and McDonalds for a few hours before calling it a day.
When the bus company said there was a road block it was an understatement. While I thought they were busy moving a mudslide or pile of rocks from the road, in fact the road itself was gone. Washed away. It was instantly clear the next day why a bus would have some issues getting to the border.
It is more than fair to say that I did not give Costa Rica a fair shot, but moving on to Panama was the right decision for this trip. For a stand alone vacation, Costa Rica perhaps would be a decent destination as the infrastructure and ‘things to do’ were all there…just remember to show up with a return ticket!