When people think of Costa Rica, or any place for that matter, they have this picture in their head, I would like to address whether the things in this picture are true or false. Fair warning: some of these are random facts that are completely useless.
- Not everyone goes surfing. Don’t get me wrong, people do surf, but I think that the percentage of locals who surf is quite small compared to what most of us would have guessed. We were talking to one of our neighbours and he hates the ocean, he is actually scared of it. Coming from Canada this sounds like such an odd idea, like, if you live only half an hour from the beach, why wouldn’t you go? But the ocean isn’t a novelty here, the country is bordered by two oceans, for people who grew up here, it’s not really special to be able to swim in an ocean where the water is room temperature. At least, I don’t think so, I didn’t grow up here so I don’t know.
- It is not always hot and sunny. There isn’t summer and winter, there is a wet season and a dry season. In the dry season it is hot and sunny which is what you think Costa Rica is like. The dry season is the nicest time of the year and is when people come on vacation; consequently, this is why we have that hot, sunny picture in our heads. The other half of the year is the wet season, during which time it rains. Hard. Every day. All afternoon. There are bugs everywhere, things are molding, nothing is ever dry (including your bed, which you have to get into anyway, even though it’s damp) and your yard turns into mud. It is still good, but not quite as romanticized.
- We have electricity. For some reason, people think that Costa Rica is much less developed than the rest of the world. They actually think this of most of Central and South America, it is a common stereotype. The thing is, it might be true, I’m not going to say it isn’t. But I will say that Costa Rica does, in general, have electricity and internet.
- Bees are not scary. Unless you are deathly allergic to bees, they are not scary. You know what is scary? Ants. There are hundreds of different kinds of ants and they bite. Some species just make you itchy when they bite, some hurt, and some really hurt. There is a species called Bullet Ants, thusly named because, when they bite you, apparently it feels like being shot.
- Ants are not scary. The ants are crazy and they are everywhere, when you first get here they seem endless, but then you learn not to leave food out and to wear boots when you are outside. Some bugs are scary, mostly because they look scary, not because they will hurt you. Snakes are scary. When you see snakes in zoos they are really cool, when you see a super poisonous, deadly snake in a zoo it is freakishly cool. when you see a super poisonous, deadly snake in your bedroom it is a little less cool.
These are the first five things that I could think of as I was writing but there are definitely others. If you have any other facts you would like verified or questions you would like answered, please feel free to ask. I will write a second edition when I have enough questions to do so.