People ask about my favorite thing from Costa Rica. Between hanging with some monkeys, seeing a huge school of porpoise flipping through the air, climbing up waterfalls and flying through the canopy of the rainforest, I wouldn’t be able to say. However, one thing that stuck out about Costa Rica to me were the people.
As soon as we stepped foot in the country, everyone was so welcoming. I never felt like they were angry at me for being an American tourist or felt like they were above me. People here were so friendly. I actually got a shirt that reads “El paiz mas feliz del mundo,” the happiest country in the world. This might be about right. I have been to many countries and the people have always been nice to me. Jamaicans are laid back and relaxed. No worries mon! When I was in the Dominican Republic, the people I interacted with were pleasing as well. However, something about Costa Ricans just made me smile and feel right at home. They go by the saying, “Pura Vida.” You may have heard this because it is a popular slogan and brand to consumers, or maybe you know of it because you have been to Central America or you are educated of the saying for any reason. “Pura Vida” is not just a pretty saying; it is a way of life down there. Live life to the fullest. Life if beautiful. Life is pure. All is good.
There were a few people who really stuck out to me the most when I was in Costa Rica. First, there was a waiter at El Galeon who our friends have known for as long as they have been coming to Costa Rica. His name is Mainor and he is a true gentleman. He seems laid back, but on top of his work. He is so easy to converse with. I feel as if I could have talked to him for hours on end about his life and Costa Rica. He even remembered my father’s name after one night. He also seems so excited about life. He told us his future plans that he has “been ready for a while” and I am more than excited for him. I wish him the best of luck and nothing but a pura vida.
Next was the sweet woman working at the Macaw Lodge. I am not sure if she owns it or is high up in management. Regardless, as soon as we walked in, she walked up to us and said, “Welcome,” in the most soothing and peaceful voice. I felt relaxed and at home immediately. She told us we couldn’t see the rooms or take a certain tour because they were airing the rooms, but she was so apologetic about it, I almost felt bad. She seems so at peace with herself and one with nature. I described her as “one with the butterflies” because she was so graceful and kind. I would love to go back and stay over at her hidden retreat.
A group of people I wish I got to know better were the captain and crew of Family and Friends, the boat on which I went fishing. The captain was a little quieter and I didn’t interact with him much since he was always up in the helm driving the boat, but he was very nice. The two crew members, Josh and Nelson, were gentleman-like and so cordial the entire time. They made sure we were taken care of and wanted to help us in any way they could. They also never got mad, and if they were, they didn’t show it. They seemed to be happy and enjoying life the entire time. They were especially great energy to have around when we were not catching any fish. They are two awesome dudes and I want nothing but the best for them.
Of course, Costa Rica isn’t some holy country; there is some petty crime that occurs, just like any other country, which we unfortunately experienced a little bit of as well. However, that still did not come close to changing how I feel about this beautiful country and the people I met. I am happy, still healthy, and have a lifetime full of new memories, and that’s what matters most.
As I mentioned in my post from Day 1, Chilly Willy was awesome as well and I recommend his services to anyone traveling to Costa Rica. Costa Rica—and its people— definitely made an impact on me that I didn’t expect, and I will never forget that. Thanks for your hospitality Costa Rica, and I hope to see you again. Pura Vida.