Beach or Bitch?


That was the subject of one of many conversations I had yesterday. There are a ton of beaches in Costa Rica, it’s important to not get confused! When the locals are trying to speak English, that’s one of their concerns. Beach, bitch? How do you say it? I have to clarify.

Here’s a little bit about Liberia, the city I live in. It’s a small city of only about 57 thousand. A rain forest surrounds the city, so as soon as you leave, a lot that Costa Rica has to offer is just a short drive away.

There is no hot water in Liberia, so every shower I take immediately wakes me up.  I discovered that pretty quickly in the first hotel I stayed in after I got 3 hours of sleep. It works better than a cup of espresso.

I went for a walk outside once I moved in with the family. It was a new location for me so I was a little lost. The problem with Liberia is that addresses are fairly absent, too. Most directions are given by word of mouth, saying “make a right at the orange store” or “a left at the big tree”.

The locals are extremely friendly! They’re always willing to help. I haven’t gotten into any disputes about money yet. People are honest and forthright, willing to help. That should be reciprocated though. The motto here is “pura vida” which means “the pure life”. It’s used as a greeting and stresses respect to others. When you’re in Costa Rica, make the effort to speak Spanish. It goes a long way. Don’t rush anyone, and don’t be rude. You will get to where you’re going.

I’ll say I did meet one local who didn’t seem to understand “pura vida”. When I went for that walk, I made a turn down one of the streets and came upon a man. He was carrying a stick. When he turned around and saw me, he let out some kind of Spanish gibberish and banged the stick on the fence. I didn’t know what to think but I kept walking towards him. As I approached him he actually slowed down, turned towards me, and rattled the stick on the fence. I felt like Rick Grimes or Leon Kennedy. “Habla ingles?” I had no idea what to say. No response, just grunts. I was out of there muy rapido.

I’ve walked the city during the day and at night, and so far that was the only encounter I’ve had. It’s not a bad city at all, it’s actually very peaceful despite the car noises outside my window, but that’s any city. In Costa Rica, a common word is tranquilo. I’m sure you can figure out what it means. Take it easy. They could teach the world a big lesson.

Did I mention there’s no hot water?


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