Costa Rica, appropriately named the “Rich Coast”, has quickly moved to the top of travelers’ lists of ‘Must Sees’ for its wealth of untouched forests and pure tropical bliss (It was recently named the happiest place on earth.) While the sustainable-living-preaching, peace-loving country deserves all the foreign promotions it gets, life’s not all Pura Vida in this so-called Switzerland of the Americas. The country is facing an unprecedented level of crime, struggling to maintain its pristine landscapes and still undergoing many of the growing pains of trying to access the developed world. As a freelance reporter living in Costa Rica for two years (whose weathered some of the bumps and discomforts along the way), I am happy to be walking you through some of the do’s and don’t of visiting, living or retiring in Costa Rica.
Chrissie Long is an award-winning freelance writer living in San José, Costa Rica where she covers politics, business and travel for a variety of United States-based magazines and newspapers. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Miami Herald, Latin Trade Magazine and the Catholic News Service.
Most recently, she served as the political/health/education reporter for the English-language weekly The Tico Times, filing stories on the Honduras mediation process, the 2010 presidential elections and the tourism industry. She has contributed to Frommer’s Costa Rica, Exploring Costa Rica and several travel-related Web sites.
By Chrissie Long:
“I arrived in Costa Rica on April Fools’ Day of 2009 with plans of riding out the recession under a palm tree. When I first stepped out of the airport with two over-sized suitcases, I imagined myself sitting poolside with a tropical drink in hand, watching parrots flap by on the horizon.
Life, I soon learned, would not be as romantic. I still had to pay rent. But with a two-year stint writing for the local English-language weekly, I was able to maintain my tropical existence while exploring the country in its profundity.
Looking for another outlet to share that encyclopedia of knowledge (for which, I had forfeited those tropical drinks and bronze skin) I gladly said ‘Yes’ when About.com offered me a job. Today, I live with my husband and two adopted street dogs in the historic neighborhood Barrio Amón and spend a few empty moments every day dreaming up the next weekend adventure.”