Driving is insane but necessary
As far as I could tell if you don’t want to be stuck in a single city during a visit to the country there are only two options, take a bus or rent a car. Given what I had read (and then actually witnessed) about the bus situation throughout the country I am glad to have gone with option two and rented a car for the duration of my short four day visit. That said, just because I am glad I rented a car does not mean it was the smartest or safest decision I have ever made. In fact I can say without hesitation that driving across the country ranks in the top five most unsafe things I have ever done, and the most unsafe car situation I have ever dealt with in a foreign land. In case you think I am some novice or big baby or have no idea what I am talking about, in my opinion it was more difficult and dangerous then navigating ‘downtown’ Istanbul in rush hour. My left and right leg are both sore from working the clutch and gas pedal, and I am not sure my heart will ever fully recover. It suffered multiple stoppages each time yet another single lane bridge appeared around a blind curve with speeding trucks and/or cars behind, next to, and approaching rapidly from the other side of a two (1.5) lane road with no guardrails and sheer cliff dropoffs of thousand of feet on both sides. Additional coronaries happened when ‘merging’ onto the ‘highway’ in San Jose where the ‘merge’ ‘lane’ is a grand total of 3 feet long and there are no visible gaps in bumper to bumper traffic speeding along at what feels to be close to warp factor 6.
Hiking Cerro Chirripo, the country’s highest peak, is difficult, extremely difficult
If you happen to be perusing the internet and encounter any websites which rank the difficulty of the trail as ‘moderate’ know that the person who wrote it is most likely currently residing in an insane asylum as they have lost all touch with reality.
It is not inexpensive, nor is it expensive
The prices paid for things like food, drinks, lodging, etc. were virtually identical to what one would pay for them in the part of the US where I currently live. Those prices did not seem to vary by region of the country or by rural vs. urban, or by heavy tourist areas vs. less-touristy areas. The CR is not a cheap place to visit, but neither will it break the bank. If you currently live in New York or Silicon Valley it might seem a bargain but for most everyone else it will feel pretty much like what you are used to in the States.
The food is fine, the coffee is outstanding
I came to the CR expecting to be blown away by the cuisine. I happen to really like many of the core ingredients found in much CR cooking, but left feeling a little disappointed by the food. It was fine, nothing I had was terrible (with the exception of pizza, never, ever, ever eat pizza in Costa Rica) but nothing really blew me a way either, other than the coffee and coffee drinks which were truly amazing. Not too surprising given that coffee is one of the countries agricultural staples (probably. I am too lazy to take the time to look this up and confirm. Man I am lazy sometimes. I’d rather sit here typing this crap about being lazy instead of taking that time to actually go look it up. Lazy and a crybaby. Geesh)
*Observopinion — an opinion masquerading as an observation, or an opinion in the guise of a fact, specifically when used to describe foreign lands or foreigners. Observationopinions are widely used by western tourists in describing their travels in foreign lands. It allows them to appear as if they truly understand the plight and position of the local population while at the same time clearly showing their superiority over them.