Pura Vida

Feb 23, 2011

After a long trip via Miami we got to San Jose (the city of Alajuela, to be precise), the capital of Costa Rica. We got to the hotel at 11:30 pm local time, 6:30 am Warsaw time. Needless to say, everybody was extremely tired. What surprised us, even at this late hour of arrival, was the pleasantness of local people and cleanliness at the airport. This was striking contrast with the Miami airport and the rudeness of US immigration officers. Somehow in the UK or Costa Rica or even Poland airport officials use all the courtesy words like “please”, “thank you”. In the US, crossing-the-border experience most of the time is very bad. This is so strange for a country emphasizing the hospitality and being positive on a daily basis.
Anyway, the family woke up after only around 6 hours of sleep. We are staying at a cozy Hotel Cortez Azul in Alajuela, from where we will take a bus to one of the most beautiful national parks of Costa Rica, Monteverde, later today.

A couple of interesting facts about Costa Rica:

  • it is 6 times smaller than Poland
  •  it is a peace-loving nation. It got its independence in 1821 without firing a single gunshot
  • The country has no army since 1949!
  • Its president, Oscar Arias Sanchez is Noble Peace prize winner (1987)
  • It lives up to its name, which means, Rich Coast, in Spanish. While the country has only 0,1%  of the world’s land mass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
  • Over 25% of CR is composed of protected forests and reserves

Apart from the love for peace the Costa Ricans, or Ticos as they like to be called, love life. The common saying in CR is “Pura Vida”, “Pure Life”. It is a very peaceful and civilized place although petty theft is quite common. It is also a bit too touristy and with our presence we definitely add up to that feeling.


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