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In the Land of Peace and Pure Life -I June 10, 2008

Posted by habeshaviews in Uncategorized.

 I have been meaning to write about my impressions of Costa Rica for a while now. The last time I did the same about another country I wrote about 10 pages. I didn´t think it would be fair to blog on you like that i.e  I decided to do a series,this being the first one.


I really don´t know why ,when people want to travel ,they only think of the same old destinations. Most people I know prefer to go to some big cities with sky-scrappers. There is something not sexy about that for me. I feel there are thousands of things to see in this world than long piles of stones. I have nothing against globalization in general but I don´t like one bit the fact that everything has become the same wherever you go.

I can feel it in Costa Rica. Things are changing: big supermarkets,big multinationals,big hotels,privatized beaches, a few rich people,a disappearing middle class. I can just see it.

Costa Rica (in Spanish the rich coast) is a small country of 4 million people. Although its famous for many things ,I don´t understand why people usually have a hard time recognizing it. They ignorantly mistaken Costa Rica with Puerto Rico or San Jose,the capital, with San Jose ,California.

A typical conversation would be like this
´´I am traveling ´´
´´Oh really, where Europe?´´
´´No, Costa Rica´´
´´Costa Who ?´´ Of course I would take time to explain and people usually try to look interested when they listen. After I am done, they would continue asking
´´ How long will you stay in Puerto Rico ?´´

On the Contrary ,Costa Rica has a lot to offer. Its one of the very few countries in the world that have managed to abolish its military constitutionally.Recently , it has also announced plans to become the first carbon neutral country. Its paradise on earth: so green that you feel you are surrounded with life. So long and clean beaches that you feel much closer to nature ,God , Karma or whatever you feel like calling it.


People are in general peaceful. They have this concept of the pure life(Pura Vida). If you come to Costa Rica ´Pura Vida´ is a word you would hear so often. It directly translates into the ´pure life´, people use it when they greet, farewell,satisfied or disappointed.

When you meet Costa Ricans anywhere the first thing you hear is the Spanish version of  ´What´s up´ -´´Que tal?´´ You would answer ´Todo bien!´(all good) and then they say ´Pura Vida!´.
It just captures the notion of the positive spirit,taking things as they come and enjoying the moment to the full. Costa Rican´s also like to call themselves Ticos/Ticas. It´s like the hebesha expression for Ethiopians and Eriterians.

I have finally managed to find another country that would beat us in drinking so much coffee. In Costa Rica people drink coffee several times a day with very big mugs. For the first few weeks here I used to spend a whole afternoon trying to finish a mug full of coffee. I didn´t want to say ´No´ to my hosts thinking it might sound rude. Coffee also generates a big share of the economy along side tourism. Tourism is a big thing here. Last year there were 2 million tourists i.e half the country´s population. Beaches are accessible with a fair price with public transport. You can also find really cheap accommodations.

One thing you would notice on the streets is boys annoyingly driving a motor bike. For some reason ticos think speed driving a motor bike while making annoying noise is hip. That is probably why the country has one of the highest road accident rates in the world. The News is always full of those kind of stories.


People love gatherings. It’s not new to see festivals of food ,horses and dancings. Music is part of the day to day life. Salsa, merengue,Cumbia, raggeatone are beats you would listen to in shops, streets ,clubs..etc. Ticos/cas are not much into politics. I think they follow the football league much more than the political process in the country. One of the biggest political steps that called for huge attention of the public last year was the referendum on the free trade agreement. Many tought that it might end up causing a conflict. People from both sides campaigned (though I didn´t think the ´No´campaign was fair). The Ýes´side won with a very slight difference. No conflict ,no nothing everybody went home and probably said :

´´PUES , PURA VIDA !!!´´




1. Dr. Ethiopia - June 11, 2008

Puerto Rico must be fun. I would love to visit Puerto Rico some day. Do you have any suggestions of places to visit in Puerto Rico?

Lol – Costa Rica, i meant.

I figured i would do that to you.

P.S. I was expecting Part 2 today. So no Part 2, and i figured i would annoy you with “puerto Rico”

2. habeshaviews - June 12, 2008

Lol..got it @ first line :))

will try to post other parts soon and will recommend some places to see too.

tnx for comings &Keep checking

3. tpeace - June 13, 2008

great 🙂 thanks habesha. I will be following this series closely!
CR has been one of the places i’ll go before I die for 3 years now, even planned to go 2 years ago though had to change plans later.
Looking forward to more…

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