Why I Have Nothing to Write About Costa Rica

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Recently, I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about Costa Rica from fellow travel blogging colleagues. This is due in part, to the Tourism Board of Costa Rica campaigning to entice travel bloggers en masse with sponsored travel experiences. See also: How to Get Sponsorships With a Travel Blog

That’s not why I went to Costa Rica.

I have no problem with press trips and sponsored experiences; in fact I’m pleased that the travel blog industry has evolved to being a recognized and legitimate form of media, and most travel bloggers are rising to the call ethically (which also makes me happy).

But this post isn’t about press trips, and (as per the title) it has very little to do with Costa Rica, despite my just having spent three weeks there.

This post was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

Why do I Have Nothing to Write about Costa Rica?

It’s not because I didn’t like the place; I loved it. After the hectic pace of Bogota Colombia and the active chill of Boulder Colorado, it was a perfect place to both defrost and decompress. During said defrosting and decompression, I also took a bit of a holiday from my regular routine of cracking the cultural code of my chosen destination.

Rock pile on the beach in Costa Rica


I write about local experiences

One of my favourite things to do is to stay with locals or tap into a local community and engage in local cultural activities. In Costa Rica, however, I was staying with a different brand of local: the expat brand. Although these friends have lived in Costa Rica for over 20 years, it’s wasn’t the culturally insightful experience one might expect. Then again, Costa Rica is a haven for expats, so to an extent that is the culture of Costa Rica.

I wasn’t in a touristy area

I stayed at the very tip of the sparsely populated Osa Peninsula; a rustic and quiet place, nestled in the jungle. There were no stores, no markets, and the closest town was 20kms away. There was one restaurant within walking distance. The most touristy thing I did was a nature walk and tree climb with Everyday Adventures (which was pretty awesome).

The rest of the time, I was relaxing, walking along the beach or through the jungles, discovering waterfalls, reading books, spotting the rampant wildlife, and sleeping.

Andy of Everyday Adventures, wrangling an eyelash pit viper in Costa Rica
Andy of Everyday Adventures, wrangling an eyelash pit viper – not for beginners!


I surfed the waves, not the net

I tried a new form of surfing whilst in Costa Rica; surfing the waves. I still surf the net much more gracefully than the waves, but it was fun playing in the ocean and learning a new skill.

I didn’t take my camera

When I left the house for my walks and surfing adventures, I left the camera behind. Instead, I chose to see my new world through my eyes, instead of the lens of my camera. In so doing, it relieved me of a perceived obligation to “discover” something worth taking a photo of. The few times I did have my camera, my inner National Geographic photographer was disappointed at my inability to capture the wildlife as I would have liked. (Note to self: telescopic lens required).

monkeys in trees in costa rica
I don’t think National Geographic is going to be begging me for this photo of a monkey. It looked much more impressive in real life.


All in all, I was on vacation

A couple of years ago I reflected on what a holiday looks like for digital nomads and full-time travelers (whose lifestyles smack of a holiday to begin with), musing on aspects like traveling without recording everything about it, and not feeling compelled to see and do everything possible.

That was my experience in Costa Rica. I was on my computer very little, I celebrated the relatively atrocious speed of the internet as an excuse to remain offline, and I relieved myself of the obligation to “conquer” Costa Rica for my readers.

Sorry, dear reader, if you were hoping I’d give you the inside scoop of Costa Rica. I’m sure you understand that sometimes, we all need a vacation of sorts. Costa Rica is a vacation destination for many intrepid travelers, and it was for me too.

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22 thoughts on “Why I Have Nothing to Write About Costa Rica”

  1. Hi Nora!

    Dang we missed you! I knew you were coming but not sure when. It would have been so cool to meet you since you’re one of the bloggers I admire the greatest. But I’m glad to hear you had a great time here and spent it as vacation since Costa Rica is a great country for that! The Osa area where you were is absolutely gorgeous too. It sounds like you really got to enjoy the “pura vida” life here! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hey Maria,
      It’s a challenge to stay off technology (it really is addictive), but a beautiful experience. In May/June I’ll be going to the jungles of Peru for a month….with no electricity, much less internet. Now THAT will be a challenge! 😉

      Reply
  2. Hi Nora.
    Loved the piece (or, should I say… Peace) and loved spending the day with you and our fun crew. Your advise to blogging was well received, thank you. I still find myself compositionally constipated at times but managed to write about our eye lash viper encounter. You are an inspiration to the well-healed vagabond and those with a desire of travel!
    Everyday,
    Andy

    Reply
    • Hey Andy,
      What a pleasure it was to go for that nature walk with you! You pulled a pretty snazzy “Steve Irwin” move with that snake too! 😉
      Glad you’re getting on the blogging thing, and venturing into the online world. Luckily, with the crappy internet and beautiful scenery on the Osa, I know you won’t get dragged too far down the digital road either – ha ha! Balance is key.

      Reply
  3. Hi, Nora! If you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to know where you stayed on the Osa Peninsula, as in which accommodation. Heard wonderful things about the area. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Dana,
      I stayed with friends, but they offer accommodation as well – a lovely quiet place, with very gracious hosts:

      Reply
  4. Ahhhh how refreshing! Although the digital nomadic lifestyle is awesome and looks like a constant holiday — you are so bloody right that taking an actual holiday means that you aren’t collecting content!

    You’ve still enticed my wander-buds though:)

    Reply
    • Hey Lucy,
      Glad I’ve still inspired your wander-buds! (Full disclosure: I had hoped I would be able to impart some sort of teaser about Costa Rica while not really writing about Costa Rica)! 😉

      Reply
  5. My husband and I are getting ready to head to CR for 3 months! We secured a house/pet sit there! Excited!!! Then we are heading to Ecuador for 3 months! We changed our lives to make this happen and live a life of freedom and work from our laptops! Yeah!!!

    Reply
  6. God knows, Nora, you deserve a holiday from the digital world and indeed from the world too! Curiously maybe there isn’t all much to say about Costa Rica–pure vida? Hmmm, not sure about that. And not much music and some pretty glum people amid the hiding out expats. . Good place for a rest. And the ceviche is wonderful.

    Reply
    • Hey Michael,
      Ha ha – thanks for your support! I didn’t find the people in Costa Rica all that glum, but I did find it to be a very expensive country. Shockingly so actually, for Central America. But then again, Panama is also quite expensive.

      Reply
  7. Well done Nora! To me it would be as terrible to see travel as a full-time job every moment of your life time as it would be working as a professor of Art History (generally the least insightful of all people about art, in my experience) when visiting indoor and outdoor museums as a lover of art around the world.

    I always point to one poem when it comes to the necessary liberation of the spirit:

    http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/be-drunk

    Reply
    • Hi Greg,
      Beautiful poem! Thank you. And you’re right – we all need a change of pace now and again, especially so we can remain in love with what we do.

      Reply

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