Pura Vita! That my friends is a Costa Rican phrase meaning, “Pure Life” or translated to English slang as, “Screw it things could always be a hell of a lot worse”. For example, after that loss to Green Bay a disgruntled Dallas Cowboy fan could always say Pura Vita (at least I’m not a Cleveland fan). Or perhaps you just broke up with your significant other well shout out; Pura Vita! (hookers and blow are probably cheaper anyway). How do I know this? Well, I recently returned from an extended trip to what I only found out on the second to last day is in fact not an island (sorry for failing you every geography teacher I’ve ever had).
In case you might not have guessed it Costa Rica is nothing like the good old US of A. Because of this fact, I am going to run down my three most story worth experiences for you the reader. Don’t worry this is not a brag post (even though yes it was a beautiful 85 degrees every day, the women flowed like beer, and wore less than what you find in a strip club–> not that I would know anything about that because of course I have never been to one). Now that I have done my bragging for the post let’s get to the stories!
1) It’s considered a disappointment if you don’t get at least three feet from an animal which could kill you in seconds. During the trip we took a kayak adventure down this river/ rain forest area with the goal of spotting wild life. Before we even get into the water we see a 5 foot alligator (estimate here, wasn’t volunteering to measure the guy) swimming in the area we were about to board. Now I was expecting our tour guide to tell us to leave the boats and run for our lives (sorry person I tripped so the group could get away but let’s be honest you shouldn’t have been running next to me). However, that’s when the guide explains the little guy is probably just hungry and that someone will feed him. Which of course means we can continue to get in the water and paddle around him. AGAIN… our best move was not to run for our pump shot guns, but instead board these small kayaks and venture forth.
(Tell me why I’m getting in the water near him?!)
2) They have no driving rules, but instead just guidelines. I am not sure the exact driving test in Costa Rica, but I’m willing to bet you fail if you don’t blow past at least five cars during your exam. Whether we were in the minivan that picked us up from the airport or the 50 person bus headed white water rafting (this started off as the most fun I’ve ever had but after the 25th time I took an elbow, foot, paddle etc. to the face that excitement wore off) we passed slower traffic. What about the dreaded double yellow line you ask? That puny rule stood no match for our driver(s). It should also be noted every road there is a mere two lanes. That will cause you to start reciting the rosary as you’re trying to pass someone while rounding a corner. One final piece of driving advice; don’t look down when you cross a bridge. They are also a single lane and looks like a five year old could have built a sturdier Lego set.
3) The drinking age is nonexistent. I was told that the cut off is 18, but during our time there no even pretended to card anyone who bought drinks. You might think that is a good thing. However, I’m here to explain you couldn’t be more wrong. There is this thing called the age of consent and I don’t care what the local laws say you should never dip below 18. In America I know anyone at a bar is fair game (unless she has a boyfriend, but then again just because there is a goalie that doesn’t mean you stop shooting). In Costa Rica I wasn’t sure who I was allowed to look at. Yes she could be a 22 tropical princess (which there were many of), but she could also be a 16 year old high schooler who didn’t eat all week so she could spend her lunch money at the bar. A drunk me has a 50/50 chance of telling the difference between the two, and I don’t like those odds. As a safety precaution I asked every girls to finish this sentence, “I got in one little fight and my mom got scared. She said, ____”. (don’t be self conscious you can sing along at work) So to all those who were about to judge me see I came prepared.
(The plus side of Costa Rica drinking: I spent $2 one night for a two hour open bar. To my absolute shock the line didn’t circle the country, but was manageable. The icing on the cake; I was able to get multiple free drinks thanks to making friends with the bartender).
These are just a few of the tales I returned with. I have many more, but our title of long post champion already belongs to Frank McCabe. So with that I’ll say once more Pura Vita readers until we cross paths again (and rock out to the most american latin song they played there).