So they call this place ‘the happiest in the world’ – and the phalanx of cab drivers waiting outside for me were certainly friendly enough: ‘taxi amigo’, they beamed, as I meandered towards the more interesting option of the bus – but as I descended the staircase off my 6am flight and took in a mishmash of images bespeaking Costa Rica’s green credentials and tourist essentials, from scuba diving to horse riding to surfing, I told myself I really should have experienced central America sooner.
It’s been more than a month since my last blog and I don’t want emergingnations to be one of those blogs. What better way to fuel content than to immerse yourself in the language on a Spanish immersion and twin it with some surf sessions, intermingled with a spot of yoga and an array of sporting activities.
A cursory check revealed that Costa Rica ranks 5th in Latin America, behind the behemoths of Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, and ranked 19 in the top 20 overall pantheon of emerging economies. It’s now attracting inward investment for more than just its natural beauty and picturesque landscapes; it has one of the highest social and economic development indicators throughout Latin America.
Getting to the beachside town of Tamarindo was a little trickier. A six-hour, USD$6 bus ride from Costa Rica’s bustling urban capital, San Jose, shook off my sleep-deprived mind quickly enough; the lack of toilet facilities and breezy air conditioning, needing a jacket to complete the journey, heralded a wry smile.
As I rocked up at my Spanish language school, a bronzed surfer greeted me in heavy-accented local lingo: I knew it was time to experience a little pura vida…