Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trip to Central America, Days 4-5: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

The reggae-filled and stoned smiles of Puerto Viejo tell it all.

This is a rastafarian-like paradise, or at least for many travellers visiting this small town on Costa Rica's Carribean coast just an hour's drive north of the Panamanian border at Sixaola.

The hedonistic mood is hard to describe. It is similar to the one in Bocas del Toro, yet whereas Bocas offers a flashier nightlife and more diverse options thanks to it being an archipeligo, Puerto Viejo offers a more relaxed vacation it seems: just kicking back and enjoying it all, in any style, is the name of the game here.

The one thing that is hard to fathom--and what I have mentioned before--is that no matter what people say, Costa Rica seems to be overpriced. It offers the same attractions, generally speaking, as Panama, minus the canal plus a more hilly geography and a tad bit more tropical climate. Yet the country is poorer, resulting in a lower quality of life and level of development. However, what surprises me are the prices, which, for many things, are double those of Panama and almost on par with prices for comparative goods and services in the U.S.

Thus, I cannot say that Costa Rica is overrated. Not by a longshot. However, most likely due to the fact that its government was the first in the region to open up the country to mass tourism, its seems overpriced. Again, for about 50% less money, one can get a very similar vacation in Panama.

Well, almost the same. The women in Panama are definitely not as attractive as in Costa Rica. That's for sure.

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