Ten years ago I visited Costa Rica. It was my first trip outside of the United States (besides the spring-break trip to Mexico and a quick trip to Vancouver, Canada), and I foolishly did no preplanning, but relied on my travel companion who had been there many times to do my planning for me. Never do this! Turns out we had totally different ideas of what a vacation should be (he liked to rough it in youth hostels, go where the spirit moved him, and eat where-ever food was cheap, while I prefer a more orderly well-planned trip). My first visit to the country, therefore, consisted of too much time driving, me longing for hot water and a clean bathroom, and not enough time enjoying all the wonders Costa Rica has to offer.
As the years went by, my memories of the deplorable conditions faded but the memory of the beauty there remained. I convinced Mark (well, basically twisted his arm) that we should go, booked the tickets, research the hotels and planned the itinerary. This time I am happy to report the trip was amazing! Costa Rica has changed but not as much as I had feared given the rate of construction ten years ago. I guess when you have to build everything by hand one brick at a time it takes a while! Also the tourist infrastructure is much more well developed. For one thing, there is a wide variety of food choices that just didn’t exist before. Many hotels and restaurants quote prices in dollars for the currency-exchange impaired, and of course English is a common second language. I urge everyone who is considering it to just go!