Costa Rica

3 Costa Rican Discoveries in 3 Days

Hannah Dull is a student at Doane College and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in San Jose, Costa Rica.

I knew what Costa Rica would be like. I’d researched the internet extensively, asked friends who had been to Costa Rica already, and had a few experiences of my own to go off of. But I have quickly figured out that Costa Rica isn’t exactly what I thought it was; In fact, I’ve found that several things aren’t always as I expect them to be.

  1. Cat-calling isn’t as prevalent as I thought it was going to be. I don’t speak the best Spanish, so I can’t even understand what people are saying, let alone if it’s directed at me, but from my experience here so far, catcalling doesn’t happen as often as you may think. Yells or quick hellos come from a few people, but most mind their own business and let you mind yours.
  1. Electrical outlets here are the same as they are in the U.S. I don’t think that holds true throughout the entire country, so don’t quote me on this, but all of the outlets I have seen here work for my electronics. Just a tip, I wouldn’t be so quick to leave my hair dryer at home and wait to buy one here because it might end up being just like the one you left behind.
Central America, San Jose, Costa Rica, Dull- 1

Most of the outlets are very similar to those in the U.S., but not all.

Central America, San Jose, Costa Rica, Dull- 2

The light switches differ from all I have seen in the U.S.

  1. Ticos, or locals, either speak English or realize that you’re a gringo, which is not a mean expression in Costa Rica; it just means you’re a foreigner. All of the Ticos I have encountered so far have been very patient with my attempts at Spanish. They may smile because they know that I don’t really know what I am doing, but they are always gracious and willing to help.
Central America, San Jose, Costa Rica, Dull- 3

Our cooking teacher mostly speaks Spanish and is very patient with us when we don’t always understand what she is saying.

So just remember that as much as you may plan for a trip and think you are prepared for any challenge you may face, always keep an open mind for unforeseen adventures and experiences.

Want to read more about life on Tico Time? Check out “5 Helpful Travel Tips: Costa Rica Edition