Recently, after one of our 5-hour San Ramon tours, our client, Steve F. said that we were not balanced enough, that we tried to sell Costa Rica and San Ramon. Granted, it wasn’t our usual tour since the only time they had available was a Sunday, so almost everything was closed. But still we had an opportunity to hook up with George Lundquist’s Costa Rica Retire on Social Security tour group for three stops. At one stop, we listened to a presentation by Mike Styles of the Community Action Alliance regarding volunteering, integration, and community involvement. At the time, it seemed like a good tour to me. And I thought that, over time, we had written about many negatives of Costa Rica – crime, inflation, etc. It isn’t our fault we love it here and want to spread the joy. But these folks were referred to us and they weren’t readers of our website, they didn’t know us. So, his comments got me to thinking. What are the negatives for some people about Costa Rica and San Ramon? Here are a few I’ve come up with:
- Costa Rica is expensive – certainly, it’s the most expensive country in Central American and one of the most expensive in Latin America (though we still save 30% over our U.S. cost of living).
- Crime Rate – It’s true, the law is weak and they often let lawbreakers off the hook (however the murder rate has been dropping, only 8.7% per 100,000 in 2012). Costa Rica is the #1 country in the Western Hemisphere, per capita, for robberies (at least they’re number one in something).
- The roads aren’t as good as other countries, including Nicaragua and Panama. True, but the infrastructure, roads included, has improved a lot during the 4 years we’ve been here.
- The towns aren’t cobble-stoned or Colonial looking.
- It’s not different enough, with little indigenous influence like Mexico and Ecuador.
- It’s not paradise (gosh, I hate that word).
- They speak another language, and I might have to learn some. It’s not like Belize which is English-speaking.
- Gas is over $5 per gallon and rising.
- Less is not more – no matter how you sugar-coat it.
- The bureaucracy will drive you crazy. They do things differently down here.
- The people here can’t think out of the box – no wonder Costa Rica is a third world country.
- Everything is substandard compared to the U.S. Can’t they do anything right?
- It’s too cool in San Ramon – this isn’t “spring-like weather” where I come from.
- There are too many Ticos in San Ramon and not enough expats.
- Hey, where are the zip lines and waterfalls?
- Where are all the expat hangouts?
- There’s no beach here, and where’s the air conditioning?
There you have it, many of the reasons you should consider elsewhere. I sincerely hope this clarifies your point Steve F. You’re right. I’ll be more balanced from now on…but I still love it here.