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The Wild World of Expats in Costa Rica :



As an expat in Costa Rica, I’ve come across some real characters that make me shake my head and laugh. There’s the hippie chick who kisses her menagerie of animals and boyfriends with equal passion, oblivious to the ringworm taking over her leg. The paranoid guy who sees CIA agents in every flipflop-wearing gringo he meets.

And my favorite – the raging alcoholic convinced he’s going to expose Costa Rica’s dark underbelly to the world, if only he can stop his coke-scarred nose from bleeding long enough. My fellow expats down here are a weird and wacky bunch, myself included. But that’s part of the charm of life in pura vida.

Our quirks and dysfunctions bloom freely under the tropical sun. So, join me for a glimpse into the eccentric lives of expats like myself trying to reinvent ourselves, for better or worse, in Costa Rica.

Just don’t believe everything we say – our imagined backstories are as likely to be fiction as fact!

She loves all creatures great and small

You see her driving down the bumpy, unpaved rural road, hair flying, three or four dogs jammed in the back seat of her jeep. She has just departed her finca, leaving behind eight cats, four other dogs, two goats, a horse, and a parrot that squawks and says, “I’m a good girl, I’m a good girl,” all day long. She offers you a ride to town, you accept.

She is anxious to show you her latest wound: Her parrot freaked and took a small chunk out of her shoulder. You recall previous wounds, a cracked elbow caused by a fall from her horse, a puncture wound on her left thigh from when her billy goat gored her. But, as always, she smiles and laughs when recounting the events leading up to the parrot attack.

You inquire about her latest boyfriend. She has dumped Raul for Mauricio, who she is thinking of putting aside for Sergio. All her boyfriends are younger than her two adult sons who live in the States.

And she tells everyone she meets that very fact. If you know her well enough, she will even divulge spicier aspects of her life, telling me, for example, that what drew her to Sergio is that, “he has the hottest mouth I ever kissed.” You change the subject to fungus, she shows you her latest ringworm growth, along her outer right calf.

She refuses to go to the pharmacy and is treating herself with a paste made of herbs and clay. She smiles while discussing skin irritations as well. In fact, she smiles so much that even people who know and like her occasionally think, “She’s either on medication or needs to be. No one can be that happy all the time can they?”

She’s been here for ten years and she wouldn’t live anywhere else. On average, she says “Pura Vida” twenty-one times a day. When you last see her on a downtown street, she is planting a kiss on the mouth of Raul (Or is it Sergio?), before stepping around him to place another kiss on the mouth of her favorite street dog.

Minister of Research and Paranoia

According to this guy, one in three Americans here are in some way connected with the CIA. He’ll point out the most unlikely candidate imaginable and say, “He’s the CIA, No doubt about it.” That old hippie you’ve known for years who lives a self-sufficient lifestyle on a distant mountain top, the middle-aged pensionada who walks her little dogs down the street each day, that crazy guy who plays the bagpipes and once broke his leg trying to tube ride Class 4 rapids while tripping on mushrooms…he claims they’re all CIA. It’s part of his general theory, which is that almost every expat down here has a cover story.

“Everybody that comes here lies,” he tells you. “Everybody’s running from one thing or another up north. So they come here, reinvent themselves, add little embellishments about their make believe pasts, and its all okay because the people they’re sharing their fictions with are playing the very same game.”

He looks about, eyes darting, as if searching for a hidden microphone before continuing. “One of the great things about the internet is that it helps expose the walking frauds that make up so much of the English-speaking population here. You tell me you’ve done this or that in your past, I go straight online, plug all the data into all the search engines, and inside half an hour I know if you’re lying to me. So don’t ever try to bullshit me.”

The Angriest Expat

He collars you in a downtown bar and starts right in: “I’ve had it here. This country is nothing but parasites. They see a gringo and think, ‘Here comes the money. Here comes another sucker to take advantage of.’ Its like, ‘What can we steal from the guy?’ Nothing but thieves and whores. The hell with this place. I’m outta here.” (He finishes his drink, goes to the rest room, returns a few minutes later, nose running freely.) “Yeah man, I can’t wait to get the hell out.

Back to the USA. Where things actually function. The hell with this part of the world. Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, you can have them all. They’re all the same: Just a bunch of lazy childish people looking to get whatever they can without having to work for it. Total corruption. Puro chorizo. ‘Chorizo Rico’, that’s what CR really stands for. I don’t know how you can take this any longer. I know I can’t. That’s why I’m outta here, adios amigos, baby!” (He finishes his drink, goes to the rest room, returns a few minutes later, nose running freely.) “I tell you what I’m gonna do before I leave.

Before I leave, I’m going to expose this place for what it is. This country will not know what hit it when I’m finished. I’ve got connections here. I’m gonna bring La Nacion, Teletica, CNN, Fox,The New York Times, all the media, I’m gonna bring them here and we’re gonna blow the lid right off this place. We’re gonna blow this place away with nothing but the truth, and the world will know the truth here when it all goes down. You laugh at me, go ahead and laugh.

You and the other gringos who smile and shrug and suck up to the locals are gonna get hit by the fallout of the bombs I’ll be dropping. I’m telling you now the shit will soon be flying and I’ll be laughing at all of you from back in the states when it hits.” (He finishes his drink, goes to the rest room, returns a few minutes later, nose running freely.) “One more thing…(At this moment he notices that what runs freely from his nose has turned red. Blood runs down his chin and drips onto the bar top. He lets go with an unearthly scream.) “Aiigghhh!! You see? You see for yourself what this country has done to me!”

Note: Any resemblance between the characters depicted in these thumbnail sketches and actual people living or dead may or may not be in your imagination.

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OECD Will Hold Its First Environmental Sustainability Summit in Costa Rica



On October 5, Costa Rica will host the Ministerial Summit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Environmental Sustainability.  This will be the first edition of the event and will have the theme “Economic resilience, green and fair transition.”The meeting will take place at the Costa Rica Convention Center.

 Among the guests are government officials from the areas of Environment, Commerce; Economy and Labor of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and members of the OECD.  Also from international organizations such as banks, United Nations agencies and organizations.

 The Summit is co-organized by the OECD, the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX), the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and has the support of the European Union.  It also responds to the OECD Regional Program for Latin America and the Caribbean (PRLAC), which concentrates regional efforts on sustainability and achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

 The OECD keeps an eye on the environment

The Summit is part of the OECD Environmental Sustainability Week, which will be hosting a series of events linked to environmental issues, focused on issues of youth, trade, employment, regulatory policy;  circular economy, contribution of the private sector to the green transition, role of civil society,

A rapid and fair transition towards a low-carbon economy in the region

 “The meeting aims to enrich the exchange of points of view and experiences between policy makers and, in this way generate contributions on how to guarantee a rapid and fair transition towards a low-carbon economy in the region,” the organization announced.

 Additionally, issues from the environmental agenda and the green trade agenda will be analyzed.At the event, it is expected to show progress that Costa Rica has had in projects such as climate adaptation and environmental services.

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Costa Rica and Panama Seek Joint Strategies For Migrant Crisis :



President Rodrigo Chaves will travel to Panama on October 6th and 7th for meetings with President Laurentino Cortizo focused on addressing the migrant crisis unfolding in the Darien Gap region along their shared border.

After discussions between the leaders, Chaves and Cortizo plan to visit a migrant camp on the Panamanian side that provides humanitarian aid to the influx traversing the perilous Darien jungle seeking to reach North America.

Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez stated the visit will allow Presidents Chaves and Cortizo to engage directly with migrants and demonstrate joint efforts between the two nations to handle significant population flows.

Rodriguez noted the trip aligns with Costa Rica’s commitment to the U.S. to maintain safe, orderly migration while respecting national sovereignty. Chaves will depart for Panama on October 5th.

Over the weekend, Panama’s Security Minister Juan Manuel Pino met his Costa Rican counterpart Mario Zamora. Both countries aim to establish concrete measures to alleviate pressures from record numbers crossing the Darien Gap this year.

Data shows over 390,000 migrants, primarily from Venezuela and Ecuador, have entered Panama through the lawless jungle in 2022 thus far. The sheer volume has strained resources and services in border regions.

Minister Rodriguez acknowledged limited capabilities to manage an unprecedented situation. The large migrant presence has burdened local communities like Paso Canoas, where residents have protested negative impacts on security, health services, and more.

By witnessing realities firsthand and coordinating responses, Presidents Cortizo and Chaves hope to mitigate fallout while upholding migrant protections. Their discussions will address deploying resources efficiently and securing international assistance.

With migration flows expected to remain high in coming years, experts call the leaders’ engagement a positive step. But successfully balancing border stability and compassionate policies will require sustained regional cooperation and aid from developed nations.

As nearby transit hubs, Panama and Costa Rica’s futures are intertwined. Joint strategies arising from Chaves’ upcoming visit can set the tone for the cooperative spirit needed to confront mounting shared challenges.

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An Essential Component of Tico Society ⋆ The Costa Rica News



The Afro-descendants of Costa Rica have played a significant role in shaping the cultural and historical landscape of the country. With a rich and diverse heritage, they have contributed to the social, economic, and political development of Costa Rica.

The presence of Afro-descendants in Costa Rica can be traced back to the colonial era when African slaves were brought to the region to work on plantations and in the mining industry. Over time, these individuals formed communities and established their own cultural traditions, which have been passed down through generations.

Music and dance

One of the most notable contributions of Afro-descendants in Costa Rica is in the field of music and dance. The vibrant rhythms of Afro-Caribbean music, such as calypso, reggae, and salsa, have become an integral part of the country’s cultural identity. Traditional dances like the Limón dance and the PuntoGuanacasteco showcase the unique blend of African and indigenous influences.


In addition to their cultural contributions, Afro-descendants have also made significant strides in the political arena. Despite facing historical discrimination and marginalization, individuals of African descent have fought for their rights and representation. In recent years, there has been an increase in Afro-Costa Rican politicians, activists, and leaders advocating for social justice and equality.


Economically, Afro-descendants have made notable contributions to various industries, particularly in agriculture and tourism. The province of Limón, located on the Caribbean coast, is known for its banana plantations, which have been a major source of employment for Afro-Costa Ricans. Additionally, the vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture and natural beauty of the region have attracted tourists from around the world, contributing to the local economy.

Despite these contributions, Afro-descendants in Costa Rica continue to face challenges and inequalities. Discrimination and socioeconomic disparities persist, limiting access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. Efforts are being made to address these issues through affirmative action policies, awareness campaigns, and community empowerment initiatives.

The Afro-descendants of Costa Rica have left an indelible mark on the country’s history and culture. Their contributions in music, dance, politics, and the economy have enriched the nation’s identity. However, it is crucial to recognize and address the ongoing challenges faced by Afro-Costa Ricans to ensure a more inclusive and equitable society for all. By celebrating and embracing the diversity of its population, Costa Rica can continue to thrive as a multicultural nation.

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