1. You will slow down. “Manana” does not mean “tomorrow. Usually it means “not today.” In general, everything takes a little longer. This might sound bad. It’s not. Costa Rica will force you to slow down. Once you get used to it you’ll wonder what was all the rushing about?
2. Mornings are for exercise. Even during the green season, the days start with sunshine most days. For this reason, most are in the habit of getting after the morning, just in case of rain.
3. Produce is cheap. It can be purchased for a fraction of what you pay at home. Processed food, however, is not cheap. Again, Costa Rica will steer you towards a healthier lifestyle. (There’s no McDonald’s in Tamarindo.)
4. Best to eat off the street. Well, not literally. Residents of Costa Rica know the best deals are from street vendors, including really good honey. For $25.00 you can fill your fridge with a week of fruits and veggies.
5. Rent is cheap. Average rent in Los Angeles, CA: $3000 per month. Tamarindo? $1000-1500. You can spend more, sure, but if you just want a place to stay while you build your dream home, you can do it cheap.
6. There are about 12-hours of daylight. Every day. This close to the equator the sunset and sunrise don’t shift much. Days end around 5:30 pm with an awesome sunset, and most residents make a point to watch as many of them as possible.
7. You could see whales. There are two Humpback Whale migration seasons: December through March you can see them headed south, and August through October they go north.
8. The “day” starts at sunrise: 6:00 am. It’s against the law to make disruptive noise before 6:00 am. Don’t be surprised to hear the egg-truck clambering down your street at 5:59 am. With only 12-hours of sunlight, you’ll be grateful for the wake-up.
9. People smile and say “hola.” Where most of us come from people keep their heads down to dodge unwanted attention. In Costa Rica, not acknowledging a passerby is downright rude. It’s okay… You can be friendly.
10. Coffee pours from the faucet. Practically. The culture of coffee is so strong that Seattle called to complain. Kidding. That said, it is very common to drink coffee all day, or at least make a fresh pot around 3:00 pm. It’s so good we dare you to turn down another cup.
Of course we could probably list 100-ways Tamarindo is different. True, it is unique, but in many ways similar. And why not? Tamarindo is mutlicultural and Costa Rica is an international country: diverse, and home to many foreign businesses. It’s come a long way from its humble heritage as the banana factory for the world. Oh, you can still find banana farms, but you can also find your McDonald’s “Quarter Pounder with cheese,” or “Cuarto con queso.” Not bad for a country that uses the metric system.