Living in Costa Rica

Reasons WHY…You do NOT go to Costa Rica

The little things in life matter…and if you are a person that enjoys creature comforts …then living in Costa Rica, may not be the ideal place for you.

Many Public Bathrooms in the USA have most of these normal things…

For most people, we live in a 1st World Country. Things are highly developed and we are used to getting things when we need it and everything being clean, orderly and everyone trying to do their best to win you as their customer.

Costa Rica is a 3rd World Country and while I KNOW that, THAT is a term that was created many years ago and considered rude by many….the truth is that Costa Rica is very underdeveloped when compared to many countries.

Let’s face it…nobody goes to google and type the words… “is Costa Rica a less developed country”. NO, that AIN’T happening…, they search google for words like… “is Costa Rica a 3rd world country” “Costa Rica 3rd World”

Now, don’t get me wrong….I love Costa Rica and I’ve been living there since Nov 2013. For me…the pros far outweigh the cons. But this article is to help you understand some of the sacrifices you’ll make if you decide to visit and much worse…if you decide to live in Costa Rica.

Let’s talk about some of the Reasons YOU do NOT go to Costa Rica.

These are in no particular order….

#1 — You don’t go to Costa Rica for the “CLEANLINESS”!

While Costa Rica has some of the MOST beautiful scenery…mountains, beaches, waterfalls, wildlife, and more….you will not live out there in all that beauty.

Going into town…to the parks, stores, and restaurants will be a harsh reminder that you live or are visiting a 3rd World Country.

While this statement may seem prude… “Everybody’s gotta go!”

When at the restaurants, the store…well, anywhere except your own house….your bathroom experience will be unforgettable…and NOT in a good way! Lol

This is a normal public bathroom in Costa Rica.

Ticos (what the local people are called) do NOT rate the bathroom as anything of importance or necessary for the customer or themselves for that matter.

When going to a public toilet, you are lucky to find toilet paper and it is NOT uncommon to pay for use of the toilet and someone actually handing out a small amount of toilet paper for you. (Just hope they give you enough toilet paper.)

In some places…you are lucky to find a toilet seat and if the flapper in the toilet tank broke at some point…it is NOT uncommon, that you need to flush the toilet by pulling the string that is now…where the flush handle used to be???

Pull to flush the toilet.

All these creature comforts like two full rolls of toilet paper (wait…any toilet paper), a toilet seat, hooks to hang your jacket or purse, a shelf to put your phone or purse, air fresheners, soap to wash up with, paper towels, or even lighting in the bathroom are rare creatures to find.

Only with the outbreak of COVID…did I see some toilet paper and soap appear…but only for a little while. For most places…those things have become extinct again.

Oh…and don’t let me stop my bathroom rant before saying….it sure is NICE to be able to flush your toilet paper in a 1st World Country! (Do WHAT?)

YES….I said it! For most of Costa Rica…the only thing they have in their bathrooms that 1st World Countries DO NOT have….is a sign above the toilet that says…. Do NOT flush the toilet paper. That’s right…that smelly, crap (pun intended) goes in the small trash can by the toilet you’re sitting on. Lol

Before we get much further…I have a favor to ask you??? If you’ve enjoyed this article, take a moment to clap and follow. It helps me greatly so I can continue to give you more information about Costa Rica.

#2 — A Proper Hot Shower

If you decide to live in Costa Rica….no doubt you will install proper hot water. But if you rent or you are just visiting…it’s important to know, most of Costa Rica only has hot water in the shower. That showerhead is affectionately called a “Suicide Shower”.

Very common and in most homes if they want hot water. Many do NOT want the extra cost?!?!

I don’t think anyone has been killed by one…but in my mind, water and electricity don’t mix…but it does in Costa Rica.

Their shower head has this electrical wire that heats up a small amount of water that goes into the showerhead. If you turn the water on with too much pressure in order to take a good shower and have enough pressure to wash the soap out of your long flowing hair…forget anything HOT. In most cases…to get hot water, you barely have a trickle of water falling on your body.

Hot water is a luxury found ONLY in the shower.

I so… look forward to waking up in the morning and washing my face in the sink with hot water, or shaving with anything but freezing water….NOT in Costa Rica.

Try washing greasy dishes in cold water…it’s a JOB.

#3 — Customer Service. (What’s that?)

Maybe in the touristy areas…you might get a little customer service, but it will NOT be anything like you are used to in the USA.

Ticos are NOT trained and do NOT know anything about “Customer Service”.

Coming to get your drink order, your meal order, and then bringing it to you…is the only resemblance of customer service you’ll find in Costa Rica…however, you will pay a mandatory 10% tip….even though in the USA….we tip and tip well if the service is good. Oftentimes, if the service is bad, we don’t tip at all!

Costa Rica is NOT and I repeat…is NOT a culture where people TIP. Ask any Tico and they will tell you….NO, they do not tip.

In the USA, we tend to TIP for everything. Cab driver, valet parking, doorman, waiters, waitress, and other hospitality workers.

While Costa Rica is NOT a Tipping Culture…all the restaurants WANT that TIP…only because they have learned that from the USA. Here is what’s important to understand…in the USA, servers are way underpaid and in most cases do NOT even get minimum wage. That is the norm, because, if they are good at their job, they will make way more than enough in tips to far exceed minimum wage.

In Costa Rica, it is not at all like the USA. They do get the minimum wage and they give you the bare minimum service but expect a TIP as well.

For me…the pros far outweigh the cons, but when YOU come to Costa Rica, it is an awesome place to visit and a great place to live, but in order to live here, you will have to sacrifice your creature comforts.

Thank you for reading my story. If you like this story, you can get a Medium membership for $5/month or $50/year by clicking on my referral link. Disclosure: As a writer for Medium, I will receive a tiny portion of your subscription fee but YOU do not pay anything more…Medium just rewards me with a thank you commission.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel “Living in Costa Rica and the Off-Grid Homestead” and learn “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” about Costa Rica.

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I’ve been in Costa Rica since Nov 2013 and I still enjoy this tropical paradise. However, it hasn’t been without learning to slow down, laugh and enjoy!

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Living In Costa Rica and The Off Grid Homestead

Living In Costa Rica and The Off Grid Homestead

I’ve been in Costa Rica since Nov 2013 and I still enjoy this tropical paradise. However, it hasn’t been without learning to slow down, laugh and enjoy!

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