Why Costa Rica is the Best Place on Earth -

Why Costa Rica is the Best Place on Earth

Costa Rica


I hear it all of the time.


Costa Rica


Costa Rica is so expensive.
Costa Rica is so Americanized.
Costa Rica is so yesterday.


Costa Rica


And to be fair, it’s actually true.


Costa Rica


Cross the border into Nicaragua and you’ll notice that suddenly people are speaking Spanish again.

Weave your way through Mexico where nearly every day is a fiesta and every town has a Mayan temple and witness how alive it is.

Venture into Guatemala and you’ll connect with indigenous communities and marvel at the authentic artisan crafts.

Go anywhere else in Central America and watch the prices drop at least in half.


Costa Rica


It’s easy to see why many travelers on the Gringo Trail skip Costa Rica completely.


Why would anyone spend time in the most expensive country in Central America…
with the most diluted culture?


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Oh right, because it’s the most amazing country in Central America…

if not the world.


Costa Rica


Yep, I said it.

Despite the fact that it’s expensive and Westernized

Costa Rica is the most amazing country in the world.


I’ve traveled in over twenty countries across five continents and Costa Rica is the one place I always come back to.

It’s the one place I consider home.


Costa Rica


People often ask me, why Costa Rica?

What’s so special about Costa Rica?


Let me tell you…


Manuel Antonio


You’ll Never Find Nature This Good Anywhere Else


The first morning I spent in Costa Rica I walked out onto the golden sand jungle backed beach. I knew it was the most beautiful place I would ever see in my life. There were no hotels, no beach bars, and no boats. There were not even any people. There was only me and the wild. This rare freedom to simply be with nature is at the heart of why I love it so much here.


It may be small but Costa Rica contains 6% of all the biodiversity in the world and has the greatest density of natural species of any country. You see it the moment you depart from the airport and head anywhere. Mountains of foliage line the narrow highways, the calls of monkeys set the soundtrack for the day, wild tropical fruit falls out of the trees begging to be eaten, and gorgeous flowers and birds paint a rainbow of colors against the green landscape.




Miles of Pacific and Caribbean shoreline composed of white, black, pink, and golden sand are hugged by wild undeveloped jungle full of monkeys, lizards, sloths, tucans, tapir, armadillos, scarlet macaws, snakes, colorful frogs, and so many more. Butterflies and hummingbirds flutter and dance by. In the sea colorful fish, whales, turtles, and dolphins swim free. Wildlife lives everywhere.


One fourth of the country consists of national protected park housing abundant wildlife and stunning foliage. Costa Rica boasts cloud forests, rainforests, and dry forests, many consisting of primary forest. Waterfalls, mountain ranges, and volcanoes tower over glittering beaches. The nature is first and foremost what makes Costa Rica so special, and for me nothing is more important than nature.


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People Respect Their Mother


More than any other culture I’ve encountered the people of Costa Rica have a deep connection with the natural world. They know the names of the animals, the medicinal uses of the plants, and treat the land with respect. In fact every Costa Rican I’ve met (living outside the city) reveres the natural beauty around them. They know the worth of the Earth and I find that so beautiful.


True, there may be many Americans here, but they’re the kind of Americans who build permaculture farms and teach yoga on the beach. Costa Rica has become a melting pot of people all connected by their love for mother earth.


Costa Rica


In Costa Rica, Nobody is Weird


Because in Costa Rica, everybody is weird.

Costa Rica has truly become a melting pot for all kinds of cultures and characters, yet everyone lives in beautiful harmony with one another. No matter how unusual someone may be, in my experience, white black gay straight sober-minded or fifty shades of crazy, he or she will be accepted and respected. People accept you, no matter how “weird” you are. Consequently in Costa Rica I feel at ease simply being myself, no matter how off the wall that can sometimes be.


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You Get to Be Alone, Hallelujah!


Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to experience true solitude in nature? Since traveling to Costa Rica, I’ve become completely spoiled in this respect. Thanks to environmental protection laws, most beaches in Costa Rica have ZERO development and are backed by pure jungle. You can walk for hours on deserted shoreline and swim with the sunset with no one else for miles. The more I travel the more I realize that having completely vacant stunning beaches to yourself is extremely rare. As someone who cherishes alone time, the absolute solitude is one of my favorite things about Costa Rica.


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The Best Things Come Free


Ok, so a fruit smoothie may cost more than the hourly wage and a vacation rental may be as much as San Francisco, but when it comes to pure pleasure there’s plenty for free in Costa Rica. Swim in the ocean, hike in the jungle, walk down the beach, cut a coconut off of the tree, and enjoy the simple beauty of nature that doesn’t cost a thing. Sure, it’s expensive to live like a Gringo in Costa Rica, but it’s still entirely possible to live off the land, and there are less and less places in the world where that’s the case.




There’s a Different Flavor for Everyone


I can think of few other countries on Earth where you can watch the Caribbean sunrise and the Pacific sunset all in one day. Or how about kayak through mangroves, climb to volcanoes, and hike through cloud forest? You can snorkel live reef or surf barreling waves. You can visit indigenous cooperatives making chocolate and plant medicine or listen to reggae on the beach with Rastafarians. You can eat handmade Italian pasta then head out to dance salsa. You can chant to Hindu deities from a yoga temple or sing Native American folk songs from a sweatlodge. In Costa Rica, I often feel like I can experience just about anything.


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The Lifestyle Can’t Be Beat


In Costa Rica a person discovers quickly just how little he or she needs to be happy. With such abundant nature and the warm climate things like walls and clothing no longer seem necessary. People embrace simplicity, which I’ve observed leads to greater happiness.


Tourists and locals get around the beach towns on foot or by bicycle, and most activities revolve around nature which makes fitness a part of daily life. A typical day in Costa Rica might include surfing, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking in the mountains, swimming under a waterfall, or practicing sunset yoga on the beach.


Being healthy feels easy here and to me health = happiness. It’s no wonder Costa Rica has often been rated the Happiest Country on Earth.




There’s Magic. Pure Magic.


You know how there’s certain places in the world, where you instantly feel magic? Costa Rica is absolutely one of those places. Whether you’re watching the sunset while listening to the crashing waves or dunking your head under a waterfall, in Costa Rica the moments consume you and being present is easy. That’s when you feel the magic that’s been within you all along.


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All That Pura Vida


Considering the beauty and abundance of nature and the relaxed attitudes of the people, there could only be one national mantra that would make sense: “Pura Vida”. Directly it translates to “pure life” but “pura vida” can be used to express many things.


Pura vida means forgetting your time clock and surrendering to the pace of nature. Turning off your alarm clock, stepping away from technology, and being completely present in your surroundings. Pura vida means letting go of an expectation to always have what you want, when you want it.


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If it takes a while to get your latte in the morning, “pura vida.” If the monkeys wake you before sunrise, “pura vida.” If your bus breaks down on the side of the highway, “pura vida.”


Pura vida means choosing the path of happiness regardless of your circumstances. You can say pura vida on a sunny day as appropriately as you can in a storm. You can say pura vida when you’re falling in love and when you’re heartbroken. You can choose to see the pura vida in every single situation that life delivers you.


I can’t imagine anything more beautiful or worthwhile than that.


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That said, not all destinations in Costa Rica are created equally. Some places are overly developed and touristic. To get the lowdown on the best of the best that Costa Rica has to offer, get my ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica:





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  1. Hmm…you may have me sold. I kind of have my eyes on Belize, though. Amazing reef, and in some places, so close to shore that you can just paddle out to it.

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      For a diver, Belize is amazing! But for a nature loving yogi or surfer, you can’t beat Costa Rica 😉

      • Although you mention it in this post, I’d think Belize would be the better place for paddleboarding too…unless you’re talking about SUP surfing. And the perfect place for my new combo sport SUP diving!

  2. Each post I read inspires me to pick up and leave. Thank you for sharing the beauty and peacefulness of Costa Rica!

  3. How about life in Panama?

  4. Robbi Rose Says: January 27, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Hey Camille,
    Yet again I find myself inspired by your honest reflections on this place that does that thing for you, Costa Rica. It reminds me to keep it moving, so that I can find my own place of peace in paradise. I haven’t figured out exactly how to manifest my vision yet but I have confident expectations that I will be able to do so. in the meantime,I thank you for taking others along your journey and awakening us to to embark upon and enjoy our own sojourn.

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 27, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      Aw you are so welcome angel, I am confident that you will find it too!! Sending you so much love and so many blessings <3

  5. That is beautiful. Thank you for all your inspiration. I will be going to Costa Rica soon enough. You are a beautiful being 😘

  6. So how does one get started in Costa Rica?

  7. Jonatan Luvi Says: January 30, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Camille thank you so much for this article, every time I see this type of comments about my country it makes me feel proud of it. Pura vida from Costa Rica. Enjoy the nature!

  8. After having just got back from Nicaragua, i 100% agree , Costa Rica is just breathtaking in so many ways , Nica has its own rustic charm , Belize is beautiful, but Costa Rica is still our #1, the Caribbean side anyway :) Also, your pictures are always so amazing … thank you for that!

  9. Beauty has a price.

    • As everything in this life. I prefer my country to be “expensive” because being cheap could mean people working for low wages without labor rights. You have the rest of central america for watching poor people working for almost nothing.

  10. You do a great job of conveying how lovely Costa Rica is. The place certainly has a relaxed vibe.

  11. I loved the way you introduced this with those spectacular photos. My wife and I have been going back and forth on places to visit and I think she’ll be convinced after seeing this one. I’ve yet to explore Central America but as far as the places I’ve been, Thailand is the “It” place for me so far. Maybe CR will change that?

    Thanks, Camille.

  12. Camille,

    This post literally sent shivers down my spine. I love how you’ve found your place in our beautiful country and made it your home. It’s home of anyone who opens their heart to it and welcomes nature in every cell. We would love to share this article in our social media and would love even more if we could talk about future collaborations! Keep rocking the Pura Vida Lifestyle here and everywhere else your travels take you! xx

    • Camille Willemain Says: February 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Aw thank you! I completely agree!! Surrender to this land and she will heal you in ways you never imagined possible! Thanks so much it would be an honor if you shared it :)

      • Diane Corbeil Says: June 17, 2017 at 6:34 am

        I am agree, I am living in Costa Rica since 10 years and I still happy to be here. Thank you for your article, you let me remember why I made that move. PURA VIDA.

  13. Costa Rica is simply magical…after living there for a year I’d go back in a heartbeat without ever thinking twice! What I love most…everyone is truly “different”, you meet the most wonderful people and you can absolutely be yourself! Costa Rica is simply the most wonderful and special place on earth!

  14. Those pictures are beautiful! I would love to swim under a waterfall. Costa Rica is now definitely on my bucket list!

  15. Hola.

    I found your video “The Ultimate Guide to Puerto Viejo” on YouTube today, loved it, followed a link to your CR guide (which I might just buy btw), subscribed to your email list, and dug in to your blog excitedly … and this all happened about 15 mins ago. Haha!
    Just want to say cheers. You’re good at what you do.
    Also, my girlfriend and I will be in Puerto Viejo and the surrounding area in Mid-March for our birthdays. From what we’ve seen and read, if you’re around, we’d love to meet up and buy you a drink, or just say hi.
    If not, all good.
    I have family in CR in the central valley and they own a few homes out there. The more I visit and learn about Costa Rica, the more I fall in love and look forward to living out there at some point. Awesome to see your happiness and adventures in the most beautiful place on earth.
    Pura Vida!

    • Camille Willemain Says: March 1, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Thank you so much Adrian :) Really glad you enjoy my blog! The easiest way to find me is to come to one of my yoga classes at Om Yoga on Friday mornings 😉 xx

  16. David Krane Says: April 17, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Yo, I chilled wif yo mama the other day. As a new kiteboarder, and lover of everything you boast CR about, I’m really intrigued to go! Ty!

  17. Sherri-Lee Parsons Says: July 11, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Absolutely beautifully written. So true. Thank you for sharing this, your thoughts and perspective.

  18. Andree Hammerschmidt Says: July 11, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I read your post and it left me a bit surprised….
    living here since 17 years I must say Costa Rica is nice no doubt but is it the best…..not sure
    I am from Europe and grew up in Africa, lived in Australia and around the Mediterranean area.
    You say the nature is so great here, well apart from visiting a national park or the beaches could you explain to me how you were able to experience nature ?
    Did you feel free to park your car somewhere and wander off into nature ?? Like it is possible in the US ,Australia or in countries in Europe ?
    Here in Costa Rica you are on someone’s property as soon as you leave public road….., so I’d like to know where are the places that allowed you to explore costarican nature because I yet have to find them !?!

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 12, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      Hey Andree what part of Costa Rica do you live in? I spend most of my time in the South Caribbean where even just riding my bicycle down the main road I feel completely immersed in nature, the beaches are jungle backed, and there’s a national park about 10 miles from where I live. Most of the beach towns I’ve been to are the same way. I’ve never been to Australia, but in the USA you have to drive far from the city to a very rural area in order to go out into nature… and it’s usually a National park with trails. I’ve met many travelers who say that Costa Rica is the greenest place they’ve ever been to.

    • Are you mad ??? almost a quarter of CR area is national parks.
      You must have been paid by Nicaraguan TOurist office. Nonsense.

  19. Costa Rica has the highest rate of stomach cancer in the world as well as the highest per capita consumption of agricultural chemicals in the world.

    Bon Apetit…

    • the US ranks among the highest quotes of most live threatening diseases, incl. cancer and heart diseases, per capita.
      nowhere in the world more genetic manipulated food is consumed but same time the common diet has worldwide one of the lowest contain of valuable nutrients.

      • Bobinsana,

        Completely right on!

        Wouldn’t live there is you paid me. I live in Peru. Was in Costa Rica for 12 years prior to Peru. 15 years here in Peru. You can keep Costa Rica.

    • Alvaritop Says: July 12, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Has a Solid social security sistem, has educación for all aaaa and Has no ARMY how about that bit that

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 12, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Nowhere is perfect. I shop at the local farmer’s market and eat almost all organic.

    • priscila Says: July 13, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      thats a lie xD

    • Life expectancy :78 years.
      US : 77 years.

      Stomach cancer is a problem for
      1-Untreated helycobacter pilori (common allover the developed countries as well)
      2-traces of volcanic ash into the greens (Cartago sits near the slopes of Irazy and Turrialba Volcanoes)

  20. Francisco Says: July 12, 2016 at 2:45 am

    From a tico living in Denmark, I really appreciate how gracefully you describe our country. Pura vida

  21. Hello Camille,

    Thank you so very much for your kind words about our country, I really hope that everyone here makes you feel like HOME, and true it is an expensive country for tourists and for locals, nevertheless, with the years, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to get very good deals in food, tours, transportation, home products… mmm clothing and electronics sometimes, but in that case I prefer the US for these type of products, it is much more accessible :) … now when it comes to real state, yeap depending on the location it can get very very expensive… Again, thank you so very much and keep enjoying the Pura vida land!!!

  22. Mjpettine Says: July 12, 2016 at 7:47 am

    I wonder how all of this publicity and ultimately convincing a future American residents who decide to take residence weather in Costa Rica is going to affect this beautiful natural environment that the author speaks so fondly of. Some of the very positive attributes of Costa Rica are still positive because of the absence of commercialized stampedes of capitalistic Americans.

    • for sure, soon beautiful Costa Rica will be another new capital of something that we all dreamed of moving to …
      lets rather not spread the word anymore
      great article
      Amo la Natura
      Pura Vida

      • Camille Willemain Says: July 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm

        I say, keep spreading Pura Vida, keep spreading Love and the rest of the world will become more and more like Costa Rica 😉

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Americans who gravitate towards my work and what I love about Costa Rica don’t want to live in the traditional American capitalistic way. They want to live in harmony with nature and contribute towards a world vision that creates a loving environment for us all.

  23. I concur wholeheartedly! You forgot to mention all the incredible exotic fruits!

    Check out the fruit festival I’m hosting at Punta Mona on the Caribbean coast in September. http://www.costaricafruitfest.com

  24. Camille, thank you for your words. As a Costa Rican I’m thankful to find someone who sees these things. We ticos are oftentimes too critical of our country, which definitely has its grave flaws, but one can’t deny the great stuff too. However, it takes an open mind and grateful spirit to see things the way you do. Thanks for that! And your photos are amazing. Come over for coffee any time!

  25. richard blank Says: July 12, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Moved here August 15th ,2000.

    I was 27 years old

    Haven’t looked back since…

  26. Michael Says: July 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    It is obvious that the author of this piece has very limited experience in Costa Rica. I am a north american transplant, have lived and worked – legally – in CR for 17 years, am married to a Nicaraguan Costa Rica citizen, and have become a Costa Rican citizen myself. Half of the population does not live near a beach, does not surf, does not get around by bicycle, and earns less than a livable wage, when they can get a job. Much of what you say is true, if you are a visitor, tourist, or “live” in CR and never spend more than a short time each time you visit. You do not know the country, it’s customs, or anything other than what you experience as a visitor. Living in Costa Rica is like anywhere else – work, pay bills, traffic, taxes, etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong, I live here and have adopted completely this country, and I love it, but I see poverty, a super high crime rate (murder rate per capita is almost twice what it is in the States), racism or anti-extranjero attitudes ( I have seen my wife, originally from Nicaragua) discriminated against because of her birthplace and much more as part of where I live. Articles like yours portrays Costa Rica in a way that attracts people, I believe very much like you, who think they know a place, and are “locals” because they spend a couple of months in a a tourist area (at the beach) and mingle with like souls who seem to so desperately want to escape their lives. It also attracts extranjeros who “live ” here but cross the border every three months and re-enter 3 days later and who never become legal, pay taxes, of do what they must to live here legally. The are actually stealing from all of us who do all the right things to be here legally and become a real part of the country. Your story says that you “ditched the American dream” 4 years ago to travel and visit over 20 countries. That means that your time in any one place is severely limited and the only perspective you have is that of a tourist. You really should stop pretending to “know” about places, especially Costa Rica. I am happy that you apparently are able to monetize your travels and live off them but honestly, you are nothing more than a tourist in Costa Rica and have very limited knowledge of what this country really is and your writing should be honest and reflect that is what you are and not someone who has extensive experience and knowledge about CR. I believe I once before wrote on your page and, of course, did not hear from you as I don’t expect to after this. I only hope that you might at least acknowledge to yourself the shallowness of your knowledge, and consequently, your writing.

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 13, 2016 at 12:19 am

      Thank you for sharing your opinion.

    • So true. I am a Costa Rican that has to live with all these problems you describe. Gringos that love nature in Costa Rica and traveling there do because they have the money to do so. Most Costa Ricans don´t have those privileges. One day we will expropriate. Yes. Beware. We still remember, United Fruit Company, CAFTA, bombing to our neighbor Panama. One day we will expropriate! We don´t want more tourists buying beach properties, the best of our landscapes and enjoying it while looking at locals as simple “natives” to buy fruit and crafts from. One day we will expropriate. Take Back. I promise. Don´t come to Costa Rica, we had enough. Among Costa Ricans it is ok to rob tourists cause we are taking back. The country was truly a paradise until governments decided to develop tourism. Too bad! Don´t come. Don´t rub all the nice things you do in Costa Rica that majorities of poor Costa Rican cannot even dream. That is not nice. That is not being a “wonderful being”. Americans created the extensive poverty in Latin America including Costa Rica. Read about the “school of Americas” in Panama, Read about Condor operation, read about Banana Plantations, read about CAFTA, read about INFINITO MINING COMPANY, Read about the SPORT BOOKS and CALL CENTERS, and stop using our impoverished countries for your pleasure. That is not socially responsible.

      Americans come to seek under age prostitutes, to re landscape national parks by bribing officials, to buy cheap beach property from impoverished peasants….READ, READ, READ and don´t believe this white privileged, obnoxiously ignorant spoiled girl. PURA VIDA doesn’t exist anymore in Costa Rica. When it finally exploits, you don´t want to have been part of the cause. Don´t come and if you are here…leave.

      Tourism is an industry in Costa Rica. A bad one that is killing what was once a beautiful place on earth. Don´t contribute to that.

    • I’m also a Costa Rican “native”.
      I’m married to a woman of Nicaraguan decent, although she’s more Tico than Nicaraguan since she lives here from a very young age.
      I agree with what you say.
      The view of this author is a very narrow askewed perspective, from one who doesn’t live the reality of a country in the verge of becoming Central American’s Greece Economy.
      Our coffers are depleted from our extremely corrupt politicians, who have robbed this country blind. But worst of all. Sold it to the highest bidder. And continue to do so unstopped.
      We still have some public services as our own, like utilities. But even those have been and are aggressively under a strong media campaign to also be sold to international corporations.
      We have the worst roads and public transportation in Central America, and that’s saying a LOT when you have underdeveloped countries right next door (Nicaragua) that have a completely opposite situation. And we have the highest traffic taxes in Latin America!
      Cost of life? Let me give you an example.
      During my 6 month stay in Doral, Miami, FL. One of the most expensive areas in Miami (built by the rich Venezuelans that fled their country before things got bad). What I spent in my by-weekly grocery shopping, was EXACTLY the same amount I spend in my by-weekly grocery shopping in Costa Rica!!!
      That doesn’t sound so bad, until you compare that wages per-capita in Costa Rica, are about 1/5 of what a minimum wage American makes in a state like Florida!
      Add to that that Real Estate here is crazy high, and you get a situation where the average Costa Rican cannot cover all the expenses with even a good salary (around $1k).
      Crime rate, well, you said it. Costa Ricans live in fear, specially in the Central Valley. And a lot like me, that don’t live in San Jose, completely avoid going to the capital if possible! It’s not as bad as Guatemala, but we’re slowly getting there!
      Pura Vida? Nah, that’s just an off-handed saying. Used in sentences like the American “OK!”. Meaning, it’s acknowledging something that was said to us. It’s almost NEVER used to describe a feeling or a state of mind! That’s what TOURISTS do! Much like a fan going up to a celebrity and quoting a line from a movie! It’s not completely insulting, but definitely shows that it’s just someone who bought into Tourism Industry campaigns. It’s an empty phrase.
      The view of a Costa Rican society based on what you grasp from the OUTSKIRTS of our country, is almost as misguided as Jurassic Park depicting San Jose as a beach town, full of huts, bars and tiki restaurants.
      Sure, it’s part of our culture. They’re also part of Costa Rica.
      But the slow, calm, living life day by day in a non-chalant devil may care way, is only seen in those small coastal villages and towns. It’s not the reality of most of the country, or the very dangerous economic crisis that looms over the average Tico and what that means to our HUMOR.
      Those beaches the author sites? Most Ticos never even visit them.
      They’re too expensive.
      Those empty spots, one people beach experiences? That happens for a reason!
      Either because they’re already privately owned by a non-Tico. Or because Ticos tend to go to the easiest access beaches (again, this is also because of our terrible roads, but not only because of that), and over-crowd them.
      The average Tico escape from their life?
      It’s not sipping a margarita, swaying in their hammock watching a sunset at a beautiful almost deserted beach.
      It’s getting drunk on cheap liquor at an overcrowded dirty beach, that most tourists avoid (unless they’re in the country for gambling and prostitutes – like Jaco Beach).
      I think this article, is more about selling a book with very joyful superficial anecdotes, that work for those who just want a superficial experience of our country. But not about talking truth regarding the “not-so happiest country in the world”.

  27. […] Read why This American Girl thinks Costa Rica is the best country in the world. Do you agree with her? http://www.thisamericangirl.com/2016/01/27/costa-rica-best-country/ […]

    • I lived in Orange County California, Newport Beach. It was expensive, you are judged based on where you live, what you wear and drive. Beaches are cold and dirty, used to take my dog for a walk and came back with tar on my shoes. I have travelled quite a bit including Hawaii where the beaches have been saturated with resorts steps away from the shore.
      Being a local who has a good perspective of the world and who frequently travels particularly to the U.S, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change this place for any other country in the world. I work in the Central Valley, I pay bills, deal with the horrible traffic (which is now not only a problem in Costa Rica but a global problem as I just got back from Minnesota and Texas and experienced the same issue there) but when the weekend comes, we can pack some snacks and drive for 45 minutes and be at the volcano enjoying the beauty of nature and forget about all that, or I can drive a couple of hours and enjoy a gorgeous sunset at the beach.

      It is a very expensive country in comparison with the rest of Central America, but there are jobs, anyone can access education, both college and technical if they want and for free. We don’t have a perfect culture but things move slower here, may be because the last generations never had to deal with fear of a war as we don’t have an army and we learned to laugh, to joke and to express ourselves, this is why we are Pura Vida. We make an effort to help the environment, we are americanized no doubt about it, with so many jobs created by the investment of the U.S which has helped the economy grow and tourism being one of the main sources of income, it has been inevitable that our culture has been impacted by the American culture but our essence prevails. There’s poverty but is there a place in the world where poverty has been eradicated? and yet, when help is needed, we help one another.

      I appreciate this article very much because it shows what we look forward to on our weekends and vacations. The nature is how it looks in the pictures.

  28. I love being from a country that people speak so well of, I’m far away now in Germany but each year when I go back, as my foot touches Costa Rica soil again my soul sinks back Inot the ground…I am home. Thanks for your lovely price.

    X Adriana

  29. my culture is not diluted, it is rich and strong. for someone that likes Costa Rica so much you seem to have appropriated my culture for the benefit of your shallow writing instead of actually learning about it.

    and maybe so you stop talking none sense, Costa Rica has become Americanized because its what a small country has to do to adapt to the American market, we learn English so that we attract English based companies and have jobs- not because America is so great and everyone wants to be like it

    get over yourself

  30. Gunther Stedem Says: July 13, 2016 at 8:59 am

    I really like your article as well as I understand your way of picturing Costa Rica. My father was a German young men that came to Costa Rica in 1960 and he love this country since then.
    He married my mother and had 4 children together, and always instruct us how we must live and take care of nature.
    Thank you for this beautiful article. Pura vida!

  31. I am sorry but you don´t know enough about his country. I am a Costa Rican that has to live with all the problems tourism causes. Attitudes such as yours of coming to a foreign country and enjoy the good while ignoring the bad cause a lot of harm. You don´t mention you care about the poor in Costa Rica, about the child prostitution going on, about the unfair business of American companies who exploit Costa Ricans, about how toruism is killing our national parks.

    Please stop spreading half trues just to sell your book. Do it for Costa Ricans whose cost of life and poverty is growing at a horrible speed. Truly care for people not for your own pleasure.

    More and more beaches in CR are being closed to locals so they can be enjoyed by tourists as you describe: in a privileged solitude!
    Gringos that love nature in Costa Rica and traveling there do because they have the money to do so. Most Costa Ricans don´t have those privileges. One day we will expropriate. Yes. Beware. We still remember, United Fruit Company, CAFTA, bombing to our neighbor Panama. One day we will expropriate! We don´t want more tourists buying beach properties, the best of our landscapes and enjoying it while looking at locals as simple “natives” to buy fruit and crafts from. One day we will expropriate. Take Back. I promise. Don´t come to Costa Rica, we had enough. Among Costa Ricans it is ok to rob tourists cause we are taking back. The country was truly a paradise until governments decided to develop tourism. Too bad! Don´t come. Don´t rub all the nice things you do in Costa Rica that majorities of poor Costa Rican cannot even dream. That is not nice. That is not being a “wonderful being”. Americans created the extensive poverty in Latin America including Costa Rica. Read about the “school of Americas” in Panama, Read about Condor operation, read about Banana Plantations, read about CAFTA, read about INFINITO MINING COMPANY, Read about the SPORT BOOKS and CALL CENTERS, and stop using our impoverished countries for your pleasure. That is not socially responsible.

    Americans come to seek under age prostitutes, to re landscape national parks by bribing officials, to buy cheap beach property from impoverished peasants….READ, READ, READ and don´t believe this white privileged, obnoxiously ignorant spoiled girl. PURA VIDA doesn’t exist anymore in Costa Rica. When it finally exploits, you don´t want to have been part of the cause. Don´t come and if you are here…leave.

    Tourism is an industry in Costa Rica. A bad one that is killing what was once a beautiful place on earth. Don´t contribute to that.

  32. Here’s something else. For a couple of months in 2015, Costa Rica managed to run entirely on renewable energy. The only CO2 released was from breathing.

  33. Debo aceptar y sobre todo felicitar la, puedo ver que los refranes son ciertos: “Nadie es poeta en su tierra”
    Felicitaciones por su gran pasión y entrega a este bello país, y recibe humildemente las gracias por escribir todas tus experiencias y comentarios para todo el mundo.

    Saludes cordiales

    • Por que no solo decir gracias, porque buscarle siempre el punto negativo, a mi me gusto mucho como lo describió yo pienso que es desde la perspectiva de ella y nada de lo que dijo esta mal… es lo que ella precia lo que vivió.
      Muchas gracias por tus palabras y tu forma de expresarte

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 15, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Ahhh muchas gracias a ti :) xoxox

  34. Maria Goretti Says: July 14, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Beautiful photos and good information, I hope one day visit this sanctuary called Costa Rica

  35. Por que no solo decir gracias, porque buscarle siempre el punto negativo, a mi me gusto mucho como lo describió yo pienso que es desde la perspectiva de ella y nada de lo que dijo esta mal… es lo que ella precia lo que vivio, saludos!

  36. Marielos Says: July 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I do not have enough command of the English language to be able to express my feelings about this post. I am so grateful because someone could express my feelings about my country in such a beautiful and convincing manner. I have been always certain of the truthfullness of these words but it is not the same if I say them as a costarican than said for a foreign person.

    I do not know the name of the writter but thank you. Thank you very much for loving my country as I do.


    • Camille Willemain Says: July 15, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Oh my goodness thank you so much and you are so welcome. It warms my heart to read your comment. My name is Camille and I’m honored to call Costa Rica my home. PS your English is excellent!

  37. Greg Seeger Says: July 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I have been there twice and would like to go back permanently! I felt so much better there and just looked forward to walk the beautiful beaches, we were in Tamarindo this past January. Thank you for what you share with everyone!

  38. Charlie Says: July 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Nice piece. Having lived in Costa Rica (22 years ago) then moved to Nicaragua , then Panama lastly Colombia . I just return last year to Costa Rica to build my last home in Central America I’m sure, It backs up to virgin jungle (as you depicted ) and has the beaches that still are as they were in the 90’s. I’m home again. With one exception, the roads are so much better. People think they are roughing it now, they have no idea how it was in those days. I glad to be back. I live also in Big Sur Calif. if you’ve been there you know why when I found Dominical, Costa Rica I claimed it to be the “Big Sur of Costa Rica” back in the day. Thank you for honoring this magic place.

  39. Ana Luisa berrocal Says: July 16, 2016 at 12:23 am

    very very nice… too muchas con demasiado…
    And thanks fot each word you wrote.

  40. Gregory Says: July 17, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Soy de Costa Rica y solo tengo dos palanras para ustdes

  41. yes our country is beautiful. one of the things the world spend more money is is weapons, army, war.
    We do not have an army since the 40s and though everything sucks here. The most expensive gas in the region, full of taxes to support the whims of the elite. the roads are among the worst, everything here is a CHORIZO.
    but people is happy, the prefer to think they live in the most happy country in the world rather than face reality. They stealing everything from us to support corruption.

  42. We have a lot places to explorer but a lot tourist traveler to the same destinations o national parks…
    in Costa Rica have the 5 % biodiversity from this world, no army, the second most important blue zone in the world and just pura vida! you are welcome but go to explorer.

  43. excelente pura vida !

  44. Julie Kemp Says: August 3, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Hello..This is the best summation of Costa Rica I’ve read yet! Perfect. Spot on.
    My husband & I fell in love with CR a few years ago. We visit at least twice a year. Our plan is to move there next year. We love the people, culture, scenery, everything! Everyone welcomes us with open arms.
    Thank you for your amazing, perfect words describing the most beautiful place ever!

  45. Hello Camille!

    I love your blog and try to read every post and you have been a great inspiration to me.

    I am planning a trip this fall to C.R. to see about relocating there! I sold my townhome last August and have spent the year living out of my car and traveling around the U.S. to see our National Parks and visiting friends and family. I’m 64 so I have the senior pass and could camp for half price in the parks. But most nights were on the road and I slept in WalMart parking lots and truck stops mostly. Is it safe to park overnight in C.R. in parking lots and beaches and such?

    You also mentioned that C.R. is expensive but if one lives there, would you say housing is as expensive as most places in the U.S.?

    Thanks so much for your help! I’ll be getting your Ultimate Guide as well.

    • Camille Willemain Says: August 27, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks so much love! Yes, it’s safe here to sleep in your car and camp on the beach, I have seen people do it. I would just recommend you do it near other places like hotels or others camping as it can be a bit dodgy for a woman alone anywhere unfortunately. Costa Rica is expensive for Central America but housing is much cheaper than in the states! I rent an adorable but rustic two bedroom house right by the beach with a huge deck and garden for $750/month includes everything and house cleaning.

  46. Moving there in a week with my family. What’s the best beach nearest to San Isidro?


  47. Britt Nelson Says: June 15, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I agree with every single work you wrote about Costa Rica EXCEPT,it being so expensive. I live in Jaco Beach, retired and livin the dream on less than $1700 per month, half-block off the beach. I love it here. I eat good, have a lot of fun. I don’t mess with the hookers. I know all those weird people you mention. If it weren’t for them I would have no friends. I already know I’m in the best country in Central America so why go other places just to return here. I hang with my friends, drink beer and enjoy this wonderful, magical place. Even if some other place is less expensive, it’s not always about money except for those cheapy Canadians.

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 4, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      With money it’s all relative right? So glad to hear that you are enjoying life to the fullest :)

  48. Dyala Kinneard Says: June 15, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing.Costa Rica:PURA VIDA.

  49. Yull Arce Says: June 16, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Well many Gringos speaking about my coubtry, I am Tico and Pura Vida by the way.
    I feel amazed in how you guys get the value on something that I enjoy since I was a kid and makes me wonder if I have enought from my country, the answer is NOT. Costa Rica has a lot morr to offer days ahead in my life JUST COME AND SEE AND WELCOME TO THE HAPPIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

  50. What a wonderful post! Thank you for summing up exactly my experience with this amazing country! I spent 6 months here: working, traveling, volunteering and doing my best to submerge into local culture without expectations as much as I could. It was almost strange to me how easy it was to adjust from my fast-paced, spoiled american life to a more “pura vida” type of lifestyle! No car, no hot showers, spotty connectivity, 6 outfits (3 of those being bikinis) and a pair of flip flops was just fine 😉 Everything you said in this post rings true and I will return to that beautiful country again in another 6 months. See you there!

  51. I agree with you I absolutely love Costa Rica

  52. Patricia Schofield Says: June 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Love my country forever and ever…

  53. Angelina Says: June 17, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    What a lovely article. Thank you. I have lived with my husband and son in Samara for over 10 years and own a business here. Despite the complaints I love this place and call it home and even though it has become more expensive here we also enjoy many conveniences that we have grown accustomed to. Keeping it simple and really asking what you need to be happy are great guides to enjoying life overall and most certainly this amazing country. Beautifully written. Thank you.

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 4, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      Aw thank you for your sweet and beautiful comment. So happy that you are embracing and enjoying life as you deserve <3

  54. Peter Hoschl Says: June 18, 2017 at 4:18 am

    GREAT article ! I happen to have a 5 month vacation . I like to surf and enjoy living off the grid ( jungle life ). Any kind of info you can give me will be totally appreciated. I live in the Virgin Islands ( ST John ) and own a floating bar ( Angels Rest ) It’s slow season here for the summer . I would like to find a bungalow on da beach in front of a nice beach break . Or close to . I’m excited to hear back from you . And yes I do speak Spanish!
    Thanks , Peter.

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 4, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks Peter, all of my recommendations are in my Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica linked in the article. I hope you have a fantastic trip!! xx

  55. You can just as easily find inexpensive areas that only speak spanish here in Costa, but you will have to leave the luxury comforts behind. Try websites not in english for planning your trip. Try traveling with little money it will bring you closer to the people not the tourist industry. Try speaking another language you would find that Costa Rica has people from all over the world not just from the U.S. but when you do not speak any other language you will gravitate towards to what you understand. You capture a nice expensive trip to Costa Rica well in your article and then complain about what that privilege separates you from .

  56. Willy Alvarez Says: June 23, 2017 at 3:36 am

    Those beaches the surf. 90 percent of all Costa Ricans will give you the the shirts off there backs aalways a few bad apples do exist be smart and do your home work before investing. Pura vida amigos

  57. I am educated an traveled to CR several times. It should also be mentioned that over 95% of the sewage is dumped into the rivers and oceans untreated. It should be mentioned that this is a dirty country with poor air quality control….it is only saved by its sparse population. DDT and other cheap insecticides are used in this country. There is no food control like the states and infection and parasites are common.
    Oh…and that no carbon electric energy comes at a great eco cost of damming rivers and streams.
    Sure CR is better than many other latin American countries….but it is still a third world country, it is filthy with poor efforts at recycling, and poor management of sewage.
    You need to be more honest with the audience and stop drinking the coolaid.

  58. Rowena Whiteman Says: July 14, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    I love your comments and totally share your experience – my husband and I have been living in Costa Rica (in Tamarindo which is really expensive and full of gringos!!) for 2 and half years now and we will never go back.

    I have posted your article and my response on my face book page – can we be friends? Pura Vida Rowena

  59. PAMELA JARRETT Says: July 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Where did you decide to settle in Costa Rica?

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 22, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      South Caribbean coast. Not for everyone, but definitely for me <3 A lot of drugs and crime and intense weather and mold and insects, but I love the nature and the multi cultural influences.

  60. I’ve lived here for 13 years and it is a wonderful place to be sure. The appeal for me lies mainly in its natural beauty and spectacular climate. True, it is overpriced and things are not run very efficiently. I can live with that. Pura Vida! However, I think it’s a fairly dysfunctional society which I can sum up in the four “I”s I use to describe the behavior of much of the population. In general, I find Costa Ricans to be Insincere, Irresponsible, Inconsiderate and Incompetent. This is of no consequence internally because that’s the culture they were brought up in. OTOH, foreigners will have to adjust to and accept these traits if they hope to have a fulfilling life in Costa Rica. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but the Costa Rican dream to be other than a third-world country is a delusion. Being a first-world country has more to do with attitude than it does with the trappings of a capitalist economy.

  61. Completely agree – I’ve lived here for 3 years and it is as amazing as you say it is…although I think people could respect ‘their mother’ a little more…but this will be enabled when CR implements the ban on single use plastics soon. I loved your explanation of ‘Pura Vida’ and it is why I will never be able to live anywhere else. This is my home now too :)

    • Camille Willemain Says: July 22, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Mmmm yes. Pura Vida! Glad to hear you are receiving these beautiful gifts of nature too <3