Retort to Backpacker’s View of CR in Sarasota Herald Tribune

Letter to the Editor

Sarasota Herald Tribune

By Jill Green

Re: Backpacker’s Guide to Costa Rica printed Sunday 8/16/2009

Letter to the Editor  in reply to an article “A Backpacker’s Guide to Costa Rica” in the Sun. Aug 16, 2009 edition

In her quest to find friends to party with, Anna Salinas lost sight of her original dual purpose of teaching English to Costa Ricans and learning something about the culture of this friendly Latin American country

If she wanted “the perfect untouristy spot” why did she pick the three most visited tourist destinations in the country, Monteverde Cloudforest, Manuel Antonio and Arenal Volcano? There are many other less visited attractions including miles of totally isolated beaches, mountains and rainforests.

At odds? One the one hand she’s wanting a non-touristy, see the country and culture vacation. On the other she wants to hang in the bars with her young backpacker friends. Guess which side wins. I appreciate youth, wanting to bond with peers, and party down. Maybe if she had traveled to small villages and met some of the wonderful warmhearted families, she would have experienced some of the simple pleasures and friendly culture of the country whose motto is “Pura Vida”.

True, I am biased after having lived in Costa Rica on and off for fifteen years. Yes, there are isolationist expats living locked in gated communities, thieves, and slums just as there are in the United States and every country in the world. But Costa Rica is still the gem of Central America with its working system of national health care, no army and a literacy rate higher than the U.S.