Subject: Advice for Costa Rica

I saw Ed's posting on info reqested for Costa Rica. A good friend of mine grew up there and just got back from a 2 month stay, So I contacted her and am copying her reply. I hope it helps:

Tell your friend that CR is the most stable country in Latin America, and has been for over 60 years, when they abolished their Army and decided to spend their money on education and health care and public service.. The literacy rate in CR is over 80%. The people are friendly. Unfortunately, the small country has been overwhelmed by refugees from other LA countries over the past 15 years and is crowded.

I would use a guidebook for inexpensive accommodations. Joining the Youth Hostel organization, ($15), no age limit, is a good move, as there are a dozen places associated with it that will give discounts. Other travelers met there will offer good travel advice as well. (

One strong word of caution: they might want to rethink driving in CR. In the Central Valley, where San Jose is, it is crazy! Transit accidents is the leading cause of death in CR, and it has the second highest rate of traffic accidents per capita in the world. We hired a driver for special trips and we rode the local buses, which are fine and plentiful. It also allows the traveler to get acquainted with the people and see life as it is.

If they do not have time to go by bus, they might want to hire a driver to take them where they want to go. I know one who will drive on weekends. Luis at 011-506-220-0459. He is a teacher, speaks good English, and will offer an excellent tour in addition to doing the driving for you! The price must be negotiated. Check on the cost of local tours before negotiating...his price is better.

Happy travels, Debbie in NC