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Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Animals, Attempts at Humor, Costa Rica, Moving to Costa Rica, Tips | 10 comments

Living in Costa Rica – 5 Humorous Observations

Living in Costa Rica – 5 Humorous Observations

One of the great things about living abroad – maybe the most fun – is experiencing the differences found in your new country. Below are a few observations I have noticed about living in Costa Rica. I find them humorous or just informative.

Feel free to leave a comment with your own humorous observations.

Turn Me On

Turn Me On

Go Towards the Light

Here is a very practical tip for restrooms in Costa Rica. Before you shut the door, and find yourself in the dark, find the light switch. It is great that, because of high energy costs, people are consious about turning off the light. The problem is, either installing a restroom or installing lighting is sometimes an afterthought and the light switch, many times, is not where you would expect it. In fact, it may be clear across the other side of the small room.

In addition to finding and turning on the light switch before closing the door it might be wise to install, or have handy, the flashlight app for your cell phone. It hasn’t happened often, but twice in two years I have had to fumble around in the dark because the light had burned out… That’s right, I’m a slow learner – it took me two times to learn I needed to install the flashlight app.


I am pretty sure that’s a fer-de-lance!

Fear- de- lance

Costa Rica is a very bio-diverse place; parts of this Central American country rank in the top 5 of bio-diversity in the world. What does that really mean? Animals, lots of animals. Bugs, bats, spiders, sloths, and snakes.

It is not uncommon for residents to find a snake on their property and the next step is usually to snap a picture and ask Social Media for identification.

Much as Godwin’s Law applies to online discussions of a political or religious nature, my proposed Costa Rica Snake Identification Law applies when seeking the answer to a snakes kind. It states quite simply:

If a picture of a snake (any snake, regardless of what it is) is posted online in a Costa Rica Facebook Group for identification, someone eventually will identify it as a fer-de-lance.

The fer-de-lance, while not the most venomous (that would be the reclusive bush master), is the most feared snake in Costa Rica. Called terciopelo in Spanish, the fer-de-lance is aggressive, many times moving toward a threat rather than away, causing the majority of serious bites here.

Thanks to 10 Degrees Above for allowing me to use this beautiful BOA CONSTRICTOR picture.

HAMburger from Casa de Miguel in Grecia

HAMburger from Casa de Miguel in Grecia

Costa Rica puts the Ham in Hamburger

I am not sure if it’s because ham is in its name – even in Spanish, hamburguesa – or if it is because the grass starved beef here is so lean, but many, if not most, restaurants add a piece of ham to their burger. I am a meat fan – I love this tradition.

It might look like a cold cut, a chuleta, or something in between, but the ham is a common sight. Similarly many individuals who are cooking burgers up at home will have the butcher mix some ground pork in with the ground beef to add fat which helps both with juiciness and keeping the patty together.


2x Gratis!

2x Gratis!

Cell Service That Delivers

I use MoviStar as my cell service provider. We were told that it was the best service for our ridge and it seems to be adequate, although we rarely use our cell phones.

One interesting aspect about cell service in Costa Rica is that even when you are unable to use your phone for calls, emails, or texts because you have no cell service – no bars – the texts notifying you of a promotion from your cell service provider will still get through.


moto 2

A blurry 4 passenger moto photo.

Loco Moto

The motorcycle in Costa Rica is an economical vehicle capable of carrying multiple passengers. You will not see examples of this as much in the larger cities, but in the smaller rural towns, motos are used to transport two, three, four, I have even seen five passengers.

If you are wondering what the optimal configuration for the five-passenger model is, it appears to be: three on the seat, toddler on the gas tank, and baby on middle person’s hip.


For more fun observations and tips of daily life for the expat or visitor to Costa Rica check out my book – Living in and Visiting Costa Rica – 100 Tips, Tricks, Traps, and Facts. 

Hasta Pronto,


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Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
Greg Seymour Amazon Author Page

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  1. Buenos días Gregorio,
    I totally appreciate finding the light switch before closing the door. It’s happened several times for me too. And as for the snake, I didn’t know this one moves toward the threat versus away from it. I will never try to get its picture, as much as I love to post. My humorous observation from the trip to see you guys was the signs warning of the poor condition of the bridge, and the actual don’t use it that everyone ignores and just proceeds to go over!

    • Haha – I forgot about that one. That WAS funny.

  2. Love that about the burger! It never made sense to me why there wasn’t ham in a hamburger and it’s nice to see a whole country taking things literally!

    • I know it drives some crazy, but I really like the extra bit of meat too.

  3. Here is my take on identifying whether to approach a snake or not:
    Tan on Black
    Step Way Back
    Black on Tan
    Run as Fast as You Can

    • Haha – rhymes always help us remember what to do… as long as we can remember the rhyme we made up.

  4. Ha! I had forgot about the ham on the hamburger. I found your website looking for info on Costa Rica, as we are considering a move (or actually a move BACK for me as I did the first go-round in 2000-2002.) This was great…I love the humor. Brought back memories. Interesting that it is so expensive to get coverage under La Caja. That is much more than I had budgeted when looking at our needs. Anyway, I’ll keep perusing your blog. Great info!

    • I am glad you found my website. Yes, the caja can be “expensive” for those seeking rentista or investor status. Also, age is a factor. If you are younger than 55 you also contribute into the retirement plan aspect. Many use supplemental coverage in lieu of participating in caja – that way they have access to private hospitals. Then again, there is an expense to having to leave the country every 90 days.

  5. I believe we fall under vinculo status, as my son is a citizen. Not sure. Just another thing I will need to research, and it is fortunate that I am familiar with the tico way as I am sure I will get many different answers. BTW, I ordered your book the other night from Amazon. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Sounds like you will be in an ideal situation. Thanks for buying my book, I hope you enjoy it.

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