The Potholes to Life in Costa Rica: Chapter II

Chapter II:

Still listening to me! What did I tell you in Chapter I?

Habla Espanol? Do you speak Spanish? If not then learn it because if you don’t you will experience a frustrating life in Costa Rica at a slightly higher expense than necessary.

A misconception amongst a few ignorant expats in Costa Rica is the belief that Costa Ricans really should just speak English instead of Spanish. After all the rest of the world does. Right?


Costa Ricans, like the Mexicans (on a less intruding level) love to negotiate. Trouble is, if you cannot speak their language how will you negotiate? You may get lucky and stutter through to a few minor discounts but only after blowing a vessel or two and wasting a lot of your time.

One of the biggest downfalls to not speaking Spanish in a Spanish speaking country: the fact that more times than not, many expats attach themselves to “buddy” who just so happens to be from the same country and speaks good Spanish. This is not only dangerous but odd. In most instances these are people you would otherwise not associate with if you were back home. Why do it here?

You might not like it but it is a part of life for any ex-patriot in Costa Rica: if you are a foreigner then you have money. Plain and simple. You know what though? If you can afford to live here and not work…then it’s a certainty you have money. At least more than they do.

By now one must realize that in order to exist in harmony one must be able to communicate with others around them. Without the ability to communicate with the people living around you, it normally makes life a lot more difficult when it does not need to be should you take the time to learn the language. This goes for expats of all ages whether it is Costa Rica retirement you are looking for or some wet behind the ears punk looking for a good wave, either way the same issues apply.

It is easy to say that it is easier for the young ones to pick up languages therefore I am not going to put in the effort. This is something you hear often here in Costa Rica. I find this highly ignorant and torpid of people to think this way.

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. – Derek Bok

So while you are considering the move to Costa Rica, land of “pura vida,” please give special thought to picking up a book, CD, DVD or attend classes, to learn the language of the people there….SPANISH. You will be thankful you did, this much I promise you.