Living in Costa Rica – While I am travelling around San Jose on the bus, I always try to make sure that I have my headphones and music as loud as I possibly can. I used to take the bus and not have my playlist of the day jamming in my ear drums, and all I could think to myself is I wish I did not understand Spanish.
If you ever pay attention to what is being said between the Costa Ricans around you it will 90% of the time be about what some person did over the weekend or the night before, or about who slept with who, or some other piece of gossip that is being told for probably the 10th time since it happened. If gossip was an Olympic sport, Costa Ricans would receive the gold medal in this each and every Olympic Games, Winter and Summer.
However, in Costa Rica the sport of gossip is not only for Costa Ricans. You will find out that expats living in the land of “Pura Vida” will engage in this childish act almost as much as the locals. This might be because they are adapting to the culture here or that they are actually that bored and childish as well. But it is what it is. Just buy a time machine and take yourself back in time to Middle School or High School, and that is what the Costa Rica gossip system is like.
So many people come to Costa Rica to reinvent themselves or to escape their past. I know that I did. However, most people spend the first few weeks or in my case months continuing the same lifestyle or same addictions as they did from their “past lives.” They think they are in a different country and they will change in a few weeks and become the new Costa Rica person. They do not realize that Costa Rica is a small country and you develop a reputation and image very quickly and it is quite hard to escape that vision of who people perceive you as.
If you come to Costa Rica and party with hookers and do drugs, you will be seen as the hookers and blow guy. If you come to Costa Rica and keep to yourself and do not interact with the gringo locals they will make up stories about you. If you are an older guy and date young Ticas, that will be how you are labeled. Although this may only be for a short period of time people talk more about negative traits and scandalous gossip, rather than “the guy that cleaned up his life and does not do that stuff anymore”. You will still be tied to those past actions.
The best idea is to become somewhat involved in the community but keep to yourself. If you plan on partying or doing something that you would have done on college Spring Break, do it away from the town you live. Consider Costa Rica like a small town where everyone knows everyone. You know how if you dated two girls they always found out, it is the same thing with all your actions in Costa Rica.
Try to not get wrapped up in the gossip. However, if you do the Costa Rica Gossip Team is currently holding tryouts for the 2014 Summer Olympics in Sochi. Go for the Gold!