Culture Shock in San Jose

After two months of being beach bums, we finally made the move inland to San Jose.

We were on the fence as to whether we were even going to venture into this area, but a couple things made us decide to stop for a visit. Firstly, the thought of taking a shuttle across to the entire country to our next destination of Puerto Viejo, seemed like a long daunting day. Second, and most importantly, I really wanted to opportunity to meet, and connect with the extremely fabulous Maribel from Stroller Adventures.

So awesome to meet amazing friends in person!

So awesome to meet amazing friends in person!

Maribel, and I connected months and months ago, when I stumbled across a blog post of hers about shopping for groceries in Costa Rica. Having recently moved to Costa Rica from the US, she has been an invaluable resource for us while we’ve been travelling. If you are looking for a fabulous blog, I would highly suggest checking her out!

It was so nice to have Maribel as the light at the end of my tunnel, as the journey to San Jose was exhausting. Our shuttle didn’t leave Domincal until 3:30, which meant we had a long sweaty 3.5 hour wait between when we checked out of our hotel, and when we got on the shuttle. Needless to say we were a hot sweaty mess by the time we got on board.

As our full shuttle slowly winded it’s way inland, we left the calm, and beauty of our beachside paradise, and replaced it with the pavement and tolls of a major highway.

We rolled into San Jose around 6:45pm, making our first stop to drop someone off at the airport. We were actually staying on the outskirts, in a town called Santa Ana. We sort of assumed that we would be the first to be dropped off, but as the shuttle drove endlessly through the confusing and cluttered streets of downtown San Jose, we realized we were going to be last off. Finally, at around 8:30pm, we rolled up to our hotel. We had made it, and we were exhausted.

Although I knew we would be moving inland, I was not prepared for the culture shock it evoked in me. Pipa’s and playa’s were replaced with McDonald’s and Burger King. Suddenly I was immersed in a very western, and very busy city.  I honestly wasn’t ready for it.

When we were planning the trip, I remember so looking forward to going to San Jose so I could get a Starbucks coffee, and go shopping in a mall. But yesterday, it was the furthest thing from my mind. Living in these little beach side towns, as forced me to stop relying on materialistic things to entertain me. Going to Starbucks or the mall has been replaced with beach walks, and reading.

It’s a change that I didn’t expect, and I didn’t even notice it had happened until we got here. It is a welcome change, yet I wonder how it will effect me upon returning home.

Ultimately I was glad that we drove around, and got to see what downtown San Jose is all about, but I’m also glad it’s over. One night was all we needed.

Now its off to the Caribbean coast, and then into Panama!

Have you ever had to adjust your lifestyle back home after spending time immersed in another culture? How did you handle it?

Pura Vida!
Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

2 thoughts on “Culture Shock in San Jose

  1. Too bad I didn’t know you were here sooner! I could have shown you guys the few cool places I have found!
    But I agree, San Jose is far from what I expected Costa Rica to be like. The people are great (for the most part) but it definitely feels like the US- just more dangerous. There are some great things about the city, but its just dangerous to be foreign in the city especially if youre a gringo.
    Glad you guys could see it, because even though it isn’t the best part of CR, San Jose is part of what makes Costa Rica, Costa Rica.
    Have fun in Panama!

  2. I’m so happy we got to catch up! Although it felt like we were old friends catching up after a long time without seeing each other. Yes San Jose is different! very different from the beach… Hopefully I will get to venture out of the city more often to catch some waves and sun… 😉

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