What to do if there’s a scorpion in the shower and other lessons from Costa Rica

Kill it! You kill the scorpion of course! That may sound terrifying but scorpions in Costa Rica are actually NBD. They say their scare is worse then their sting and they are only a 6 on a scale of 1-10 pain factor and you’re fine in an hour. But just be to safe, kill it anyway.

My year living in Costa Rica, I’ve learned about the scorpions (I’ve killed three so far) and about countless other things that can help you in your stay in the country whether here for a short visit or to live.

  • No one knows if you flush the toilet paper. So technically in Costa Rica you’re not supposed to flush the toilet paper…I view this as a suggestion that is nice to follow but not necessary, and no one knows so why do it. Plus, not every place has a sign like this so I don’t think it’s fair to assume that one sign applies to every place!

TP

  • Don’t go to the beach at night. This should be a no brainer for obvious reasons but I’ll say it anyway because the boys will always ask, and the girls will always want to say yes – but don’t!
  • You don’t need all that stuff. I know how tempting it can be to buy the snazzy Marc Jacobs bag, the cell phone case is every color (a girl’s gotta have options!), and yet another pair of shoes to store in your now full closet but all that stuff is pointless, and let’s face it, we never use most of it. It’s all about the people in your life and the amazing experiences you create with them.
  • At bars and restaurants, you have to ask the waiter (very aggressively) for the bill. The service industry is very different than the US so make sure you speak up so you get what you want, when you want it.
  • Don’t let your passport keep you from travel. Most countries require a passport to be valid six months after the entry date into the country. In the US, 2007 was the largest year for passport applications, which means all these standard 10 year passports will be expiring in 2017. The normal renewal application process takes 6 weeks but they are expecting huge delays given the record number of passports up for renewal so plan ahead so your travels aren’t interrupted.
  • Papaya enzymes are a lifesaver. All of my friends got Chikungunya or Dengue around the same time. I was the only one who didn’t and I happen to be taking papaya enzymes everyday. Well turns out research shows that papaya can help prevent the initial contraction of dengue and Chikungunya and it can also help relieve symptoms after you get it.

A photo posted by @shelly_with_a_y on

  • Coconut oil is the only beauty product you need. It works as a hair condition, body lotion, eye makeup remover, shaving cream, lip balm, and mouth rinse.

Coconut oil is bae 🙂 RG: @beautymemes #COSMOBeauty #COSMOLoves #COSMOBeautymantra #Coconutoil #Welovebeauty

A photo posted by CosmopolitanSA (@cosmopolitansa) on

  • It’s better to pay in the currency quoted. To get the best bang for your buck, and not get jipped by a bad exchange rate when you’re at bars or restaurants, pay with whatever currency is on the menu – so if it’s listed in dollars, use dollars (colones, use colones).
  • Get Whatsap and Facebook messenger. These apps are great for connecting with new friends and travelers as well as with people back home, and you don’t have to worry about insane cell phone bills.
  • Private buses do NOT run on Tico Time. You may have heard of Tico Time, which is like Island time – no rush. Well the private buses such as the ones you would take to San Jose or Puerto Viejo leave right on time (in my experience even a few minutes early) – no waiting for the slow folks! Get their early and plan ahead by buying your ticket in advance if you can.

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About Birdie 6 Articles
Birdie --- An American in Tamarindo, Birdie loves breaking stereotypes and the melding of contrasts. She is a yogi; a conservative; a Wall Streeter; an anti-feminist; a health-foodie; a coffee addict; a future sommelier; a beach bunny; and a snow bunny.