What I Learned on My Costa Rican Vacation

Not quite ready to do any deep thinking about our recent trip to Costa Rica – and don’t hold your breath – I have still identified a few learnings, best illustrated photographically.

Grocery Stores Sell What People Eat

Who knew? After seeing rice and beans (and beans and rice) at every meal (yes, including breakfast), the huge racks of rice and beans (and beans and rice) in the grocery store shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

CR rice


CR beans

Sweet + Salt = Never Wrong

We were told in Costa Rica that Lizano Salsa was a Worcestershire Sauce clone, but I’m thinking it’s closer to HP Sauce and, hey, Wikipedia agrees with me. We had never heard of it, but I see now that Lizano spotters have given it its own Facebook page. Not surprising. It was a wonderful addition to most meals. Especially the rice and beans (and beans and rice).

CR Lizano

But Some Things are Just Wrong, Regardless

OK, enough with the cross-cultural appreciation. White toast in a cellophane bag (not white bread, mind you, but white toast) is just plain wrong.

CR toast

And iguanas sunning themselves at the top of 40-foot trees? Come on.

CR iguana

Watch the Birdie

It turns out that small birds are just as hard to photograph in Costa Rica as they are everywhere else.


Dear Passenger

This airport sign is the sort of thing that keeps me humble about my language skills. I suspect that I don’t so much speak Spanish as I use Spanish words to speak in English patterns, reflecting Canadian niceties or lack thereof. The good news? The dear passengers usually cut me some slack.

CR sign

Dear Bus Driver

We had to get some translation intervention, but it turns out the bus driver did understand what I was doing – and was still willing to have his picture taken with my bus. What a good sport!

CR Chicho

It Must be Art

Yes, here as well as at home, if it can’t be what it looks like – a bench, in this case – then it must be art.

Mustn’t it?

CR bench

What it Says isn’t What it Means

Ah, the most important lesson of all.

It says, “Stop.”

It means, “Slow down and then go, Go, GO!”

CR stop sign





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4 Responses to What I Learned on My Costa Rican Vacation

  1. Jim Robertson says:

    Ah, our memories of Costa Rica come back – beans and rice, rice and beans ☺ (and the wildlife)

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – I found, a bit to my surprise, that I didn’t mind rice and beans for breakfast, but I haven’t made it in my own kitchen since getting home!

  2. Louise Brouillette says:

    Wonderful, Isabel! You summed up our trip perfectly!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Louise: I’m thinking there should be something in there about whitewater rafting and ziplining with howler monkeys – maybe next time!

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