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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica Expat Living: 6 Myths and Legends

Costa Rica Expat Living: 6 Myths and Legends

After calling Costa Rica home for many years, I’ve witnessed both the beauty and hardship of life in this tropical paradise. While postcard images spotlight pristine beaches and rainforests, many communities grapple with poverty, corruption and vice behind the scenes. These tales shed light on admirable individuals I’ve encountered who embody integrity despite temptations.

From an alcalde combating fraud to a farmer focused on sustainability, the characters demonstrate how decency can triumph. While fictionalized, their struggles resonate with realities I’ve observed in my years here. Hardship persists, yet virtue still blooms when people like these lead by example and reveal hope remains alive in the land of pura vida.

1. The Honest Alcalde

There was once an Alcalde (Mayor) who became suspicious that many of his associates and underlings seemed to be living way beyond what their salaries could provide. His own secret investigation revealed massive municipal fraud and diversion of funds intended to benefit all the citizens of his town.

The outraged Alcalde immediately sacked the corrupt municipal employees and pressed criminal charges. And the town later became famous throughout Costa Rica for its clean, paved, well-lit thoroughfares, excellent municipal service, and overall beauty.

2. The Ethical Gringo Investor

A successful Gringo businessman retired early and came to Costa Rica, living comfortably off of the interest from various investments. One day, another retired Gringo told him about a group of Costa Ricans known as ‘The Family’. Amazingly, this group paid investors almost 50% annually. Soon the Gringo businessman met with a ‘Family’ rep, to discuss the possibilities of investing with them. However, certain things about ‘The Family’ troubled him. None had any training or education in the world of economics.

They were extremely secretive about how they could pay such high returns. Something stunk underfoot. The Gringo businessman returned to his village and decided it was better to earn much less from his legitimate investments than to reap a small fortune on a possibly unethical enterprise.

3. Rico Suave with a Conscience

A handsome young Tico, blessed with seductive eyes, a bedazzling smile, and great dancing ability, bedded Gringas by the score. He lived for each new conquest and prided himself on never dating the same Gringa for more than a fortnight. One year, a young Gringa returned with a six-month old baby in her arms.

The baby was the spitting image of the handsome young Tico. While he barely remembered the Gringa, he had to acknowledge the baby was his. And from that moment, the handsome young Tico abandoned the carefree nightlife, and began working two jobs, and swore that every colon needed for the upbringing of the baby would come out of his pocket.

4. The Saintly Gringo Tourist

A middle-aged Gringo came to Costa Rica with a group of male friends for a week of R&R. The first night they went to a famous bar in downtown San Jose. Immediately, the Gringo found himself surrounded by beautiful young women, offering him their bodies, for a price. While his friends went off one-by-one with escorts, he could only think of his wife back home. Besides, these girls looked so young – how could they have fallen into this kind of life trap?

Knowing they needed the money, the Gringo spent the rest of the evening passing out hundred-dollar bills to all the working girls, asking nothing more in return than the promise that the money would be spent on their children and mothers back home.

5. The Generous Developer

A Gringo real-estate developer made a killing over the years selling high-end properties to other Gringos. But in the midst of his great prosperity, there was also much hardship. The nearby town where he shopped was troubled by poverty and idleness. Eyeing the village one evening from his mountaintop mansion, he decided it was time to give back to the area from which he had made so much.

From that moment on, all profits he made from his business were donated to the nearby town – earmarked for upgrading education, improving medical care, and providing job training for the idle poor of the area.

6. The Ecological Campesino

In rural Costa Rica there lived a farmer who was unhappy with the customs of his brethren. The earth he worked had its limits. The shortcuts commonly used were detrimental to the long-term survival of the soil. Therefore, he swore never to use pesticides, herbicides, nor practice any form of slash-and-burn agriculture.

Never again would he cut down a tree unnecessarily, nor allow his livestock to overgraze the land. In these ways future generations would be assured of the continuance of rich, productive farmlands.

7. The Gringo Drug-Free Zone

A small beach town in Costa Rica over the years became a magnet for Gringos of all ages. Seeing this, an enterprising young man set up shop to sell illegal recreational drugs. Outraged, the Gringo population banded together and informed the vendor that his wares were not needed, nor used, nor welcomed in their town. And so, it passed that the salesman was forced to pack his goods and go elsewhere.

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