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May 6th, 2011
I know a lot of the visitors to the REAL Costa Rica are folks either planning a trip to Costa Rica or are considering a move here either for retirement or work related. It occurred to me that many of these people are not Spanish speakers and have no idea of some of the issues that may affect them when they arrive here.
With this in mind, I am starting a new Category names TRAVEL ADVISORY. This way, travelers can perhaps learn about some things that may affect them negatively while in country and perhaps better prepares themselves for their visit.
If any of my Costa Rica readers have an idea of other topics (and no, I am not going to revisit crime as it is overworked everywhere), add your thoughts to the comments. I am going to start with two advisories that may or may not be well known outside of the country. The at-times dangerous beaches of Costa Rica and the travel resstrictions around San Jose. If the topic interests you… read on!
Costa Rica’s lovely beaches can be very, very dangerous
Regular readers know that I have a generally low opinion of lawyers. Here, I am referring to US lawyers who have worked hard to develop a system of conflict much to the detriment of the populace. Tort lawyers are my favorite targets. But I digress!
What is common in the US are the overabundance of warning signs nearly everywhere. This is probably because someone got sued and now puts up warning signs to avoid getting sued again!
Now some warning signs are good. Some are stupid.
Telling folks not to use the hair dryer in the shower is a good example! I prefer they USE the hair dryer while showering thus possibly removing themselves from the gene pool.
I also remember reading a warning notice while unpacking a child’s play pen that touted one of its major features as “play pen is easily folded and stored”The warning packed with the play pen simply stated “IMPORTANT! Remove baby before folding and storing!”
I guarantee there was a lawyer there somewhere behind that warning… and likely a parent or caregiver with the IQ of a prune… but again I digress!
According to the Red Cross (Cruz Roja) 47 people have drowned in Costa Rica this year.
This week, Caity Jones, James Smith and Kai Lamar, three high school students at Patriot Preparatory Academy (the old Liberty Christian Academy?) in Columbus, Ohio, drowned at Playa Bejuco, near the town of Parrita.
Unless I am mistaken, this is the SAME beach that claimed the lives of two other youths maybe two years ago.
Now some readers might wonder how these three kids ever got near the water without the chaperone or person in charge of supervising them checking for dangerous conditions before the fact… but I suppose that is another story… one that will probably involve a lawyer.
Listen folks… PLEASE respect the beaches here and the danger they can represent. Very few beaches have lifeguards so the burden falls on you, especially if you are the parent.
Just because you see no signs warning of danger, do NOT presume there is no danger. Most kids… and teenagers are the worst… think they are bulletproof. Nothing can happen to them. Wrong.
Learn how to identify rip tides and undertow conditions. Learn and teach your kids what to do if caught in these conditions. If you can’t do this or feel you need more input, check with hotels or even restaurants on the beach for current conditions. Get a few opinions.
If really concerned, patronize those beaches in Costa Rica that have lifeguards on duty.
San Jose Travel Restrictions
Most residents in and around the San Jose area or central valley already know this, but I get email from some really torqued tourists who found out about this the hard way.
Visitors to Costa Rica seldom know about this unless their car rental agency makes a point of mentioning it. Most do not, preferring a small placard that may or may not ever be read.
This is a nice little surprise and just another way that Costa Rica builds excellent relationships with its tourist trade.
Basically, here is the deal:
Traffic is restricted in and around San Jose on weekdays from 5 AM to 7 PM.
The day of the restriction is based on the last digit of your (or your rental car’s) license plate. 1 and 2 on Monday, 3 and 4 on Tuesday, 5 and 6 on Wednesday, 7 and 8 on Thursday and 9 and 0 on Friday.
The borders are Pavas and La Uruca on the west, the Circunvalación on the south and east and the main highway of Calle Blanco on the north, and I am 100% sure that every one of you know exactly what that means… right?
So here’s the deal: Do not even try to guess where those boundaries are. Hell, I live here and only know two for sure! Basically… Just stay away from San Jose on the day that affects you.
Example: Your license plate ends in a 6? Stay away on Wednesdays.
A supposed exception will be between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for passenger cars containing four persons. This is horse pucky as the transit cops have no idea how to enforce the law. Supposedly, you are exempt if 1) your car is full and carries 4 passengers only or 2) 4 passengers except if 3) the vehicle can carry 9 passengers but you have 6 unless 4) your car carries 5 passengers then you really need 5 passengers unless 5) it is a Tuesday and it is raining and you are driving a blue car and using headlights, in which case… oh phooey… just stay out of San Jose on your day. Basically, the law is a good one cutting back on traffic and pollution… but geez they make it hard for anyone to just… get it! The fine is 31,600 colons or about $64 and there is probably a little extra 30% for something.Filed under Beaches, Costa Rica, Costa Rica Law, Costa Rica Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Travel Advisory, Travel to Costa Rica | Comments (14)