Things to know when visiting Costa Rica

Sites of Costa Rica Cartoon

Normally, when I take a well deserved break from cartooning for a few weeks, I kick my heels up at home and just take a mental break from blogging/internet.  But this Christmas, we went away on a trip to Costa Rica.  I have been to Belize and Mexico but never had any intestinal issues before.  Even in Costa Rica, I kept with the experts advice to only drink the water at the hotels or bottled water.  And yet I spent more time in the bathroom than I have in the last six months combined.

But it didn’t keep me from seeing the incredible sites of Costa Rica and experiencing the extremely genuinely nice people of that country.  The only thing I missed out on doing was the zip line tour.  I didn’t want to have to crap on people from the trees as I swung by…even though I saw a few monkeys do it.

So for anyone preparing a trip to Costa Rica, I offer you the ten things I learned that I didn’t know about this wonderful country before I went.

  1. They disbanded their army in 1948
  2. More so than other Central American countries, Costa Ricans are mostly of  European descent.   Some sites claim that disease brought by the Spanish settlers killed off much of the indigenous population.
  3. Costa Rican woman have a high self-esteem.  Which was explained to us by a guide as we passed a large woman, who may or may not have recently given birth, wearing a bikini.
  4. Even in the dry season it rains (a lot).
  5. You can find souvenir vendors all over the place but what they don’t sell but need to are battery operated fans and sweat towels.
  6. Bob Marley must have been Costa Rican and NOT Jamaican (as evidenced by the number of Marley beach towels and tshirts for sale everywhere.
  7. For a country that prides itself on tourism, it doesn’t take much pride in completing roads to get you anywhere.  If you are lucky you get a two lane paved road.  I saw one road construction worker the entire time I was there, and he was on his lunch break.
  8. If you are on a antacid like Nexium, Prilosac, etc., you may be more prone to intestinal issues as the reduced acid in your stomach allows the bacteria to take hold in your stomach.
  9. Due to issues with processing toilet paper in water treatment facilities, most public restrooms have a garbage can next to the toilet for you to deposit your used TP.  I thought it was surprising that it didn’t smell.  My wife said several of the women’s restrooms did.  I think men are more courteous and wrap their poopy TP nicer than the women.
  10. Given the previous two points, it seems only fitting that they named their currency the COLON.

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65 Responses to “Things to know when visiting Costa Rica”

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  1. jynksie says:

    I have a set of friends (really, I do) going there in Feb. I just forwarded this to them! We were going to join them, but I’m a tad lazy. I saw we’d have to layover in Miami and I said to the wife “wife, lets just go as far as Miami” and she, surprisingly, agreed. By the way, how were the Monkeys?!? My understanding is, they are everywhere!

    • Bearman says:

      Not everywhere as I would have wished. Saw them a bit in Papagayo. Best place to see them was around our hotel in Manuel Antonio

  2. Brad says:

    Man, just got flashbacks from Honduras. My wife and I got so sick on that vacation.

  3. Tony says:

    I had a mean dose of chilli last week so I can totally relate to the cartoon. I wonder if I should try wrapping my poopy in TP & putting it in the garbage instead of flushing. It would save valuable water too. We don’t have a garbage bin in the bathroom so I would have to use the kitchen bin.

  4. Tony says:

    The volcano looks like a steaming hot product from Montezuma’s revenge. Here in Oz they have Mexican restaraunts with that name.

  5. nursemyra says:

    Love the cartoon bearman. They do that toilet paper thing in Greece too. Never noticed any smell there but I have to confess to flushing the solid stuff. I was sharing a room with daisyfae and dolce and didn’t want to gross them out

    • Bearman says:

      The question is…where they as courteous to you. I don’t remember having to do that in Greece but it was so long ago. Maybe with all the public service strikes they don’t want the poop backing up.

  6. lisleman says:

    never been to Belize but I would love to return to Costa Rica. It’s been about 10 or so years. Had a great time and no intestinal problems but I know it happens and maybe we were lucky. Did you go to Tabacon? That’s a paradise type place if you ask me. Did you see any eruptions?
    thanks for sharing and welcome back

  7. Binky says:

    Is this what bathroom humor is these days?

  8. Friggin Loon says:

    As I have no idea what you look like Bearman, I now have a rather gross image of a green headed cartoon character, with his pants around his ankles, depositing a shit load of toilet paper in the garbage bin, whilst machine gunning the contents of his bowel into the bowl 🙁 Thanks

  9. Mel says:

    Sounds like you needed to bring pepto with you.

    Did you have to pay to use public restrooms? Germany charges you to pee.

  10. Bo Lumpkin says:

    I try hard never to stray very far from my own bathroom.

  11. MJ says:

    How cool, I want to be a worldly traveler also. I would also like to pass on Montezuma’s Revenge! Ha,ha,ha!

  12. Tracy Ingram says:

    I have never been to Costa Rica, but I have been to Cancun and I did not drink the water and was fine. It is too bad that you got hit with the revenge but good you didn’t let it spoil your trip.

  13. DadaHyena says:

    Said it before, say it again:


  14. Roland says:

    That’s hilarious, I almost spit my coffee out when I read Montezuma’s Revenge… lol.

  15. George says:

    I’ve never been out of the country except for trips to the Bahamas and Mexico. On both journeys I made sure to drink from wherever was intended for tourists with spendable dollars. One guide led us off-track to the regular neighborhoods and I tried a churro that didn’t exactly seem to wanna agree with me. I’m glad I palmed it off to my stepson before it made me sick. Whew! 🙂

  16. Friggin Loon says:

    I don’t know if you have it in the States but Cottees Raspberry cordial kills every known stomach bug on earth! Hmm also vegemite…oh wait…scrap that!

    • Bearman says:

      Funny you should mention vegemite. For years I thought Men at work were saying “give you a bite of my sandwich” Thanks to all you Aussies, I now know it is “Give me a vegemite sandwich”

  17. Welcome back Bearman, sorry you had a touch of the shits!

  18. bschooled says:

    Bearman! You should have told me! I´m in Nicaragua right now, I could have changed my flight dates and we could have met up!

    Or wait…maybe you planned it that way?

  19. #9 has my stomache turning at the thought.

  20. Going to places that require extra trips to the bathroom scares me. Undergarments are not cheap.

  21. Haha…there’s probably poopy in that toilet.

  22. Costa Rica is my favorite country in Central/South America. I’d move there right now if my daughter was in the states. It helps that I’m a surfer and hippie at heart. I stayed beside Manual Antonio every time I’ve been there at a place called the Costa Verde. They have the airplane restaurant bar thing?

    If you take a ‘puddle jumper’ it’s a 20 minute ride. To take a van will take over 4 hellish hours. I wish I know ahead of time you were going.

  23. SpilledInkGuy says:

    Ha! Travel can be… motivational in… just… so many surprising ways! 🙂

  24. Colleen Dick says:

    I lived in C.R. many years ago. When we first got there I got this weird digestive bug. Not really the screaming poopies but my digestion just came to a screeching halt and anything I ate (and believe me it took only one try for me to realize that eating was a BAD idea!) would just sit there in my stomach and rot and when it got rotten enough I would puke it up. That whole thing landed me in the hospital for a couple of days

    Once I got over that I did whatever Costa Ricans do with respect to the water. I think we just drank it: I don’t remember buying water to drink or make tea with. We also drank the tap water when we lived in Monterrey of Nuevo Leon, but very definitely NOT in Guanajuato.

  25. Dr. Cynicism says:

    I poop – erm, HOPE – that you had a great TP – erm, TIME – in Costa Wreaka -erm, RICA.


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