This is Elise. We are in Tamarindo, Costa Rica now. It is very developed and touristy here. We are back in a developed country again after more than three months in " third world " countries and I am suffering a little culture shock. The beach is beautiful here and reminds me of Hawaii with green hills coming down to a tropical beach with serene blue water. There are also restaurants, surf shops, and t-shirt shops all over the place. We have spent some time in places where I could barely scrounge up food for a meal and here there are sushi, steak, and international options. There are several grocery stores offering everything a person could want. The last grocery store I had access to there were two kinds of cheese. A white local queso and an orange cheese that looks like American cheese but doesn't melt, even in the microwave. Here there are muscle bound tattooed surfers and girls in bikinis doing yoga on the beach.
Our condo is very nice, cheap, and secure but generic and sterile. We could be in Florida. When the curtains are closed we could be anywhere in the world with the contemporary furnishing and flatscreens on the wall. So why am I not overjoyed to be back in a first rate condo? Because it is so generic. I travel to experience new cultures. I don't travel to have exactly what I have back home. I guess that's why I liked Granada. We had comfortable accommodations but Nicaraguan style. I felt like I was somewhere different. Isn't that why we travel? Maybe that is why Tamarindo is a bit of letdown. It feels like the United States.
We came to Costa Rica last year and saw how expense everything is. This is not a good country for budget travel. We will keep our costs down by choosing our accommodations carefully and not eating out at all. The cocktail prices here are America style as well. No more $1.25 mojitos. :(