Congratulations!! You have decided that Samara is the perfect beachside town to receive your TEFL certification. You are ready to jump-start your future, indulge yourself in a new culture, and enjoy your days off by the beach. Ticos (Costa Ricans) are very friendly people and it’s easy to find your niche here, To ease the culture shock and help you blend in, we have collected a few tips from locals, long-term expats, and newbies.
- Right off the bat, you will notice that life moves at a slower pace here. We don’t know if it’s the ocean breeze, the shining sun, or just an overall feeling of bliss. Whatever it is, there is no rush. There is actually a notorious saying, “Tico time.” The locals don’t seem offended by this and have adapted it to their way of life.
- A bathing suit is an acceptable outfit to wear to the grocery store. While you will see most people at least put on shorts to go into an establishment, it’s not out of the ordinary if they don’t. Samara beach is only about seven kilometers long. No matter where you go, it is never further than a ten-minute drive away. There’s no reason to dirty up and outfit just to run inside for a bottle of water.
- What is that sound?! Is it an angry dog in the distance? Is the wind howling through the trees? Nope, it’s a howler monkey! Howler monkeys are the loudest primate of their kind. You don’t need to be scared of them. They tend to ignore us, humans, no matter how much we gawk at them. In fact, unless there is a draught, you’ll never really see them on the ground.
- Nature is in bloom… always! Whether it’s rainy season or dry season, you will find beautiful flowers flourishing all around you. One of the most popular species of flower is the Orchid. There are over 1,300 species of Orchids in this small country. Costa Rica’s national flower is a type of Orchid, called the Guaria Morada. Other plants and flowers that you can expect to see include Birds of Paradise, Lime Trees, Avocado Trees, Mangroves, and Sugar Cane.
- Be nice! Samara is a very small town of only about 4,000 people. Especially when living near the center of town, you will pass by the same people multiple times a day. Without a doubt, you will quickly become a local in your neighborhood “supers.” A super is what the locals call the small markets here. It’s a laid back lifestyle where everyone smiles and says hi as they pass by. It’s always better to err on the edge of friendliness because you never know who will be there to help you when you are in need.
Samara offers a laid back vibe with a wonderful culture that is easy to integrate into. The Nicoya Peninsula is actually considered to be one of the five Blue Zones in the world. It has been said that the people here live longer, lead happier lives, and have fewer health issues. As an added bonus of things to know before you arrive, we’ll let you in on a two-word phrase that will get you everywhere here: Pura Vida. These two special words can be used as a greeting, an emotion, or a way to show gratitude.