I’ll be Patient Tomorrow but I Want My Rental Car Today…
In a country where the national slogan is mañana, mañana… mañana it’s not surprising that sometimes service is not the same as in northern climes where not collecting the firewood in time for winter once meant freezing to death.
As a tourist or traveler advance knowledge that things move at a slower pace in Costa Rica can save you a lot of stress and aggravation. It starts as soon as you arrive at the international airport and try to locate your private driver or rental car pick-up (all agencies are off airport and meet you out front to transport you to their office) in the throng outside.
Relax, be patient, they’re almost certainly there with a sign bearing your name. If you get impatient and accept one of the taxi drivers advice “oh, they forget people all the time, come with me I’ll give you a better deal,” you will be sorry. Be patient.
Tours and Activities
If you’re waiting for an 8:00 a.m. pickup for a river trip don’t panic at 8:10 and run off to call the rafting company. The shuttle is probably late because it’s at the lodge next door idling in the parking lot while they wait for the guy who left to check on the shuttle. Service may run on a more relaxed schedule than you’re used to, but go with it, listen to the birds; you’re on vacation after all.
If you’d like to avoid hanging out in the parking lot, private versions of many tours can be arranged and they’re often much more affordable than you might guess, especially for three or more travelers in a family or group. Have the hotel desk give you a call when the driver arrives and enjoy the activity at your own pace.
Hotels Resorts and Lodges
Sometimes it’s best to accept mañana, mañana… mañana as the Central American way, but when it comes to choosing a lodge or hotel seek out ones that are efficiently run. It’s one thing if it takes an hour or two for extra towels to be delivered to your room, but completely another if the relaxed attitude means the dripping shower or swimming pool filtration is going to be repaired tomorrow…after you leave.
Decay occurs more quickly in the tropics than anywhere else in the world. That’s one of the reasons rainforests are such remarkably diverse interesting places. However it’s not nearly so fascinating when it’s your accommodations that are decaying.
Spectacular settings are easy to come by in Costa Rica so the main characteristic that separates the adequate lodges from the ones taking reservations a year or two in advance is the level of service, both directly to their guests and behind the scenes keeping the decay in check.
When reading reviews and comments it may be a good idea to pay more attention to recent ones.