So, we know more about what we are looking for (see my last post), now what? We made a list of towns to check out. We put together this list from word-of-mouth, maps, and driving through towns on our way elsewhere. It is not carved in stone; we can add towns at any point.
Next, we visit! That is possibly the best part. Some towns we go to for the day via the bus, some we stay in a hotel for a few days, some we homestay with a local family, and some we rent an apartment or house for a few months. I believe you get the best information and feel for a town by first doing a homestay (for at least 2 weeks), then renting your own place for a month or two. But, of course, some places just don’t grab you enough to make that kind of investment.
This is also difficult. The objective is essentially to find fault with the towns on your list, and determine whether they go on the “no, not for us” list or the “possibly us, check more” list. It is soooo easy at this point to “overlook” something, or downgrade the importance of a criterion – usually, we get overwhelmed by how nice the people are.
Also, I think the way you get to know the town colors your judgment. If you stayed at a hotel in Orosí, you would never know that the lady who lives across the street from the supermarket sews for a living. You wouldn’t know that there actually *is* a place to get your nails done, and a place to get a massage. If you take a day trip to Sarchí, you wouldn’t know that it has a botanical garden, but if you got off the bus too early , you would get a great introduction to the wood-working business.
It is a strange thing to blog about as well, since this is purely *our* list. I know that many of the towns that we will have on our “no, not for us” list are where others have put down roots – perfect for them. So, disclaimers apply – here are our lists.
Towns Currently Under Consideration
· San Antonio Belén
· San Isidro del General
· San Pedro
· San Ramon
· Santa Bárbara de Heredia
· Tres Rios
Towns that are “not for us”
· Monteverde / Santa Elena
· San José
· San José de