Gringos are welcome in San Jose, Costa Rica. Most of them are shaggy-haired, surfboard-toting young men; they don't stay in San Jose too long. The hot surf spots, like Jaco and Tambor, are a mecca for waveriders. However, in San Jose one can find the excitement of a big city mixed with Costa Rican culture.
Upon arrival, if one chose to look out of the airplane window, they would see lush, green hills and valleys. If they looked toward the horizon, they would see even larger seas of green: the rainforests. Some of these rainforests have dirt roads winding through. There are semi-shallow, flowing streams and muddy banks that slow down travel. If you have a powerful, all-terrain vehicle, you will see monkeys, snakes, and gargantuan insects.
The monkeys are a favorite with some tourists, but those that are pelted or robbed by them wouldn't agree. They fluidly swing in the tall, dense trees as if they were part of the tree itself.
Their behavior is almost human. The children hang on their mothers and playfully throw things to get the attention of tourists passing by. The branches constantly rattle while sticks and leaves rain down. There is an avalanche of noise that comes from the howler monkey: a loud yet usually placid creature. Small babies ride on their mother's backs or cling to their bellies as the females wander slowly from one branch to another.
Snakes span the roadways of the less visited forests. My mother was in a vehicle that ran over one. She said the car shook very violently. The driver either wasn't paying attention or had grown accustomed to running over extremely thick, nine-foot pythons.
There is a wide array of insects found in these damp, humid environments. Some have intricate colors, others have odd...