A couple I met recently told me of their plans to spend a week vacationing at an eco-resort near the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. They were particularly interested in the Arenal Hanging Bridges that span the tops of the rainforest canopy.
Since I’d visited Costa Rica with my family not too long ago, they were interested in hearing my opinion. And as I was telling them, it dawned on me how many “little” things you learn from actually being in a place, things you wouldn’t otherwise know from simply reading a website or speaking with a tour agent.
What I advised was that they not invest their entire week’s vacation in that one place. Why? Because when we were in Costa Rica, we heard story after story of how the bridges were closed at that particular time because of heavy fog.
In other words, you wouldn’t be able to see a thing, either on the bridges or on the hiking trails.
I’m not saying that would have happened to them, but with a week’s holiday being such precious time for so many working people – including this couple – why take the chance?
Last I heard, they were preparing to alter their plans based on my info – a few days at Arenal and a few days on the coast, or something like that.
Even if you’re not vacationing – even if you’re planning on moving to a new country you know very little about (as we are) – just one visit, with the proper homework done and a few good connections made, can give you insight into those everyday things that are too little to warrant much print, but are nevertheless invaluable.
This got me thinking about Panama. We’re planning on moving there later this year, so our visit back in October was a “working” holiday – checking out rental properties, schools, businesses, etc. We also tried to network as much as possible with other expats to get the inside scoop on things.
And after just one week, we came away with a smattering of informative tidbits that we’re glad we know – some great and some not so great (hey, nowhere is perfect, right?). Hopefully I’ve convinced you of the importance of talking to people who’ve been if you’re a person who’s going…
So tune in tomorrow for the best insights gathered from my most recent expedition to Panama! If you feel like I left you hanging, make sure you check out my post on why my family chose Panama in the first place. There’s plenty to discover about this incredible country even before you get down to the details!
Photos by Jacki Gillcash.