1. relating to, appealing to, or visited by tourists (often used to suggest tawdriness or lack of authenticity).

When you arrive to Costa Rica, you’ll be anxious to repack your bags, jump on a bus and head to the nearest beach. And you’ll ask around, “Which beach?” “What is the most beautiful?” and people will answer and you’ll hear some repeats, but for the most part the best place differs from person to person. We’re all different with different likes and experiences, but certain places earn reputations. One place will be known for it’s great zip lining but not a good place if you want to meet new people. I had heard all the stories and become well aware of each famous destination in Costa Rica and it’s reputation.

Tamarindo is one of those places with a reputation. When I told people I was traveling to Tarmindo for the weekend many responded, “Well, that’s nice. It has a beautiful beach…but it is touristy.” Some people would even laugh and say, “You mean you’re headed to Tamagringo.” And Tamarindo is “touristy” and there are a lot of foreign tourists that spend a lot of time there. I knew people who avoided Tamarindo for it’s “lack of culture.”

I hadn’t originally planned on going, but rain season had begun here in Costa Rica and I was craving sun. I had been told that Guanacaste was a good bet for avoiding the rain, so me and my friends decided to ignore all we’d heard about Tamarindo being so “touristy” and go there for a weekend of sunshine. We arrived late, around 11 p.m; our bus took longer than it was supposed to. We were tired and hungry and dazed from our seven hour bus ride. We asked around about where to find the hostel we had made reservations. People were incredibly helpful, everyone we asked for directions took their time to look at the maps on their phones and point us in the right direction. We arrived to our hostel after being directed they’re by many friendly people we stopped along the way, and we were relieved. The hostel was wonderful, there was a pool and our room had air conditioning. And because it was the low season for tourism, our room was pretty cheap. We ate a basic meal of gallo pinto at a local restaurant that was filling and also not ridiculously priced. We spent the next couple of days at the beach, climbing on stacked up driftwood and enjoying the Costa Rican sun we had so missed. Basically, I had a great time. Yes, Tamarindo was touristy; there were a lot of tall resort buildings and an endless stretch of gift shops. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth the visit. It comes down to what you personally want out of your trip, and if you want to go to a place you’ve heard mediocre things about doesn’t mean it’s not still a valid option for you.

I like to think, at least when it comes to traveling, that a place is more than it’s reputation. Traveling is about experiencing as much as you can, and sometimes for some people that means experiencing the tourism side of travel. We are tourists, any place we congregate could be deemed “touristy”.

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