A Lesson in Google Maps

This story is sort of funny, but mostly embarrassing.

When looking at what farms to go to in Costa Rica I narrowed it down to two options, Villa MastataI chose Finca Chinchilla because they did not charge as much and it seemed more family oriented. At Villas Mastatal there is room for fifteen to twenty volunteers. I don’t mind being in a group and working with others but I favored the family with four kids all around my age. Also, one little mistake lead me to believe that Finca Chinchilla was only thirty minutes from San Jose versus Villas Mastatal which is an hour and a half bus ride.

Here’s the mistake I made. On the website Finca Chinchilla didn’t have an address, but they did say they were located in La Ribera near San Isidro de General. So, wondering where the farm was, I typed in La Ribera on google maps. And bam there were directions to La Ribera from San Jose. However, this La Ribera was less than twenty miles away. This should have tipped me off immediately since it’s still in the city. But of course, I was excited and just glanced over the map to see where it was in relation to San Jose. I thought it was odd that there was farm so close to the city, but didn’t think anything else of it. Then I started thinking how easy it would be to get to the farm. I wouldn’t have to take a bus. They could probably come pick me up. Easy. And with those ideas in mind, I didn’t think to research it further.

I’ve been emailing with the family all summer, but usually have to wait a week for a reply. With about three weeks left, I was told that I would get directions soon (and the three following emails continued to say that).* So I waited and waited and continued to grow more anxious. Of course I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to make anyone else nervous. I had faith it would eventually arrive. I finally received the email tonight, two days before my flight to Costa Rica. The email is quite lengthy, with multiple steps, and phrases to memorize in Spanish. It turns out that Finca Chinchilla is a three-hour bus ride. Therefore I am going to have to figure out how to get to the bus stops and use a taxi. Well won’t this be fun…It certainly will be an adventure and one that I look forward to writing about. I’m actually thrilled the farm isn’t close to San Jose because I will have a chance to live in a rural area of Costa Rica. I’m excited to ride through the countryside and practice my Spanish.

So lesson of the story:  A 136 acre farm isn’t going to be located 15km from the capital city. Pay attention to details and double-check everything.

The situation really hasn’t changed much. Even if I had typed in San Isidro, Costa Rica on google maps I would only have known that it is a couple of hours from San Jose. I still wouldn’t know where the farm is exactly, and I would still have a three-hour bus ride, and I still would have found all of this out two days before my flight.

*This seems like my first taste of Costa Rican time, where I wanted the information a week in advance and expected it a week in advance, but I received it two days before my trip.




2 thoughts on “A Lesson in Google Maps

  1. Very honest piece, and this is good writing. Well done ahijada. And welcome to Latin American time, kind of similar to Indian time, maybe.

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