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"After the divorce, the first thing I thought about was coming here to get away for a while. There's something romantic about the name Costa Rica, and I needed something to cheer me up after all my problems. I just knew it would be a great adventure." This is a typical reply when I would ask a single man why he was visiting here. A common follow-up statement was, "Actually, I only planned to stay for one month, but before I knew it, I met this pretty young lady, and now I'm married again!"
My research was conducted in San Jose's famous "Gringo Gulch" area. I've meta dozen or more fellow countrymen who married Costa Rican women, yet only one American woman who married a Costa Rican man. Why? I asked an ex-New Jersyite who married a Tica lady almost five ago. "Why? Because Costa Rica women are different in many ways. It's not just that they are pretty and young. That's not what it's all about. We come here looking for something we think we lost somewhere back through the years. What we find is a pretty young thing who treats us as if we were special and 20 years younger. They don't complain, they  don't bitch, they do whatever they can to make us feel at home and wanted. It turns out to be a pretty fair arrangement; she agrees to treat me like a king until I kick off, in the meantime, she and her kids from her first marriage have financial security plus my pension after I'm gone."

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What's the downside of this kind of relationship? "When you marry a Costa Rican, you marry her whole damned family! I'm expected to buy a new refrigerator for Mama when it goes out, and new false teeth for Papa whether he needs them or not. When cousin Raul needs a transmission for his car, guess who he 'borrows' the money from? I have to attend every family function from birthdays of third cousins to funerals of great-aunts-once-removed. And I can't understand a thing anybody's saying!"

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