Get your burgers out of Costa Rica…REALLY???

Costa Rican Paradise


~ When I first visited Costa Rica nearly ten years ago I fell in love with the place. And while I could talk endlessly about the beaches, the jungle, the animals and everything else about the place that I love, what almost always stands out to me about the country are the plethora of Indie-restaurants and cafes that are all over the country.

It’s a special feeling knowing you’re sitting at the table in a restaurant where 100% of the proceeds go to the cook and server; since they are the owners! I love meeting the various owners of the restaurants, they are always so friendly, and more often than not the restaurants are their houses; they live in the back and run the restaurant that is along side the road.

However, during my last couple trips to Costa Rica I started noticing U.S. fast food chains littering the country. They had literally sprung up out of nowhere; Wendy’s, McDonalds, Taco Bell and more. It seemed a damn shame that I could no longer leave the United States without it following me to Costa Rica.

Well apparently some of these fast food chains are losing business and closing down. Of course, just as they have been trained to think by the media; locals believe its sad that they are closing down because the country is losing jobs.

Isn’t that always how economic life is; a love-hate relationship between ugly companies like McDonalds and the reality that if they all closed down a lot of people would be out of work?

But I guess I’m wondering; can’t all those people who are out of a job at Wendy’s start up their own little Soda (what the Costa Rican’s call a cafe) along side the road? I mean, it sure seemed to work ten years ago.


Categories: Central America, Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. I think it’s a real shame when you travel and regardless of where you are it’s the same corporate eateries that you see everywhere. These chains have a place, it’s like their taking over, and the only difference between one country and the next is the weather and (maybe) the language.
    Countries are loosing their own identities and that’s a real shame.

    • Dalg, true true. I’m so conflicted about it all. I mean, I don’t want to be entirely anti-chain restaurants, but at the same time, they don’t seem to be helping culture very much at all 😦

    • Not true!!! McDonald’s has A lot of old guys who go and sip coffee and chat all morning! There are no other places they can afford to do that. Other coffee shops are just to expensive.

    • Well if you’re happy with a homogenised world then fine.
      I’m not knocking McD’s as I think they have a place.
      FYI there are plenty of small local cafes that you can go to that are not part huge MEGACORPORATIONS. In Scotland there are plenty of alternatives to McD’s etc if you just want a coffee and a chat. Hell we’ve even got pubs where it’s £1.20 for a filter coffee AND you get free refills up to 2.00pm.

  2. But ten years ago people wanted to work. Now people want to go in to McDonalds, make enough to do what they want, then walk off the job. My brother was a manager at McDonalds and it provided that job for those who are incapable of starting their own business. Let’s be real. You can’t “irradiate poverty” and expect everyone to have their own business or farm or whatever. Some people just aren’t that motivated.

  3. “…ugly companies like McDonalds”? When McDonalds appeared in Russia it was a wonderful discovery!

  4. I think it a lil’ funny that the guy who was so “anti-occupy” from last night’s “live” show is complaining about chain restaurants showing up in Costa Rica lol. Just a thought. I agree it’s tragic to see “corporate” America showing up in places it shouldn’t – mostly because it means that country loses it’s own flavor and feels like it loses it’s exotic nature (let alone the economic and general money/greed implications of the corporations’ presence). I do agree with JF in that with anything there is two ways of looking at it, though for my part, I prefer what you suggest – that those out of work try and open their own shops instead. Shoot, I wish that would happen here. People are so concerned with those losing their jobs if major corporations were to be boycotted but seems to me if they were then other opportunities for more mom and pop shops would be allowed and prosperity would be more evened out – not overnight mind you and that may be super naive of me to think about but it seems like it would be possible. P.s. – quit bragging about going to Costa Rica okay….I’m jealous enough as it is lol j/k. 🙂

  5. Well, I may just take you up on that. 🙂

  6. Here in the mid-Ohio valley I was taken aback when I arrived how few and far between the little cafes are. People go to the franchises for everything! Travelling the back roads isn’t as much fun when there’s no place to eat and view the regular crowd. Well, I guess I could view the regular crowd at the McDonalds. But there’s not the personality of the owner, waitress, bric a brac and stuff on the walls, and the ingrown regulars to listen to, plus looking at the menu and seeing what they eat.

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