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Puntarenas in Costa Rica: the poorest area of ​​the most prosperous country in Central America (and the contrast with tourist luxury)

Vanessa Vadillo says with a big smile that her 6-year-old daughter’s dream is to go to Paris.

The young woman tells it under a torrential rain at the entrance of the precarious house that she built with her hands in Tárcoles, a town on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the poorest region of the country.

At the moment his concern is not the capital of France, but the poisonous velvet snakes “up to two meters” that he must kill inside the house to avoid attacking his two daughters.

Or that one of the fast-moving cars crashes and crashes into your home, built right next to the road.

The heavy downpour, common in this area for much of the year, has filled the entire terrain with mud. The water from the last rain got into the house (“this was a river,” she recalls) and caused her daughter to catch a cold, but Vanessa says she doesn’t have the money to bring her to the clinic.

“That’s why I tell him to study hard to fulfill his dream of traveling”, This talkative woman assures with enthusiasm, who admits that she has not even set foot in the capital of her country.

Almost as much as San José, Vadillo finds that image that many tourists have of a Costa Rica of great hotels, natural parks and dreamy beaches is very remote.

And yet, just a few kilometers from her humble home, you can see luxury resorts and piers full of yachts that attract thousands of foreign visitors and that she knows that you can never enjoy.

Costa Rica is the only Central American member of the OECD (the club of “rich countries”) and has some of the most favorable indicators in this subregion for extreme poverty or literacy.

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