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Traveling the world for fun, sightseeing, and culture? Costa Rica has it all. But if you love good weed, you better bring your pocketbook. Here’s what the green scene looks like in the tiny country caught between two continents.

Costa Rica

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Literally translating to “rich coast”, this country sits along the isthmus between North and South America. With a population of 4.5 million, a quarter of which live in the area around the capital of San José, there is a wide diversity in such a small nation. It holds a unique distinction among the world’s nations. In 1949, after a short but bloody civil war, it permanently abolished its army and remains without one.

The economy has developed rapidly in recent years, making it one of the most developed nations in Latin America. The environmental status of the nation was recognized as the greenest in the world in 2009. Costa Rica plans to become completely carbon neutral by 2021.

Things to see

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Costa Rica is home to an impressive array of national parks that cover over 23% of the total nation. You can visit active volcanoes, scenic mountains, beautiful beaches and breathtaking forests in a country twice voted “happiest nation in the world” by New Economics Index (2009 & 2012).

There are also several islands, including Cocos Island, Puntarenas, and Calero Island. The country also holds a rich history from its early Spanish settlement through to today.

Drugs in the tiny country

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This country sits on the highway that traffics cannabis and cocaine up from South America. While severely influenced by the US Anti-Drug Policy, and dominated by negative drug stigma, cannabis is widely present.

Travel to the city of Tamarindo and you will find laws against cannabis rarely even enforced. Despite this, you still have to be careful, as organized crime functions as the primary suppliers of drugs in the country. Central and South American cartels are known for their violent tactics, and habit of taking cash-flush tourists hostage.

The upside

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Go to any park, public beach, or cantina, and you will probably find someone who can hook you up. Surfers are great for helping you get safe, low-key connections, as they usually know how to avoid the darker underbelly of cartel sources. Even along main streets, you can spot dealers or their lackeys with little difficulty.

The downside

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A study by the Medical Cannabis News shows that Costa Rica comes nowhere close to a paradise for getting cheap weed. High-grade hydroponics there will cost you $20 a gram, though less expensive “pressed weed” or brick weed is a little more reasonable at 5 grams for $20.

The silver lining

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It may not be cheap, but it is plentiful, and the government is warming to the concept of legalization in the near future. With other Latin American countries instituting legalization in close proximity, pressure continues to mount. The effort has support from experts who believe cannabis to be a safer alternative to the scourge of cocaine and other dangerous narcotics that are also in plentiful supply.

Someday soon, the country may well have full legalization, and with it, a dramatic drop in prices. Until that day, it remains a seller’s market.

Do you think the country is on the way to legalization? Have you been before? What was your favorite destination? Tell us on social media or in the comments below.

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