When I tell people I just came back from Costa Rica, their faces light up; when they hear I was in Tamarindo, they cringe. It’s a funny phenomenon. I must admit I was pretty disappointed to see how touristy this little surf town has become, but by the end of my trip my perspective had shifted. This change of heart was due in part to the fact that I was there during off season, and staying with a native, but Tamarindo still has the same beautiful coastline, great waves and friendly Ticos its always had. My peaceful and relaxing days were spent meandering the seashell laden beaches, surfing, chilling with new friends, and eating home cooked meals. It was lovely to hang with the locals without the slews of tourists permeating every inch of the place, and to get to know their culture on a more intimate level. I began to see the good tourism can bring to a local community, and the opportunity and economic growth it provides for those who are motivated to succeed. Although I still enjoy traipsing around  the lesser known and less frequented nooks and crannies of our planet, this trip was a good lesson in always keeping an open mind.