Seahawks fans in Playas del Coco enjoy the Super Bowl Costa Rican style
Seahawks fans in Playas del Coco enjoy the Super Bowl Costa Rican style

By Vicki Barnes

On the north side of the main street in Playas del Coco in the northern Nicoya peninsula  in Costa Rica gringos are hunched over their drinks at the Lizard Lounge. Three televisions and a projection TV are tuned to the American Super Bowl. Conversation is a bit subdued.

Across the street at Zi Lounge, the place is rocking. Patrons are lifting their beers and umbrella-festooned tropical drinks in happy cheers, slapping high fives with their neighbors and screaming indecipherable epithets to one another and into the street. Five huge screen TVs are blasting the NFL championship game.

What was the difference?

Seahawks fans seem to have gathered at Zi, while those who supported the Broncos were sheltered at the Lizard.

Despite better drink specials and more creative cocktails (including one that has Kalhua, ice cream and Oreos), there was no joy at the Lizard.

While I was desperately looking for election results from today’s national elections in Costa Rica, locals and Americans were only interested in the Big Game. Why the interest in the Super Bowl?

Probably it’s a love of green.  Not Seahawk green….dollars.

Americans abroad were pleased to party in the bars and restaurants and local establishments were equally pleased to take their money. Regardless of the outcome of the game, everyone was pleased to get what they wanted: the game on multiple big screens and money for the pleasure of doing business.

Seeing American football as the focus of this small beach town in a remote area of Central America was surreal. For a brief moment, it was hard to tell the difference between a bar in Coco Beach in Costa Rica and Cocoa Beach in Florida.

“Who do you want to win?” I heard someone ask. They weren’t talking to me, but I started to answer. “Well, I’m not sure…I’m just getting familiar with the parties and there are 13 candidates for president…”

Oh wait….wrong answer.