In 1859, Trollope sailed up the Pacific Coast from Panama City to visit Costa Rica. In his description of the trip, he reveals his very Victorian sense of British superiority. He also appears to have been largely underwhelmed by Central America.

“Puntarenas is a small town and harbour situated near the top of the Bay of Nicoya. The sail up the bay is very pretty, through almost endless woods stretching away from the shores to the hills. There is, however, nothing majestic or grand about the scenery here. There are no Andes in sight, no stupendous mountains such as one might expect to see after coming so far to see them. It is all pretty, quiet, and ordinary; and on the whole perhaps superior to the views from the sea at Herne Bay.”

“My visit was solely to Costa Rica, which has in some respects done better than its neighbours. But this has been owing to the circumstances of its soil and climate rather than to those of its government, which seems to be as bad as any can be which deserves that name. In Costa Rica there certainly is a government, and a very despotic one it is.”

To be continued…