I write this from the swanky apartment, where I rent a room. It is in a high-rise, overlooking the ocean and I am currently on the balcony, watching one of the powerful but brief thunderstorms roll through. One of my roommates is behind me, singing in Spanish in the kitchen, while he prepares a dinner that is making my stomach growl.
Three years ago, my wife Anne Marie and I took our first trip to Costa Rica. We arrived in the Central Valley and immediately felt comfortable. Staying for three months, we traveled to the Pacific side, spending time in Jacó and the surrounding coastal areas.
Peaks recede to the horizon in all directions. Some are topped by clusters of village buildings, but more often the mountaintops are unadorned green angles fading into a bluish haze. Roads are few, and those that there are snake tortuously up and down steep switchbacks.
In early adulthood, Lee Nyhus traveled extensively to less-visited corners of the globe, including spending a year backpacking around Africa. Even when it came time to settle down for a while, she chose what was, at that time, a somewhat unusual destination for American expats: Tokyo.
Home to colorful Spanish colonial architecture, a variety of amenities, and three top beaches a 5- to 10-minute drive away, Pedasí—at the far south-eastern tip of Panama's Azuero Peninsula—is the perfect base for beach exploration.
This area used to be truly a local secret. The first time I came to Belize in early 2014, the main road north of the bridge was full of potholes and extremely difficult to navigate. Within a couple years, the road was paved, making the area north of the bridge more accessible and popular.
A friend suggested Kathy and Tim book a private jet. They balked at this at first. They feared it would cost them an arm and a leg (maybe two legs). But then they crunched the numbers...
Costa Rica has certainly been discovered as an ecotourism destination. Are you 20 years too late, or are there still places where you can be an ecotourist and have an authentic Costa Rican experience?
The lack of government interference in our daily lives is a major attraction to many of us who settle in Belize. It's true, the perpetually bureaucratic government doesn't bother you much—but they provide minimal infrastructure as well.
It is no surprise, year after year, to see Costa Rica earning top spots on such lists as “Happiest Places on Earth”, “Greenest Countries in the World”, “Blue Zones” and “Most Biodiverse”. International Living has been reporting on the splendor of Costa Rica for over 40 years.