Costa Rica is full of surprises. It is not an island, though some folks seem to think so. And though it is famed for its beaches, the majority of the country is mountainous. The numerous microclimates allow for incredible changes in ecosystems—often just minutes apart. From super-sunny ocean shorelines to volcanic crater lakes; from eerie cloud forests to patchwork farmlands; from towering cascading waterfalls to flatlands full of pineapples.
The little community of Los Pargos is in Play Negra, about a 40-minute drive south of my home base in Tamarindo. Negra is a surfers' paradise, renowned for its waves. But the community that's settled here numbers only a few hundred—with expats from all over the world, who've come to enjoy the water.
I was contacted by a couple from Oregon who told me they had just listened to the talks I gave at one of International Living's Fast Track Costa Rica conferences. Tim and Camille said they would be visiting "Ticolandia" on an information-gathering trip, and wanted to know if I would be willing to meet them for lunch. I agreed.
When it comes to sports in Costa Rica, generally visions of soaring on a zip line through the jungle, or whitewater rafting on a raging river, come to mind (and, of course, fútbol). But golf? Is golf even played in Central America? In a word, sí!
As the craft brewing movement began sweeping the U.K. in the 1970s and the U.S. in the 1980s, Costa Rica was left behind. As more Costa Ricans began sampling brews abroad, however—and as tourists here began looking for something new—craft brewing has crept its way into this brew-friendly country…
If you still have kids in school, then you may think you have to wait until they graduate before you make a move abroad as a family. Naturally, you want your child to have the best education they can possibly receive. But what if I told you that such an education could be found in idyllic Costa Rica?
Having your own car gives you freedoms and possibilities you can't get any other way, but driving in Costa Rica does come with its own trials and tribulations. It's an adventure—one you need to be prepared for.
In Costa Rica, there are a lot of ways life is simpler. You won't be caught up in the daily grind that plagues cities across North America. But you've also probably read stories of frustrations, or things "not being as easy as they're made out to be."
Costa Rica is a country full of landscapes of striking beauty. But be warned. With that knowledge comes an obligation to learn a new Spanish word: mirador.
The fact that we are often "far from home" during the holiday season creates a unique bond among expats. The thought of not being "home for the holidays" can be difficult at first—but after our first Thanksgiving and Christmas abroad, my husband and I realized that this time of year could be equally warm and fuzzy in our new home.