While working at a small architecture firm in the U.S., Trevor Berkowitz had no idea that one day the job would bring him to Costa Rica. But when a job opportunity to design a housing community arose there, he jumped at the opportunity.
Six years ago I took a vacation with a close friend. She needed to go see her father who had retired in Costa Rica. She asked me to go along. I had been widowed a couple of years prior to this invite and I jumped at the chance to do something fun and exciting.
At the same time, we both gave the same answer. The thing we missed most about Costa Rica was the sunsets. Of course, there are beautiful sunsets all over the world. But we live in a beach town on the Pacific Coast, and nearly every sunset is stunning.
When Sheelagh Richards’ husband, John, took an early retirement in 2004, she decided to do the same. Spending her career in health and social care, she was ready for something new. “I was working crazy hours,” she says. “After 36 years non-stop, I also decided to retire early. With no children or parents to care for, we were free agents.”
While Costa Rica’s beaches certainly are spectacular, I’ll take my mountain town of Atenas any day over the beach as my home in Costa Rica. In fact, my husband, Rolando, and I had been living and working on the central Pacific coast for four years before we moved to Atenas.
Nestled on the edge of Costa Rica’s Central valley is the town of Atenas. With a population of about 7,000 that mushrooms in the high travel season, Atenas has a tradition of welcoming visitors, dating back to the days when it was a hub for oxcarts making their way to and from the coffee fields in the mountains to the nearby capital of San Jose.
Only a decade ago, Nosara—a remote coastal Shangri-la on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste peninsula—was a quietly guarded secret, discussed in hushed, reverent tones by a select squad of yoga devotees and pioneering surfers.
I’m sitting at a big round table in a bar with a group of 20 friends who have all lived in Southern Costa Rica for a while. The conversation turns to why we moved here. What appealed to us so much that we would all buy properties in a foreign country and begin to think of it as “home?”
How many times have I said that Costa Rica is a magical place? It is. Of course, I was speaking metaphorically. Or so I thought.
It all started with a photography assignment, documenting a 40th birthday bash on St. John Island. There, I met a couple who were living full-time in Costa Rica who offered me a place to stay if I ever visited.