While the country's tourist industry is booming, those of us who live here know that, beyond those exquisite resorts and fine hotels, Costa Rica is still a developing country. And so, there are plenty of opportunities for expats to help out their local communities if this is important to you.
John and Janet Chantry had a dream of leaving behind the frigid temperatures of Toronto and running a boutique hotel in an exotic setting. In 2015 they decided to make it happen.
Back in 2011, Sally Rice’s life was much different from today. Then, she was 55 years old, single, and living a chaotic lifestyle in Los Angeles. She’d spent 23 years as a costume designer in the movie industry, which sounds glamorous, but as she says, “Working 17 to 20 hours is stressful, and leaves little time for anything else”.
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.
Avellanas (which means hazelnut in Spanish) is a virtual paradise tucked away 30-minutes south of the bustle of Tamarindo, on the Nicoya Peninsula. Ask any surfer in the province of Guanacaste if they know of Playa Avellanas and you will get a resounding, “Por supuesto” (of course). But ask the multitude of tourists in the region and you might see mostly head scratches...
When people come to visit me in Costa Rica I’ll often jokingly say, “Be careful, you’ve been bitten by the bug and the symptoms will keep growing on you.” By the “bug,” of course, I mean the desire to be in Costa Rica as much as possible once you’ve set foot here once.
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.
Barely one month after my 59th birthday, I traveled solo to Costa Rica. My plan was to try living there for a year…immerse myself in the culture…then decide what I would do next with my life.
Located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, on the southernmost point of the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma has an off-the-beaten-path feel. Visitors and locals enjoy its quiet beaches, proximity to wildlife, and unique laidback artistic vibe.
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.