Your Complete Guide to Paradise
So, Ya Wanna Move to Costa Rica? What’s it like? What can you expect? What do you want to watch out for? And, finally, just what do you DO in Costa Rica?
These are fair questions, and I’m sure that you have many of these and more. But first, a word about what this book is like, especially when compared to those OTHER books, if you know what I mean.
I have been in Costa Rica now for almost 10 years, so I have seen a lot of water flow under this bridge since I came here, and lots of changes, although many things are still the same.
Life can be simpler here, or more complex. Some people love it, while others hate it, and I have no idea which of those categories you fit into, and neither will you until you spend some time here. That is the bottom line and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. I don’t think I have found anyone in all of this time among expats that is uncommitted on this question. The ones who love it stay and stay for as long as they can, most of the time for life. The ones who don’t like it are just plain out of here in fairly short order, and the ones who aren’t committed generally leave too.
You can’t possibly fully appreciate what I am talking about until you come here and experience it for yourself.
I find the weather to be one of the main attractions. There are very few small countries on earth where you can pick your climate by moving a few miles, but this is one of them! What you need to understand is that Costa Rica is in the tropics. In the tropics, climate is not determined so much by distance north or south, but is determined more by how high or how low you are.
High altitudes mean cooler weather, and if you want cool, you can have it on one of the beautiful mountain tops all around the Central Valley and elsewhere.
If you like it hot, the lowlands are for you. That’s where you find the hot, humid, jungle climate you see in the movies, and the most typical area of this type is either along the Caribbean coast or along the Southern Pacific coast. Here you will find all kinds of exciting wildlife, from monkeys to snakes to lizards to sloths to the most gorgeous butterflies you have ever seen in your life.
And the plant life….. It’s breathtaking!
If you like secluded mountains and cloud forests, you can get that too. And volcanoes, hot springs, and on and on, including city life and shopping malls with multiplex theaters just like back home, except much cheaper!
But I am getting ahead of myself. First off, I need to tell you that this is an HONEST book, not a rose colored glasses guide that is only designed to make money for me. So expect to hear both the bad news and the good news here.
Let’s get one reality check out of the way right up front.
Costa Rica is a REAL place, just like your state, city, or country. Despite different languages, people are pretty much the same everywhere. Everywhere you are going to find good people and bad people. People who want to help, and people who want to hurt. It’s the same here, so DON’T fall into the “paradise” syndrome. This is what thieves, liars, and other assorted trolls try to promote so that you will put your guard down. The next step, once your guard is down, is to really give it to you, if you know what I mean.
But that is the same anywhere. You just need to be aware of that fact. If you are, you are already ahead of almost everyone else.
Having said that, there is real value, charm, and beauty here. This is one of my all around favorite spots in the world, and I have lived all over the place, so I know something of what I am saying in this regard. But, right now, wild horses couldn’t drag me back to some of the places I have lived before. You may discover that after a few years of being here, you will say the same thing.
With this statement, then, I’ll turn you loose on the rest of the book. It’ll be a fine adventure for you, and if you come down this way, say hello, and maybe there will be something I can help you with in your adjustment process.
n April 4, 2005, San Jose, Costa Rica