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Where to Live in Costa Rica?

Where to Live in Costa Rica?

When I lived in Hawaii, I was always near the ocean…but never a “stone’s throw” away. Then I moved to Costa Rica—my goal was to live close enough to the beach that I could walk out my door and be in the ocean in under three minutes.

There are two coastlines here. The Caribbean coast has its appeal of pristine snorkeling in tranquil waters. But being an avid surfer, I opted for the consistent, world-class waves of the Pacific shores.

Next question: Which part of the Pacific coast? That’s when the weather became a determining factor. Costa Rica has two seasons: Dry (roughly January to April) and rainy (May to December).

The North Pacific’s annual average rainfall is 55 inches, compared to the South Pacific’s 120 – 300 inches. At the time, I found more sunshine and less rain appealing. In fact, I found sunshine so attractive that I chose Costa Rica’s sunniest region, Guanacaste, as my new home.

However, Guanacaste is a large province. So next, I let the waves and housing factors decide. While Playa Tamarindo and nearby Playa Grande both have plenty of housing options and nice waves, these areas have increasingly been discovered, developed, and populated (by locals, expats, and tourists).

Farther south is the more rural beach town of Playa Avellanas—famous for its long stretches of white-sand beaches and hollow beach breaks. Playa Negra, just south of Avellanas, boasts some of the best surf in the country and is slightly less developed and populated than Avellanas.

Torn between the two, I opted for the tiny beach community of Lagartillo, directly between (and within walking distance of) Playa Avellanas and Playa Negra. I also chose this area because I found a wonderful studio just steps from a gorgeous, nearly deserted beach for only $300 per month (utilities included). I was very happy here.

But I recently moved to the South Pacific part of the country, to the tropical coastal town of Dominical. This move was motivated by a wonderful job opportunity at a local yoga studio, Bamboo Yoga Play. (In addition to my freelance photography career, I am fulfilling another dream job of mine: teaching yoga.)

I have only been in my new home for a month. However, after four months of solid sunshine and clear blue skies in Lagartillo, I am enjoying the cooler air, lush landscapes, and half days of sunshine/half days of rain that Dominical provides. In this part of Costa Rica, the jungle meets the ocean. And there is yet another bonus: The surf is great here, too.

Editor’s note: Where in Costa Rica will you find your perfect place to live? Here’s the quickest, easiest way to figure that out.

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