We Took a Leap of Faith to Costa Rica

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My family and I came to Costa Rica for many of the same reasons you might.

We were looking for some relief from our fast-paced and stressful lives in the U.S., as well as the high cost of living—it never seemed like there was any money left over at the end of the month.

With my wife pregnant and us uninsured, we were looking for low-cost health care as well.

There’s one more reason we moved to Costa Rica…one I think is shared by most expats too: A great sense of adventure.

It’s one thing to be a tourist someplace. It’s quite another to be a resident. We really did need a sense of adventure to make that leap… and to embrace all the new experiences coming our way.

From past vacations to Costa Rica—including our honeymoon—we knew it was a beautiful country with friendly people and a laid-back Pura Vida lifestyle. When we researched further, we found it met all our other criteria as well. And, while it’s still a developing country, it’s modern, politically-stable, and safe.

We did meet some resistance from our families—we were moving the grandkids to another country after all. But the truth is the U.S. isn’t far from Costa Rica. We’re back visiting family in Florida within two-and-a-half hours—we’re actually much closer than if we had moved to the West Coast of the U.S. And the Internet makes communicating easy between visits.

So we moved with six filled-to-the-brim duffel bags and our two dogs. And we’ve come to truly enjoy our new lives in a new country.

For such a small country—about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire put together—it has a tremendous variety of climate, landscapes, and lifestyles. That means you’re spoiled for choice when you choose a place to live. Steamy jungle…cool mountains…rural farmland…tiny villages…bustling market towns…secluded beaches, busy resorts…Costa Rica has it all.

If you live in the Central Valley, the region of the country surrounding the capital city, San Jose, you’re no more than a five-hour drive or so from anywhere in the country. And flights are less than an hour. So you can live in one area—and visit the other environments for a weekend.

My family has taken advantage of that convenience to crisscross the country to visit volcanos, trek through rain forest, and relax on palm-lined beaches all over.

Of course, as with anywhere, life isn’t always rosy. We’ve had our share of butting our heads against bureaucracy and getting stuck on red tape. On the plus side, all the officials have been helpful, sympathetic, and willing to help when they can. And, in general, there’s always an adjustment period as you get used to a new culture and way of doing things.

Do your research. Start making your plans. Pack only what you need, plus patience, curiosity, and a willingness to learn and adapt.

Then make that leap of faith. With all your preparation you’ll be confident. And your family, like mine did, will get behind you when they understand the reasons for your move.

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