If you’re ever in the Arenal region of Costa Rica there is one activity you have to make time for: a dip in one of the natural hot springs. Known locally as “aguas termales,” the 90 to 110 degree Fahrenheit waters are naturally heated by volcanic activity. In fact, most of the hot springs have a great view of the Arenal volcano from the pools.
- A Peaceful, Highland Life by Costa Rica’s Great Lake
Posted on December 31, 2012 by Jason Holland
People come to live around Arenal, about three hours north of San Jose, because they fall in love with these views. The weather—not humid, just warm and breezy—is also a big draw. So is the affordable real estate and low cost of living. It’s laid-back, peaceful. These factors alone make it one of the best places to live in Costa Rica.
When my family and I moved to Costa Rica earlier this year, we had a big advantage: me. I speak Spanish. My mother is from Spain, and I’ve spoken the language all my life. I ended up being the translator for most everything—talking to the landlord about the broken washing machine, speaking with government clerks about residency documents, asking about the price of vegetables at the farmers’ market…
Quiet. If you gave me one word to describe the Lake Arenal region of Costa Rica, that would be it. If I had a few more… Verdant. Contemplative. Relaxed. Although the area is increasingly on the radar of expats from around the world, it remains unspoiled and sparsely developed.
Turns out one of the best places to find small-town America… is in Costa Rica. I’m talking about Atenas, a village of 5,000 in the Central Valley region in the interior of the country. Expats that have made their home here—mostly retirees—say the warm and friendly locals and a very welcoming expat community remind them of where they grew up.
Bob Lux sold his business at 62 and retired. But he soon found that Social Security and the small pension he drew from a job in his younger days wasn’t cutting it in the U.S. His wife Stacy went back to work full-time, he was working three days a week, and they could barely make ends meet. “I found I could move down to Costa Rica with my Social Security and pension and live very comfortably…
The morning’s fresh ceviche is sharp and fragrant with coriander. Fifty minutes up the highway we passed a North American style service station. My contact convinced me to resist my strong coffee urges and hold off for fast food Costa Rica style. So, I ended up sitting under a palm tree, sand between my toes, eating $1.50 ceviche from a local vendor. There’s not much action on the beach.
I’d never traveled with a celebrity before. When we arrived at the airport in Costa Rica, it was a madhouse. People kept coming up to take pictures with my companion. Customs officials rushed us through the line after a cursory check of our documents. Baggage handlers competed to grab our luggage.
We’re close enough to the town of Playas del Coco to take a 10-minute bike ride for necessities, but far enough away to enjoy our privacy. The best feature of the house we rent is the view of the Pacific and the amazing sunsets we enjoy nightly. We’ve adjusted well to the slower pace of life. We’re still working—the Internet means we can work from anywhere.
- Costa Rica Video: Save Your Dollars by Shopping Like a Local at a “Feria”
Posted on June 8, 2012 by Jason Holland
In the video below, Costa Rica correspondent Jason Holland shows us his local Feria in Grecia, a small town in the Central Valley of Costa Rica located about an hour northwest of the capital, San Jose. A great way to cut down on your cost of living in Costa Rica is to go to the Feria, the weekly farmers’ market, for fresh fruits and vegetables. In the U.S., this healthy habit can cost a fortune.
- Video: Playa Herradura, Costa Rica: A Great Weekend Getaway on the Pacific Coast
Posted on May 23, 2012 by Jason Holland
Just four miles north of the bustling surf and sport fishing town of Jaco on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast is tranquil Playa Herradura. In this video, IL correspondent Jason Holland gives a short overview of the beach, including the picturesque view across the cove and the casual beach bars and restaurants that line the access road – bare feet and swimsuits encouraged.
The best thing about being a freelance writer is that you can work from anywhere—so I packed up and moved to Costa Rica. It might seem like a brave move, but it was also a sensible one. The cost of living is low here—so paychecks go a long way. Plus, my family gets to experience another culture.
At Arenal you will find a mirror-flat lake with a dark green, tree-lined shore rising steeply to the cone of a towering volcano. This place is hidden, secret…yet you have safe and stable Costa Rica amenities and attractions on your doorstep. And, the world’s most bio-diverse country all around.
- Buy A Lakeside Lot in Costa Rica With Stunning Views
Posted on April 20, 2012 by Ronan McMahon
This stunningly beautiful place in Costa Rica has been overlooked. I can’t explain why. It’s just one of those anomalies. Sometimes things of great beauty and value are overlooked…for a while. Like the work of a great artist that gathers dust on a shelf until someone spots it. Then everyone wonders how it could have been missed. The drive from Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, was on a modern highway. Scenic, interesting and smooth. Around the lake was sporty and dramatic.
In this video, IL Costa Rica correspondent, Jason Holland shows footage of his beautiful rental home in Grecia, Costa Rica. Just like any desirable retirement destination, you can find luxury in Costa Rica when it comes to where you live. But there is plenty of opportunity for regular folks to find their own slice of heaven.
Life in Costa Rica feels like a dream—but one I don’t have to wake up from. The climate here is awesome. Sunrise and sunset are at the same time every day, allowing my internal clock to get into a natural, uninterrupted rhythm. The sun rises at 5.00 a.m., warms the land and fills me with happiness for 10 months out of the year.
I made my escape to Costa Rica in May 2010, to teach English in San Jose. I recently discovered a beautiful little mountain town (where a friend lives) that’s an easy day trip from the capital. Urasca is a small town in the province of Cartago, at about 3,000 feet above sea level. It has a climate quite different to San Jose—Costa Rica is marked by its micro-climates.
It’s easy to find yourself surrounded by lush green jungle, a kaleidoscope of flowers, and a menagerie of animals. You can have this in your backyard if you wish. For me, this is a huge part of the magic of Costa Rica and the main reason I chose to live and work here.
Healthier and happier. We hear that over and over from IL readers who move to Costa Rica. Ben Hill says “I was a junk food junkie…stopping at every 7-11 and buying a bag of chips and a coke, a candy bar…but now I eat healthy food, I feel better, I’m more flexible and I weigh a lot less than I did back in California.”
- Costa Rica Bargains Found on a Real Estate Road Trip
Posted on December 14, 2011 by Dan Prescher
If you followed the scouting trip to Costa Rica I made with my wife Suzan earlier this year, you’ll know that this is the best time to buy. Here are some of the highlights:
- From California to Costa Rica – A Business That Works
Posted on October 13, 2011 by Greg Lucre
In California, Jill Hill used to work in the “eye fashion” business…and her husband Ben built swimming pools. But when they moved to Costa Rica, they changed careers. From the hills of Nosara, they now run a successful yoga spa business that looks out over the Pacific Ocean. Ben and Jill were guests on IL Radio recently.
“Costa Rica offers true freedom,” Todd says. “They say that about the U.S., but Costa Rica really does offer true freedom.” No one bothers you here, the government is non-invasive and stable, there aren’t people protesting in the streets…people are happy. Sociologists have actually proven that Costa Ricans are the happiest people on the planet.
- Costa Rica’s Top Towns: Friendliest, Best, Cheapest
Posted on September 14, 2011 by Suzan Haskins
We just learned about the top places in Costa Rica that make the most sense for expats to live, to rent, buy real estate, become part of a community and have access to all the amenities that make life comfortable and enjoyable.
- Easy, Affordable, Convenient: Retiring in Costa Rica
Posted on September 12, 2011 by Eoin Bassett
Although the country is known for its beaches, the majority of foreigners who move to Costa Rica tend to settle in the Central Valley…near, but definitely not in…the chaotic capital city of San Jose.