A Retirement Dream Brought to Life in Ojochal, Costa Rica

How could one possibly go wrong with a hotel by the name of Hotel El Mono Feliz (which translates to “The Happy Monkey Hotel”)? Patrick Grady and Todd King are the proud new owners of this quaint but gorgeous small hotel in the village of Ojochal, Costa Rica.

Patrick and Todd hale from Florida, where they both operated successful businesses. Todd was CFO of a staffing firm and Patrick owned and operated a marketing firm.

“We had what most successful Americans have: multiple cars, a great house, and lots of stuff,” says Patrick. “Our desire was to live more simply. We had visited Costa Rica many times and had always been intrigued by the kindness of the people and their generosity of spirit.”

Hotel El Mono Feliz is in the tiny village of Ojochal on the Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. “We chose this region because we love the profusion of tropical plants, the weather, the beaches, the mountains, and the endless selection of adventure activities. Ojochal is less touristy and less built up than most other areas to the north, but there is so much here to see and do,” says Patrick.

The village has an extraordinary variety of international restaurants and is often referred to as the “foodie capital of Costa Rica.” This was very appealing to Patrick and Todd.

“Then we began meeting people here and fell in love. That same generosity and kindness applies not only to native ticos but also to many of the expats who now call this amazing place home. It seems people here connect more with experiences and less with things. And that works for us,” says Patrick.

There are also a variety of adventure activities close by, with white-water rafting, animal habitat boat tours, zip lining, surfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking all available within a very short distance of the hotel.

When asked about their favorite things in the area, both men reiterate that their love of the people is top of the list. “We have been upgrading things at the hotel and have offered to give our staff some of the items being replaced. Each time they ask that they be allowed to wait and see what other staff members might need. They then make a collective decision based on the needs of everyone,” says Patrick.

They also love the country’s dedication to the environment, from the 94% renewable energy policy to making recreational hunting illegal, to ruling it a crime to own monkeys, sloths, or any animals or birds which are indigenous to Costa Rica. Healthcare is also a plus. All citizens and residents have universal, and excellent, healthcare and education.

Patrick admits that in Costa Rica it sometimes takes a while to get things done; however, he’s learned to adjust his expectations. “It’s such a small price to pay to be able to enjoy all the lush plants and flowers, the amazing tropical abundance, and to wake up each morning to the sounds of parrots, toucans, and other birds (we have seen over 130 species of birds in our garden) as well as howler monkeys and all the other amazing citizens of the jungle here in Ojochal. If living here helps us learn to slow down a little, that’s a benefit. It’s all about Pura Vida.”

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