If you visited Playa del Carmen 10 or 15 years ago, you wouldn’t recognize it today. This once sleepy seaside town on Mexico’s Riviera Maya used to be primarily known as the place to catch the ferry to the island of Cozumel just offshore.
"Melaque is a 100 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. It's a vacation spot for Mexicans. And in the winter months, about November to February, there are about 300 Canadians who come to town," says CJ Singer.
Over the summer I moved with my family to Mexico’s Riviera Maya, to a condo near the water just outside the seaside village of Akumal. It’s the perfect location, with several white-sand stretches of shore—with that brilliant blue Caribbean Sea—within a five-minute drive.
Over the last decade, there's been a revolution in the beer industry. Beer drinkers have increasingly sought out alternatives to mainstream lager beers, and embraced small-batch craft beers—flavorful brews inspired by Old World recipes and experimentation with ingredients.
In the most populated parts of Costa Rica, especially the inland Central Valley region, the roads are paved and reasonably well-maintained. It’s easy to get around from place to place.
The beaches of Costa Rica are world famous. They’re a major reason the country gets so many tourists each year—2.66 million in 2015, a new record. And why thousands of expats live on or near the beach…that laidback lifestyle is irresistible to many.
"I grew up in such a small town, a farming community in Colorado in the Four Corners region," says Monique. "Going abroad for the first time really opened my mind, and I realized the possibilities. It changed my life."
Costa Rica is a small country, about the size of West Virginia. But it does have an extensive coastline, with 780 miles on the Pacific Ocean, and 132 miles on the Caribbean Sea.
One of Chris and Rex McCaskill’s favorite things to do these days is relax on their rooftop terrace, enjoying views of the stunning surrounding countryside and the comfortable, never-too-hot climate that stays in the 70s most days.
As I drive east out of San Jose and its suburbs, the gridlock, gleaming shopping malls, and dense urban development of Costa Rica’s capital slowly melt away. Within 30 minutes I’ve found myself in the countryside, following a winding road that hugs a mountainside as it descends into the valley below.