"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.
It wasn’t the practical reasons, like lower cost of living, great—and cheap—medical care, and friendly people, that convinced Dave Scott to move to San Ramón, a town on the western edge of Costa Rica’s Central Valley region. Though the country has all those advantages and more, and while those were factors in the decision, it was something else that drew him. “It was like an invisible string around my neck pulling me here,” says Dave. “It’s more of a heart thing than a head thing. It’s hard to explain. It was just the feeling I had.”
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.
You’ll find colonial towns and cities all over Mexico. It’s a legacy of its long history as one of the most important colonies in the Spanish Empire until its independence in 1821.
Santiago de Querétaro, in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands, has a lot going for it: an ideal climate, top-notch but affordable medical care, a well-kept Spanish colonial centro, friendly local people, and much more.
Just 10 minutes’ drive south from the popular tourist destination and expat hotspot of Playas del Coco, is an escape. Playa Ocotal is one of the prettiest beaches on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast. It’s a little out-of-the-way but definitely worth the journey to get there.
For the most part, I consider myself a pretty downhome kind of a guy. I stay in simple hotels when I travel—if there’s internet, I’m set. Fancy restaurants are okay. But usually I have more fun and get tastier food where the locals eat.
Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast is known for its dramatic coastline of tree-covered mountains dropping suddenly to the ocean, empty beaches, and lush rainforest full of wildlife like toucans, howler monkeys, sloths, and dozens of other species.