"Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning." Those are the famous directions to Neverland—a magical place, overflowing with adventure, where you don't grow old.
Misty, dream-like cloud forests...Olympian mountaintops with fertile river valleys...miles of pristine, empty beaches... Despite its small size, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and biodiverse countries in the world. It has everything a nature lover like me could want.
When I talk to my friends in the U.S. about my life in the Orosi Valley, they say I live a perpetual vacation. That’s pretty much true. My life here couldn’t be more perfect. This area offers me all the things I was looking for in an overseas retirement—a laidback lifestyle, a low cost of living, and an abundance of things to do and places to explore.
Yes, we have some dirty little secrets. There are some things about the Orosi Valley that none of us who live here want you to know. But having been in your shoes—living in the States and searching for the perfect spot to begin a new life.
"It was the best move of my life," says Michael Harris of his new life in Costa Rica. "I feel like I'm living in technicolor now." Back in the States, Michael worked as a director for an IT company but was laid off in a corporate take-over.
Costa Rica is indeed a “rich coast.” That’s what Christopher Columbus called it—Costa Rica—when he discovered this paradise. And every travel show on TV focuses on the beach life as tourists swarm the shores for vacations filled with swimming, sunning, and surfing.
I know that when we began to look more in-depth at Costa Rica as our retirement destination, the reports of living on what seemed to be a minuscule amount of money seemed incredible, and sometimes the information came across as vague.
"Spring is my favorite time of the year. And it's like an eternal Spring here," says expat Ray Reynolds, who lives in the green hills of Costa Rica's Central Valley. "To be surrounded by the mountains, well, I feel like I've finally found the home of my heart."
I was sitting on our cantilevered terrace, listening to birdsong and the river flowing below me. I pondered the 11,000-foot-tall Volcano Irazú in the distance.
Yesterday morning, as I stood on the terrace of my Costa Rican home, I couldn't help but marvel at the stunning blue-green mountains right outside our front door. Sometimes I still can't believe that this is my life.