Costa Rica Scratches Our Permanent-Vacation Itch

Don’t you just love to scratch an itch? When there’s that place you can’t quite reach…but then you do…ahhhhh.

Yet that pleasurable relief so often demands more scratching. And we get stuck in that horrible itch-scratch cycle that isn’t enjoyable anymore. There seems to be no good solution.

The same is true in the figurative realm. Traveling scratches an itch that we have for seeing and doing something new. For a change. For adventure. So we vacation. We scratch that itch. And then we need to do it again.

For my husband, Michael, and me, living in Costa Rica is pretty much like being on a perpetual vacation. Don’t get me wrong here; full-time living requires some things you don’t have to deal with when you’re on holiday. On a two-week vacation, you don’t have to wash the car or weed the flower beds. You don’t have to pay the bills. And someone else does your dishes and folds the laundry. But it’s not those things that make up our vacation-life in Costa Rica.

Honestly, there aren’t many places as vacation-perfect as Costa Rica. In only 45 minutes we can be on top of the highest volcano in the country—Volcán Irazú—so high that on a clear day you can see both the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Speaking of the coast, we can be wriggling our toes in the sandy beaches—either coastline—in only two-and-a-half hours. (In the States, a plane ride took us longer than that to get the beach.)

An hour to the south puts us in an amazing cloud forest just before we cross the continental divide. Day-trips to see the famed sea turtles hatch, or to soak in volcanic thermal springs, are a snap. The bohemian lifestyle of Puerto Viejo with its Afro-Caribbean flair is at our fingertips, as is the national reserve of the indigenous people of the Boruca.

And all those things that so many tourists work so hard to schedule into their vacation plans are easily available to us every day—things like white-water rafting, canopy zip-lines, coffee and chocolate tours, and hiking through national reserves. Not to mention the secret things that few tourists know about—rock climbing or whale-watching or waterfall rappelling.

So, come visit Costa Rica. But be warned: once you scratch that itch, you’ll want more. And there’s only one way to overcome that itch-scratch cycle—move. We did.

By the way, because the cost of living and cost of labor is low, we really don’t even have to wash the car or weed the flower beds anymore—our gardener does that for us. For $475 a month, he works a full-time 40-hour work week, and keeps everything outside the house in picture-perfect shape. And the maid does the dishes and the laundry. For only $14 for a half-day, why wouldn’t we take advantage of that? Bill paying? I’m still working on that one.

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