Enjoying a New, Healthier, More Active Life on Costa Rica’s Coast

My first taste of Costa Rica came during a six-week college placement. Studying abroad was a requirement for me. After hours of research, I chose Costa Rica, known as “the happiest place on Earth.” After experiencing this tropical paradise first hand, I promised myself I’d, one day, return to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

And I have.

This is my new home on the country’s southern Caribbean coast. I miss it when I’m not here and it’s a place that has taught me a lot about life. I have lost money, friendships, possessions and made bad decisions, struggled, worried…but in return, I have also met some of the best people in the world, fallen in love, started a business, learned that hard work pays off, become healthier, surrounded myself in nature, and become passionate about the ocean and more specifically, surfing.

Life is different for me now. I have had to learn the Tico way of doing things. I have learned that rent is affordable, as are utilities. Fresh fruit such as pineapples, coconuts, and papayas cost almost nothing but items such as peanut butter, cheese, and avocados cost nearly twice as much as they do in the U.S. This took some adjustment for me. However, it was also beneficial as I now have a healthier diet and lifestyle.

Also the amount of exercise I get has increased significantly. My mode of transportation went from a fancy car to a rusty beach cruiser, meaning no car payments, no insurance payments, and no need to spend money on gas.

Living where the jungle meets the beach in Costa Rica has opened doors for me. Three years ago I learned to surf and my passion has led me to surf daily, teach lessons, and lead surf/yoga retreats in Costa Rica and Mexico. I also began my yoga practice here.

After her first experience of Costa Rica, Nena knew it was her dream destination.
After her first experience of Costa Rica, Nena knew it was her dream destination.

Being surrounded by nature here on the coast brings with it so much peace. You learn to appreciate the sounds of birds and monkeys waking you up. You cherish the sound of the waves crashing when you drift off to sleep at night.

Typical days for me in Costa Rica include waking up early, drinking a big cup of rich Costa Rican coffee, and biking to the beach for a surf session in the warm, Caribbean water. When the sun is out, the water is crystal clear, but rainy days are still beautiful.

After a few hours in the sun, a cold papaya or pineapple smoothie is always my go to snack and spending some time in my jungle home getting work done online generally takes up my afternoons. The end a beautiful day in paradise, I love to indulge in the Caribbean’s famous coconut rice and beans and watch the sunset, all while listening to live reggae music.

Often times, people speak of traveling or moving abroad but get discouraged when it seems too stressful. Sure, there are things that are going to be different such as lifestyle and language, but I promise that it will be worth it.

So make the move. Go on an adventure. Take that leap of faith. After all, you only have one life to live…and as they say here in Costa Rica, pura vida.

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