Finding Our Paradise in Playa Langosta

“After researching many places, we have found our paradise," says Dawn Lane of her new home, Playa Langosta on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

Dawn and her husband Marc moved three years ago and love starting their days strolling the pristine beach.

Langosta is located just south of Tamarindo, a famous surf town known for its restaurants and electric nightlife. You can access Langosta by driving through Tamarindo or crossing the estuary from Hacienda Pinilla (which is possible at low tide).

Compared to Tamarindo, Langosta is quieter and less touristy; this area has more residential accommodations.

Marc is retired, and the couple moved to Costa Rica as part of the residency process for pensionados. It's one of the easiest and quickest paths to residency here.

Dawn isn't retired and works as a realtor in the area. She comes from a family of realtors and is a licensed broker in the United States. Dawn started as a referral member in the Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors until her residency went through, and she could legally work.

"I love selling real estate. It's fun, and my team is wonderful," she says. "It keeps my mind active trying to figure out the differences from real estate in the U.S."

Dawn started coming to Costa Rica about five years ago, in 2018. "We were thinking about leaving the U.S. and considered Panama and Nicaragua as well. But at the time, Nicaragua's political climate was unstable.

"Costa Rica's like the Switzerland of Central America, which felt safe," she explains. "Then I started coming down for dentistry in San Jose." Dawn's dentist in the U.S. quoted her $25,000 for the work she needed, while in Costa Rica, the bill came to $7,000. "Our experience wasn't scary at all," she says of her dental procedures. "People in the U.S. think that everything offered there is the best in the world, and sometimes it just isn't.

"After my appointments, Marc and I would stay a few days extra to explore. We gravitated toward Tamarindo. We didn't even know Langosta existed at first. Once we discovered Langosta, it was like a magnet attracting us back. And so, here we are."

Life is Different in Costa Rica

Dawn and Marc learned that living in Costa Rica does involve changing your perspective about what's important in life.

"Living here allows you to shift your priorities; you understand that you don't need Amazon at your door daily. We desired a simpler life and found it," she says. "My neighbors and I get together at sunset every night. We tell our stories and discuss the different colored birds we experienced that day."

Dawn has also found a way to give back to her new community through volunteering. "We just started a Children's Community Library, and the support was incredible," she says. "We received many cash and prize donations and over 600 books donated to start. In many places, resources are non-existent; therefore, small gestures go a long way."

While you can live in Costa Rica for less than the U.S.— many retired couples report living well on $2,000 a month—your budget depends on how you live.

If you continue buying the same products from home after your move, you could wind up paying the same as in the U.S., if not more.

"You can learn to replace favorites with new alternatives," Dawn says. "You grow and discover different things to enjoy. Nowadays, I love to order seafood from a truck that delivers it to my door, and I've realized that I don't need my everything bagel seasoning."

She and Marc are avid bikers with unique bikes, and say finding bike parts is a challenge. "I must order tires from Amazon and have somebody mule them down. Additionally, the salt air requires more maintenance than we had expected."

In the end, even though there are some challenges to life in a new place, Dawn is happy she searched for and found her paradise in Costa Rica.

"I love where I live and look for joy every day. I love being surrounded by nature, with howling monkeys, colorful flowered trees, and vibrantly stunning sunsets. Living in Langosta is a whole wonderful world to explore and a place to thrive."

In Photos: The Top 5 Beaches in Costa Rica

Best Places to Live in Costa Rica: Five Top Expat Havens

Is It Safe to Live Costa Rica – Expat Safety