Six years ago I took a vacation with a close friend. She needed to go see her father who had retired in Costa Rica. She asked me to go along. I had been widowed a couple of years prior to this invite and I jumped at the chance to do something fun and exciting.
I had moved from Florida to North Carolina to be close to my daughter, son in law, and grandchildren. It was wonderful to spend quality time with my grandchildren but the winter climate was wet and cold and my health began to decline. I tried to make it work, but something was always missing. I missed my husband very much and my children had very busy lives and needed to get on with them without constantly having to worry about me.
The moment I stepped off the plane in Costa Rica, I knew I was home. It was beautiful, warm and sunny and no one there knew me as a widow. I was able to just be me. I spent time with my friend and her father and also toured the country with a guide. I told him that I wanted to return to Costa Rica and maybe look at the area by the Pacific Coast called Jacó.
When I returned to the States, I went online and found a real estate office in Jacó and started to look at properties. Within a year, I returned alone and rented a condo for three months. My real estate agent found the rental for me. It was in a gated community with a large pool and a short walk to the Pacific Ocean. It was heaven to me. I have never looked back.
My children were apprehensive and could not believe that I would move to another country by myself, but I explained that I was only three hours away by plane. I had done my homework and checked out things like safety, cost of living, climate, and of course the people of Costa Rica.
Right away I found expats in Jacó that were friendly and wanted to help me establish myself. One restaurant owner in particular was very helpful and made me feel at home right away. I could walk to the Sunrise Restaurant from my condo and I did that every morning. Dan is a transplant from Massachusetts, and was more than happy to listen to my concerns over my morning coffee. He even introduced me to a good dentist when I got a toothache. He walked me across the street and brought me into the office and introduced me.
I felt so welcomed by the expat community and most of all by the Costa Rican people. I did not speak a word of Spanish but they tried to understand me and we laughed a great deal when we would talk to one another. Google translate was my bible. I also met a young taxi driver in Jacó that had lived in Canada for seven years and spoke English fluently. I called him for everything when I needed translation, transportation, and he and his wife Julie even came when I got sick and took me to the doctor. They are now my closest friends (I consider them my family). I could not have made it at times without them.
My Canadian real estate agent was so patient and followed up with all my emails and steered me to an area to buy my condo for under $100,000. He held my hand throughout the whole process and before I knew it, I was living in Costa Rica and walking to the beach every morning.
That was five years ago. I have since sold my condo and built two modular homes on a piece of property in Herradura, right outside Jacó. I encourage anyone who wants to come here, not to be afraid to take the chance. It is a safe and welcoming country. You are never alone in Costa Rica.
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