The small town of Grecia is where my wife and I chose to land three years ago, after leaving our careers in Dallas for early retirement in Central America. Our lifestyle in the U.S. offered little time to be healthy. We were overworked and tired, and often chose convenience over sustenance. Now, both my wife and I have regained the health of our youth and a lot of the credit belongs to where we live.
First of all, Grecia is a farming town. While the main crops for the area are coffee and sugarcane, fruits and vegetables also grow easily in the volcanic soil. It is not uncommon to be out on a hike and be able to pick a ripe mango, lemon, or an avocado from a tree along the way. The house we rent already had some fruits, veggies, and herbs growing in the yard when we moved in. We frequently grab some fresh spinach from the yard for a salad, cut some cilantro to make salsa, or grab some ripe bananas. Our life in Dallas would not have allowed the time needed to grow or pick our own produce, even if the Texas summer sun allowed them to grow.
Even if we weren’t growing our own, Grecia has produce everywhere you turn. Each weekend is la feria, the farmers’ market, where growers from the town and surrounding areas sell freshly picked fruits and vegetables. If we are ever unable to make the feria on the weekend, there is always the Central Market. Open every day except Sunday, this market, just a block away from the central park, has just about anything you could want. And if that doesn’t work, there are other markets and three full-size grocery stores where we can shop as well.
A Perfect Setting for Keeping Active
In addition to eating better, we are also more active. Grecia is a great town to be active in. Downtown, it is easier to walk than to drive. Many people take the bus in and walk around the town to do their shopping.
Also in the town center are two full-size gyms, each offering classes like Zumba and kickboxing, free-weights, and machines. There is a cultural center that offers Tai Chi and yoga classes for a nominal fee, there is a community swimming pool and basketball court located in town, and tennis is available at a local club. There are even machines available in a local park, where you can work out for free.
I live in the mountains above Grecia, and nothing gets me fired up quite like hiking the hills around my home. There are many trails that wind up the slope of Poás Volcano. Climbing quickly in elevation, the hikes on these trails are a challenge, but the reward at the end is a breathtaking view that spans the breadth of the Central Valley. If I am not up to the test of Poás, I will hike through coffee farms or on back roads instead. These hikes offer fantastic views as well and a wide variety of exotic birds.
Being healthy in Grecia has been a natural extension of living here. The foods we eat are more nutritious and our physical activity levels have increased dramatically. As if that wasn’t enough, Grecia has one more health attribute up her sleeve. The weather is wonderful year-round. Typically, temperatures range is 60 F to 85 F throughout the year. Perfect for a healthy lifestyle.