Nine years ago, I retired to Costa Rica. And I’ve never been disappointed in that decision.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe myself to be a true American and love my home country for what it is, but the speed of life there eventually got too much for me. I needed relief from the fast-paced lifestyle. And I found that relief in Costa Rica…where my blood pressure became much lower.
I live in a downtown neighborhood of Quepos, on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast, where this slower pace of life is easy.
I get up between around 7.30 a.m., late by some expat standards, but I had hoped for that kind of leisurely start for years and now I have it. Breakfast is a mix of fresh local fruit such as papaya, mango, and pineapple, sprinkled with dried cranberries and topped off with fruit yogurt. Or I might meet several expat friends for coffee and breakfast (which costs me about $5) at a local restaurant. These sessions generate close friends and are priceless for the experiences we offer each other.
After breakfast, I might make the 15-minute bus journey to Manuel Antonio beach by bus, one of the most beautiful and natural beaches I’ve ever seen. I spend a couple of hours sitting under an umbrella, reading a book on my Kindle, enjoying the vista and the Pacific breeze and chatting with the beach vendors who pass by.
After 50 years of continuous car ownership, I decided when I moved here that I’d give it three months before replacing the car I sold in Florida. I never bought another car. I don’t have a need to get to a job and the buses go everywhere in the country on time. The local buses are free to residents over 65 and seats on the longer hauls, like to San José, are 25% off (so a trip to San José sets me back just $6).
Quepos is convenient for all my daily living needs. Within three blocks of my house I have the local post office, my friendly old barber who claims to have been the first barber in Quepos (a haircut here costs me $5), and just two blocks away is an ATM. Also, a short walk away is an Italian bakery which serves delicious pastries and rich, black, Costa Rican coffee.
My dentist is also close by. The last time I visited, I arrived at his office at 10:05 a.m. for a 10:30 a.m. appointment. He saw me immediately, did a filling in 15 minutes, and charged me $50.
In the afternoons, I often spend an hour or two writing a monthly newsletter which I call the Golden Gringo Chronicles. This evolved from writing periodic email reports back to family and friends when I first arrived here. One of the unexpected benefits derived from writing the Chronicles is that I research a lot about Costa Rica, which makes writing enjoyable and useful and my Chronicles reach over 1,000 readers.
Most evenings, I prepare my own meal but once or twice a week I meet friends at a local restaurant for dinner…and for which I spend about $10. I’m also a founding member of the ROMEO Group (Retired Old Men Eating Out) and once a month we visit and review some of the local restaurants.
I love to travel and living in Quepos has also given me the opportunity to visit other parts of Costa Rica and see a lot of the natural treasures on offer around the country. I’ve also been to Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, and Argentina.
Life is good here on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast…it’s easy and there are plenty of places and things to explore both here and in neighboring countries.