The wedding of a friend’s daughter in Quepos, Costa Rica, set David and Diana Hoyt on a path of discovery to their future dream retirement home.
With the celebrations over, the couple decided to extend their trip to check out the country’s Southern Zone. There, they promptly fell in love with Ojochal “where the mountains meet the sea.”
Breathtaking scenery, friendly people, and “more bang for their buck,” David and Diane were hooked—Ojochal was going to be their retirement destination. Never mind searching out other countries, the Key Largo couple had found their new home.
Ojochal sits on Costa Rica’s south central Pacific coast and is surrounded by lush, verdant jungle, majestic mountains, and three pristine beaches. It’s a multi-national town where expats integrate well with the local Ticos and there’s a thriving social scene. The pace of life is as slow as you want it to be in Ojochal.
The crime rate is low, healthcare excellent and inexpensive. A modern, 88-bed hospital is just 15 minutes drive down the highway.
In 2005, the Hoyts bought a 10-acre parcel of land nestled in the mountains boasting two ocean views. Continuing to live and work in the Florida Keys, they started to put their retirement plan into motion. Two years later they finished building a casita (small dwelling) where they lived for four months each year to fulfill their residence requirements. This cost them $42,000 in construction fees.
In 2010 they built a swimming pool on the land at a total cost of $32,000—that included a rancho (farm building), pool room, and bathroom. The final “big” house and car port was completed at a cost of $118,000 in 2013, which is the year David and Diane finally retired to live in the land of pura vida for good.
Diane was impressed by the low cost involved with building their dream home in Costa Rica. “In Key Largo, we lived in a modular home on a small canal lot, which we sold for $310,000,” she explains. The total build cost in Ojochal was $192,000. “This is much less than it would cost to buy a similar building in the U.S. Taxes and insurance were also much higher Stateside.”
Quite a trade off. A lovely, spacious home complete with pool, casita, and gorgeous garden for less than what their tiny home and lot was worth in the U.S. Not to mention the incomparable mountain and ocean views.
When you consider the fact that you can go to a local market and buy fresh vegetables every day, such as a kilo of tomatoes for $1.25 (the same for onions, strawberries, and mushrooms), and an abundance of fruit, what’s not to love?
Diana describes a day in her life: “I start the day around 5 a.m., by making coffee which we enjoy on our outdoor porch. This is where we watch and listen to toucans and other birds and sometimes the howler or white-faced monkeys. It is my favorite time of the day. I then feed the cat and dogs, have breakfast, attend an early morning yoga class on Mondays and Fridays, and either take the dogs for a walk or work in the yard. Our days vary, depending on our plans.”
Diane has a long list of things they enjoy most about their Costa Rican retirement: the people; the tranquility; the wildlife; the jungle, beaches, and mountains. Even the challenges of learning a new language and living in a foreign country . And she says, “Every view is like living in a postcard. It just makes us happy.”
Would they some day return to live in the U.S.? “No,” Diane says, “not unless for some reason it becomes absolutely necessary.”
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