Slow Down in Costa Rica…

I love Costa Rica’s easygoing pace of life.

It’s a place where people can’t help but slow down. They come from all over the world to relax, attend healing retreats, live a less hurried life, and retire. There’s no shortage of yoga studios, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and retreat centers here.

Laid-back as it is, it’s also the perfect location for adventure-seekers. Adrenaline junkies can surf the world-class waves, kayak through mangrove-lined marsh filled with crocodiles, go white-water river rafting, or zip-line through forest canopies. Excursions to volcanoes, hiking trails, and waterfalls are also found in abundance.

I’m one of those people who love the more relaxing aspects of Costa Rica.

Before moving to Costa Rica in February of 2011, I lived on the island of Oahu, Hawaii—a place where “island time” is regularly practiced—for almost 10 years. I can confidently say that Costa Rica is equally, if not more, laid-back than even Hawaii.

I’ve lived in a few rural areas and beachside communities on the Pacific side of Costa Rica—Playa Largatillo, Playa Avellenas, Hatillo, and Playa Dominical—so I’m used to the relaxed demeanor that’s to be found in these oceanfront communities. But even in Costa Rica’s largest—and capital—city, San Jose, amid the bustle and congestion of pedestrians and cars, there is still a certain kind of easygoing pace with which native Costa Ricans go about their days.

Native Costa Ricans (or Ticos), are a big part of what makes Costa Rica is a popular place to visit and live. Ticos are known for their love of the “pura vida”—the pure life—a philosophy that refers to the friendliness and laid-back attitude of those who live there.

Living as an expat here has given me plenty of opportunities to form friendly relationships with Ticos. I get the pleasure of learning more about the local culture as well as the Spanish language through these relationships.

And since, in many communities, expats and Ticos live side by side, there are plenty of opportunities to make friends with people of other nationalities, too.

The cost of living is also a big plus to my life here. My food costs have been slashed. I can buy a bag of 10 medium-sized tomatoes or a bag of 10 medium-sized green and red bell peppers for just $1. In Hawaii, 10 tomatoes and 10 bell peppers would sell for $10 and $30, respectively.

And there’s no shortage of real estate opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a place to buy or rent, Costa Rica remains an affordable place to live—particularly when you compare it to other places with similar scenery, climates and lifestyles, like Hawaii or Southern California. When I lived in Hawaii, I was paying $1,000 a month just for rent… but in Costa Rica, the most I’ve ever paid for rent was $300.

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