Joseph Mucaria fell in love with Costa Rica on a short visit.
“I was only supposed to come for three months and then return to the States, but I fell in love with the culture and the environment, plus I always wanted to learn another language,” he says.
That was 12 years ago. Now, he lives in an ocean-view condo just 45 minutes away from the city of Liberia.
“My commute is a 30-second walk along the beach and I go months without seeing a traffic light,” he says. “Local food and fruits are cheap, as are cell phone plans at only $30 a month, but where you really save is on entertainment.
“As opposed to going to the movies, or buying a video game console, or even going to the theater or a concert…you probably will go to the beach and swim or surf; maybe you will hike to a volcano or just hang out on your terrace and sip a nice glass of wine while you watch the sunset. These activities are inexpensive and fulfilling.”
Joseph first came to assist with a restaurant opening in Playa Flamingo, a tiny Pacific-coast town which boasts a mile-long crescent shaped beach, in the Guanacaste region of northern Costa Rica.
And that’s where he saw the potential for business.
A year later he opened his own restaurant called El Jardin in nearby Playa Brasilito. He recruited his younger brother, Justin, to come help with the opening…and Justin, too, caught the Costa Rica bug and stayed on.
In 2008, Joseph established his current restaurant, Angelina’s, back in Playa Flamingo. Business has been good to him, and recently, the brothers also took over the food and beverage program at The Palms luxury residence villa.
“If I want to take an hour-long break and jump in the ocean, it’s a short walk from the restaurant,” says Joseph. “If I decide I want to wake up early to go fishing for the catch of the day I can.”
Joseph admits setting up business in Costa Rica has its challenges, but says, “the perks are worth every hurdle along the way. I realize what I have here is really something special.”
The expat community in the area has grown in the past 10 years due to the beautiful location, laidback lifestyle, and the reputation of their international bi-lingual schools for children.
“Costa Rica was recently voted the happiest country in the world and for good reason,” Joseph says. “People here are generally less stressed and daily life is much less of a grind than in the U.S. It boasts one of the longest life expectancy rates in the world. I think for that reason this place will always appeal to North Americans seeking an alternative lifestyle.
“Costa Rica boasts many great resources, but none greater than its people whom I believe are the main reason this country has seen such success in tourism. They are a humble and welcoming people who live simple lives and have a simple ethos. Faith and family come first.”
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