A twist of fate brought Cason Gaither from South Carolina to the golden-sand, surfer’s paradise of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. “I heard about a job opportunity managing a restaurant in town through a friend on Facebook,” says Cason. “But I only stayed at the job for six months. One morning I lost my sunglasses boogie boarding and came up with the idea for my business, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Cason developed a product called PaddleOuts, a small flotation device that attaches to your sunglasses and allows them to float if you accidentally drop them in the water—a common occurrence in a laidback beach town. He sells his PaddleOuts in stores all around Tamarindo, on eBay, and even has some retailers in the U.S.
“My work-life balance might be a little too good. I wake usually around 5:30 a.m. to take care of emails, check social media and of course, the surf report,” says Cason, noting that the sun, and the people, rise earlier in Costa Rica. “These days I usually have finished my work by about 9 a.m.
“If the surf is good in the morning, I have the freedom to let work wait. I love to take my boogie board down the beach and enjoy the good waves. I used to wear a suit and tie every day to work. Now, I will go several days without putting on a shirt. Sometimes I conduct business meetings in my bathing suit.”
Early morning walks on the beach and watching the sunset have become a part of Cason’s daily life. Cason says he loves the vibe of Tamarindo. “I wouldn’t say Tamarindo is particularly cheap compared to elsewhere in Costa Rica, you pay to live so close to the beach. I live one block from the beach and one block from all the nightlife. I could not do that anywhere in the States for the budget I live on here.”
Enjoying the outdoors every day is a big part of life here for Cason. “It’s cooler in the ‘summer’ and warmer in the ‘winter’ than it is back home for me. But in general, the weather is great all year.”
Cason adds that while some North American food products can be expensive, life in Tamarindo can be budget friendly. “I buy groceries at the AutoMercado on Wednesday’s—that’s when they run their best specials. And at the corner store, you can buy a liter of Costa Rica’s national beer Imperial for about $3.”
Cason says he rarely finds a reason to leave Tamarindo, but when he does he has a few go-to spots. “If I’m not in Tamarindo you will probably find me at Lola’s in Playa Avellanas, and sometimes I like to go spend a day at Playa Conchal, about a 40-minute drive from here, for a change of scenery.”
Tamarindo is known not only for its own golden-sand beach, but its easy access to several smaller more exclusive and rustic beaches within a half hour or hour drive. “I’d like to tell you my favorite beach,” says Cason. “But I don’t want too many people to know about it, so I’ll be keeping that to myself.”
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