Moving to Costa Rica? Look Before You Leap

Costa Rica can be a difficult adjustment for some

Moving to Costa Rica for me was the result of many factors combining to make the decision possible. I had reached a natural juncture in life and business and had fallen in love with the country on my first visit a few years before so I finally picked up everything and drove down there from Boston with no clear idea of how I was going to make money and survive. I went down there with a measly 20 grand and plenty of confidence that I would figure it out and immediately made my first big mistake.

I promptly rented a beautiful Ocean view home with a big yard and lots of fruit trees for way too much money before I had any income. Needless to say that 20 grand did not last me long. So it was time to strap up my boots and get to work. I had driven down with all the computer equipment from my recently closed office on the Cape and I opened an internet cafe on Brasilito Beach with 10 networked computers and an ISDN internet connection ( its a third world country so it was not fast) Happy to report that in 17 years in Costa Rica the infrastructure has caught up and broadband internet is readily available. Regardless I calculated that my internet cafe was earning me roughly 2 bucks an hour (  Sorry Ivy league working in a bank like almost every one of my peers is not for me. ) This was enough to survive only because of lots of hours and a drastic lifestyle change for the better. I streamlined my life and learned to live a simpler life in Tico neighborhoods in a very simple home and I loved it. I got to know and love my neighbors and this more than anything has contributed to my  positive experiences in Costa Rica. Of course learning the language is a necessary pre cursor to embracing the locals. So I entreat anyone considering the move learn the language.  I simply learned to live with less including downsizing from my ocean view home. Probably my most valuable and important life lesson and one I am glad to have learned is that unless you are independently wealthy take a conservative approach when moving to Costa Rica and learn from the Costa Ricans who while maybe not having big bank accounts are rich in so many ways including a deep love and respect for their country and each other. Costa Rica which translates to ” Rich Coast” and was coined by Columbus on his voyage to the Americas is an apt description. Costa Rica has an abundance of natural resources and it is next to impossible to go hungry there as the fruits of the earth are so abundant and yes “Rich.” After living in the country for so long I have seen many “Gringos” fall in love with the country and decide to move down, some without ever having visited the country Which is the height of foolishness, only to leave after a short time. Living in a foreign country is not easy for Americans who are accustomed to  every convenience and the language barrier  can be daunting. So my advice to Americans moving to Costa Rica please try first by renting in a few areas in the country to see which climate and culture agrees with you, because there are vast differences in such a small country. Find something modest in a tico village instead of immediately going all in . The challenges are numerous from schooling your children to finding the products you are used to in the states.  Lend it some thought

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