Whale Coast, a very appropriate name for our area, is home to a national marine park which was created at the request of entrepreneurial citizens in order to preserve and promote it’s beauty, and so that it could be shared with the rest of the world. The Whales Tail Reef is connected to the mainland by a sandbar making a shape that gives it the name.
Costa Ballena runs from the Baru river in Dominical to the mouth of the Terraba River in Coronado. On this stretch of land the jungles’path to the ocean is uninterrupted and it’s many beautiful beaches, majestic terrains, and populous animal wildlife reveal its magnificent splendor. Many entrepreneurial Costa Ricans and expats from Europe, Canada, and the U.S. enjoy a “Pura Vida”lifestyle in the area, which is the thread that unifies us. Most of us have created businesses to support this lifestyle. Restaurants, hotels, villas, hostels, real estate offices, chef and catering services, food, music & art festivals, tours and expeditions, and home based businesses are a few examples. I call us “Pioneers of the Last Frontier.”
Each town between Dominical to Ojochal has a local Spanish speaking “Desarrollo Comunal,”a community development group that assists with community needs. They work alongside the municipality and other government entities to facilitate the growth of their communities. Each “desarrollo”does their utmost to improve the living conditions for its residents by monitoring community water systems, adding sidewalks, or applying for government grants to build police stations and communal halls. In addition, they sponsor events such as the “Whales and Dolphins Festival”and the “Civic Festival”to raise money and for everyone to enjoy.
On Saturdays we all go to the “Feria” in Uvita, our version of a farmers market. There we can purchase hand made crafts (not from China), tasty baked goods, fresh-caught fish and organic fruits and veggies. We also count on seeing almost everyone we know. Greeting each other with hugs and kisses while catching up with the latest news. Our rustic area provides many volunteer opportunities. DAWG (Domestic Animal Welfare Group) finds homes for dogs and other animals that would otherwise be forced to fend for themselves. CAP (Crime Awareness and Prevention) is a non-profit association working to make the community safer by providing residents with tips and community watch programs. CACOBA (the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism) strives to promote commerce and tourism in Costa Ballena. Forjando Alas provides children with an after school program enriching their lives with nature and technology. Expats organize a “Toys for Tots”program during Christmas to benefit children in need. All of the above non-profit organizations have fundraisers throughout the year and we all support their events, uniting us and providing a fun and social atmosphere (my calendar is always full!). Anja Geesink, an expat from the Netherlands, heads the Costa Ballena Women’s Club. Once a month we have luncheons where we enjoy wonderfully informative guest speakers and different locations to explore.
Many of us also get together to surf, golf, play softball on Saturdays at the soccer field in Bahia, or drink artisanal beer at The Roadshack or the Flutterby House. Sometimes you will find us at the bar in “Marino Ballena”chatting it up with one of the friendly bartenders. We live in a wonderful community. It is a sought after life style we call “Pura Vida”.
Pilar Dailinger Davis, an entrepreneur, mother, wife and daughter, is a managing partner at Mareas Villas. Pilar was born in Seville, Spain and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado. She currently dedicates her time volunteering as the Vice-President of CAP and sits on the board of directors of CACOBA.