About five or six years ago, my wife Daisy and I started traveling to Central America looking for a retirement haven. Continuing to live in the U.S. just didn’t seem to appeal to us for our retirement. We soon discovered that all of the Central American countries had pluses and minuses, none filled our needs entirely. After some soul searching, a fair amount of research and several visits, we decided that Costa Rica suited us best.
Costa Rica had many of the comforts that we were used to having, while still retaining much of the allure that “overseas adventure” brings. Daisy is reasonably fluent in Spanish, which certainly helped during the transition to living abroad. My command of Spanish is, well, a work in progress.
We bought one piece of property near Chontales, and decided to build right away. During the design process, we found an ocean and mountain view property in the same general area that was far superior, and purchased our second piece of property. Our original design immediately went “out of the window” and the house that we created was not even remotely similar to our first plan.
In late 2013, our drawings, permits and due diligence were completed, we rented a house in Ojochal, and broke ground. Being on site every day made the building process go much faster, but it was not without some setbacks. Things like water management, changes in roof design, increased pool size, construction insurance, and more factored into keeping the project interesting (read “over budget”). By late 2014, we were ready to move in, despite the fact that there were quite a few tasks that were needed to make the house livable.
Three years later, although there are still many little projects on the “to do” list, the house is not the all consuming project any longer and we can now enjoy it! Actually, now that I think about it there are a few good sized projects that need to be done as well, but they don’t seem to have much priority, the “Pura Vida” lifestyle has set in. We have settled into a non-routine routine. Most days start with a general plan, but we have found that plans are surprisingly difficult to follow! The only real consistency in our routine is that we participate in a number of activities with some degree of regularity. Water aerobics, Pilates, golf, going to the Farmer’s Market, cooking and visiting with our friends are the cornerstones of our activities. Of course there are the special events that seem to pop up all the time. Trips to the big city, runs to Golfito to the duty free stores, mangrove tours, Skyping with family, dinners out, and even Pub Crawls enter into the picture on a regular basis.
Moving to Costa Rica is not without challenges, but as time goes by we are learning how to adjust in our adopted homeland. The biggest challenge for us has been one of expectation. Living in a medium sized city in Ohio we found it quite easy to get just about anything that we needed (or wanted) with a quick phone call or visit to one of the online stores. We can still get just about anything, but it often entails a little more creativity and/or a long wait. We’ve also learned that “adaptability” is paramount. Things are done differently here, as it should be!
About Steve & Daisy
Steve, born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio is a retired consultant, and his wife Daisy, born in Salonika, Greece, also retired, from management at a large Bookstore. They have found two of the greatest things about living in Costa Ballena are the sense of community and the close friends that they have made. Their advice enjoy being a sponge and absorb everything!