Costa Rica is a place of wonder and amazement for all who visit and live here. Every day brings new challenges and surprises, and yet we all choose to remain or keep coming back. There is hardly a person who visits this great nation and is unimpressed. To be fair, not everyone makes the choice to come here, namely because it’s not the ‘easy resort destination’ that some Caribbean or Pacific comparative destinations can be. Nevertheless, the caliber of people who do choose to visit–especially to our magical Southern Zone on the Pacific Coast–tend to be the type to stop and marvel at the many wonders that this tropical paradise affords.
If you needed more reasons to consider Costa Rica as a potential expatriation destination, this article contains a few that rolled off the tongue easily. So before you peg Costa Rica as simply a holiday destination, know that there are many people, most probably like you, w
ho have come to visit us before, and who now live and work here, with much success and happiness to boot. And when people like us go back “home” for a visit to wherever we originate from, these are the things that remind us of why we choose Costa Rica every day as our forever home.
There is nothing like biting into a fresh banana that has just ripened on the bunch that you hung on your patio … you know, the one you cut off the bush growing in your yard a few days previous. Same goes for almost any other fruit or vegetable. Things taste differently when they are fresh and home- or locally-grown, with nature’s fertilizers. Never mind the eggs and how beautiful it is to see a bright orange yolk when you crack one. In Costa Rica, you simply know that what you are eating is a natural gift for your body. Shopping in supermarkets in our so-called first world nations reminds us that perhaps many of us have our priorities wrong and that we are sacrificing flavor for convenience. And we forget about the convenience of walking out to your yard to pick that pineapple that has just ripened on the bush–it really doesn’t get any sweeter than this.
Aggressive behavior is something that most of us North Americans and Europeans are so accustomed to that we don’t even notice it anymore. Yelling, bumping into people as we charge past, and honking car horns are some things that have become part of daily life for many around the world. But those of us who find ourselves in this sleepy corner of the Pacific are blessed with loud, jovial conversations from our neighbors walking by with their dogs, or drivers honking and waving as they slowly cruise by. There is no haste here and the feeling of being able to take your time with your tasks at hand is very welcome. There is no routine of hurry on the regular, just a nice, relaxed pace that leaves time to enjoy.
Costa Rica has two seasons that are often termed as ‘wet and dry’ or ‘green and high’ seasons. The terms you choose to use all depend on what you are trying to sell. What Costa Rica doesn’t have is the inconsistent weather ups and downs of the more northern nations that the majority of us hail from. There have historically been very few hurricanes or tornados that have passed near this nation. The weather generally consists of a lot of heat and periodic refreshing rains to break it up throughout the year, predictably coming around 3pm on afternoons in the green season, offering just enough of a cooling effect to breathe new life into the thirsty jungles that characterize this luscious region of the world. And funnily enough, the “green” season is so full of flowers and fruits that you don’t get in other parts of the year, and this wet season fast become a favorite from most people who spend extended amounts of time living here. Never mind the snow, sleet and horrible driving that comes with them– you simply won’t get that in the Southern Zone, and your wardrobe will all of a sudden become so much lighter.
Pigeons feeding on breadcrumbs and leftovers in the largely-concrete parks is about the extent of the wildlife that city dwellers can see on a daily basis. But in gorgeously green Costa Rica, you will often start your day with the sound of howler monkeys and a cacophony of bird song. A colorful assortment of butterflies, including the archetypal electric blue Morpho, will flutter past your morning path. Throughout the day, you won’t be surprised to encounter hundreds more exotic species of all kinds of mammals, birds and reptiles. Iguanas, sloths and macaws are regular sightings for the average person living in this land of plenty and there is no need to fear any of them. I’ll take a rhinoceros beetle over swarms of mosquitos any day and most people who come from areas where they live near or visit the more northern wilderness will agree that the bug life in the boreal forests is 1000x worse than anything you will likely experience living near the jungle. There are just so many delicious plants and flowers here that there is hardly a need to feast on human prey in Costa Rica. Unlike, for instance, the black flies of the Canadian wilderness.
All in all, Costa Rica is a place to experience the joys of simple, natural living. Although we have all of the amenities of our former places of residence to keep us living at the standard that the majority of earthlings have come to expect, we don’t feel the rushed pace anymore, and it becomes easier to appreciate what is around us. And when what is around us is wonderful food, great friends, fine weather and spectacular flora and fauna, we’d be hard-pressed not to make it our one routine to regularly pause, breathe in, and feel grateful.
By Alex Swift