Thursday, July 30, 2015

Costa Rica (always) on my mind

It seems that, no matter how hard you try or how much you study, it may be impossible to totally prepare yourself for a life changing move like the one you will make if you relocate to Costa Rica!

Costa Rica is a tiny country the size of West Virginia, but those making the move report quite different experiences and their journeys vary widely. Those who do their due diligence, go with their eyes and their heart open, usually adapt more easily and are the ones who make it long term.

sunset in Playa Dominical

So, to that end, I share with you the (ongoing) story of a couple of my friends (2 women - mother and daughter) who recently made the BIG move to Costa Rica on July 1st.  If you follow my blog, they are the same 2 ladies who visited Puerto Viejo last October.  I am so happy and proud of them for making the leap. I have been keeping in touch with them and sharing in their daily life as much as possible.

I love their story and so I asked permission to share their experiences with you here on the blog.

Welcome to Costa Rica
Arrival - Settling in 
For my 2 friends, the "adventure" began almost the moment they landed. They travelled with 1 carry on...1 big suitcase (70lbs) and two backpacks. Their plan was to stay in Costa Rica for 3 months with the "option to extend" Costa Rica has a 90 day Visa limit for tourists --(and BTW - they realized very soon after arriving that they had packed "way too much").

After discovering that "renting a car is not as easy as it seems" they scrapped that plan and ended up taking a taxi from the San Jose Airport to their destination several hours away on the Pacific Coast.  Destination, Dominical. Dominical is a funky, laid back little surfing town on the Pacific Coast. It is an internationally known surf haven! (but I don't think they knew just how laid back and just how many surfers were there before they made the choice to start there).

If you have not been to Costa Rica you are probably not familiar with their taxis. I was not at all surprised when I learned that the taxi broke down on the way and they ended up spending some time on the side of the road before finally arriving, very tired, late that evening.

Playa Dominical's beach area is rather rocky and has very strong rip tides. Although a great place for surfers, swimming can be dangerous. The plus side is that the area boasts near perfect sunsets all year round.

They had already secured a cool "apartment" (rented online) with an open floor plan and committed to a month's stay. The apartment was situated on a very steep hill (affording them a great view but making walking difficult). The apartment also had no closets or dressers and very few doors. The open cabina style floor plan is popular in Costa Rica especially in the beach areas.
"Basically, Downstairs is dining/kitchen and bathroom...wide open. Upstairs is an outside entrance (can be locked), two rooms. One big with a bed, table & chairs and bench and then a bedroom."
with the hot humid weather clothes are hung on any/every available spot
(the humidity also makes it difficult for clothes to dry)

"NEVER depend on someone saying they have wifi and it is "good"... Because that can't be defined. As I write my phone drops on and off wifi constantly.... I can't make a call... Obviously this is a sort of BIG problem I am trying to sort because I made it clear from the beginning that we work from home and have to have reliable internet."
Tip: iPhones apparently work better for the Internet to laptop connection so watch groupon.

The lack of Spanish on the Pacific side is definitely harder than on the other side (The Caribbean)

Insects - Bug Bites and Remedies
Both women were pretty badly bitten by insects. The beaches are very hot and humid. In comparison, another friend just returned from the Central Valley where temps were in the 70's and there was no humidity to speak of.

"I think it's also that I am having trouble sleeping the last few nights... Hot... Fighting mosquito nets...Locals say it takes some people 1 month, some 6 months to get past the reactions..."
However they made a trip to the pharmacy where they purchased affordable medication to help ease the discomfort and itching and they received lots of advice on remedies from the helpful locals. Oh and tip - use coconut oil to ward off mosquitoes! 

"A bit of an update. The first night I think part of me was thinking "what have I done?!" But then reminders that this is just a stopping point to explore along the way... The following day our host sat with us and acquainted us with the area, him, etc... We were encouraged."
"One funny thing. An open house - first morning. Went to the bathroom on my way back upstairs... A dog... Sleeping in the dining room."
and a crab in the kitchen
"You know... You read all those articles/blogs whatever about going with the flow and having patience because things will be difficult... Or things will go wrong...That's just it. Like our taxi breaking down on the way shit happens and you just roll with it... Lol"
"Take it in stride... It all works out some way or another... So try not to waste energy fretting over things or getting frustrated..."
A nice dinner... Fish tacos and the delicious Costa Rican sweet potatoes

It's a beautiful morning - view from the bedroom window

Do things get better?
Find out
Please stop back for more of their journey

We have only just begun!

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