My life in Costa Rica (Part 1)

To understand why I chose Costa Rica as my home, we need to go back 32 years. In 1988, after spending 8 years traveling between Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, I still hadn't found a place to settle. Every country had its issues, whether it was political instability, insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, or a lack of friendliness. During my last unsuccessful attempt to establish myself in Venezuela, I visited the Amazon to see some untouched forests. Obviously, living in the jungle was out of the question with nothing but the river, the trees, and mosquitoes for company. However, during our expedition, we encountered an Amazonian family canoeing to an island in front of us. It seemed they were embarking on a long journey just for a vacation. It was fascinating to see how organized they were compared to us; our camp was chaotic. They managed to start a fire in 5 minutes, and every family member had a clear role. Within 30 minutes, they were eating fish freshly caught from the Amazon River, while we were stuck with Doritos and canned tuna. After five days in the jungle without showers, electricity, or any comforts—just countless insects—and feeling disillusioned with my Venezuelan experience, I decided to move to Costa Rica. I had heard it referred to as the "Switzerland of America" and was eager to see if it lived up to its reputation.

Upon arriving in Costa Rica with my longtime best friend, we headed straight to a small hostel in downtown San Jose, located just 200 meters from the cathedral. Surrounded by diverse businesses and cultural sites, we spent about a week partying with the locals, who were incredibly welcoming. A unique perk at the time was that bars offered free tapas with every drink, which was perfect for two single guys from Quebec who weren't keen on cooking since we were still on vacation.

As time went on, my affection for Costa Rica grew; it was clean, had abundant potable water, felt very safe, and the locals were exceptionally kind and patient with us. The women were beautiful, the climate was ideal, and the lush vegetation was breathtaking. We rented a large house in Moravia, just 10 minutes from downtown, and life was truly "Pura Vida." Eventually, it was time to consider making a living. We met a friend from Québec in San Jose who told us about an Italian selling his bar in the heart of the capital. After a few days of negotiation and straightforward paperwork, I decided to buy it and suddenly became a bar owner in Costa Rica. The bar was a hit, offering a mix of Costa Ricans and foreigners in a respectful atmosphere that I had long sought. 

I enjoyed four successful years running my bar in San Jose and had a great time. Later, I moved to Escazu, where the weather was better, and lived in a high-end neighborhood. Having plenty of free time allowed me to explore Costa Rica's beauty, uncovering the amazing places this small country proudly holds. From the start of this new life, I knew Costa Rica would be my home for the rest of my days. Pura Vida.

Click here to read part 2 of my story

Updated Feb 18, 2024

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