When you're traveling in a tropical and exotic country, you don't really pay much attention to whether the area is socially developed or what kind of services are available to the residents. You're mainly interested in seeing what you can't find back home: different cultures, monkeys, wild animals, jungles, nature, hidden beaches, etc. You might even dream about living in this remote jungle to experience the Crocodile Dundee lifestyle.
However, problems arise when you decide to move from your comfortable, developed country in North America or Europe and suddenly realize you're far from everything. Every trip feels like an expedition; the dust from dirt roads makes you sick; the only decent restaurant is two hours away; there's no clinic, pharmacy, stores, banks, or airport—nothing! That's why paved roads and infrastructure are actually a big deal. Our region, called Papagayo, offers all the comforts of home, yet you're still surrounded by monkeys and everything you don't find in a modern country.
Two weeks ago, I went with my family to Playa Danta, which isn't too far from our area. The place is amazing! There's a restaurant there called Limonada, located in the Las Catalinas residential area. The food was great, with live music and a mix of locals and foreigners. It felt like paradise, except for the parts where we had to drive on dirt roads and cross a river to get there. It's okay for a one-day trip, but doing it every day would be very annoying. Danta is just one example, but the reality is that many great places along the coast have almost no infrastructure. It's great for a short period, to discover the beauty of Costa Rica's Pacific coast, but living there all the time would drive me crazy.
The good thing about Guanacaste is that there are hundreds of places to visit within less than a three-hour drive. There are various nature attractions open to the public, making the entire area dedicated to tourism, so wherever you go, you really feel like you're on vacation. There's the humid tropical forest of Rincon de la Vieja, the famous waterfall of Montezuma, surfing at Playa Negra or Witches Rock, the charming town of Nosara, the blue waters and white sands of Playa Conchal, tilapia fishing in the Tempisque, or zip-lining over the canopy of giant trees.
I personally LOVE visiting all those remote places, but after a while, I just want to be back in Playa Hermosa, where it feels like home. I can get whatever I need within a 15-minute distance on perfectly paved roads, with the same weather, ocean, and nice people you'd find anywhere else on the coast, but where I can get anything from sushi to rack of lamb, making my life easier and more comfortable!
I don't care what people say about our region being too developed; at the end of the day, they're not the ones who have lived 32 years in Costa Rica. I appreciate everything about this country, but when it comes to choosing the best place to live full-time, it's a no-brainer; it should be the Papagayo region, señores!
Updated Feb 14, 2024