Costa Rica: Our Top 10

#10: Dogs! We live in a complex with about 5 members of the canine species. Each one has his/her own personality. The longer we’re here, the more familiar we’re getting with each other. Outside the complex, there are dogs e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Here in CR, it seems that dogs are not abused, they’re “unused” (pretty much neglected, not walked or played with) – so even “Tico” dogs welcome attention of any kind.

#9: Water water everywhere! We have enjoyed our complex’s pool at all hours of the day, playing with Zona the Dog, and allowing the coolness of the water bring our body temperatures back to “normal.” And it’s pretty amazing to spend an hour or two floating in the Pacific Ocean and catching waves.

#8: $2 beer! It sure is nice to go into an open-air restaurant, hear the ocean crashing just meters away, and in the heat of the day, enjoy an ice-cold Imperial – for about $2 a bottle. Even better? Sharing the experience with friends! (see #2 below)

#7: Sunsets! There is something very spiritual and comforting about watching the day end over the ocean. The sunsets in Playa Potrero/Playa Penca are not as awe-inspiring as in Jaco or Domincal, for example, as they are obstructed by islands and other land masses, but they’re beautiful here just the same.

#6: Beaches! So many beaches, so little time…and hard to get to without the generosity of others bringing us along when they go beaching. We have explored or briefly seen Playas Potrero, Penca (our favourite! see pic above), Flamingo, Azucar, Danta, Dantita (overlooked this one from a high cliff), Piretas, Conchal, Brasilito, and Tamarindo. Amazing beaches!

#5: Perfect weather! Every day has been the same – sunshine, maybe a few clouds here and there (which are welcomed!), and highs between 25C & 30C – YES! EVERY DAY!!! No rain…no snow…no Colorado Lows or Arctic Highs. And no excuse to not do #4!

#4: Walking! We typically walk everywhere…grocery shopping, out to eat, beaching it, wherever. Some places take an hour or more to get to…some only 5 minutes. But unless someone offers us a ride somewhere, we rely on our God-given energy to take us there. It’s done wonders for our strength and stamina, and helped us both shed a few pounds (along with the next point).

#3: Fresh food! There is nothing like munching on a freshly peeled mango first thing in the morning…or adding fresh citrus to a jug of water…or devouring freshly caught fish as part of a casado. (Definition: casado is a hearty, typical CR meal, usually consisting of meat, rice, beans, salad, and plantain.) Whether we cook the food ourselves or eat out, we’ve never been disappointed by the quality and freshness of the food. Now when we’ve bought “American-style processed food”, then yes, we have encountered a few notches of disappointment. Just goes to show: eat as little processed food as possible, and eat more local-produced fare.

#2: People! There is a large ex-pat community here, interspersed with the locals. The relationship story goes like this: one (fresh!) couple (us) meets another (CR seasoned!) couple who invites us out for dinner/drinks with their friends…who become our friends…who introduce us to more friends…who introduce us to even more friends! It’s pretty surreal how easy it is to make friends here…as long as we’re open and available, it seems we’re not lacking for friendships. We know the longer we’re here – and if we decide to return – the friendship “pot” will be even larger.

Then there are those who we met online before we even got here…one such family we’ve previously written about (see Playa Potrero: Gathering)…Chad & Elizabeth Faidley, their children Wyatt and Sunshine and 13-year old pup Pepper have already become dear friends – ones with whom we can share ideas, laughs, and secrets 😉 If you haven’t done so already, check out their family blog at www.familyadventuretime.com and Chad’s blog at chadfaidley.com .

And the #1 reason we love CR? Living the Pura Vida! In our post Bienvendidos a Costa Rica! we gave a definition for the very Costa Rican saying “Pura Vida!” It literally means “pure life” but the Ticos (Costa Ricans) use this to mean just about anything. Car has a flat tire? Pura Vida. Miss the bus? Pura Vida. Saying “hello”? Pura Vida. Saying “goodbye”? Pura Vida. Watching the Seahawks lose the SuperBowl? Pura Vida. Toasting the Patriots – who won the SuperBowl? Pura Vida!

Living the life of Pura Vida is one of tranquility. It is one where agendas are tolerated, not necessary…where one learns to go with the flow of the day, or even of the moment…where one purposefully CHOOSES to slow down…where life is meant to be lived in holistic harmony – with each other, with nature, with God.

Now that being said, living Pura Vida is a hard lesson to learn, especially coming from a North American lifestyle of always doing something (working or otherwise) or entertaining or being entertained. There have been days where we’ve been (dare I say it??!) BORED! But at the end of even those days, we climb into bed knowing that the day we just had was full…full of LIFE.

Can you imagine yourself being here? And we don’t mean on a vacation…but to live – maybe a month or two, maybe a year or two, maybe longer?

We’ve given our top 10…yet we could write so much more about what we love here.

And, conversely, we also have a list of top 10 things we don’t-love-so-much…but we won’t complain…let’s chalk it up to living the Pura Vida 🙂

Here’s a question for you, our readers: what would you like us to write about? Got some burning questions? Comments? Send us a message in the link above or a private message through Facebook or a personal email at cdlevair @ hotmail.com .