Moving to Costa Rica – How we prepared: 2021 August Update
We did it! After an entire year of planning, preparation, and selling nearly everything we own, we finally did it. We have moved to Costa Rica. Now that the move is behind us, this marks the end of our moving to Costa Rica Update Series.
But we are not saying adios to sharing our Costa Rica story. We have a new journey ahead of us and a new series on its way!
Before we announce the name of our new series, let’s recap what we have been up to over the past month.
It’s been another busy one. After selling our house in San Antonio, Texas, at the end of July, we began August in Austin, Texas, by moving in with Jas’s sister, our brother-in-law, and our niece.
We stayed two weeks with them in their beautiful 2 story home, and I got to say we had a great time together.
We were very appreciative of the quality time together before our long-distance move abroad.
After tieing up a few loose ends in Texas, it was time to call an Uber and head to the airport. I’ll never forget the look on the driver’s face when he stepped out of the car to open its trunk and realized that we had 13 large suitcases.
But he was a good sport and happened to be a Tetris master; he packed everything nice and tight into the trunk without an inch to spare.
Twenty minutes and a great conversation later arrived at the airport. After preflight check-ins and security, we boarded our flight. We watched a couple of movies, and before we knew it, we were in our new host in Costa Rica.
We decided to book a hotel for a night in San Jose to avoid hazardous travel at night during Costa Rica’s rainy season. So after a very short drive from the airport, we checked in to Hotel Mango and had our first experience with gringo pricing.
For those of you reading who don’t know what “gringo pricing” is and who plan to visit Costa Rica, I’ll give you the skinny.
Some locals start picturing dollar signs they see American visitors. And they might put an extra charge on top of the regular pricing, usually to pad their pockets.
And for us, the gringo tax was reflected as an additional $10 charge on our credit card.
I mentioned earlier that the hotel wasn’t far from the airport. Well, we literally could have stepped off the plane and walked there. Our room was basically at the end of the tarmac.
We were so close we had the pleasure of being sung to sleep by the sweet roars of passenger jets taking off and landing all night long. Our room was also conveniently located about twenty feet from a busy highway.
This allowed truck drivers to give us a lovely “jake brake” wake-up call just before 5am.
After a sleepless night due to noise and our excitement to settle in, we were ready for breakfast. The hotel offered Gallo Pinto, the traditional Costa Rican breakfast included in our stay.
This meal consists of rice mixed with black beans, served with sour cream, eggs, and fried plantain. That part was excellent, and the hotel was charming if you could get past the noise.
Our taxi driver arrived right on time, and he helped us load up our luggage before we took off. It was a four-hour ride, but it didn’t seem that long because the scenery was lush with mountains and greenery. It was gorgeous.
Moving to Costa Rica
We stopped for a quick lunch in a small beach town called Playa Hermosa. And about an hour later, we finally arrived in Uvita to settle into our new home. The house that we rented was a neet container home.
The owner had it all ready for us, and when we walked in, it was nice, clean, and cool from the air conditioning. The space was effectively designed and fully furnished. It was nice not to worry about a bed, linens, or kitchen appliances. Everything that we needed was already there.
The following day, we met with our relocation consultant Augustina, at a local coffee shop. When we arrived, she was already there waiting for us and ready to introduce us to another U.S. expat, Jerry. We were excited to meet in person finally. We exchanged greetings and sipped coffee, then the two showed us around Uvita.
Augustina took the time to familiarize us with all the essential spots in town. We walked to the bank, grocery store, pharmacy, veterinary and Urgent Care. She made a list of her favorite restaurants and sodas for us. Most importantly, she set up our cell phones to work in Costa Rica.
She showed us some fun things too. For example, there’s a bamboo forest that is within walking distance, as well as the Uvita river.
The beach is also only a few minutes drive away. On the way home, she took us by the farmer’s market. It happens to be directly behind our house.
We told her we needed a little bit of a bigger place. Our container home was nice and cozy, but we knew we would be in trouble once our shipping container was full of stuff arrived.
She recommended that we visit with another ex-pat named Trudy, who would be moving out of her house soon. She has a lovely place, but within the first 10 minutes, we knew it wouldn’t be large enough after our shipment arrived.
About halfway into our first week in Uvita, Jas reminded me that it was my birthday. So we got up early and started heading towards the beach to celebrate.
The beaches are beautiful here. I spent some time in the waves while Jas relaxed on the sand. Finally, after a few hours had passed, it was time to head home and prepare for our blog launch.
So far, one of our favorite pastimes has been trying out local restaurants. We have been to quite a few already, and overall we have been really impressed.
One of the cool things they have here is little eateries called sodas. A Soda is essentially a small mom-and-pop restaurant that is usually outside someone’s house.
They serve traditional Costa Rican food. It’s typically about half the price of going to a typical restaurant. So, you can probably get an entree for like $5 to $7 at a soda, whereas an entree at a typical restaurant would be like $10 to $15. And the food is delicious.
One of Augustina’s recommendations for a Friday evening was the Uvita beer garden. So when Friday night came, we had to check it out. We first noticed the live music out there playing 90s alternative rock hits. They played pop covers singing in English and in Spanish.
The bar had a familiar and friendly feel with an eclectic group of patrons. Everyone there seems like they’re all from different countries, not just the U.S. or Costa Rica, but from all over the world.
We got to meet a bunch of different people that night. It’s cool to hear everyone’s stories and what inspired them to move to Costa Rica.
Well, that brings us up to date on everything we’ve been up to since the last time we blogged about our move to Costa Rica. And now that our long-anticipated activity is over, this marks the end of our Moving to Costa Rica Update series.
We’re here! But we still have so much that we want to explore and so many things that we want to share with you. So we will start this next chapter with a new series where we show you what it’s like living in Costa Rica as ex-pats.
In this series, we plan to bring you along on all our adventures while exploring Costa Rica. We want to check out the jungle canopy ziplines, hiking up active volcanoes, swim at the base of waterfalls, and do just about anything you would find in the brochure. We’re also planning trips to tour other cities and experience some of the different microclimates this county offers. And promise to keep you informed on our residency status and how we are settling in.
Livin’ La Pura Vida
In honor of the Costa Rican motto of Pura Vida, we decided to call our series Livin’ La Pura Vida.
Pura Vida is Spanish for pure life. The motto encourages people to appreciate life’s simple treasures and take life as it comes and at their own pace.
We’re going to update you guys on the Livin’ La Pura Vida series every month so make sure you subscribe to get the latest updates.
Be sure to tune in next month because we’ve moved into another home in Uvita, and we can’t wait to show you around our new place.