Americans Living in Costa Rica - Full of stunning scenery, sunshine and smiles.
Americans Living in Costa Rica - Christy and Kevin Carpenter
Christy and Kevin Carpenter relocated to Costa Rica in July, 2006, from Phoenix, Arizona. The family of five includes daughters Lauren (7) and Hailey (3), and their Dalmatian.
Brought here due to Kevin's job in the field of computer technology, they hoped to find in Costa Rica a slower pace of life, which they did, Christy says, to a certain extent.
The high cost of health care in Phoenix was a major factor in the Carpenters' decision to move to Costa Rica. Christy says her experience with the health care system here has been great. "Most appointments are $60 and the doctors take their time. I don't think I've had an appointment that was shorter than 30 minutes. In Arizona, I would see the doctor for 10-15 minutes tops."
Living in Costa Rica - Admiring the local birds :-)
It took about three months of planning, packing, hiring movers, storing some items, donating and selling others, and saying goodbye to friends and family before the Carpenters actually moved to Costa Rica. Christy says she and Kevin didn't really do any other "homework" before moving here.
How did Christy's family and friends react when she announced their impending move to Costa Rica?
"My parents were great, my sister was upset, and my friends thought I was crazy!" When asked what she wished she had known before she moved here, Christy answered, "That mapquest.com was not going to help me one bit, and that it would be almost impossible to buy a lampshade without buying the lamp. They don't have one stop shopping."
Living in Costa Rica - How we suffer.
Christy and Kevin chose to live in Escazú because it is very friendly to English speakers, and they like the close proximity to English-language schools. Christy says that their neighborhood "is comparable to my hometown in Arizona."
The Carpenters' older daughter Lauren attends St. Mary's school in Escazú and loves it. According to her mother, her Spanish is great and she never wants to go back to the United States. Lauren loves Costa Rica's beaches, her school, and the fact that the weather is not as hot as it is in Arizona.
Younger daughter Hailey goes to Home Two, a Montessori school in Escazú, and Christy says her Spanish is improving every day. Hailey's favorite thing about Costa Rica? Her friend Brady!
Christy says that the quality of education her children receive here is great, and "better than public school in Arizona." She also appreciates that her "kids can hug their teachers," and that in Costa Rica, "Random people help them and treat them with so much respect."
Americans live on the Caribbean coast as well as the Pacific
While her children do well with Spanish, Christy admits that she finds it hard to learn the language and that her own Spanish-speaking skills are "terrible, but I can get by." When asked how important she thinks it is to speak Spanish in Costa Rica, Christy says, "I'd say somewhat.
I can get by without speaking Spanish, but it sure would make my life easier if I did speak Spanish." Christy says one of her biggest challenges in Costa Rica is trying to read her daughter's school newsletters.
Making friends in Costa Rica, on the other hand, has come more easily for Christy. "I have friends from Costa Rica, the United States, Ireland, Germany, Venezuela, and Peru - I find it so much easier to make friends here." For advice and support, Christy says she turns to her Costa Rican neighbors and U.S. friends.
As far as crime, Christy says it isn't something they worried about when they first thought about moving here. Christy says she hasn't had any personal experience with crime in Costa Rica, but "the home invasions have me worried some. For the most part, I feel safer here compared to Arizona."
Americans can be found living on the South Pacific coast too...
A typical day in the life of stay-at-home mom Christy consists of studying, going to the gym, hanging out with friends, and hanging out with her children and husband. For fun, the Carpenters like to take trips to see Costa Rica. "There's so much to do here!" Christy says.
Christy offered a few words of advice for someone wanting to move to Costa Rica. "Bring a 40-foot container with all your furniture, bedding, toys (if you have kids), and clothes. If you see a puddle in the road from rain, take care - that puddle could be deep! Be prepared to share your house with ants, lizards, frogs, and the occasional bird. And don't think you can get away with cleaning your house one day a week; you will need a maid at least part time to keep up with the dirt here."
Living in Costa Rica - Relaxing on the beach
What character traits did Christy think were important to live happily in Costa Rica? "Patience - some things take five times longer here (for example, I paid for my daughter's soccer uniform in March and received it mid-June). A sense of humor - some of the things they do here just amazes me! Tolerance for dirt and bugs - homes get so dirty here, I can't keep mine clean even with a part time maid."
When asked what they think about Costa Rica in general, Christy and Kevin both answered with a resounding "Love it!" As to what the future holds, Christy says, "As long as everything goes well with my husband's job, we don't plan on us returning to the U.S. We really like it here!"
Costa Rica is one of the most sought out vacation spots for North Americans for good reason. The country is amazing. In a small country the size of West Virginia, there a 4 mountain ranges, over 800 miles of coastline on both the Pacific and Caribbean, a vibrant culture, a well educated population, a high standard of living, great health care and a robust economy. Ticos and Ticas are wonderful people, outgoing, non confrontational, smart and good looking. Being of European Spanish decent separates them from most other latino countries who are mostly descended from Aztec, Mayan, Indio and Mistizo heritage. That is where Costa Rican good looks come from as well. There are very few Gorda y Fea that you might see many of in other Latino countries.
Back to the country, the place is amazing, beautiful waterfalls all over the place, active volcanoes, great beaches, a huge variety of climates and eco climates, cloud forest, rain forest, they have it all.
The economy not only thrives of tourism BUT has a huge and growing tech sector and medical devices sector. A bunch of North American companies manufacture there to take advantage of the highly educated and skilled workforce and safe political environment. The fact that Costa Rica abolished it's military by constitutional amendment in 1948 is amazing.
The girls as well as the guys are great. Ticos are just friendly people, recently voted the happiest country in the world by "happy planet" they have a lot to be thankful for. Now China is courting the country, looking for a new market and resources for manufacturing and other jobs creation.
The sports scene in Costa Rica is very active. Futbol (soccer) is big and nearly every town has a soccer field, some even covered for all weather and night play. Another big sport in Costa Rica is bicycling. There is a big bicycle circuit in Costa Rica and you will see well equiped riders on some very challenging roads with big hills and tough terrain. Sport fishing is also big but in reality the participants are mostly tourists since sport fishing in Costa Rica is pretty expensive. You do see a fair amount of Ticos fishing off jetty's bridges and surf casting since there are a lot of snapper and other game fish near inshore waters.
i love costa rica. its one of the most beautiful places that i have been. the people are really nice. in all my travels there i have met one nasty person. everybody else just says "PURA VIDA". the women are just as beautiful as the country itself. in fact i just got married there in august and my new wife lives in san jose. as far as the economy it is the most expensive latin country that i have been too but thats becasue there is no army and it is very safe. i think thats why its expensive because its safe. on ports i dont know much but i am sure that they love futbol (soccor)
Ive been to Costa Rica and i think its a wonderful place very beautiful, Its expensive but very safe in many ways, the girls are gorgeous and the guys are hot!, i dont know much about the sports but they love futbol- soccer.