Monday, October 19, 2015

Half the Cost, Double the Freedom Living in Costa Rica



By Jackie Minchillo
Fed up with the harsh Midwest winters and tired of working too much to pay for a life we didn't have time to enjoy, my husband, Junior, and I decided we weren't willing to wait for retirement to see the world and enjoy life.
Just before Christmas last year, we started researching our overseas options. We sold all of our belongings after New Year and at the start of April this year, we landed in Costa Rica...without ever having been here before.
Every day we walk along the picturesque coastline of the cheery surf town of Tamarindo and neighboring Playa Langosta, where we live, on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. We never have to check the weather; it's sunny and warm here every single day.
Previously, I had only ever observed the quirky personalities of monkeys in the confines of a zoo; I never imagined that hearing their howls in the morning and seeing them out and about as common as squirrels are back home would be a part of my day-to-day life.
We can live more affordably here than back in Chicago. In fact we've halved our costs. In Chicago we paid $1,375 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. Here we rent a one-bedroom condo for $750 per month. Every Saturday, we ride our bikes to the Tamarindo feria (farmer's market) and buy our organic, locally grown produce for the week. We spend about $20 to $30. For less than half the cost we'd pay in the U.S., we bring home a fridge full of fresh food including a variety of greens, vegetables, tropical fruits, eggs, and fish.
One of the big fears in moving anywhere new, let alone to a foreign country is being accepted. As with many fears in life, once you dive in you often learn there wasn't much to be scared of after all. We've been welcomed here with open arms by locals and fellow expats alike. People wave and say hola when you pass them on the street. We've met many of our friends here through beach volleyball, or just walking with our dog Harvey on the beach.
People called us crazy when we decided to move to Costa Rica, but I think we'd be crazier to have stayed put. Today, we have a lot more time and a lot less stress. We have found the clarity we needed to be able to focus on enjoying the important things in life. And for about half the cost, we have double the freedom.