We are taking a short break from our series “Is Part-Time Expat Living for Me?” with this interview with a couple living the part-time expat lifestyle in Jaco, Costa Rica.
There are people all over the world living the life of the part-time expat. Hearing their stories and situations is often helpful when you are thinking about moving overseas or are in the process of actually moving. Everyone’s experience is unique, of course, but sometimes just seeing how others have navigated the course can spur an idea or give you a little push forward in your thinking and deciding.
I am happy to introduce you to Marjorie and Don, part-timers originally from the United States.
I had the pleasure of interviewing them for this blog article, and I think you’ll enjoy their answers. Perhaps you will encounter some information that will be beneficial to you.
Paul: Between which two places do you split your time?
Marjorie and Don: The U. S. and Costa Rica.
Paul: How much time do you spend in each location per year?
Marjorie and Don: We have spent different periods of time – 3 months, 6 months, etc. Now we are just going back to the U. S. for the summers only.
Paul: What made you select Costa Rica as the country to spend time in?
Marjorie and Don: The people are friendly and easy-going for the most part, and they believe in Pura Vida. Costa Rica seems to be fairly inexpensive for living if you’re not a high maintenance person (require a lot of luxuries). Also, we don’t like the harsh winters and after several cooler-than-normal winters in Florida, we decided to move farther south.
Paul: Did you visit Costa Rica before deciding to move there? And how did you make your decision?
Marjorie and Don: Yes. We made two trips to Costa Rica as tourists, first on a cruise ship and then for 10 days just to experience the country.
We then came down for three months, this time settling in Jaco, also on the Central Pacific Coast. We wanted to compare this area with the Tamarindo area.
The following year we came down for six months, splitting time between Jaco and Tamarindo, weighing the pros and cons. In the end, we noted that the northwest coast season was very very dry, with water shortages in Tamarindo at times. The beaches were the best in Tamarindo, but Jaco is larger, has more to offer, and has more expat population.
Paul: Did you consider other countries?
Marjorie and Don: After we decided that we liked Jaco, best, we weighed the pros and cons of living in town rather than out of town. We rented a house in a gated-community 20 miles from town. We loved the community, but we did not like driving to town for restaurants and shopping, especially at night. So, we decided that town living in Jaco was for us. So, we began a long-term rental agreement on a condo in Jaco.
Marjorie and Don: We have traveled to many Caribbean countries, but Costa Rica seemed to suit us best.
Paul: Why did you choose a condo over a house or apartment?
Marjorie and Don: We like knowing we have a place to come to any time without any of the maintenance worries. With the long-term contract, we know we can walk away anytime if we feel we can no longer make the trip here. If we were younger, we might have bought a place, but not now.
Paul: What has been the most challenging thing about being a part-time expat about living in Costa Rica?
Marjorie and Don: The most challenging thing is not having a full grasp of the language. I can understand and get us through most situations, but not always.
Paul: What advice would you give to others who are considering such a lifestyle?
Margorie and Don: I think one of the biggest mistakes is people buy property or a house or condo too soon without taking the time to weigh the pros and cons. Despite what you may hear, it is not that easy to sell or rent out your place in low season.
Paul: What has surprised you the most about living in another country/Costa Rica?
Marjorie and Don: I think what has surprised me the most is the dental and medical care we have received here. I have experienced both dental and medical care and have been impressed with the service and compassion I don’t feel I’ve seen in the States for some time.
Paul: Do you plan to continue splitting your time between the US and Costa Rica, or are you considering other countries as well?
Marjorie and Don: As long as our health continues to be good, we will continue living here, going back for the U. S. for summers only.
Paul: Are you retired? Or is your work location-independent?
Marjorie and Don: Retired
Paul: How have you connected with other like-minded people in Jaco or with locals?
Marjorie and Don: Our connections with people here have been through the local English-speaking church. For us, that was a big “pro” when we were considering where to live.
Thank you, Marjorie and Don, for sharing your part-time expat experience with us.
If you have a part-time expat experience, I’d love to hear about it. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on my Facebook page: A Part-Time Expat.
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