An Update on Travel to Costa Rica and Expat Dreams
My last post was about being grateful for the flexibility of the part-time expat lifestyle. The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting changes in travel, tourism, and expat life have produced new challenges to those who dream or plan for a life as a part-time expat. But, the good news is that challenges can be met, and often times we just need to adjust our thoughts and expectations in order to move forward.
At the time of my last blog entry, tourists from Indiana were not allowed into Costa Rica yet (even though tourists from some states were), and a Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours was required for arrival. A lot has changed in the last month.
First, Costa Rica announced that as of November 1, 2020, all citizens of the United States would be allowed entry, regardless of the state of residence. This was followed very soon by the announcement that the Covid-19 test would no longer be required for entry.
Medical and lodging insurance is still required, along with the electronic epidemiological health pass form. These are both easily acquired online.
So, with the health of our family member improved, we plan to return to Costa Rica in early January 2021, after we spend the holidays in Indiana with family.
If you are considering a move either as a part-time or full-time expat in the coming year(s), don’t let the Covid-19 pandemic and all its challenges discourage you. Those exciting, unique, and fulfilling locations around the world are still there. As travel opens up, why not resurrect your dreams. Get back to researching those places that kindle a flame of passion in you. Yes, you may need to adjust some of your expectations and plans a bit, but hey, that’s just good practice for living the expat lifestyle.
Will things be different than they would have been a year ago? Of course. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be great. Let your interest in other places and cultures help to revitalize your imagination and life plans as we learn to live a global lifestyle again.
A New Adventure to Look Forward To in Costa Rica
One of the things that excites us in returning to Costa Rica is a new place in the mountains near Turrialba. In the shadow of Turrialba Volcano, this spot has 180 degree views of the verdant green mountains and farmlands of this rich region in the Cartago province. We made this purchase a few months back.
The story takes us back more than 20 years. We were living in San Jose with our two children. Driving in the Turrialba area one day, we came upon a property with a stunning view of the city of Turrialba and the surrounding valley. It had a small cabin from which we could enjoy that gorgeous view. We purchased it, and it was a great refuge, retreat, and get away from the hustle and bustle of life in the city. Our family had many, many wonderful times there, including a hammock between two trees that holds many memories.
When we later returned to the United States, we sold the cabin property. It was probably the hardest thing to say goodbye to, other than our friends. It represented so much of Costa Rica and our life there to us: beauty, wonderful neighbors, a slower pace of life, good country food, beautiful birds, stunning flowers (orchids, bird of paradise, heliconias of many types, etc). We really loved the place and our times there.
Jump ahead to 2019. I decided it might be fun to spend our 42nd anniversary in that same area since we had loved it so much. So, in mid-June, I surprised Brenda, and we drove from Jaco to a wonderful Airbnb place called Volare. We rented it for two nights and three days. When we made the reservation we didn’t realize how close it was to our old cabin property. But when we arrived, we realized it was only about 400 meters down the road! So we walked there the same day and found our old property. The cabin has been torn down, and the present owners are planning to build a new cabin in the spot. It was wonderful to “tromp” the property, as Brenda calls it (1/2 acre of forest). While we missed the house, the feelings of peace and the serenity of the surrounding beauty once again struck something in our hearts.
That anniversary trip sparked a search for another mountain cabin in Costa Rica. We looked in several areas, but we always seemed to end up back in the Turrialba area. It just felt like our place, where we belonged.
We found a wonderful spot overlooking Turrialba and the valley, about a mile from our old property. The minute we drove onto the property and got out of our car, we both looked at each other, and we knew. This was it. After several more visits and meetings with the owners (who built it), we made an offer and came to an agreement. (These are absolutely the nicest people ever – the salt of the earth, the cream of the Tico crop).
We were in the middle of the purchase process when we needed to return unexpectedly to the US to be with our family during a medical emergency. The sale was completed by me, our lawyer, our power of attorney, our bank, and the owners, even though Brenda and I were in the USA. It’s pretty amazing what can be done long distance with the advanced technology of the day.
So, here we are in Indiana, with a new place to explore and make our own in Costa Rica once we return. We look forward to continuing to live in Jaco, on the Central Pacific Coast, and spend time each month in the mountains, too.
Even in challenging times and uncertainty, plans and dreams can progress. Look back to your dreams, pull them forward once again, and propel them into reality with your imagination, passion, and determination. As Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes.”
Until next time,
Paul, A Part-Time Expat
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