A little over thirty years ago I read an article titled “Cast Away in Costa Rica –This lovely little land features beaches, mountains, jungles and beautiful señoritas who actually like Americans.” That’s all I needed to read. The title said it all.
Prior to reading the article I had lived and studied in Mexico and was enamored with the place. However, I was always curious to see what the countries were like to the south of Mexico. After reading the article my curiosity was piqued so I bought a ticket to Costa Rica as soon as I had a couple of free weeks to explore the country.
I arrived in San José and spent three nights there at the Talamanca Hotel on Avenida 2. By the way, there hotel is still there to this day. After exploring the sights in and around San José I had to decide where I wanted to go next. At the time there were virtually no travel guides with information about Costa Rica. Fortunately, a couple of weeks prior to my tour I found a travel guide that did have a small section on Central America and Costa Rica. I read the part on Costa Rica about three or four times and decided to visit the Orosi Valley which is located near the city of Cartago. It took three bus rides but I finally reached the Shangri-la like valley in a couple of hours. I had read in my travel guide that there was a small hotel and restaurant located on the banks of the Reventazón River which runs through the center of the valley. When I got off the last bus I must have looked lost. A nice Costa Rican man approached me and asked me what I was looking for. Much to my surprise it turned out that he worked at the restaurant at the Motel Río where I wanted to stay. He told me that he was on his way to work and he would take me to the hotel. I ended up staying there for a few days and was even invited to the owner’s house for lunch. His home was located on a coffee plantation high above the valley’s floor with a spectacular panoramic view. This proved to be an unforgettable experience during my maiden voyage to Costa Rica.
After visiting the Orosí area I returned to San José and then went on to explore the Central and South Pacific areas for about a week. While there I visited Puntarenas, Jacó, Quepos and Dominical. Let me say that 30 years ago said areas were a lot less developed than they are now and it was quite an adventure to go there.
Anyway my two-week vacation concluded and I knew I had found a very special place on this earth. I returned every chance I had during the next two years. Each time I visited the country I ended up staying longer. Finally in 1981, I quit my job, sold the farm, made the big move and have never looked back. I really was a pioneer in those days. I am really happy I had the foresight and vision to do it.
Moving to Costa Rica was scary at the time and took some guts but proved to be the best decision I ever made in my life. Now retirees and others can relocate a lot easier with the help of organization like my company Live in Costa Rica Tours, Solutions Costa Rica and the many travel guidebooks like “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica.”