There are several species of extranjeros living in Costa Rica for a variety of reasons and doing different things. They come to retire, for adventure, to invest or open a business, or to study with one thing in common: changing their life style.
There are tourists. Some come to appreciate the flora and the fauna, volcanoes, beaches and mountains, and observe the Costa Rica culture. Others flock for sports: deep sea fishing, diving, surfing, white water rafting, hiking and hanging out. Everything is available except snow sports. Cultural events may be added on to either group’s activities. A third group comes entirely for the bars, casinos and massage parlors. No one comes for the great food which has not inspired restaurants in other parts of the world. No matter, the ingredients are available to create your own cusine.
The people who park here for six months to life do these things and more. Missionaries come for Latin language and culture. Old men come looking for young Ticas. They get them too. This unlikely alliance builds the men’s egos and the girls like the upgraded standard of living. Others of all ages earn or supplement their income teaching languages, writing, renting rooms or acting as tour guides. There is a group, usually college educated, who can’t find, satisfactory jobs in North America. They are found in the tourist industry or working for international companies. A foreigner can work here if the task is something a Tico can not do. There are regulations, but in Latin countries, these are worked around. A slower pace of life and close family ties appeal to people in high stress jobs who have children. They come for a change of atmosphere. There is crime and substance abuse here, but the tightly knit community provides a healthier climate for raising children.
Retirees participate in many things. Some renovate a dream house. Some persue the World Wide Web. There is a Theater Group, a Canadian Club, Women’s club, Scrabble, bridge and T’ai Chi clubs and even a society for refrigeration engineers. The country club set plays golf, graces swimming pools, and dines elegantly. One can study yoga, painting, writing, language, pottery, gardening, holistic medicine and dance.
Remember, living takes longer here. Time is spent finding things, fixing things, cutting red tape and avoiding long lines. But this pace allows more time for reading, observing, listening to music and just being. In Costa Rica, we are more human beings than human doings. Pura vida! Pure life!