Why is Costa Rica Essential?
Save the Americans
Round Trip Back to Paradise
Living & Working in Costa Rica
“I never had more money or had more fun than when I lived in Costa Rica,” was my response when a fellow bartender friend from southern California suggested we open a bar in Baja California.
“If you’re heading South of the Border, you may as well go to Costa Rica, where the weather is nicer and the people more friendly,” I said.
I was first invited to Costa Rica in 1973 by a college friend who worked for the Bank of America. Through the bank he had met an American who needed help with a bar he had just bought. My friend suggested that maybe I would come to Costa Rica to help out. A late-night phone call, and two weeks later I arrived from New York. After a few weeks of working together, the bar owner and I had developed trust and a friendship and, on the strength of a handshake, I became a partner in what was to become Central America’s most popular “Gringo” rock and roll bar, Ye Pub. Gringos and ticos loved the place. After living in Costa Rica for a while , I was granted a cédula, or Costa Rican “green card.”
But the time came to sell. Costa Rica had been enjoying a spectacular boom but with small countries as fast as it goes up, it can go down. After three years we sold.
With a girlfriend that was driving me nuts it was easy to leave Costa Rica. I visited every country in South America. I had already seen almost all of Europe, most of the United States and Canada. So, I ended up in Australia and New Zealand for about four years, finally washing up on the shores of southern California.
I began thinking about Costa Rica again and made a brief visit about 12 years ago to be pleasantly surprised that I still had friends in the country. I returned to California, loaded up the old Pontiac and ended up back in Costa Rica.
A lucky coincidence got me my cédula back when the Costa Rican government declared an amnesty for all foreigners, trying to get a grip on all the illegal Nicaraguans in the country.
Now I’m working at a popular San José hotel bar. I think I have about $150 under my mattress, but I have a good time and a lot of fun.
When guests ask me how long I’ve been in Costa Rica, I say, “ I don’t remember...10-12 years.” And that’s the truth, I don’t really remember.
Guest, “Do you like Costa Rica?” “NO! I’m here on the United States Witness Protection Program, but they could only find this low-profile job for me!”