It all started when Scott and I met a few years ago and decided we wanted to be together. Scott had mentioned then, that he owned a property in Bahia Pez Vela Costa Rica which is located in the Guanacaste Peninsula. It was a beautiful home in a beautiful country.
But to understand how we came to this decision, first I should tell you a little bit about me. I was born in Managua, Nicaragua over 50 years ago. I survived an earthquake in 1972 our family lost everything – our house and all in it gone in a few minutes. My father passed away when I was 14 years old, five years after the earthquake. Then, we had a civil war that brought lots of pain and suffering. People thought this would make the country a better place to live and that was somewhat true for a while.
Having to leave my country because of the war, was the most difficult decision I had to make, but it was that, or facing eminent death since we were experiencing a genocide. When we had bombs being thrown at us, daily activities like going to school were impossible to accomplish.
I relocated to Maryland in the early eighties not knowing the language, the culture or how to make a living. I started working, doing odd jobs like babysitting and part-time office work. I got married. My two beautiful sons were born and life seemed to be great. A few years after that I started working for the school system and later for Catholic Charities, and various other non-profit organizations. Then we moved to Mexico were my ex-husband is from. He wanted to relocate, I didn’t. When Mexico didn’t work out and I had to move back to the states divorced and with my sons, I knew I had to start all over and work harder as a single parent to provide a better future for my boys.
I couldn’t be prouder of my sons not only because they’re well adjusted, hard workers, very smart and responsible young men, but also because I learned so much from them! They both joined the military – Navy and Air Force.
WHEN I MET SCOTT.
As a parent, I focused on raising my kids, and as I saw them growing up and being more independent, I decided that maybe it was time for me to try to see if there was someone out there who I’d feel comfortable with. I was very suspicious; I didn’t think I could trust again but I met Scott and he was different. Always honest and sincere, his transparency was refreshing. We got married in 2013.
Given the fact that Scott is from upstate New York, I was surprised that the first time we spoke, he mentioned that he had a place in Costa Rica. He talked about how he had fallen in love with the country, the gorgeous beaches, the warmth of the people, how he always felt better when he was there. Whenever he went there he was physically active, ate more fresh foods, vegetables and fruits, had many friends, expats and locals who all were happy to live in a peaceful, beautiful country.
We started traveling together, and visited Costa Rica on a regular basis. I immediately knew why he loved visiting Costa Rica. I fell in love with its lush greenery, warm winds and gorgeous views of the ocean and mountains.
As the years went by, and because every-time we were getting ready to come back to the states from vacationing there, we would feel sad to have to leave, the thought of moving to Costa Rica permanently became more and more real. We decided “Let’s do this, let’s move to Costa Rica”.
We had to start thinking about everything from the logistics, to the finances; all the questions that arise like what are we going to be doing there, work wise? In the meantime, I got started by becoming a real estate agent in Maryland in 2016 working with buyers and sellers, always looking to gain experience and serve my clients well.
We also crafted a plan that involved talking to people, creating a financial plan that involved putting money away, and making sure we were prepared for our new future.
The process has not been easy, but we know it’s worth it! First, we sold the property in Bahia Pez Vela. We discussed the possibility of staying there, but although beautiful, the villa was small for a full-time residence and we also knew we would eventually have family and friends visiting as they have warned us already.
The next logical step was to decide if we wanted to buy a house or build our dream home. We had never built a home before and decided we were up to the challenge, it’s now or never!
With the help of Mike Simons our good friend and realtor, we were able to locate the perfect spot for our new home. A lot located by the second hole in Vista Ridge-Sardinal, Guanacaste. Perfectly located between Mike (our realtor friend) and Ricardo Vargas, our good friend and now neighbor who owns a very successful tour company: LAR
The decision to buy in the golf course was easy, Scott had decided to stop playing baseball in order to learn to play golf. We saw golf as a sport/pastime we could both get on board and play in Costa Rica where we would have a little more time for ourselves. Scott calls it “our togetherness project”.
The second reason, our good friends Ricardo and Mike lived there. Plus, we will have an uninterrupted view of three volcanoes…perfect!
With the help of Mike Brussock from Adobe Construction and Developers in Playa del Coco and our architects Nina and Diego from AH Studio we designed our home thinking about having just enough space for us and future visiting friends. We wanted our new home to be beautiful but uncomplicated, spacious but not huge, while being modern and minimalistic at the same time. They helped us put our vision into a blueprint that will become our future home. The idea is that the house will be built in 12-18 months.
On February 15th we received an email from Mike “we have the lot leveled and started tracing the House , also Temporary facility is installed and some fencing for privacy for the neighbors , currently we are doing the rebar structure for the footings and the columns” he attached pictures, now our dream is becoming real.
March 15th we received the news and more pictures: they broke ground! Incredible as it seems, they’re moving fast and furious! It literally looks like a maze, big holes in the ground rebarbs everywhere.
March 27th Mike Simons our neighbor and friend is now contributing to our collection by sending pictures of the progress: more rebar, men working, cement trucks, building blocks.
April 14th more pictures walls are going up more workers lots going on.
May 6th we have aerial shots of our house! How cool is that? We’ve posted these shots to our Facebook friends and they’re thrilled for us. The house looks bigger and we can see each room as we designed and envisioned them. The next phase is one of the most time consuming: installing the roof. Mike asked for the next cash installment this is seriously expensive although we now this is exactly what we want.
We have an extra set of eyes supervising this project. Juan Jose Pozuelo (JJ) is our eyes during construction there, getting ahead of any issues and making sure the job is done properly like when he noted that some areas of the rebars were not completely filled and informed us as well as informed the foreman and Mike of it. We’re very grateful for his work. He also sends us pictures of what he sees and of any “discrepancies” during the process he has been excellent at explaining what is happening and making sure everything is as should be i.e. construction is being executed as discussed and so far, so good!
Scott and I keep thinking of the things we need to bring with us for the big move i.e. some electronics like sound system, laptop, etc. We keep checking Facebook posts where ex-pats talk about what has and hasn’t worked for them and it seems like there are a lot more choices in terms of shopping (Walmart) and other stores that are coming in the area of Liberia and Coco. More on the move later…
We’ve been reading about some of the expectations’ people have when they decide they want to give Costa Rica a try…and have to say that unless you have traveled there extensively, lived there or know the area well, people should not just jump in as tempting as that might be. Don’t buy property unless you’re absolutely sure Costa Rica is where you want to live, although Costa Rica is also a great place to invest your money, if you are thinking of making the move my advice is rent before you buy.
There are many things to consider: the language, culture, customs and idiosyncrasies. Even though it seems easy enough, simple enough it can be frustrating if your expectations are too high. Know and understand that things will not get done “immediately” just because you’re in a rush or because you think “how hard can this be”…yes, things and people will move slower than you think and that’s just one area: the pace is similar to “island time” mentality which is why we want to be there in the first place!
There are a lot of expats from all over the world in Costa Rica. People from U.S. as many as 50,000 according to the U.S. State Department. There are also expats from Canada, U.K. Germany, Sweden, there is even an Asian community.
People are drawn to Costa Rica’s biodiversity, the political stability and its cheap health care not to mention the fact that it is a hidden paradise.
There are a lot of things people can find to dislike about the country, it’s a little primitive, their roads are not all paved or that you have to know your way around it, but if you’re looking to simplify your life, if you are tired of the materialistic world we live in and love nature and all things in their “natural, beautiful state” and are no longer attracted to shopping malls and manicured landscapes, this is the place for you. Sure it isn’t perfect, but if you’re ready to take things slow, if you’re ready to stop and smell the roses, watch and listen to the birds sing, watch the sunset, find monkeys, play in the sand, this is the place for you!