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Imagine yourself in Paradise! Enter to win a weekend getaway at


Lifestyles in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific Costa Rica • January - June 2015 • #03



¡Bienvenidos! In this edition we present dreams come true! And true to form, in our current edition we present members of the community and their pieces of advice. We start with one family’s adventure, followed by the tale of two ‘snowbirds’ who head south by winter’s first frost, and we wrap up with the story of two entrepreneurs who could not wait for retirement to follow their dreams and move to Costa Rica - inspirational! Our central theme of this edition deals with what everyone wants to know, what is the Cost of Living the dream!? As presented by our contributing writers and reflected articles we hope the magazine answers some of your most pressing questions and shines light on who you can turn to for expert and

reliable advice in the area. We have many professionals who can help make a smooth transition, after all, many of them have made the transition themselves and understand the intricacies of such a move. But first, we invite you to tantalize your eyes with our cover story and be whisked away to a place of luxury and breathtaking ocean views. So go ahead get ready to dig in for a good read and see some beautiful photography of our area that will simply take you to a place where you only thought existed in your dreams. Let the daydreaming begin - ‘dulce sueños’!

¡Pura Vida!

Nikki Whelan Editor-in-Chief & Cheeky Monkey

So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about. Marilyn Monroe

Keep up with us online! #CostaBallenaLiving /CostaBallenaLiving CheekyMonkeyInCR +NikkiWhelan

View past editions online www.CostaBallenaLiving.com © Mario Albi


Contents: Costa Rica’s Winning Attitude


Credits: Editor-in-Chief Nikki Whelan + (506) 8768 7540 nikki@costaballenaliving.com


Just Imagine…





Feature Story

Meet Chuck & Mercedes

Contributing Writers Ben Rutherford Chuck Chastain Karen McCrea Lindsey Vast Shannon Enete Cover Photo By J Canaan Creative Photography & Design + (506) 8672-4658 jcanaancreative.com Special thanks to Diana Valencia for cover appearance. Magazine Photography By Joan Weilers Design by

Feature Story

Meet Robin & Helen



Magazine printed by

Feature Story

Meet Ben & Nate

Recyclable Next Edition: July 2015 Questions? costaballenaliving@gmail.com Find a list of participating businesses online.

Lifestyles in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific


Join the Adventure! /CostaBallenaLiving


What differentiates Costa Rica within Central America is it’s ideology. Without an army since 1949, their citizens are all about peace. When they abolished their militia, they took on an engagement with their population to invest in their education and healthcare systems, and into what is now their future. The government’s decision was, and still is, a reflection of the sentiment that resonates within their population, they understand that it is through education and cooperation that the everyday quality of life of their citizens will be uplifted. ‘Paz’ is a way of life, and Costa Rica has decided to put their money where they believe it will do them the greatest good. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, we saw Costa Rica rise from the shadows and step up and hold ground against some of the strongest nations worldwide. Surprised by their talent, the world began rooting for what was the underdog. Despite their loss in the final rounds against the Netherlands, they played with their hearts

and they demonstrated that team work will pay off. They stole the spotlight and with that, the hearts’ of many who now look forward to their promise - they will be back, and they will step up to the plate once more and perform. And this last attitude is what keeps Costa Rica thriving strong, their ability to rally and come together in the face of a challenge. And yet they take it all in stride, they are able to keep in sight what is important, they keep their spirit, even when confronted with adversity. It’s not just about winning (although that’s great too), it’s about how far you’ve come and whether you did the best you could with what you had at the time. And next time you will do it again, and more! You will see Costa Ricans help out when they can, share because they can and a smile will always greet your eyes. Family values, hard work and playtime are at the foundation of what it means to live a good life in Costa Rica. And so, the Rich Coast is indeed endowed with richness beyond a doubt and the experience of Costa Rica and its people will be what ultimately wins you over; it is unlike no other in Central America.

Food For Thought If you are like many North Americans, you may have a fair bit of money tucked away in “safe products” (savings account, term deposits, money markets). Investing in conservative products can provide peace of mind, yet if the bulk of your investments are invested in “safe” products it can actually be quite risky. You are likely trying to shelter those sums to preserve your capital. Nonetheless, you must ask yourself, are you really preserving capital? More importantly, are you preserving your buying power? You may be preserving the face value of your capital, however, simply because you are not losing money does not mean you are not losing ground. In fact, you may be eroding your purchasing power if you are not earning at an interest rate above inflation. This loss of buying power impacts how far your savings will go; what a dollar could buy a year ago, will not go as far today. And that sum of money you have banked away, it may be slowly eroding in terms of purchasing power. The learning here, there is no vacation from inflation, invest your money and savings wisely. Find a wealth of information online at www.CostaBallenaLiving.com



Known for its dramatic coastline, it is a unique tropical destination where lush mountains meet pebbled beaches. With Dominical to the north, Ojochal to the south, and Uvita in between, there are beaches, waterfalls and great views to enjoy. Costa Ballena’s trademark is it’s welcoming community. There are many social activities that provide a way to connect with fellow community members throughout any day of the week, and year round. Whole-heartedly committed to enjoying all life has to offer, the people who populate the area are diverse and easy going. The animal life is abundant; with monkeys, birds, and flowers galore. The animal lover and the nature enthusiast will be delighted even more.

Outdoor activities are ample and diverse, for the adventurer or the sports enthusiast, you’ll never get bored. For the green thumb, you can grow your own garden and almost anything takes root. And, for the health enthusiast, you’ll be glad to know Farmer’s Markets are held various days of the week, in various areas of Costa Ballena, so you can always eat fresh! And fortunately enough, it is an area that has remained relatively off the beaten path and kept its natural charm. Another of Costa Ballenas’ outstanding qualities, it most definitely is uniquely picturesque, and the topography is distinctive. The mountains and the ocean converge quickly to create unique landscapes and breathtaking views!



Picture yourself in a private estate complete with owner’s luxury home, a penthouse suite and three luxury villas, perched mountain side and with Pacific Ocean views giving way to a dynamic ‘vista’ of Dominicalito’s Bay to the south and Playa Dominical to the north. With the ocean breeze that comes in during the afternoon and with the setting of the sun, you can relax in one of the many jacuzzis, poolside, or zip onto their tree-house platform, to enjoy the panoramic views. Tastefully decorated, with attention to detail, whether you are inside or looking out from the manicured gardens, your eyes will feast on beauty all around. Fully equipped in all ways of these words, this property has all you could imagine luxury to be and within only hours will leave you feeling fully rested and definitely pampered. Great for a large family or individual owners, the property is centrally located with easy access to the Costanera. It could make a great private home, or a one of a kind boutique b&b. Given any option, the estate is indeed a unique purchase with views that are unparalleled.

For more information about this property contact info@costaballenaliving.com


Enter to win a

Weekend in Paradise! www.CostaBallenaLiving.com /CostaBallenaLiving Some restrictions apply, view full contest rules online. Draw to be held June 1st, 2015.


Costa Ballena is what we locals refer to as the coastal region, comprised of three towns: Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal. In 2006, Costa Ballena was officially inaugurated. The zone is delimited as the coastal range from ‘Rio Barú’, in Dominical, all along the coast, including Uvita and Ojochal, with the river mouth of the ‘Río Grande de Térraba’, at the height of Coronado.


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A surfer town not too far off the beaten path, just 44 km south of Quepos and a national airport, and within an hour’s drive from San Isidro El General city’s center, Dominical is the gateway that opens up to Costa Ballena. And with consistent waves served up at the ‘playa’, Dominical has become home to annual surf competitions and attracts many surfers who are coming to cut up the waves in Costa Rica. Although Dominical remains a small town, it offers access to essential services, such as a bank and ICE, where electricity, internet and phone services can be set up. And a definite perk, delivery service from the local grocery store and a few local restaurants is available!

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In the surrounding municipalities, such as Dominicalito, Escaleras, and Puerto Cito, families, couples and retirees alike, also enjoy the fresh mountain air combined with the proximity to the beach. The area boasts stunning ocean views from many homes.

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Fresh sushi made on the spot! Jota and Rocio invite you to try their Costa Rican inspired rolls, such as the Tico Roll, with sweet fried plantain, a great desert roll, or the Bruce Lee Roll that packs a punch! Sit comfortably in their riverside restaurant to enjoy a surf movie playing on TV, or chat it up with friends at their bar seats. Traditional sushi options are available, as are take-out orders. Open daily for lunch & dinner. Playa Dominical, Centro Commercial Pueblo Del Rio + (506) 8826 7946 /Dominical-SUSHI

While enjoying local and international favorites let your eyes feast on a view that is unparalleled. The powerful beauty of the rugged coastline, sparkling ocean blues, and vibrant jungle greens all at your disposal. Seafood specials will have you returning regularly. Open for lunch and dinner from 11 am until 9 pm, everyday of the week. Turn towards ocean at cross road to Dominicalito +(506) 2787 0016 / 2787 0241 www.LaParcelaCR.com

Hot Wings and Cold Beer! 23 different wing flavors. Hand-pattied 1/2 pound burgers. 12 tequi-las. 20+ beers. Come on up the mountain. You'll be glad you did! Open 7 days a week starting at 4pm. 5 minutes up the Escaleras Road +(506) 8706 8438 /Bar-Jolly-Roger-Costa-Rica


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Costa Ballena’s most famous natural attraction, the Whale’s Tail is found in Bahía! The ‘Parque Nacional Marino Ballena’ encompasses a total of 13,570 acres made up of both land and ocean. It is home to many migrating Humpback Whales throughout the year. From the mountain ranges nearby, amazing amphitheater style views of the natural reef barrier can be found.



With a mountain backdrop and the ‘Rio Morete’ that runs through the town center, the town is surrounded by nature, and offers easy access to beaches, rivers and the mountains nearby. Essential services can be found in Uvita, and everyone is known to make a trip to Uvita at least once a week to replenish their stocks or to take care of business. It is the bustling centre of Costa Ballena that is gearing up for expansion in the years to come. And on Saturday mornings a buzz is in the air, the little town is very busy, as shoppers head to and fro, from Farmer’s Market to wherever they may go.

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Homes nestled in the mountains, halfway between Uvita and Ojochal, offer prime access to some of the most pristine beaches in the area, not to mention some of the most dynamic views. With changing tides and the rock formations, ‘Las Trés Hermanas' and ‘Isla Ballena’, one can sit and watch the tides of the ocean come in and out from afar and enjoy the landscapes that are altered by the passing of time.

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Stop in the Beer Garden for a cold one on tap! Costa Rican Craft Beers are chilled and waiting. Fresh homemade deli sandwiches, incredible quality meats, wraps, salads, and smoothies served in a relaxed, kick up your feet in your backyard, and soon to become favourite, hang out spot! Live music on occasion. Pre-order your take-out or group order for it to be ready when you are.

50 meters west of BCR + (506) 4702 3782 /Roadshackdeli

Specializing in Paellas, Sangria, Meats & Seafood dishes. Meet Montse & Henri, who bring their Spanish fusion dishes beachfront to Playa Uvita. Reserve in advance for their specialty lobster dishes prepared with a typical Ibizan flavor (24 hours preparation time required). Spanish wine selection available. Lunch 12:00-3:00pm. Dinner 6:00-9:30pm.

Next to Cabinas Esmo, near Flutterby House GPS: N 9009.099; W 83044.098 + (506) 2743 8312 / 8768 9160

If you are headed to Playa Ballena, stop at the beautiful Goathouse building at km169 which houses the restaurant Ballena Bistro. They serve all homemade food with vege-tarian and gluten free options. From Brazilian fish soup, to tender aged beef fajitas and falafel burger with goat cheese, dishes are creative and unique, using the freshest in-gredients. Ballena Bistro is a happy supporter of local sustainable fishing and grows some of the vegetables in their own backyard. Check for live music events and operating hours at www.goathouse169.com Located at km 169 on the Costanera + (506) 2786 5407 • /Ballena-Bistro




A quiet village, receiving it’s name from the ‘Ojoche’ Tree, is home to many long time expatriates and returning snow birds alike, and has gained a reputation of being the mecca of fine dining in Costa Rica. Perhaps due to the international community that has flocked south, there are many fine dining options available, even if it is a little off the beaten path. It is well known for its large French Canadian expatriate community, and just after a few days you’re sure to run into someone you now know. Fascinating stories always seem to light up conversations at the various social events held throughout the year. There are no ATMs, but there is a school, a few local churches and an abundant wildlife of birds and flora. Many homeowners take pride in their manicured and fruitful gardens. If you are looking to find some calm or raise your family in a residential area, this quaint, village offers a perfect setting, and the local community will always make you feel welcome. V ie w f ro

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Called the most biologically intense place on earth, holding 5% of the earth's animal and plant species in one region. It is an area not to miss if you come to Costa Ballena!


Lucy and Robert welcome you to their intimate fine dining establishment serving Thai, Viet, French and Polynesian dishes that are to be savoured. Be sure to save room for one of their delectable homemade desserts. Located 1 km on the main road off the Costanera By reservation only + (506) 2786 5050

Looking for a trendy, tropical terrace atmosphere and a great bite to eat? Meet up for cocktails and dinner at Citrus or make a lunch date with a friend to enjoy their eclectic menu offering. Their newly decorated garden terrace will get you relaxed and their menu will have your taste buds travelling around the world. All menu items have been specially created by chef and owner, Marcella. Be sure to try one of her classic dishes! Plaza Filibustero, on main road, to the left after the first bridge in Ojochal For reservations call + (506) 2786 5175

Whether before dinner tapas with cocktails, or a nightcap in the evening, you will relax in a lounge designed for comfort and relaxation. Cool music, comfy couches, and great friends are the recipe for anything that ails. Hosts France & Tommy will keep your cocktails full and your mood high. Open Tuesday through Friday from 5pm-11pm. Ladies Night Fridays! Turn right after the first bridge in Ojochal, off the Costanera +(506) 2786 5656




If the idea of an adventure hitting a jungle trail, or the sound of rushing waters getting closer as you make your way along a hidden path, doesn’t get your blood flowing, the cold river water definitely will! In Costa Rica, we are blessed with many beautiful, naturally occurring waterfalls, offering an endless variety to discover and enjoy. There are delicately flowing, graceful cascades that will relax and mesmerize you with their intricate beauty. And there are some that will impress, with each thundering crash of water that trembles the ground it falls upon. Waterfall excursions provide an excellent excuse to explore the jungle, and you never know where you may wander, as you may end up in someone’s backyard!

When heading out to a location, ask locals about safety tips, just like oceans have their tides, rivers have their flows.

When in Dominical, head for a break at the locally known ‘Poza Azul’, located after the bridge in Dominicalito. Midday is the best time for a refreshing dip.

When in Ojochal, head just a few kilometres south to ‘Punta Mala’. The Tilapia Farm makes a great lunch stop for a traditionally prepared fish meal. Fish your tilapia from a fresh water pond, and let the kitchen grill it up while you take a rejuvenating dip under the waterfall!

When in Uvita, head to what the locals know as ‘La Catarata de Uvita’. The best time to get there is slightly before 11:00 am as the sun shines through the trees and you can cool down while catching some rays in the refreshing ‘Rio Cortezal’ waters. Entrance is 1,000 CRC.

Negative Ions - Vitamins In the Air! Waterfalls, mountains, beaches and forests are among those places where negative ion levels are the highest and in complete and natural balance. Odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy. They are a powerhouse that also stimulates the immune system, leading to a lasting improvement of the respiratory system and pulmonary function. Here’s what else negative ions can do in in their respective doses:




Tropical Forest, Waterfalls

10,000-50,000 negative ions

Hold Body Healing Ability

Mountain, Sea shore

5,000-7,000 negative ions

Able to Kill Bacteria, Limit Disease Affection

Country Side

800-1,500 negative ions

Basic Need to Maintain Health

(Source: The Who, Asian Medical Journal.)



Walking in nature 20 minutes gives adults a 20% memory boost.

In urban settings, walking groups are popping up in every city. And many studies have shown that spending active time in the great outdoors is good for the mind. Just 20 minutes of outdoor activity, like walking in a park, in the woods or even in your backyard can boost your memory. These groups are on to something! Dr. Kang, a published psychiatrist who teaches about health and motivation in Vancouver (Canada), states that our internal biology rewards us when we do something important for our survival, like being outdoors. The reward is a feeling of well-being, rejuvenation or pleasure, and it is mediated by our brain's neurochemicals. And so it goes, feelings of well-being are good for the mind, and that would explain the memory boost. Anyone who has ever felt better by going for a brisk walk outside can attest to the euphoric feeling afterwards. It is biology's way of telling us to do it again, a signal from our bodies that being in nature is important for our survival. It is no secret humans have a deepseated need for contact with nature. The "biophilia" theory says humans are hardwired genetically for an affiliation with the natural world and suffer when they're deprived of it. A second school of thought is called Attention Restoration Theory (ART), which has been the basis of recent studies by Canadian researcher Marc Berman. It suggests the brain relaxes in nature, entering a state of contemplative attention that is restorative or refreshing. And as our exposure to technology increases and while some experts worry about the ills of the internet age and the health problems linked to adults and kids' hours of screen time, some researchers are looking for ways to cope in an ever increasingly “plugged-in” society.

Among those looking for a solution is Richard Louv. The American author of The Nature Principle, posits there is an antidote - and it's free! His theory states that ‘relaxing’ down time for a brain, that is otherwise overtaxed by modern pressures, can be highly beneficial, and an effective way to ‘relax’ the brain is through exposure to the Natural world. He concluded that the parts of the brain that get burned out when we sit in front of computers all day, doing very structured, focused work, are centres that can be rejuvenated by activating other parts of the brain that were previously under utilized. This means, to rejuvenate the parts of the brain you utilize most through the use of technology, you need to completely shift focus and get the brain stimulated in other areas. Those areas of the brain that are under-utilized, in man’s modern day, are those parts of the brain that are stimulated by the senses. In literal terms, the conclusions of the research clearly conclude that an effective way to perk the brain centres that become dormant through the use of technology are to get outdoors and get active! The solution is simple, the more high-tech we become, the more nature we need. • Research shows a connection to the Natural world: boosts mental acuity and creativity; improves health and wellness; and ultimately strengthens human bonds. • That spending time in nature also restores certain brain functions that are taxed by technology, such as attention span, problem-solving, and the ability to multi-task. • Time in nature makes us healthier and happier while also lowering occurrence of physical illnesses.


If the realty is the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need in our lives, then spending time in nature becomes a priority. And many living south of the border have taken this to the ultimate level with outdoor living. Truly, with a myriad of activities in the area and the weather being sunny year round, it makes getting (and living) outdoors so much easier. In our modern times, if one of our key concerns of how we can reconnect with nature in a virtual age is resolved, we can then turn our attention

to an even more pressing question, and ponder this age old question on our long walks in the woods: what makes us feel more alive? Therein lies the true pursuit of life!



In 1998, I visited Costa Rica for the first time, and I just knew that one day I would move to the sunny country where surf’s up, year round. Surfing for me, is the source. I grew up surfing on Folly Beach (United States) and used to chase hurricanes up and down the coast with a few other crazy kids. The decision to move and stop chasing waves, and to really enjoy the surf in my own, new backyard, came rather easy. While surfing and the friendly vibe of Costa Rica put the country on my map, having kids and wanting to spend time with them, to be the type of father that reads books with them at night and take them surfing on weekends was the main reason Mercedes and I decided to make the move. Prior to moving, I was working 60 hours a week, so the change of pace and the increase in the amount, as well as the quality of time, that I got to spend with my family were the biggest motivating factors. Another top reason we chose Costa Ballena in particular was the sense of community. There is a common thread between most expats that binds us together, and the small town feel is something our family enjoys. The people that have moved here, are not just looking to relax and take it easy, they are also working towards making

A perfect day is surfing with the kids, drinking a few beers on the beach with friends, then a going to the waterfall near the house to wash the sand off and cool down. It’s the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle you hear and read about for sure!


the community a better place for future generations, by creating schools, and supporting infrastructures for families wanting to relocate. The people who are taking the leap, realize that it is by helping members of the community come together, that we grow together. We are definitely looking forward to seeing the next generation of kids that are growing up. From surfing big waves and speaking Spanish like natives, to embracing the ‘Pura Vida’ and enjoying all life has to offer, the hard work put forth and the risks we took, not just my wife and I, but peers as well, in the end, will be all the satisfaction we need in knowing we made the right decision.

Our Top Family Friendly Adventure Activities Although obvious, the beaches! Sitting in the shade of an almond tree while watching your kids surf is something you do not get back home. Swimming in rivers and jumping off waterfalls are two other family favorites. We have a beautiful river that runs down the side of our property, we spend a lot of time there, it has been a great investment to say the least.


Chuck Chastain, a seven year resident, grew up on the east coast, in Charleston, South Carolina. Having met his wife, Mercedes, in their senior year in college and having been together ever since, they just celebrated their ten year wedding anniversary. Blessed with two kids, Kai (9), and Clara Linn (7), the family is complete with their latest edition, and perhaps most famous creature in their family, Louie, their rescued dog! Having loved the experience of being their own bosses, prior to their Costa


Rican adventure, his wife Mercedes, who now has the hardest job in the world (a stay at home super-mom), and Chuck, who is a man of many talents, they have continued to work on entrepreneurial endeavours. Chuck now works at an outdoor music and event venue, Electric Garden, located at Rancho DiAndrew, and most recently founded www.AerialMediaCostaRica.com, a media company that works towards producing high quality video and photography.

In 1949, when the army was abolished, the Costa Rican government pledged that the "army would be replaced with an army of teachers�. In Costa Rica, universal public education is assured in the constitution, and to this day literacy, with a historical rate of 94.9%, Costa Rica continues to have one of the highest rates in Latin America. Many options are available, in both private and public sectors, for the youth immigrating into the Community.


Would you be happier, living a more active life? Studies say, you would. Objective measures including GDP, life expectancy, and employment statistics were all used in assessing a country's “Happiness Index”. The index looks at how people feel about five facets of their lives: sense of purpose, social connections, community, finances, and physical vigour. All factors contributed to an individual’s overall sense of happiness. The overarching and profoundly impactful implication is that these measures also indicated what individuals resoundingly felt were indicators of a ‘life well-lived’. These statistics collected from the World Health Organization frequently place Costa Rica in the top country rankings in the world for long life expectancy and overall happiness. Most research attributes their ranking to the slower pace of living, the healthy, read: absence of non-preservative based foods, and the tropical climate that residents are able to enjoy year round.

Costa Rica offers some of the best health care in Latin America and provides universal health care to its citizens and to their permanent residents. Both the private and public health care systems are continually being upgraded. New hospitals, new clinics, new machines, and improvement in staff and training are among the usual improvements. Medical tourism continues to be on the rise as its affordable and provides good quality care. There are three large, private hospitals that most expatriates use: CIMA hospital in Escazú, Clinica Biblica in San José, and Hospital La Católica in San José-Guadalupe. Costa Rica's Social Security System, known as the 'Caja', is the country's most-respected public institution, providing universal health-care coverage and some of the best health-care services in Latin America. INS, the ‘Insituto Nacional de Seguro', is the public institution that provides healthcare coverage.


There is no spring or fall in Costa Rica; there are two seasons, they are respectively called ‘ verano’ (summer), and ‘invierno’ (winter). Summer, or the dry season, runs from December to April and locals refer to it as ‘high season’ as this is when there is the most important influx of tourists visit the area. It is a great time to start construction as there are long periods without rain, and some home owners choose to rent out their houses to pay for that extra vacation they wanted to take. The winter, called the rainy or green season, has our jungles looking ‘Jurassic Park’ lush and runs from May to November; October and November being the heaviest months of precipitation in Costa Ballena.

This is also when many business owners close down to take vacation or decide to take on renovations. If you are interested in being a year round resident, it is advisable to come during the ‘off’ months to experience the local vibe and weather. You will find the weather year round is enjoyable, even with the rains that start to come in May in the late afternoon and gradually increase overtime, the rain is not so much a deterrent, as it is inspiration to unwind, and perhaps finally read that great book series you’ve always wanted to.



Imagine Costa Rica twenty one years ago. No roads, no bridges, fantastic, undiscovered beaches, and a dream of a castaway life. Well, my friends, Robin does not have to imagine, rather he simply needs to remember. He can tell you stories of when it took hours to trek from Dominical to Ojochal, where a portion of the “road” was simply going on the beach with your 4x4 vehicle or quad. It used to be an impossibly complicated journey through rivers and thick jungle to get from Ojochal to Dominical. Indeed it has only been a few years that the Costanera Highway was completed and made Costa Ballena more accessible. However, this trek did not matter much to Mon tezu

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Robin, it was the stable government, the fact that Costa Rica did not have a standing army and that land acquisition was, and still remains, a simple, clear and low cost process that attracted him. Having travelled most of Costa Rica, he finally headed South and found the piece of land for a retirement home he had envisioned. It was the tremendous dual views of the mountains and the ocean in Costa Ballena that sealed the deal and Robin became a proud land owner in Costa Rica. Now, he enjoys his time in the area walking the rural roads and jungle trails, while birdwatching and scouting for other wildlife. “We’ve been seeing a lot of montezuma oropendolas lately, which is a rare bird for around here”, says Robin. Still in love with his 84 degree ocean view, he says we still have the best natural beaches and now, the best restaurants in all of Costa Rica too! On any given day you could find them fishing or having a blast on their boogies boards at one of their favorite beaches. Their advice, stay in a number of places both in the mountains and close to the beach to know whether or not the long commutes on poor roads is something you can sustain or whether you may want to opt for something a little closer to services. It’s also wise to visit a few times before purchasing and stay for different lengths of time to get a feel for the lifestyle.

I'm living the life I've always wanted to live. Robin

Robin and his wife Helen, celebrating 20 years together have four kids and are expecting their sixth and seventh grandchild! Now retired, they sail the Great Lakes with their kids and grandkids, mostly Michigan and Huron, during the North American summers and head South before the first frost hits.


A person who avoids the snow, and cold temperatures of the northern winters, by heading south, every year, just like a migrating bird. Also, simply referred to as a ‘bird’, these people are typically retired or enjoy the luxury of having a mobile, or nowadays online, business.


A commonly held fantasy for people North of the equator, is moving to a tropical country and living the “barefoot, behind the bar, on the beach” expat life, especially when you’re feeling caught up in the rat race. However, anyone who’s lived abroad knows, living in a different country isn’t always, all it’s cracked up to be. If you’re considering relocating to the country of ‘Pura Vida’, you may want to consider these personal experiences… 1. The People Living amongst the ‘Ticos’ is going to make you feel like you need to cut those carbs and ditch that cold beer. The entire country is filled with a fit population, that ‘lean-tico machine’ chopping your yard, after work, he’ll hit the beach ‘cuz surf’s up. And his grandma, she would probably beat you in a race up a mountain. You will have to step up your game if you want to keep up. I’m exhausted thinking about it. Secondly, their happy and relaxed manner of dealing with life will only serve to increase the dosage on your hypertension medication, that is, once you realize you’ll probably never achieve this level of Zen. All those books you read, huge waste of time.

Lindsey is known 2. The Lifestyle Costa Rica may be a little too laid back for many for her humorous folks, and getting accustomed to the different take on life. She pace of life can be frustrating. Concepts like ‘being is a writer and on time’ for instance takes a while to get used to. No one wears a watch, so a few minutes late is entrepreneur actually right on time. There was too much rain, so with a focus on you had to wait fifteen minutes to cross the river? international Really, that sounds a little like ”the dog ate my living and travel. homework” excuse, and don’t they realize time is money!? She is currently the Editor-inChief for The Costa Rica News (#TheCostaRicaNews), the Founder of Copy Abroad, LLC, and

And you’ll almost never see anyone sporting a suit; flip flops and board shorts are much more common place, so make sure your relocation budget includes a new wardrobe in order to fit in, or get ready to cut those designer jeans off at the knees, you’ll be needing more shorts! 3. The Noise If you’re looking to settle outside the city for some peace and quiet, you can forget about it in Costa Rica. The squawking of birds, the buzz of insects, heavy rain so loud it cancels out the volume on the TV. Have you ever heard a scarlet macaw? Beautiful bird, but not a song I can hum to. Not to mention, if you live in the mountains, you’ll probably never be able to sleep in, the howler monkeys certainly did not get their name for their strong but silent nature, and, they like to get up early, like before the crack of dawn! Least we say you won’t need to set an alarm. The one thing you can look forward to is the rainy season, otherwise you’d be sipping chilled margaritas every single sunny day. And the worst part of it all, once you’ve experienced the lifestyle, nowhere else will ever live up to this level of beauty and awesome-ness again.

www.PuntarenasProperties.com For the extended, uncensored, version go online, at www.CostaBallenaLiving.com/Costa-Rica-Your-Pie-In-The-Sky/



Go ahead and read articles by Forbes, International Living, review the complex world-wide! indexes that measure cost of living and overall happiness, but if you ask me how it all adds up, I sum it up with what a ‘cold one' costs me locally. The average beer bought in a bar or restaurant in the United States runs you a shocking $3.00-$4.50. If you want to go for a premium beer, you can pay upwards of $7.00. In Costa Rica, at your local ‘soda’, you’ll pay a dollar. Elsewhere, it can range upwards to $3.00 for local beers, and upwards of $4.00 for premium beers. In Panama, you’ll pay about a dollar as well for a local brew. If you take the median of each of the respective countries’ ranges, the US is almost twice as expensive! Now wouldn’t it be great, if indeed we could draw overall conclusions based on one median, and life was this simplistic? The truth of the matter is the cost of living is a lot more detailed and lifestyle dependent than any other factors, but for me, this is a good place to start! When you think of cost of living, most people consider groceries, housing, healthcare, transportation, and utilities; and each category can increase or decrease rapidly depending on how you live your life. Here’s what I’ve learned and how I’ve decided to make each dollar count: Shop like a local. Groceries at local Farmer's Market are laughably inexpensive. And we are talking whole-foods, the same types found in North America in Health Food stores, and sold with an attached premium price. In Costa Rica, you can walk away with five full bags of produce, making only a $15 dent in your pocket. On the other hand, if you head to your nearest Automercado or Fresh Market (specialty grocery stores geared towards serving the growing expat community) you can spend $100 for just three bags of groceries. Cheese, yogurt, and ice cream are particularly expensive. Everything that is imported will cost more. Which is why I learned to adapt my cooking and I’ve created my own cookbook, Becoming an Expat COOKBOOK: Costa Rica, to share what I’ve learned in the kitchen. The recipes I’ve developed won’t break the bank and are great for those people looking for their favourite comfort foods from back home.

Tico-Talk A ‘soda’ is not a drink but a small restaurant frequented by locals.

Housing in Costa Rica can range. From a tico-styled modest home for just a few hundred dollars a month, to an oceanfront penthouse running $2,500-$3,000 a month. I rented a luxury condo in a lovely town along the Central Pacific Coast, just 400 feet away from an expansive, empty beach for just $850 a month. Before living in Playa Bejuco, I lived in San Diego, more specifically Mission Beach, just 30 feet from the shoreline. It was incredibly loud, packed with college-aged kids, and my entire apartment was shoebox size! Besides the size disparity, the cost was almost double. I paid $1,450 for my tiny Costa Rican abode, along the dreamy San Diego shores. Although I didn’t have an ocean view, it was indeed the private tiki hut on the outside terrace, with a built in travertine kitchen complete with grill, beer fridge, and wet bar that was the deal-clincher for me, and well worth the prime at the time. Utilities are a mixed bag. If you opt to live in an elevated area, where it can be mid to low 70s F year round, then your bag is not so mixed. If you don’ t need to run your A/C units, then your bill will be very manageable. However, if you live by the ocean, or just like climate control be prepared to pay for it. I’ve seen electric bills ranging from $200-$500 with daily use of air conditioning. Without A/C I’ve seen monthly charges ranging from $50-$100. The water is inexpensive, with most bills ranging from $8-$20. Cable TV and internet services are available in all urban centres in Costa Rica and are decent in many rural towns. The costs are comparable to those in the US. Here again, I decided a much faster speed was worth paying extra, so got a plan for $55, where the basic plan started at $40. Figuring out what the cost of living will be is always difficult to determine before you arrive, but once you do, work out what luxuries you can’t live without, and which are worth your extra dollar. You may find overall costs are comparable, I found through experience they were similar to those in the midwest, but its the lifestyle that makes it all worth that much more. And, if in doubt, just remember, the cost of beer at your local Costa Rican watering hole is almost half the cost it would be in a bar in the States, and I can definitely cheers to that - ¡Salud!

Shannon Enete is a Contributing Author to the newly released Becoming an Expat COOKBOOK: Costa Rica! As well as Author of Becoming an Expat: Costa Rica; Becoming an Expat: Ecuador; and a CoAuthor of Becoming an Expat: Thailand. Check out www.Becominganexpat.com to learn more about your life abroad.

“It’s rare you will find a local business with the level of care, quality control and service, that is beyond comparison. They are always working hard to solve their customers needs.” Mike, fun loving, animal lover & business owner


Economy For decades Costa Rica has stood out for its stability and has benefited from the most developed welfare system within the Latin Americas. As an upper middle income country, Costa Rica has experienced steady economic expansion over the past 25 or so years. The post-1980s economic growth is the product of a strategy of outward-oriented, export-led growth, openness to foreign investment; and gradual trade liberalization. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and relatively high education levels, as well as the incentives offered in the free-trade zones. Traditionally dependent on coffee, banana and beef exports, Costa Rica has diversified its economy over the more recent decades. The opening of a large computer chip plant in the late 1990s aided the economy, but its fortunes have been subject to the fluctuating world demand for microchips, now with tourism on the rise, it has become Costa Rica's main source of foreign exchange. The economy continue to show growth in more recent years and has been largely stimulated by the newly trained skilled labor, and secondary education that has been able to reach the rural population.

Big Mac Index 2014* $4.02 the cost of a Big Mac in Costa Rica

A common consensus is that a person living alone will likely need $1,200-$2,000 USD per month to live a comparable lifestyle to what they are accustomed to in North America. Ultimately your total expenses will depend on the lifestyle you adopt. Tourist areas tend to be more expensive for property purchase or rent, options in rural settings tend to be more affordably priced and long term rentals can be negotiated. Buying imported goods may bust the budget, whereas venturing to try new local foods that are available will have you visiting Farmer's Market weekly to find new culinary discoveries. The cost of gas is comparable to North America, as is the initial purchase price for a vehicle, yet sometimes purchasing a vehicle cannot be avoided if you choose to live in a remote location. The cost of cars are about 30 to 40 percent above their US counterparts due to import taxes and fees, and the fact that Costa Rica does not manufacture cars in-country. You will save on heating bills, and telecommunication companies offer competitive rates overall, with very basic internet plans starting at $20 USD a month, if you run an online business you may want to look around for options and talk with providers about service reliability. And least not forget, health care coverage as a set budgetary item and whether or not residency is required should be factored in. If you choose to maintain a larger property or home, consider that many homeowners opt to have the assistance of a housekeeper and a gardener, you will find their expert advice often saves the day and is worth the added monthly expense. Whether or not to maintain a pool and enjoy the company of a trusted pet, although they are additional expenses, are budget items not to be neglected. Many home owners are nonetheless able to afford these last luxuries even on a set budget. And even then, despite some added expenses and inclusion of luxuries, some residents have indeed managed to curb their expenditures significantly as compared to when they were living in the States or Canada. You will find it can be quite easy to live a healthy, laid back lifestyle that does not cost a fortune in Costa Ballena. Fresh food is readily available and highly affordable, you can even start to grow your own. Beaches and trails don’t cost a thing to explore, and memorable stories these adventures create are priceless. And one of the biggest luxuries we ‘locals’ benefit from is due to the fact the area has an influx of tourists year round, businesses look for ways to attract traffic, so live music is often a free concert venue, almost any night of the week. You will find, scaling back can come naturally, and if you ask around locals are glad to share their insights and experiences.

*The Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalize the prices of an identical product/service (in this case, a burger) in any two countries.



We love that the mountains come right up to the ocean, so you can escape the heat of the coast while never being far from all the fun activities, and not to mention the beautiful scenery! Ben

After several vacations to Costa Rica we fell in love with Costa • You’re not in this alone. With all sincerity, we have Ballena while on our drive south to visit the Osa Peninsula. an amazing community in Costa Ballena. There are Being in our 40’s, ‘The Move to Costa Rica Plan’ had to include ‘gringo’ expats who have been living here for 30+ years, income. With my 30+ years in the restaurant industry, and and every single one of us has gone though the same Nate’s hotel and event planning experience, running a small bed experiences of figuring out where to get your car fixed, and breakfast seemed like a natural fit. We looked at several who has the best fresh fish, and what contractors to businesses for sale that were already up and running. There use. One of the keys to our success has been to get were a few really good options, but none that were quite the involved in the community and get to know as many right fit, or that suited our budget. So, we turned our focus on people as possible! We play softball every Saturday lots. We were able to find a beautiful 4 acre property to build in Uvita, volunteer with several local charities and our dream vacation b&b. community groups, and visit the local Farmer’s Markets at least once a week. We’ve asked lots of questions We knew immediately that we had found the property from everyone who was here before us, and the advice for us, even though it was pretty 'wild' (looking) on first we received was freely given and invaluable. viewing. Now, shortly after our 1st anniversary of moving to Costa Rica, Tree of Life Cabinas is up and running! For • Hire the locals. Everything is different here - the soil, anyone thinking of moving to the Costa Ballena region, the weather, the wildlife - and nobody knows how to here are a few pieces of advice that we would like to protect your home and property better than the locals. pass along: At only $3 an hour, a maid will not only show you how to keep your leather belt and shoes from growing • It CAN be less expensive to live in Costa Rica. Especially if you mould, but she’ll teach you Spanish and how to cook buy local. Fresh, local, even organic fruits and vegetables, are Costa Rican dishes if you ask! Your landscaper knows not only better for you, but they cost less than the imported, how to protect your property from soil erosion, which processed, packaged foods you might be accustomed to. If plants attract hummingbirds and which ones repel you absolutely must have American sliced cheese, you can pests. Getting to know and employing the ‘ Ticos’ , the get it, for which you’ll pay a premium. We saved an amazing colloquial term used for a Costa Rican, is an essential amount of money buying hand-made furniture part of the experience of living here. from a local carpenter and the craftsmanship is better than anything we've ever owned. Most importantly, we’ve learned that while building your home or business can be frustrating at times, the final result is very satisfying. We love sharing our piece of paradise with new guests, and can hardly believe that we get to wake up here each morning! Check them out online at: www.TreeOfLifeCabinas.com.

Ben, was just 16 years old and working in a kitchen of a luxury resort in Muskoka, Canada, when he discovered his love for food. During his career Ben opened many successful restaurants; his claim to fame was his appearances on TV shows where he was able to share his passion! Nate's experience has made him the perfect person to help you plan your Costa Rican adventure, an avid birdwatcher and gardener, as well as a former event planner.

“Living Space is the only company that I could have worked with for the last 9 years.� Josh Wendel, long standing local, entrepreneur & business owner



Feeling Good Spa

Truly, Costa Ballena is one of the most beautiful destinations in Central America. Mother Nature has blessed us with an incredible kaleidoscope of brilliantly colored birds, butterflies, flowers, and of course, the star piece of art, in many mountainside homes, the dramatic view of the Pacific Ocean. And from the Ocean’s view, the lush green, rainforest covered mountains descend dramatically into the deep azure waters below, creating a spectacular mosaic of color as far down as the eye can see. One never tires of the spectacular pink, purple, orange, and gold sunsets that jet up into the skies above, as the brilliant blue ocean fades into the horizon (and no, one can ever take enough photographs of the sun setting into the ocean!). With all the natural beauty surrounding Costa Ballena, it is only fitting that the towns and their buildings are as brightly coloured as their surrounding environment. And so it was, ‘Pueblo Alegré Uvita’ made a splash and here is the story of one of our community’s initiatives. This past year, a dynamic group of locals and artists rallied volunteers together to make the beautification project come alive in Uvita! Known as ‘Pueblo Alegré Uvita’, the idea of ‘painting the town happy’ was inspired by the personal experience of one of Costa Ballena’s longtime residents, Karen, who witnessed the creative transformation in her hometown village on the west coast of Florida. “Color matters”, she says, “it plays a vital role in the way we feel.” Indeed, subliminally, certain colors can make people happier. The human psyche tires of dull greys, and blah browns but a vibrant yellow adds an artistic panache, and can cheer up curb appeal with the paint of a brush, making a building look revitalized, and it can do so, inexpensively!

The ultimate goal of the community project is to encourage pride in our community, to provide resources for local business owners, to encourage the economy for those small businesses, and to help create a vibrant, feel-good town that makes people smile every time they visit. Just like the bright buildings found in many of the most attractive towns around the world, we too share that one iconic characteristic, the buildings are brightly painted. From ‘Cinque Terre’, in Italy, to Old San Juan in Puerto Rica, then heading South to Valparaiso, in Chile, and back over the continent to Cape Town, Africa; these are just a few cities that have inspired our community to get together and paint together. A special thanks goes out to the organizers Karen McCrea, Marcela Sequeira Duarte, Nate Bright, Pilar Dalinger, plus many, many volunteers, generous donors, and artists such as Freddy Blandon, Bromley Vassell, and Lily Shopteau! Thank you for helping our community come together and create lasting memories.

A seven year resident, Karen McCrea, is a retired flight attendant from American Airlines, who recently sold her home and vacation rental in Costa Ballena. Far from leaving Costa Rica, she plans to start building anew again! For Karen, the best part of Costa Ballena is the natural beauty of the area, the incredible friends she has made, and the opportunity to create a new life for herself exploring creative opportunities such as writing, painting, photography, and gardening. For information on ‘Painting Parties’ and Cocktology Fundraising Events, join us at: Pueblo Alegre Uvita.


In Costa Rica, and especially Costa Ballena, we can attest to the significance of the impact of the natural elements in which we live; the salty air tends to rust any metal over time, the jungle is quick to reclaim anything left behind, and proper water management can be challenging. Time after time, we hear home owners wishing that they would have built smaller in general or with more outdoor living space. To help you get kick started on the learning curve, below are a few points worth mentioning.

Take a helping hand from Mother Nature. Keep it light.

Opposite to living in North America, roofs in the tropics need to let hot air escape. Light colours reflect, dark absorb. Lightweight materials will cool down within minutes of the sun’s disappearance, whereas heavier materials may take a while to heat but will take the same amount of time to cool down. Some roofing materials will also require insulation. Be sure to factor in this budget item, as a few extra dollars spent on reflective foil and/or a thermal component or fan, may make a noticeable temperature difference during the heat peak hours of the day. And remember the heavier the roof, the more support it needs, think light, all the way around!

Planting shrubs and flowers close to the walls of your home, but not touching them, will create a cooler micro climate and work wonders towards keeping you cool indoors, as will planting trees around your house to create shade. If you already have trees but need to cut some down, try to keep those that will be located to the west side of your house, they will serve to keep your house cooler in the late afternoon, the hottest part of the day.

Plan for outdoor living.

Good fences make good neighbours.

Clearly delimitating your property upon purchase is a good idea, as is the investment of getting your property lines measured by a professional surveyor, especially if you have a larger property that is situated in the jungle or mountains. Be sure you know, with accuracy, your property lines and that you clearly delimit them by installing a fence, if one is not already there.

Be sure to plan ample outdoor living area, both shaded from the sun and that keeps dry from the rain. If possible, build facing the direction of the prevailing breeze, and plan bigger than you think you will need, once living in Costa Rica, you will realize how much time is spent living outdoors. Consider a ceiling fan and electrical outlets for your ‘terraza’. If you live near water, you may want to consider a screened in area, as the ‘ankle biters’ (mosquitos) show up at the most inopportune time, sunset that is! You will see, la te d o re h o m e re a t m t n a W the investment will be worth the e it u s o n li n a d v ic e? Vi s comfort. in iv aL g.c o m

Building in the tropics has its particularities, it takes years to learn the ins and outs, as always the help and advice of local professionals, well thought out and detailed planning, alongside innovative designs, all work towards helping build a home that will weather the test of time.

Ba ll e n ww w.C o s ta r th e ta g: a n d lo o k fo n d Ho m e dvi ce a B u il d in g A n a n c e Ma in te


Maintaining your home and property is an essential part of home ownership, no matter where you live. Repair costs can add up fast when not kept incheck; and broken seals, busted gaskets, they can add to monthly bills if the leaks go unnoticed. Proper maintenance and prevention can prove to be wise investments overtime. A crack can become a hole in no time. A general rule of thumb to be adopted towards maintaining your property, why not fix it, before it gets worse! Below are the most common home maintenance tasks for properties in the tropics.

Yearly Reviews Regular Duties • Check gutters, downspouts, drains and pipes for possible blockages, place screen over those that could easily get clogged; • Rake your leaves, piles of dead leaves make great breading ground for unwanted visitors to hide underneath; • Cut back invasive shrubs regularly, they can quickly get out of hand; • Continually be planting to ward off the hands of time, land erosion prevention happens on the day to day;

• Keep tiles clean and surfaces free from mould build-up, it could save you a nasty slip or fall; • Notice a small, new, pooling of water? Make sure you find the source and it gets fixed fast; and • Clean air conditioning units thoroughly and survey for any unusual leaks, changes in usage could indicate a larger problem and a service call may be warranted, which could save the cost of replacement.

• Make sure the trees around your house are stable and if any pose a threat of falling be sure to remove any unwanted trees or limbs before the rainy season begins; • Pressure wash walkways once a year; • Road maintenance is best done after the first heavy rains as this is when cracks from sun damage with reveal themselves. The best time to grade a road is when the road is moist, water helps to loosen the gravel and makes the road easier to reshape, plus dry conditions can create

an unwanted dust storm. And be quick to compact thereafter, before it rains, in order to “lock” in the fine particles with the coarser ones; • Seal and paint any cracks in the walls as well as any wood that is exposed to the rays of the sun; • Review your roof for weather damage. Replace loose or broken tiles and repair any leaks prior to the heavy rains; and • Give invasive insects the cold shoulder, be sure to monitor regularly for insect infestations, especially with wood, termites work.

Make leniences for the unexpected. Home is where the heart lives and taking care of your home is what keeps the heart ambers warm! Invasive roots, like bamboo, can cause damage as they slowly grow towards underground pipes if they are not kept in check. However, on larger properties they are great to plant on hillsides to help control land erosion as the roots grow thick and intertwined into the soil keeping it all in its place. Proper tree selection and location is key, make a plan for what, where, and when you will be planting.


Cacao (Cacao) Coconut Palm (Coco de Palma)

Mangostan (Mangostán)

Limone (Limón)

Tamarindo (Tamarindo) Vanilla (Vainilla)

Noni (Noni)

Sour Sop (Guanabana)

Blackberry (Mora)

Cas (Cas)

Banana (Banano)

Coffee bean (Café)

Loquat (Nispero)

Mango (Mango) Tart passion fruit (Maracuyá)

Ñampi (Ñampi)

Star fruit (Carambola) Rambutan (Mamón chino)

Rose Apple (Manzana de agua)

Cashew (Marañón)

Yucca (Yucca)

Breadnut (Castagña)

Nance Fruit (Nance)

Cape Goseberry (Uchuba) Anona (Chirimoya)

Pejibaye (Pejibaye)

Papaya (Papaya)

Avocado (Aguacate)

Kumquat (Tomate de palo)

Guava (Guayaba)

Chayote (Chayote)

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Sweet potatoe (Camote) Pineapple (Piña)


Costa Rica is considered to possess the highest density of biodiversity of any country worldwide. While encompassing just one third of a percent of Earth’s landmass, approximately the size of West Virginia, in the United States, Costa Rica contains four percent of species estimated to exist on the entire planet. Hundreds of these species are endemic, meaning that they exist nowhere else on earth! Let’s help keep Costa Rica thriving strong. Plant to Attract Butterflies! Visitors to Costa Rica struggle to find words for the mesmerizing butterfly, the Blue Morpho. The morpho has a characteristic float-and-fall flight pattern, rising and dipping lazily along its path, and this butterfly will stop you on yours. As you witness the effulgent blue tucked inside the morpho’s wings, you will be left smiling! In this morpho species, males look for food earlier in the morning and females come out several hours later, so keep your eyes posted. As an adult, the morpho favors the juices of decomposing fruit. As a caterpillar, it munches through leaves of host plants from the Fabaceae family.

Plant to Attract Hummingbirds! Four out of the 54 species of hummingbirds that are found in Costa Rica are endemic species, they are: the Mangrove Hummingbird (Amazilia boucardi), Alfaro’s Hummingbird (Amazilia alfaroana), Black-cheeked Ant-Tanager (Habia atrimaxillaris), and the Coppery-headed Emerald (Elvira cupreiceps). The mangrove hummingbird is commonly found in the Osa Peninsula. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to red flowers, and choosing flowers that bloom throughout the year will ensure that a steady supply of nectar remains available and they too will become steady visitors zipping around. Planting in clusters will also help draw their attention. Banana flowers, birds of paradise, hot lips, pentas and latana all make great planting choices!

Plant to Clean the Air Take this locals tip home! Bringing oxygen producing plants into your home is a way to mimic the healthy lifestyle factors of longevity in humans from the longest lived cultures. Sansevieria trifasciata, also called snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue, is both great indoors and out. And what makes it notably unique is that it converts an impressive amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to O2 (oxygen) at night, so it is great to have in your bedroom.

Plant to Reap Health Benefits! Turmeric is both beautiful and tasty! It is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour, and a pretty pink in the ginger family, it has been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine for roughly 6,000 years. It is known for its’ powerful anti-inflammatory effects and as a very strong antioxidant, it’s consumption is also scientifically linked to lowering heart disease and improving brain function. To get started let a small piece of the root grow from a cutting, plant it once it does grow roots and it will then take at least eight months before you can harvest your first batch. Good luck!







From all walks of life, from the four corners of the globe, resoundingly those who live in Costa Ballena seem to have four qualities that unites us all. The first is we are willing to grow. Whether it’s learning Spanish or admitting the ways of the “North” aren’t the ways of the “South”, the people who choose to live here are admittedly humble. In addition, they practice an attitude of gratitude. Sometimes in remote areas not everything can get done in the same time required, or with the same materials as intended; so many look at what goes right, instead of looking at what goes wrong. Which brings the next point, locals are resourceful. Things will go wrong, and you will need to figure them out. Rest assured, they will get figured out, time and patience will become your best allies. Finally, many who stick it out are indeed low maintenance. A hole in your shoes does not mean you throw them out, rather you may find yourself opting to getting them repaired (really good shoes are hard to find!). And a bad hair

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© Mario Albi

I think hands down, the best piece of advice before making a life changing decision is to come discover what we have to offer, meet the people, and live the lifestyle. Come take a gap year - you don’t have to be fresh out of college to do it! Move around, try different areas, and see what each has to offer. In the end, what remains clear is that the decision is one left up to personal preference. You will need to choose which lifestyle suits your individual needs. If you are looking for a real change in pace, a better quality of life and like minded individuals, chances are, Costa Ballena may be the place for you. It has its challenges, and it holds its rewards. Opportunities are waiting to be created, for you, by you.

¡Hasta pronto!

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

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day, equals great beach day. You will learn not to sweat the small stuff, which leaves so much more room for the important things in life.

Neale Donald Walsch

Profile for Costa Ballena Living

Costa Ballena Living - Edition #3 - January to June 2015  

Lifestyles in Costa Rica's Southern Pacific | www.CostaBallenaLiving.com | Like us on Facebook and sign up for our eNewsletter and get enter...

Costa Ballena Living - Edition #3 - January to June 2015  

Lifestyles in Costa Rica's Southern Pacific | www.CostaBallenaLiving.com | Like us on Facebook and sign up for our eNewsletter and get enter...