You’ll probably guess that my favorite thing about living in Costa Rica is being right by the beach, where I can swim, play, and (try to) surf endlessly. Or, it could be the perfect tropical climate, with sunshine every day and gentle sea breezes at night.
A more practical person might even surmise that it’s living in paradise for about half the cost of the United States.
Don’t get me wrong; all of these things are wonderful. Every day, I’m reminded how lucky I am to live in a place where other people come for vacation.
But for me, none of those are the best part of living in Costa Rica. You might laugh when I tell you because it seems like such a small thing.
My favorite thing about living here is walking through town each morning, saying hello to people.
I'm an early riser (the roosters help with that), and the first thing I do is throw on my swim shorts, slip on my flip flops, and take a stroll down to the beach.
This early, the sun is just starting to peak over the palm trees and warm the dirt roads. But there are already a lot of people out, like me. I say hi to them all.
Every morning, I pass the same abuela – grandmother - sweeping in her front yard, and we exchange a friendly “Buenos dias.”
I see the same surfers walking barefoot to the beach, their board balanced under one arm, and we acknowledge each other’s presence with a simple nod.
A talkative expat from New York walks his Chocolate Labrador on the same route every morning, and I stop to pet him (the dog – not the expat!)
I always stop by my favorite coffee shop, Saritas, for a few laughs and updates on the village gossip before I fill my mug and keep walking. I pass the nice French couple that just opened a dive shop, the young teacher from San Francisco on her way to school, and the Tico farmers in their fruit truck, selling ripe mangos, bananas, and coconuts. Finally, I make it to the beach.
There are people jogging on the cool sand, kids splashing in the waves, and surfers paddling out to catch the next set. People walk their dogs, drink their coffee, and sit on lawn chairs, watching the ends of their fishing poles for signs of a nibble.
I greet everyone I run into, whether by stopping and chatting, a quick hello, or just with a warm smile.
It’s comforting to know that these people are always here; always around me; like a big family.
I’m part of their lives, just like they’re part of mine, and it feels like we all belong here.
Maybe that’s the sense of community and oneness that has slowly slipped away in modern U.S. life?
Either way, THAT’S my favorite part of living in Costa Rica!
For you, it probably will be something different.
Or, most likely, you’ll have 100 favorite things and can’t decide which one is most endearing.
And I’d love to hear about them!
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