How will I make friends in Costa Rica?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, EX PATS in Costa Rica, Papagayo Region, Residency

How will I make friends in Costa Rica?

Making a move to another city or state is big deal. Moving to an entirely different country, with new languages and cultures can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have never traveled much, and are not accustomed to adapting. The biggest question mark for most of my clients, is wondering how they will make new friends. The largest fear, for many of them, is that their relatives, friends, children, grandchildren and family won’t come to visit them. This is a big concern for many people.

Friends in Costa Rica

There are dozens of social activities, groups and websites where you can meet hundreds of others in a very short period of time. The Papagayo area is where the majority of Ex-Pats work, live, vacation and retire. This is the place to be. Everyone was the new guy at one time or another, so the Gringos here go out of their way, when they meet someone, to make them feel welcomed and introduce them to others. They invite you to parties, BBQs and social gatherings, where you can be introduced to so many other people who have decided to move to paradise. They will see your “deer in the headlights” look, and instantly take you under their wing, and bring you into their circles.

All the developments have pot luck dinners and events. Every restaurant and bar in town is packed to the gills, every happy hour, with Americans and Canadians; Europeans as well; all more than happy to let you join their table and make new friends. It is completely different than we were accustomed to back home. There are live bands regularly, pool parties and beach volleyball and many other activities; from zoomba classes and yoga to karaoke and bingo. There are dozens of clubs to join, from bridge to cross fit; language classes to painting lesson; and churches and bible studies to charity events by the wave that bring everyone together. There are Facebook pages that you can join, and mailing lists to sign up to, that will keep you informed of all these events; time, date and place. There are golf courses and tennis clubs; sailing and diving groups; stand up paddle board lessons and sunset sailing tours, that will put you in touch with more people than you can imagine.

When I lived in the USA, I barely knew any of my neighbors. I went to work each day, and when I came home at night, I receded to my living room. My garage door went up, my car went in, and that was the end of it. I might wave hello to a neighbor on the street, while picking up my mail, but that was all. The culture in North America is nothing like it is here in Costa Rica.

This country is very welcoming. The Latin culture and especially the Costa Ricans are some of the friendliest, warmest people you will ever meet, and it rubs off on the rest of us. Besides, it takes a certain kind of person, to have the guts and adventurous spirit, to move here in the first place, so you will be amazed at how many friends you will make in a short period of time.

One of the first things that all my clients tell me is that they made more friends in the first 6 months here, than they did in 20 years back home. While their original concern was that they would be lonely, it turns out to be the exact opposite. Amazing friendships are forged here in paradise.

I was with a new client the other day, showing them around. The wife made a couple of comments about how she was worried that her kids and grandkids would never make the trek to Latin America to visit. As we went into a restaurant for lunch, I bumped into a group of women having a “Ladies Day.” I asked them if they were happy that they made the move, and if they ever missed their families. They all smiled. We would NEVER go back, one said, as the others all agreed. The problem is that my family never wants to LEAVE, and they all laughed out loud. They keep coming and coming, my house is constantly full. Don’t get me wrong, she said, I love my kids and family, but it seems that I just can’t get rid of them. That will be the least of your worries, they told my client.

“What will be my biggest?” she asked the group.

Your problem will be that you won’t have enough hours in your day for all of your social activities. We NEVER get bored in Costa Rica.

Remember; the Liberia airport is only 20 minutes away. You can leave in the morning and be in any US or Canada city by lunch or dinner, as there are almost 100 weekly flights. Prices have dropped substantially in the last few years, with all the airlines competing. So now for only a few hundred dollars, you can get back to see your family anytime you want. So if you are missing something or someone that badly, just jump a flight. It is very convenient. But I can assure you this: you will be missing Costa Rica the moment you get there, and your trip will be very short. This will very quickly become your new home and you won’t ever want to leave either. 

Like the rest of us.

Come on down, and see for yourself.

Pura Vida.

Ex Pat Starting a Business in Costa Rica

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Costa Rica Service Providers, EX PATS in Costa Rica, Newsletters, Residency

Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition 101

Ex Pat Starting a Business in Costa Rica.  When Amy Conroy and her husband Brian decided to move to Costa Rica with their two children they had a few simple priorities.  They made sure that they loved the area they planned on moving to and really wanted to have good schools and a local community that they felt comfortable living and raising their children in.

Ex Pat Starting a Business in Costa Rica

Believe it or not their first priority was not how they were going to make a living.  What is interesting is that they knew that if their family would be happy and united and their quality of life was better than it was back home in the United States then they could rely on their work ethic and entrepreneurship to allow them to earn a living.  It sounds simple but when you think about it the Costa Rica style of life is actually catered to being happy first and everything else will fall into place.

Casa Colibri 2 featured

Well it looks like the Conroys’ figured that out right away. They fell in love with the Papagayo area and bought a nice house (they chose to buy not rent by the way which is a good reason why they feel more committed to this lifestyle change) just minutes to the beach in the Vista Ridge Golf and Country Club (not as expensive and uptight as the name makes it sound) and enrolled their kids into a great school.  With the high priorities out of the way they are now focusing on building their businesses so they can continue to live and raise their families in the Pura Vida Way we all know and love here in Costa Rica.

Pacifico L 1207 Featured

Amy happens to be an accomplished Hair Stylist and Salon owner from Austin, Texas so her first thought was to open up her own Salon.  Keep in mind that there are many Salons in the area and the competition seems pretty fierce but Amy thought she could provide a level of service and expertise that was not necessarily being offered here.  Check out this video where Amy explains how she started her own Salon in Costa Rica called Amy’s Hair Studio in the Hermosa Heights Commercial Center next to the Hermosa Beach Cinema in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

For those of you who have school age children and are contemplating moving to Costa Rica but are unsure what it will be like for the kids this next video is a Mom’s view of bringing kids to Costa Rica.

Not to leave out the Dads – and certainly Brian Conroy takes the raising of his kids very seriously.  So in this video Brian gives his perspective of what he was thinking and going through while they made the transition to Costa Rica with kids.  By the way their kids were ages 8 and 15 when they moved to Costa Rica.  Needless to say we are impressed with them pulling it off and surprised at how smooth it went for them.

In this next video Amy and Brian give us a little background on why they chose the Papagayo Area to move their family to and start a business.

Brian gives us his perspective of what type of opportunities are for families moving and looking to work or set up a business here.  More importantly he gives us some insight into how the EXPAT community in the Papagayo Area is well established and how they support and help newcomers get a head start.  We were not surprised but very happy to hear this first hand.

To get in touch with Amy and get your hair done up right

Amy Conroy 8627-6915
June 2017
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