Costa Rica attracts thousands of people every year. Many come for the zip lines through cloud forests and a chance to spot wildlife they've never seen before. Many more come for the beaches and soothing sunshine. But while these thousands of people come and go for different reasons, they all describe a common feeling – some might call it a vibe – that comes from life in Costa Rica. After visiting for a short time, most tourists vow to return for their next vacation. For a few, vacationing here isn't enough. They want to spend the rest of their lives here.
Everything in Costa Rica, with the exception of taxis, moves at a slower pace. For many North Americans and Europeans, this is a refreshing change from the daily rush that is the hallmark of their lives. Long lunches at the local soda, the ability to have a conversation without ever saying a negative word and the constant presence of family and friends reflects this slower pace and places the focus of Tican life on relationships and happiness rather than monetary rewards.
The pleasant feeling that comes from being in a country that takes its time is the addictive chemical that turns tourists into expatriates. The slow pace, the lower cost of living, the daily sunshine and lush greenery all conspire to get tourists looking at Costa Rica real estate listings. Thousands of expatriates have found happiness living in Costa Rica, although it can mean learning to accept that the slower pace is always there, even when you don't want it to be.
You'll appreciate that relaxed feeling as you enjoy a long, pleasant lunch with your friends but probably not as much while you're standing in line for hours waiting to open a bank account. There will be friendly conversation at your local grocery store as you pick up some cake ingredients but you may be inconvenienced when you're late for a meeting and the person in front of you is the one having the long conversation. You'll really enjoy e-mailing your friends back home about your cloud forest adventures but may later have to wait for days for your broken internet connection to be fixed. Now, these are not daily occurrences by any stretch but it serves to illustrate some of the situations many expatriates encounter.
Patience and persistence are the two keys to living happily in Costa Rica. Nothing is impossible to achieve here but it's important to remember that while speedy efficiency might be the normal course of business in your home country, that is not the priority in Costa Rica. You simply have to learn to live like a local and adopt the same attitudes, especially patience and optimism, and enjoy living the pura vida in Costa Rica.
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