World Oceans Day, Costa Rica

Costa Rica observed World Oceans Day with beach cleanups and similar events. This is the day people around the globe celebrate and honor the world’s 5 great oceans. No matter which continent you live on, you have an ocean for a neighbor. Costa Rica is blessed to have 800 miles of shoreline divided between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. So it behooves us to care for these closest neighbors since our lives literally depend on them.

poster for World's Ocean Day in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

How is that, you ask? The ocean produces most of the oxygen we breathe and cleans the water we drink. It is an important food source and a pharmacopoeia of medicines. These giant bodies of water regulate the climate on which healthy life depends.

Those of us who have the privilege of living by the ocean in Playas Hermosa and the surrounding towns can gladly add to the list of benefits the ocean offers us. Playa Del Coco had it own celebration with a beach clean up and parties and events raising money for various ocean projects.

Volunteers cleaning up Playa Del Coco for Oceans Day

How did World Oceans Day get started? The concept of setting aside a specific date to focus attention on the oceans was originally proposed by Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It wasn’t until 2002 that The Ocean Project began to globally promote and coordinate World Oceans Day development and activities.

“Initially there were only a handful of events in a few countries,” according to the World Oceans Day official website. https://www.worldoceansday.org “Now there are thousands of events in over 120 countries and a social media reach into the several billions.”

Warning to not put plastics in the Oceans for Oceans Day

The website continues: “To help grow recognition of World Ocean Day, together with the World Ocean Network and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, from 2004 to 2008 we developed and widely circulated a petition urging the United Nations to officially recognize World Ocean Day as 8 June each year. As a result of working with hundreds of our partner organizations, and thanks to tens of thousands of people from all parts of the world who signed online and paper copies of the petition, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in December 2008 , officially recognizing 8 June as World Oceans Day each year.”

Costa Rica used the special day to launch a project to protect its corals from the impact of climate change. President Carlos Alvarado signed a decree for the “promotion of restoration and conservation initiatives for the recovery of coral ecosystems,” which are home to a large part of the world’s biodiversity.

The decree, signed on World Oceans Day, establishes guidelines to recover existing corals and create artificial reefs. Playa Hermosa already has 9 artificial reefs that were built over 9 years ago. Today they are teeming with life.

Coral reefs of Costa Rica

“Costa Rica has 970 kms of coral zone on both coasts, but more than 90% is threatened by human activities, including climate change,” said Deputy Minister of Water and Sea, Haydée Rodríguez, at the signing of the decree ceremony.

Map of Costa Rica's shorelines

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Costa Rica’s Minister of the Environment, explained that coral reefs function as natural barriers that protect coastal communities from storms, hurricanes and tsunamis.

How can you help the oceans even if you don’t live by one?  The World Oceans Day website says “making small modifications to your everyday habits will make a difference, and involving your family, friends, and community will benefit our blue planet even more!”

Expat Who Wants to be One in Costa Rica

This scenario has repeated itself many times: I have friends visiting, and the first morning they wake up to fresh coffee, a homemade breakfast and a beautiful view from my balcony, and they say dreamily but decidedly, “I could SO live here and be an expat in Costa Rica!”

a cup of Costa Rica coffee with a cookie

I have to agree with them, even though most of us could happily live anywhere in a house we didn’t pay for, sleeping in a bed we didn’t put sheets on, and enjoying coffee and breakfast we didn’t prepare. I have personally made that statement almost everywhere I have traveled to on vacation.

But is Costa Rica really livable? Is it an endless vacation? Is being an expat in Costa Rica as good as it seems that first morning?

Well yes, no and almost. If you are really prepared! Costa Rica is a very livable country. With its famous ‘pura vida’ lifestyle and the potential of a lower cost of living, it’s not difficult to understand why Costa Rica is consistently in the top 10 of the Expat Insider Survey’s best places for expats.

Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste

Costa Rica is a surprisingly diverse country for its size, with tropical rainforests, mountainous regions and of course, breathtaking coastlines.
With so much geographical diversity, picking the right place to relocate to ultimately comes down to personal preference. But I highly recommend the northern Pacific region—Guanacaste province—and specifically the area around Playa Hermosa for those of you who need the conveniences of North America.

Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

The Guanacaste region is popular with expats because of its pristine, beautiful and safe beach communities. The area is a fisherman’s and surfer’s paradise and offers a variety of outdoor (mainly water-based) activities, as well as abundant flora and fauna. Housing can be found at any price point, and a teeming expat population makes for quick friends, fun activities, and availability of familiar products.

Rafting trip in Costa Rica

What makes Costa Rica very livable? It is not a large country, so everything is close, although the rough roads make travel time a bit longer than the distance would indicate. U.S. products are becoming increasingly more plentiful, so although you are going to want to integrate more and more Costa Rica products into your life as time goes by, at first you will be able to find familiar brand names and foods. Your long-term goal should be to live like Ticos live and eat what Ticos eat, and the closer you get to that goal, the lower your monthly budget will go. Of course, you will never be 100% Tico—you may still need to air condition your bedroom and not be able to eat rice 3 times a day—but you will find a cornucopia of inexpensive fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and more filling your refrigerator each week. All Costa Rican beef is grass-fed, and the pork is so low in fat you have to add liquid or oil to keep if from sticking to the pan when you cook.

Costa Rica Casado

Ticos themselves are what make Costa Rica livable. They are unbelievably tolerant of me butchering their language. It is important for you to learn Spanish out of respect for the country you live in, and to that end you should study it rather than just think you will “pick it up.” Only children and the occasional linguistic savant can do that. The rest of us have to study, practice, fall flat on our faces, and keep studying. But miraculously, Ticos will patiently bear with you throughout the process. I didn’t get that level of tolerance from the French!

Costa Ricans are extremely kind and helpful. If you are ever in an emergency in Costa Rica, people will help you to a degree you might not believe possible. I have put it to the test and I am pretty sure I could stop at any home in the middle of nowhere and ask for a cup of coffee and get a “Claro que si!” (Of course!)

Just another expat in Costa Rica

Where an expat in Costa Rica finds expectations go unfulfilled is when they have, well, expectations. Especially when they expect Costa Rica to be just like the North America but cheaper with better weather. Only the latter is true. The cost of living can be lower here, depending on where and how you lived in the States, and where and how you live here. Do your research and get a good real estate agent. Use him or her as your first and most valuable resource in the area you are thinking of. Visit the area extensively and ask a lot of specific questions of everyone you come across. As you Know that’s what I do. I help people make the right choice. I don’t force or push a sale, That’s why I have been in this business for almost 12 years.

It has been stated accurately that Costa Ricans don’t worship time like Americans do. You will drive yourself crazy if you want to expedite everything like you did back home. Get used to waiting a little longer, and find ways to keep yourself busy. As frustrating as it is, that slower pace is one of the reasons you are coming  to Costa Rica. Embrace it and it will reduce your stress. Allow it to complete its work on you.

The take away? Do your research and keep an open mind. There is no perfect world. Paradise does exist, you have to be open to accept it. That said, if you embrace the differences from what you are used to, Costa Rica can come very close to being your personal perfect paradise.

Costa Rica Dry Season Is Over in Guanacaste

Whew! The Costa Rica dry season has finally ended in Guanacaste! We all love the clear, blue skies of the dry season, but by the month of May a break from the heat and relentless sun is welcome. After almost 6 months of dryness, the rains bring cooler temperatures and welcome relief. The change Guanacaste undergoes each year in May is stunning. The dry brown landscape becomes green and lush. The trees’ bare branches fill with fresh, new leaves. The parched riverbeds babble and sparkle with water again. The dust is beat down, and the humidity rises some and the temperature falls.

Dry landscape of Guanacaste during the Costa Rica dry season

The typical weather pattern during the months to come consists of morning sunshine with clouds beginning to gather in the early afternoon. Then comes the big show as tropical thunderstorms burst forth with all the accoutrements: streaking lightning, booming thunder and heavy downpours.

Rain falling on the Pacific near Costa Rica

 

If you think you wouldn’t like the rainy season, you have never read a book while in a hammock under a tin roof during a tropical downpour and inevitably fall asleep. Siesta!! It is one of life’s sweet pleasures!

After your little afternoon nap, enjoy watching the incredible sunsets. This time of year, with clouds in the sky, take in the hues of orange, red, and blue.   With the sun’s rays peeking through, the colors are just jaw dropping. If you’re lucky, look to the west and you may catch a glimpse of a rainbow as well.

Rainbow off the Coast of Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

Although I am happy for the rains just now, I will welcome when they come to an end in December. Just how dry is the Costa Rica dry season? The Playa Hermosa area receives an average of approximately .93 inches of rain during the month of December, and by January this figure falls even lower. In my 11 plus years living here, it has only rained once in January. Compared to May thru November, which sees an average of 55 inches of rain, December’s climate is remarkably dry.

So do not let the weather man or some weather news channel tell you “Stay away from the Playa Hermosa area during the rainy season, the Costa Rica dry season is better”.  They are doing you a disservice.

Costa Rica’s Green Rainy Season Kicks off with a Blast

WOW, what a kick off to the green season. The Guanacaste region of Costa Rica was socked in for eleven days of thick clouds and rainy weather. I felt sorry for those that came to vacation as they may not have seen the sun, but heck it is the tropics and you can’t control Mother Nature.

Green season Playa Hermosa
Costa Rica was experiencing a very strong low-pressure system country wide that just would not move off the Pacific coast and was dormant over Guanacaste. It started on Saturday May 18th, with clouds moving in. By Sunday the rain started.

Playa Hermosa Rain
Sunday the 19th of May started off with a bang. I thought a bomb went off out side of my condo. The thunder clap was so loud and incredibly strong, the windows starting rattling and shaking. Then the rain started and by the time the end of the day came we had received over 4.1 inches of rain.

Playa Del Coco Rain
If you know me or have read past blogs from years ago, you may know I have a strange but interesting hobby. I have been measuring rain since I was a kid. It is not “Official” but I have rain gauges and log it every day it rains. This all started one year just before summer vacation, I think I was in firth or sixth grade, the teacher gave an assignment to the class; “For the beginning of next year’s science class I want each of you report on something that happens during your summer vacation”. That’s when it all started.
I have now lived in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste for almost twelve years. From the day I landed, I I set up my rain gauges and have been tracking it ever since. I have seen some pretty heavy rains in September and October, which are the rainiest months of the year. I also have experienced a few years of drought as well.

Playa Hermosa Beauty
The Normal average for this part of Costa Rica, is between 40 and 60 inches of rain a year. To some that’s a lot but here it normal. This year May has been the wets I have ever recorder or seen. As mentioned before, it rained for 11 straight days, not all day long but rained none the less. For the month of May I reordered 15.7 inches of rain at my condo in Playa Hermosa.

the Beach Playa Hermosa

Have no fears, there was no flooding or damage as everything just flows to the ocean. As of writing this blog it is sunny, just a few puffy white clouds in the sky and is just beautiful, green and lush. Off the beach I go, it has been a few days, see you soon in Playa Hermosa.