What Almost Two Months in Costa Rica Feels Like

tamarindo_beach

Today I walked down the steps of our apartment, out of the gated community, onto the dirt streets with potholes filled with rainwater, over the paved main road, and into the outdoor food court area to order, in Spanish, two chicken empanadas for 1500 colones (3 bucks).

Covered in the perfume of Costa Rica, mosquito repellent, I sat at the shaded red plastic table and ate those delicious empanadas that come with the best tangy salsa you’ve ever tasted as my boyfriend ate a meatlover’s sandwich from the European-style bakery next door.

Welcome to our average afternoon in Tamarindo, Costa Rica!

I can’t believe we’ve almost been in Costa Rica for two months.  In some ways it has felt like days, in other ways it has felt like a lifetime.  What’s it been like to be two Americans in Costa Rica for almost two months?  I’ll tell you!

tamarindo_vulcano

  • Mostly, we work.  I know that doesn’t sound romantic and adventurous.  But the truth is we are still normal people needing to pay bills. Sometimes I write things that excite me; sometimes I write things that bore me, so I procrastinate by Facebooking reading a book.
  • There’s not much to do in this town for locals who can’t always afford jungle excursions, so finding entertainment is a creative activity.  Growing up in Vegas, I was used to being handed entertainment.  Here we have to come up with our own.  Sitting in new spots while sipping a drink, walking, and simply existing at the beach is always good.  Also, taking pictures of cows is my new jam.

cows_costarica

  • Swimming in the Pacific at sunset is my favorite thing ever.  We take our 2 minute walk to the beach at about 4:45pm (the sun sets the same time every day). We have a certain spot we like to go because there is a massive rock formation to the right, boats anchored in front, and often Pelicans feeding all around us. We get a sunset light show The Las Vegas Strip can never compete with.  It sounds romantic, and there is some of that — but normally The Boyfriend is trying to find waves to throw me into. That’s how we roll.
  • At night, we’ve been watching scary movies on Netflix.  How’s that for exotic Costa Rica living?!
  • Our Spanish is coming along slowly, but surely.  Almost everyone in Tamarindo is bilingual and shows kindness by using our native language instead of theirs. Whenever I feel comfortable, I try to start the conversation in Spanish so they will reply in Spanish. Needing to read signs/food packages helps.  Our Internet VPN automatically changed to Costa Rica, so Netflix has Spanish subtitles – that is also helpful.
  • I have been victorious and found a bar with hard cider (my gluten free alternative to beer!).  We aren’t going to even discuss how much it is.  We’re just going to be happy for my little discovery, mmkay?

woodchuck

  • Grocery shopping is more expensive than we anticipated ($8 for a loaf of Gluten Free bread!), so we eat out a lot.  Considering I hate cooking more than I hate just about anything, I LOVE this! Also, we now hire someone to do our laundry, an activity that costs less than that loaf of bread!  Enter: The Hallelujah Chorus.
  • Most commercial property doors in this country move the opposite way that they do in America.  I still pull and push the wrong way every single time.  Every.  Time.
  • All the taxi drivers and weed salesmen still think we are tourists. They tell me it’s because I don’t have a tan.  You guys, I have NEVER BEEN TANNER IN MY LIFE!  Nobody in this country believes I have a tan.  Nobody. (*kicks the dirt and pouts*)

flamingo_beach

  • I’m starting to become suspicious that Costa Ricans have been informed that women from Las Vegas are all hookers.  They fist bump The Boyfriend whenever he tells them I’m from Vegas.
  • I have found the best yoga studio in the world with the most incredible yoga teacher.  I’m seriously so zen right now you have no idea (That is until the next time I freak out about being a freelancer without a normal job!  That’s happening fewer times each week now.  Like only 7.)

yoga_tamarindo

  • We’re currently on the lookout for a car.  Not for in town, as we walk everywhere.  But we want to start exploring more of the country each weekend.  We’d like to see the Caribbean side, the volcanos, the national parks, etc.  Let’s just say buying a car here is about 1,291 times hard than in the States.  We’re learning patience.
  • Some of the best news: my mosquito bites no longer swell to the size of a tennis ball! And I don’t have 25 bites on my legs at the same time. I’m a mosquito pro now.  Definitely going to share my tips in a blog post!

tamarindo_witchs,rock

We absolutely love it here.  It’s magical and wonderful, and it’s also just life.  We still get headaches, argue about stupid stuff, wash dishes, and crave dessert.  We are just choosing to do it in a brand new lovely place.

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33 thoughts on “What Almost Two Months in Costa Rica Feels Like

  • October 29, 2015 at 6:19 am
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    My husband lived there for two years. I can’t wait to see it one day!

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    • October 29, 2015 at 9:40 am
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      Oh how fun! You will love it when you come!!

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  • October 29, 2015 at 6:32 am
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    Pura Vida! I went on a kayaking trip there, such a beautiful place.

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    • October 29, 2015 at 9:41 am
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      Indeed!!!

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  • October 29, 2015 at 7:06 am
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    Love your honesty and entertaining style Taylor. Hope you and The Boyfriend find a car.

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    • October 29, 2015 at 9:41 am
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      hehe Thanks Lori!!

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  • October 29, 2015 at 7:15 am
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    Great to read about your time in Costa Rica. My boyfriend adn i are also currently in Costa Rica, housesitting in Ojochal by the south Pacific coast and we’ll be here for 2 months too. Definitely expensive to buy groceries! A bag of quinoa was $8! Good for you for finding gluten free cider – my guess $7 a bottle?
    Haven;t made it to Tamarindo but sure looks nice!

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    • October 29, 2015 at 9:43 am
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      Oh how cool!! We definitely want to make it to the south Pacific! You guessed it! It came out to about 7.50… I could buy a six pack for less than that at home! Do you do the housesitting thing a lot? My boyfriend and I have considered doing it!

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  • October 29, 2015 at 7:42 am
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    Gosh, I’m so jealous- your little flat is cute as well!

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    • October 29, 2015 at 9:43 am
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      It’s such a fun place to be!

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    • October 29, 2015 at 9:43 am
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      Haha thanks Heather!

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    • October 29, 2015 at 9:43 am
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      Yes – interesting and amazing are the words I’d used to describe it too!

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  • October 29, 2015 at 8:18 am
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    Wow…love this post, I would love to go there. I have a friend who owns a restaurant there..I cover travel on my blog as well along with fashion. Thanks for sharing!

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    • October 29, 2015 at 9:44 am
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      You simply must visit the country then! It’s fabulous!

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  • October 29, 2015 at 10:04 am
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    This sounds SO amazing!! What an adventure you guys are on – I admire your bravery! :)

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    • October 29, 2015 at 12:29 pm
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      Aw thank you! It really is a joy!

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  • October 29, 2015 at 3:18 pm
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    I have always wanted to go there. Are you living there permanently or just on an extended stay?

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    • October 30, 2015 at 2:32 pm
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      It’s an extended stay – probably about a year. So, in a way, we are living here. Just not forever :)

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  • October 29, 2015 at 5:51 pm
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    Have been wanting to go to CR for so long! My mosquito bites always get huge too! It’s our sweet skin!

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    • October 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm
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      You should absolutely go!!!! It’s incredible. Yes – definitely our sweet skin!

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  • October 29, 2015 at 7:32 pm
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    Everything sounds so amazing!! I’m right there with you on how life is just life and you have to work…like how we’re in NYC but we still have to go to work eight hours a day and top it off with chores like laundry and grocery shopping. Life isn’t always a vacation! But oh my gosh, your nightly sunset swims sound like a DREAM! How perfect! You guys will always cherish that little tradition.

    You need to come up with a funny way to react to people thinking you were a stripper or dancer in Vegas, ha! You need a response that will stop people in their tracks and crack them up at the same time. I know you can do it!

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    • October 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm
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      Haha – you are THE best! I’m gonna start coming up with my response NOW!

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  • October 30, 2015 at 4:10 am
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    Love your sarcasm!! Just wondering what brought you guys there? Honestly, Costa Rica has not been on my bucket list, should it be?

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    • October 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm
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      Thanks Madelaine :) Costa Rica should totally be on your bucket list!! Beautiful beaches, snorkeling, surfing. Inexpensive beachside stays (especially when comparing to places like California!). Friendly people. Delicious food. Monkeys. Wide use of American money. Volcanos. Jungles. It’s great!

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  • October 30, 2015 at 11:14 pm
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    I love this post!! So, secret confession, when my three years in China are up I’ve been dreaming and schemeing a bit about moving to Costa Rica and teaching there. 😉 I might be hitting you up for info in a year!

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    • November 2, 2015 at 7:54 am
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      Girl – YES!!! You should come here!!!

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  • November 3, 2015 at 9:58 am
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    Fascinating post. I really like your insights to how different it is there. It seems crazy to me that having your laundry hired out would cost less than your loaf of bread. Is it that all groceries are inflated? Or is it that speciality items such as gluten-free bread are?

    Hope you find a car- can’t wait to see posts and videos from your country excursions!

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    • November 3, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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      Almost all groceries are inflated here! There are farmer’s markets that offer cheaper produce, but it’s all still way more expensive than you’d think! But yes, the Gluten Free stuff IS more expensive. Hired work, on the other hand, is incredibly INEXPENSIVE. Getting used to the value rates here has been interesting. Thanks so much Erica!!

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  • November 3, 2015 at 7:47 pm
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    I would love to visit Costa Rica! I will have to check out if you wrote a post about why you moved there. Is it cheaper to eat out? Groceries sound expensive.

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    • November 4, 2015 at 1:09 pm
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      Some things are cheaper! Some things are more expensive! But we live about 2 minutes from the beach – if you compared our cost of living to people living the same distance from the beach in California – it’s WAYYYYY cheaper! We moved here to experience a new culture, see new things, and have a beach within walking distance!!

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  • May 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm
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    I hope your car experience is better than mine. I found a car on Tamarindo Garage Sale (Facebook page) went to Grecia with a “mechanic” to make sure I was getting a good deal. It was a 1994 Toyota 4Runner and I paid $10,000 USD for it. I sold it 10 months later for $2000. But, it took me where I needed to go and that’s the main thing. Several people told me that it needed a new engine and they were right. If you drink 1 oz of Noni Juice every morning the mosquitos will leave you alone. It’s pretty amazing. You can buy it for about $6 a bottle at Jardin Del Eden Boutique Hotel in Tamarindo.

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