Dec 28 2014

Misconception #2: What’s it like living at the beach in Costa Rica?

“What are some common misconceptions people have when they hear you are retired in Costa Rica?”

We’ve been living in Costa Rica for almost six years and have to admit, there are a few misconceptions some folks have about our lives here.

Misconception #2: Wow, what’s it like living at the beach?

Joe & Paul on beach chairs

Travel writers will have you think that beach living is perfect. You spend your day in a hammock, under a palm tree, with a Piña Colada in your hand and a cool ocean breeze blowing through your hair, while you are gazing at aqua-blue waters.  If living at the beach is what you dream of, you can do that here. But the reality is that it’s hot, humid, and sometimes buggy on that beach, with temperatures sometimes approaching 100 degrees.  Not only will the temperatures be hot, the cost of living will be greater, even for pantry staples like coffee, milk, and bread.  And you will most likely need air conditioning for at least part of that day – which translates into higher electricity bills.

Costa Rica does market the beach, but living at the beach is just one of many options in Costa Rica. This small, mountainous country has many micro-climates (which you can read more about in our monthly weather report of temperatures and rainfall in four – soon to be five – towns in Costa Rica). These micro-climates are determined by elevation as well as “the lay of the land” – the undulations of mountains and valleys, ridge to ridge, and then down to the coastal lowlands.

Sunset from our back porch

Sunset from our back porch

Like many expats, we live in the mountains at an elevation of about 3,000 ft. above sea level. Our temperatures are generally in the 60s and 70s year-round, with occasional dips into the high 50’s, and daily highs in the mid-80s during the hottest part of the year. We never need heat or air-conditioning, just like in most of Costa Rica’s Central Valley where about 66% of the population lives. And, even though we don’t have sand at our feet, we can still enjoy lying in our hammock and sipping an occasional Piña Colada!

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