That question is not uncommon when talking to friends from back home. Costa Rica is in Central America north of Panama and south of Nicaragua. Costa Rica is not an island, but you might find we do sometimes have an island-time feel and Caribbean influences exist especially on the eastern coast. The Panamerican highway passes through Costa Rica starting from the border of Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas, passing through San José to the border of Panama at Paso Canoas.
If you life in the 'States or Canada the journey could be made totally on land but we'd suggest against that. Get on a plane, get here, and enjoy. Prices for airline flights are competitive and you can connect via a number of international airports in LA, Houston, Florida, Maryland and New York. Flights out of Canada are also available.
Our location is in Sámara, a small yet well known fishing town on the Nicoya Peninsula a bit south of Nosara. On a map of Costa Rica, think left side, sort of up a bit. It's a region in the northwest Guanacaste Province. The town receives a good number of travelers all year but also remains a place where locals still live and Ticos from other parts of Costa Rico know to go for holiday weekends.
We made the choice to live near in a small beach town and are able to easily bike or walk everywhere, though taxis are available. Families with children get together to play on the beach or exchange child-sitting times. Some of us find we can work hard here yet the balance of life remains just right. For us, it's like some idealistic little television show type town, with a village atmosphere where everyone seems to know each other.
We almost always know people when we go around town. Sometimes errands like buying groceries takes forever because of saying hello and stopping to talk to people. It's how it is here. We're not an island, but there is that feel, and when someone asks how you are doing you should take it as a question not as simply a greeting because they actually want to know.
Being here doesn't mean we're living an easy life. We still work hard in Sámara. It's that kind of place with locals as well as ex-pats having working to change their life. This is an entrepreneurial mindset. Also to note about having comforts you might expect elsewhere in the world. As parents from the northeast part of the United States, we do find that some things once regarded as simple to do or easy to find are a bit difficult and maybe don't exist here.
Living simply takes on new meaning. For example in a small town like this, if your phone charger stopped working last evening, there's no twenty-four-hour super store with an electronics boutique to go to. Life can move from perceived needs to just appreciating time, people, family , and of course walks on the beach.
Exploring life is what it's about here for us as much as it is for a someone on vacation. Sometimes restaurants do close seasonally or have more limited hours. There's times near the end of the rainy season that local business owners take time to travel. There are times in the year when evening thunderstorms seem like they'll never end but then the next morning everything is sunny and beautiful and green. Other times of the year it can be very hot and dry. Lucky for the travelers here in Samara we have an ocean. It's right out front. Past the beach.
Well, they might still travel elsewhere in the world. Perhaps they'd even settle down somewhere and never actually make it back. But, the experience for some people of being here in this country and in particular our little town is something that could never be given up in our memories. For some of us, it is in our children growing up here. For some people passing through, it's a glimpse to a different way of seeing life.
We do our best to respond back on email or social media right away. It's just that we might be off watching the sunset.