John Quam Editor in Chief Howler Magazine Costa Rica

Costa Rica paradise is a draw not only for tourism and adventure travel but also for people wanting to relocate and live in a place of peace and beauty. The belief that paradise exists here can be as compelling as the notion of simply opening up your life to the gift of pura vida and receiving it automatically. Many who are similarly inspired to settle in Costa Rica encounter a more difficult reality. Costa Rica paradise might still be attainable for each of us in our own way, but even our relatively tangible expectations for living the dream will seldom be met instantly or easily.

It’s a time for optimism and excitement in
the booming beach area of  Guanacaste.

I personally have had to fight for certain pura vida promises that proved false, including assurances of a property developer’s compliance with health, safety and environmental standards and regulations. Unfortunately, there was no more reason here than anywhere else in the world to believe every fast-talking salesperson was telling the truth, or that every word in a fancy marketing brochure was accurate.

It’s a time for optimism and excitement in the booming beach area of  Guanacaste. Plans for the new Flamingo Marina have the full green light, with the promise of opportunities for jobs, development and expansion in many sectors, along with higher property values. It’s a great time to be here witnessing the growth. Upgrades to local infrastructure include the recent addition of high-capacity water pipes to supply communities in the Tamarindo, Flamingo and Playa Grande areas. Road paving projects undertaken recently are significantly improving access throughout the same region. The short-term inconvenience of small traffic jams will be well worth it. Construction of new homes, commercial centers, a new movie theater and grocery stores provides further evidence of this upswing.

As the area grows, responsible development is the key to ensuring healthy growth. It is important to keep in mind Costa Rica’s renown as a role model for environmental conservation and eco-friendliness. For tourists, investors and expat home buyers alike to perceive paradise in this ethical light is a selling point that carries weight. As noted earlier, what I learned from my own experience is that claims in a sales brochure about a company’s commitment to environmental protection are no guarantee of honesty or integrity. Actions portray a more accurate truth. As stewards of the environment, we all need to share responsibility for exposing truths that are being manipulated and misrepresented. If planning to become, or remain, part of a community, do all the research you can to be fully informed. The internet is a great source of information. Be knowledgeable about who you do business with.

At the same time, never stop discovering for yourself why Costa Rica paradise is becoming increasingly visible and desirable to the outside world as a place to visit and live. The resounding response of every tourist I ask about their reasons for coming here is the promise of adventure. Well, we do deliver on that promise, perhaps like nowhere else on earth. There is a place for all all of us here; each area is unique and special. Go out and visit as many local spots as you can and sample the traditional foods prepared by family members who own sodas. Keeping the perspective of guests in this country, and respecting the local ways of life, is how we get to know the real Costa Rica paradise. The people are wonderful and welcoming; meet them and forge new friendships.

Over the next few months, the Howler will feature articles about ecotourism, yoga retreats, culinary adventures, medical tourism, and investing and doing business in Costa Rica paradise.

John Quam