My name is Michael Mills and I have been exploring Costa Rica since 1995. I have lived here full-time since 1999 and have loved every minute of it with my beautiful Dutch wife Josta. I am a full-time professional realtor and managing broker for Tres Amigos Realty Group.
The adventure begins
It is difficult to share in this short article the 22 years of adventures I have experienced since moving here. It all started with becoming the owner and captain of the Spanish Dancer Catamaran Sailing Charters, while also selling real estate.
Thanks to my father, “sailing” was in my blood, since I was basically brought up at the Port Credit Yacht Club in Ontario, Canada. My sailing passion continued when I moved to Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
My original trip to Costa Rica was in 1995, for the purpose of visiting family members who had just built a bed & breakfast in Playa Ocotal, a local beach area 10 minutes south of Playas del Coco. That was it … from then on I was possessed with the dream of moving to Costa Rica. We often say you have been bitten by the Costa Rica bug, and after that there is no hope to go anywhere else.
Most of my friends thought I was crazy leaving behind the beauty of Vancouver Island and the lifestyle our family had. We thought to ourselves, “what is the worst that could happen?” We would try it for a few years and if it didn’t work out, we could always return to Canada.
With our home sold, we were all packed up with our two sons and dog. Off we headed for the adventure of a lifetime in the land of 12-month summers.
The prequel adventure: not yet off the ground
While waiting for our flight from Vancouver Airport I was approached by the airline representative who informed me that Kramer, our 90-pound, sedated malamute/shepherd, had escaped his container and was somewhere running across the tarmac. My sons and I were given airport security clearance and began our search. Our flight was cancelled, and we were put up in a hotel near the airport while the search continued.
When our situation hit the national news that night, friends and family started calling, and fruit baskets, flowers and dog food started arriving. You name … it was being sent to our hotel room. Local radio and TV stations joined the “Find Kramer” campaign, with sightings coming in from all over Vancouver and the surrounding areas. It’s hilarious now, but was not so funny back then.
To make a long story short, while we were out looking for Kramer in a town 10 miles away, I was inside the RCMP station when he simply appeared — casually strolling by our rental car before jumping in with my sons. How our dog had managed to cross the bridge from the airport to reach this location was insane to imagine!
The next day we were back on the plane, with a stronger sedative (for me and the dog) and we were finally Costa Rica bound.
At this stage of my life, I was still too young to retire. So I joined a local real estate company that my brother-in-law was involved with, Partner’s Real Estate in Playas del Coco. I had 20 years of owning my own printing brokerage and sales experience so this transition was natural. I was so excited to introduce my new home and area to people from all over the world sharing the natural beauty this country has to offer.
Never looked back
Okay, maybe I looked back a couple times — LOL.
I could write a book on my adventures here over the years (and probably will), as this area was pretty much the “wild west” at the time. I still shake my head at how I went from being a print brokerage sales executive to a sailboat captain overnight. The lifestyle is ultimately the draw to this country. As Costa Ricans taught me, “This is not North America Mike … you must learn to chill a little.”
Somewhere around 2005, I met a young man at my favorite restaurant in Playa Hermosa, El Velero. He convinced me to start sending him people who were interested in real estate, as he had just purchased Tres Amigos Realty. Every time I saw him over the next few weeks he tapped me on the shoulder with check after check after check, for real estate referrals. Michael Simons (then nicknamed “Turbo”) has since become one of my best friends and I decided with excitement to sell my sailing business and join him full time in 2007.
When you love where you live, what you do and the friendly, wonderful people who have accepted you, the job of introducing people to Costa Rica is not a job at all. It’s a responsibility to offer professionalism, knowledge and accountability with transparency at the forefront. You, as potential buyers, are taking a large leap moving from your current country. So it is my responsibility to provide you with all the facts related to your decision for a lifestyle change, whether it’s an investment or relocation.
The passion to help others discover Costa Rica
Over the years I have fine-tuned my list of trusted partners, lawyers who are the best, banks, restaurants, tour companies, escrow companies, property managers, veterinarians, immigration lawyers, movers/shippers and more. The list continues growing … email me for a PDF, seriously. I wake every morning with excitement to answer the hundreds of emails I receive from people exploring the possibility of investing or relocating to our area of Costa Rica.
We who have been here a long time have waited for more amenities we knew would come eventually, and are excited about sharing this information with newcomers. That includes Liberia international airport being 20 minutes away, the best roads and infrastructure and fiber optic internet access. Many new businesses are offering better shopping, hardware stores, furniture stores, butchers, breweries, car dealerships, new restaurants and the list goes on.
Do what you do best and longevity prevails
From luxury homes to studio condos, whatever your preference, my team of Chris, Fanny, Josta and myself are here to help you find your pura vida in Costa Rica. Investment properties, hotel sites and development sites — we have it all covered. We do not dilute our real estate services with property management or local tours, but work with only the best of the best to provide you with all the information you will ever need. There are some VERY exciting new developments being released in the beginning 2022, so stay tuned and connect to my mailing list as you are going to be blown away: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you have enjoyed my little bio. If you want to discuss anything related to Costa Rica, I am here for you and will do my best to answer any questions you may have. My email and toll-free number are below.