The Costa Ballena area of Costa Rica stretches roughly from Dominical in the north to Tres Rios in the south. It is part of the larger area known as zona sur or the southern pacific zone of Costa Rica. The Costa Ballena area is unique in that you live close to the pacific coast beaches and yet the hills and mountains are close to the coast and climb very quickly in elevation. This means that you can live within minutes of great beaches while living at an elevation that is milder and requires less air conditioning (energy use), the landscape is green and lush jungle, and water is in abundance. Typically, your view includes ocean view, jungle/mountain view, or both!
The way of life here is simpler and the pace is slower. In general, you have what you need fairly close, but you have to go out of your way for the extras and for the things that you will realize you don’t need as much of. Take for example some of the modern conveniences you have in your hometown – fast food, big box stores, fast and inexpensive shipping, and new cars. These things all lead to consumption, wasted money, and many times poor health. Imagine this instead:
- You eat home cooking at your own home or with friends using more fresh ingredients and less processed food.
- You buy the things you need from a local store. You put off buying less important things until your next trip to the “big city” (San Isidro, 60 min away or San Jose 3 hours away) – you will find you buy less, way less while your needs are still satisfied. Eventually, the time between “big city” trips will grow longer and trips less frequent.
- You enlist your friends to bring your Amazon/Costco items the next time they visit you from The States. Or you buy expensive, hard-to-find items through Aeropost in Uvita and it takes 2+ weeks. You will buy much less.
- You buy a used SUV or ATV to get around your local area. Dust and dings are normal and you have a good mechanic to help you along the way. You do not need a new car every couple of years – new cars bring trouble and fast depreciation and add nothing to your life.
Some people come for the health and wellness benefits such as yoga, meditation, healthy eating, etc. Others come for the adventure and outdoor living. Still others come to regain some of the freedom, self-sufficiency, and entrepreneurial spirit that is disappearing from their home country. Some embrace all or some of these reasons and more, but just know that this area welcomes and is conducive to all of these ideals. This area attracts expats from Canada and the United States (and from around the world) who share these ideals and meeting people and new friends is easy –you will have more friends here and your social life will be more rich and fulfilling.
Area Attractions and Services
- Marino Ballena National Park
- Playa Ventanas
- Playa Tortuga
- Playa Tortuga Norte
- Playa Chaman/Colonia
- Action sports
- Nature tours
- Reasonably priced ocean view homes
- Even more reasonably priced jungle view homes
- Country living
- Health and wellness (yoga, spiritualism, meditation, etc)
- Annual Envision music and wellness festival
- Open and welcoming expat community
- Healthy and local food
- Hospitals in Ciudad Cortes and Quepos
- Grocery stores in most towns with large, North American style groceries in Quepos, Uvita, Palmar and San Isidro
- Simple restaurants (“soda”) all over
- Fine dining in Ojochal and Uvita
- Fuel in Dominical and Uvita
- Other professional services such as accountants, lawyers, real estate, insurance, postal, hardware, auto repair nearby
- Internet is generally available and mobile phone service is reasonably reliable
- Water is good, pure, and inexpensive
- Electricity can be expensive, but it is cleanly produced and fairly reliable depending on location
- NO regular mail delivery, meaning no junk mail or buying enticements. Some deliveries can be made to Uvita businesses
- NO big box stores, meaning you buy what you need not just what you want. San Isidro and San Jose, 1-3 hours away
- NO fast food – your health will improve. Groceries, fruits and veggies, and slower food restaurants are readily available