When you are considering visiting somewhere, be it for a vacation or considering a move to another country, it is always helpful, if not invaluable, to gather information before you make the journey.

One of the best ways to experience a place without actually visiting is to read about other people’s experiences.

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Granted, we all have individual points of view and specific likes and dislikes, but we can all glean valuable information from someone else’s perspective.

I have asked some of our valued clients, who I must say have now turned into caring friends, to share with us their experiences of living in Costa Rica.

One young couple has started a bed and breakfast from scratch; while another family purchased a vacation home and have been impressed with the network of individuals who have help them make Atenas their second home.

Yet another couple will share the pros and cons of building your own home in paradise. Are you interested in investing in Costa Rica?

Well, we have friends who will share that story too!

First, we will start with Sheri and Murray House, who contacted us wanting to winter in Atenas for the 2015/2016 season.

Before they made the decision to spend the winter in Atenas, Costa Rica, we wrote back and forth for several months.

We placed them in the perfect winter rental, which happened to be in our neighborhood.

Working with Sheri and Murray was a pleasure from start to finish.

We were fortunate enough to spend some quality time together, sharing many laughs and a few tears (tears of joy) during their 4 month visit.

They even taught us a new game called Farkel.

When I asked Sheri if she and Murray would like to contribute to my series of articles, I had a response with content within about 24 hours! Needless to say, we have made lifelong friends and it is our hope that one day we will have them as permanent neighbors here in Atenas.

Sheri and Murray House From The USA Enjoying The Minneapolis Winter in the Mountains Near Atenas, Costa Rica.

Some would say our “stars lined up.” Others might say “luck was on our side.” We’d say that God honored our prayers and blessed us with a 4-month winter we’ll never forget.

Having recently retired, we wanted to explore one of the Central American countries we’d been studying for a couple of years (climate, safety, politics, cultures, cost of living).

We’d visit one each winter for three years, then decide where we would consider living temporarily or permanently. It didn’t take us long to learn from other ex-pats and our experiences that we had come to the right place, and the other trips were not needed. Luck? We think not.

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As Walter (our taxi driver and now friend) was driving us up the mountain to our winter rental, I was sure we had been duped. How could I have made such a major mistake? But… within five minutes, we were amazed with our beautiful winter home and the breathtaking views that we would wake up to every single morning.

The sun was always shining, the birds were always singing, and true peace enveloped us within only a couple of days. Suddenly, we were worlds away from the busy, stress-filled lives of corporate America.

But the simple beauty of this country was only a small portion of the blessings we discovered. We made connections and friendships during the first month unlike anything we’d ever experienced. And not just with ex-pats (all of whom were so welcoming and inclusive), but with the Ticos as well.

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Just make a small effort to speak their language and remember their names, and you could meet them anywhere — in restaurants, at the feria (farmers market), the grocery co-op, during our coffee and snorkeling tours, etc. Friends that we’ll be in touch with for the rest of our lives.

And you’d think, “So how good could the food be, really?” Surprisingly fabulous, that’s how good. From our first night out until our last, we enjoyed the simple ambiance, service, and food at nearly every restaurant. (Although we’d say nothing compared to the home-cooked meals we experienced at Dennis Easters’s house.)

Simple. A theme in this narrative. But I think the word is actually “simpler.” Think back maybe 50 years to a simpler time.

When people weren’t rushed, but had time for one another.

When horses, pedestrians, chickens, and cars all graciously shared the same, narrow roads.

When holidays were meaningful and families took time to truly celebrate the holiday, instead of the holiday making a good excuse for a sale to shop.

When not all mothers worked and they slowly walked home hand in hand with their young student for lunch.

When manual laborers were proud and could be heard whistling and singing while they toiled in the hot sun.

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When your machete was your favorite and most effective yard tool.

When farmers moved their cattle one at a time in the back of a small van from the lowland field to the mountaintop field.

(Okay, so maybe THAT didn’t actually happen in your country. But we followed that farmer and his one cow for nearly half hour up the narrow, winding mountain road, and it seemed the most customary and natural thing to do.)

Can you even imagine? Well, we can. We got dropped down into this magical Pura Vida paradise, and deep down in our souls, we can’t wait to do it again.

We hope that Sheri and Murray’s experiences in Atenas will inspire you to make the move and check out Atenas for yourself.

I don’t pretend to believe that living in Costa Rica is for everyone. However, if you have the desire and always wanted to “try it on for size”, don’t wait.

Live your dreams now. The “pura vida” that is the essence of Costa Rica awaits you!

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Sheri and Murray House From The USA Enjoy The Minneapolis Winter in the Mountains Near Atenas, Costa Rica.

Article/Property ID Number 5826

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