Costa Rica had been our home for 1 1/2 years. We loved it there and it is really a beautiful place. We have lived in Belize for 4 months now on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye. Island life is completely different than small town Costa Rican life and there are a few things that we miss.
The Grecia and Atenas Farmers Markets
Of course my first thing would be food! The abundance of fresh, local produce at the farmer’s markets is astounding, especially compared to our ‘boat guys’ in Belize. At first we felt limited, the US has a much wider variety of food but Costa Rica wins for freshness. We loved our Organic Lady. We had visited her farm and loved seeing her warm smile every Friday afternoon. Her produce is so fresh, tasty and inexpensive. The food is the one BIG difference between living on Ambergris Caye versus the Central Valley of Costa Rica. The food on Ambergris Caye is not as fresh, is limited in supply and is expensive comparatively. (Example: Tomatoes in CR: $0.30/lb Tomatoes on Ambergris: $1.00 US/lb Pineapple in CR: 3 for $2 US Pineapple on Ambergris: 1 for $2.50 US). My herb guy in Atenas had just about everything you could want and he could tell you how to prepare it for various ailments and how to use herbs to heal the body.
We’ve had eaten this staple Costa Rican beans and rice dish about every other day…and we have yet to tire of it. The combination of rice, beans, cilantro, carrots, onions and peppers tossed with a little bit of Lizano salsa is perfect for any meal. And Costa Ricans eat this with every meal! Luckily, we brought a bottle of Lizano salsa with us to Belize and we do make Gallo Pinto occasionally.
Warm and respectful people
The culture of Costa Rica is one of quiet respect. People are very friendly, speak well and have genuine interests. The culture of Ambergris Caye is a tourist culture, where the locals have adapted to serving/hustling the tourists and there’s more than enough foul language overheard. There are plenty, plenty of exceptions, but Ambergris is just not as altruistic of a place as we experienced in Costa Rica. Sorry, but it’s been our experience.
Our maid, Indira
It was nice to have a maid that did our laundry, folded it, put it away. She cleaned our home and made us lunch and sometimes started dinner for us. Occasionally, she would watch the children while Mr. King and I went on a coffee date. Indira worked for us three full days a week. We loved her warm nature and sensitive heart and we miss her. Indira became a part of our family, she had keys to our home, she watched our dogs while we left for vacations, and was a warm energy in our home. We also realize how important she was in allowing us to get our work done. Mr. King and I were able to get our computer work done while she watched the children. Living on Ambergris Caye, we do have someone that comes by once a week to clean our condo for 4 hours, but it’s not the same. We just recently hired someone to come by 3 times a week and I know that will be a big help.
My walk to yoga
I have a beautiful bike ride to yoga on the island. In fact, it’s incredibly stunning! But Costa Rica is where my passion for yoga bloomed and I will always remember walking three times a week through the town of Atenas to my wonderful outdoor yoga group. I love and miss you all…you know who you are.
After living in Costa Rica for two months, we knew we were going to stay a while and we bought a Daihatsu Terios. It was the perfect little car for us: reliable, zippy and 4 wheel drive. It handled the crazy roads of Costa Rica well, and, more importantly, gave us freedom and flexibility to travel everywhere in the country. We had so many wonderful vacations that included all-inclusive resorts, unbelievably beautiful natural hot springs, and off the grid rainforest excursions. We don’t need a car on the island, in fact, the number of cars is limited. Most people drive golf carts, but we prefer pedal power: our beach cruisers.
All the great expat families in Atenas
For such a small little Costa Rican town, Atenas was a family expat haven. We had a tight social group of families with small children and there was always an event to go to, a picnic by the pool or simply playing in the central park of Atenas. G had lots of friends that he got to see on a consistent basis and he misses them. The adults were open to new thinking, changing paradigms and living life on their terms…after all, we all dragged our families to Costa Rica, didn’t we?
In addition to yoga three times a week, I would attend Zumba dance class once a week. Tracy is one of the best instructors in Zumba and we were lucky enough to have her in Costa Rica. She led our class to shake, shimmy, hip hop and tango, giving us one of the best and most fun workouts around.
Belize has some beautiful jungle, but we live on a sandy island and although we have coconut trees and a few mangroves, it pales in comparison to the greenery we had in our backyard of Costa Rica. I miss having citrus trees in our own backyard. We would pick a few oranges and starfruit everyday to have as juice or just to eat.
Waking up in a cloud
There were some mornings where the clouds would roll in through our house. The air was energized and fresh..the light mist was refreshing We breathed it in deeply for about 5 minutes and then it was gone and blue skies appeared.
These things and experiences made our stay in Costa Rica all that much more pleasurable. After living there for 1 1/2 years, we were ready to move on and explore more. There are so many more things that we could have listed. And we never know if we’ll move back. Miss I was born in Costa Rica, which gives us the option of obtaining residency there. You just never know if we’ll ever settle down. We’re happy to have found our new home on Ambergris Caye in Belize, at least for now.