Looking Up!

Yes, I could say that things are looking up as the number of Covid cases has greatly decreased, more people are out without a mask and businesses seem to be doing a little better, but this time I’m talking about literally looking up from my garden or terrace and seeing the beauty I miss when I only look down, like plants reaching for the sun, a beautiful leaf, and the flowers way up on the hill behind me! And I know that this is not the first post on “Looking Up” and probably won’t be the last, but it is with some fresh photos! 🙂

My favorite Cecropia or Guarumo Leaf, high on the tree, absorbing the sun!
Continue reading “Looking Up!”

Vistas de Hotel Savegre

Here’s some of the many beautiful visitas from Hotel Savegre. And I would not ask my driver to stop for photos on the way up or down the narrow, steep, winding, mountain road, but the drive down gives even more beautiful vistas! (If your aren’t the driver!) – 🙂

VISTAS from Hotel Savegre

Hotel Savegre Website Link

Tomorrow will be some hotel photos, then just one more day of “Misc.” Photos! 🙂

And I have my “Trip Gallery” finished at 2021 January, San Gerardo de Dota Hotel Savegre.

¡Pura Vida!

Costa Rica Begins Vaccinating Entire Population Today

Starting today the government of Costa Rica will begin the Covid19 vaccinations of everyone age 18 and older at no cost to the person. Read the Tico Times article. And older people like me will be first. I was told they would call me within the month for my appointment at the local public clinic.

¡Pura Vida!

Morning Walk Vistas

Just the views are a reason to walk even if no birds or flowers! 🙂 The cow pasture is across from my house, included to show you how much higher the grass is in rainy season. All other views are from my street just up the hill from my house. And people have similar views all over Costa Rica! One of many reasons I retired in Costa Rica! Pura Vida! 🙂

And CLICK an image to enlarge it!

For more Costa Rica Vistas, see that gallery.

¡Pura Vida!

Walk with me through my neighborhood

View from an available lot on top of my hill. You look over Central Valley to northeast, San Jose at left. Your home here?
This is the above lot for your dream home. A large, old-growth tree at entrance.
I can give you the phone number if interested.  🙂  Come be my neighbor!

Looking over my house which is below the orange roof, lower center.
The orange roof is my landlord Jean Luc & Nicole, brown roof is Richard’s.
You can see cow pasture in front of my house, central Atenas beyond that. 
Anthony’s house next door to me. He is a Spanish Class friend from Indiana, a
bachelor artist who has a clay bird I plan to buy and install in my garden after he
has it fired. His house is rented from Richard, is below brown roof, above photo.
Some neighbors can see church steeple at Central Park Atenas. 
A few homes are visible from the street, most are not. 

All have privacy/security gates & I think this the most creative one on this loop. 
All are lushly planted for our tropical weather year around.
It is like walking through a garden to walk through my neighborhood.

Come visit me and you can physically walk with me over this and other hills in Roca Verde. Some of you know that I earlier said I would never live in a rich, gated community like this, but people change their minds! Living in a Tico neighborhood has the closeness and familiarity with the people around you that is not what this old independent, private person is real comfortable with. Plus the closeness of dogs barking, roosters crowing, parties going on, constant music, highway traffic, motorcycles, teenagers, is just more noise than I prefer to put up with all the time. I have some noise here, but nothing like in town or at the apartments where I lived for four months. It is mostly birds singing which I love and the roosters and dogs are further away. 

Several of the large houses in Roca Verde have “casitas” (little houses) for either guests, parents, or to rent which is what I have. Some of the main houses are lived in by “Snowbirds” only in the North American Winter or dry season here. I am fortunate that this particular one was for rent by a year-round resident landlord on the hill above me. He is also one of two developers of Roca Verde. Though barely affordable for me (cheaper than McKendree Village!), this is the only one of this quality I was able to find within walking distance of Central Atenas, one mile. Not having a car was always part of the plan for living here. 
Walking to town most days is my exercise program and now I have several choice walks in my neighborhood for when I don’t go to town. The above loop is just 1.3 miles and of course I did not show all the views and houses. I am so blessed in so many ways at almost every turn of this retirement adventure. I feel so fortunate! Almost everything has worked out positively, even if slower than an impatient American wants it! Just two more main things to finish: a residency card and conversational Spanish. Both are on track for early next year maybe! I’m starting to relax more and be more creative. Life is fun! Pura Vida! Jubilado!

First Vistas

First view is toward downtown Atenas and mountain range.
Trees on right are neighbor yards.

The vista from La Jacaranda was of the close hills of Atenas where this is more expansive, looking over Atenas to the mountain ranges that include Poas and Arenal Volcanoes. So it is quite different. If I walk up to the top of my hill in my landlord’s yard I can see downtown Atenas and the church steeple at Central Park and the mountains to the west (same if I walk up the road in front of my house – photo below).

View from about one block up the road from my house with sunshine.
The Central Park church steeple is on the left.
Amazing difference 50 to 100 feet makes! But they pay for these views!
Yet I can walk up there anytime to look or photograph!  🙂

My view to the west for sunsets is from the end of the balcony on the left in top photo. You look through trees and power lines, thus no wide view of the sunset. Same from both bedrooms. I’ll show some shots of that tomorrow. 
That road you see bottom center in front of my house (1st & 3rd photos) is heading straight toward downtown Atenas, where I walk daily. It is just one mile from my house to Central Park and 1.2 to the supermarket I use most often, the Cooperative. Maxi Pali, the other supermarket, is about 1.6 miles I’m guessing, 2 miles at most. I haven’t measured it yet.

I just made a new shot from my balcony right after the afternoon shower which is not as expansive as the 2-pix panorama at top but what I see in one direction:

As the afternoon shower stops, looking northwest from my balcony.
I live in the foothills of the mountains, a dream life!

I’m Here!

View out my front window.

I arrived sick which is unusual for me. Cleaning out my cottage at McKendree stirred up a lot of dust which is one of my worst allergies. Sore throat and coughing on the plane trip which was otherwise uneventful! Once here yesterday I starting opening bags, took the 8 minute walk to the Super Mercado for some basics like cereal for breakfast. Came back and went to bed at 6:30 PM and slept until about 6:00 the next morning, gently waking to the songs of tropical birds and the view above from my front window/door. I sipped hot tea watching the hills opposite ours.

Today I went back to the nearest Super Mercado which is a Farmer’s Cooperative that includes a little cafe. For lunch I had a ham & cheese sandwich because that was the only thing I knew how to order in Spanish. 🙂 This afternoon I did a load of laundry and had to use my Spanish English Dictionary to read all the dials on the washing machine.

The coughing and sore throat is mainly gone now, but my nose won’t quit running. So maybe another long night’s rest will help that too! At least all my bags are unpacked! But nothing exciting to report. Unless you call finding a millipede in my shower exciting! And everybody is celebrating Christmas until January 5 which may be when I start taking care of business. It is rest time for a week or so.

Millipede looking for water in the bathroom.

I’m “Sleeping On It”

When friends ask if I’m going to Costa Rica, I say “I’m making myself sleep on it for a week before I begin the paperwork, but I’m pretty sure I’m going.” The tour was very helpful both for what we saw and getting know the other 16 people who may move to Costa Rica. Our very knowledgeable guide, Chris Howard, mentions me and tells about our tour eating in his blog post today: LIVING AND EATING IN COSTA RICA which you might enjoy reading. The food was great with wonderful views at most meals!

View from Atenas

One of the couples on the tour with me had come to “try it out” for 4 to 6 months before they totally move to Costa Rica. They did a better job of apartment hunting than me and are now living for at least four to six months at Hacienda La Jacaranda in Atenas.  (click to see how nice it is – they don’t allow copying their photos)

My driver did not “have time” to take me to Atenas which was one of the places I wanted to see apartments. I’m sorry, because I really like the look and feel of this place and they have a waterfall on property! And it is a 5 minute walk to the central plaza, groceries, bust stop, etc. An office for printing from my laptop, gym, pool, and more! So it will be one of the first places I will look when I return or might trust my friends recommendations and try to make a reservation in advance for the last week of December or first of January when I tentatively see myself going to live without moving furniture yet (if ever). It doesn’t have to be permanent, but a great start on my newest adventure! Pray that I make the best decisions and that God is in on whatever I do. That’s important to me!

Colonial Church facing Central Plaza, Atenas 

Central Plaza, Atenas

And oh yeah! National Geographic says Atenas has the best year-around climate in the world! It gets to a high of 80 in the day and a low of 60 at night, all the time. Great sleeping without a/c and great daytime activity weather.

Beach Properties & Back to City

Another beautiful day of sunshine until late afternoon, rain for dinner and sleeping!. And if this is the way rainy season is most of the time I will like it! In both Gambia and South Florida it was usually in the afternoons and they say that is true here sometimes, but not this week so far.

We looked at two beach condos at Jaco Beach with one on another empty beach seen below and the condos are like really nice condos in South Florida. They are tempting to buy because some, like the one in the photo, have been slashed to less than half the original asking prices because they are not all selling or maybe have overbuilt. This could mean I might get a good deal later on a rental, though the guy said an investor-owner can make more renting in season to tourists than he could on me year around. They can get as much per week in season as I would pay per month, so I’m not likely to end up in one of these. The ocean view is from an area of properties where you could build with just the lot selling for $160,000! You pay for these views! I’ll look at poor man’s property on my own next week.

Click to enlarge photo and note that these are web-sized. Please contact me to use one and I will send you a larger file.

From building property looking over the mouth of
Tarcoles River where it flows into the Pacific

“King of the Mountain!”
Crocodiles in the Tarcoles River

 Another near empty beach! This one by condo below.

Lobby of one of two condos we visited. A Vacation Condo mostly..
Reminded me of South Florida! Very nice!
For two days after our two-day seminar, we will be looking at properties in the Central Valley area, closer to more services and shopping, medical, entertainment, etc. I’m back in San Jose and Hotel Autentico for a week now. It will be nice to stay unpacked for awhile. Tomorrow our two-day seminar is led by ARCR, the Costa Rica Resident’s Association where all our questions will be answered by lawyers, movers, doctors, and expats who live here. Then I do my own thing for 4 days. A full two weeks! But fun! And educational!

Second Thoughts? Doubts?

I’m having a relaxed morning in my “just right” or “perfect” house for me here in McKendree Retirement Village. As I have searched online for rental properties in Costa Rica it seems I will not be able to afford something this nice there though all the literature say you can’t base your decision on classified ads, since most people just advertise a house or apartment for rent with a sign out front. This makes my four days of free time after the August tour even more important as I see what is really available and at what price. Housing and its cost is possibly my biggest issue with moving to Costa Rica. I must be at least as comfortable there as I am here and at a lower price. A tall order!

After breakfast and reading the paper in my breakfast nook looking out at my big maple tree and bird feeders full of birds, I’m reminded of the views so many of the stories of Costa Rica claim: looking out at the ocean, mountains, valleys, farms, the beautiful Volcano Arenal – but have also noticed that the houses I’ve found online with great views are also the more expensive ones. It is like the rich buy up most of the beautiful views. Then I take my cup of tea out on my deck here, looking out at a huge oak, two huge maples, a poplar and 5 other trees I can’t name now. I have one of the most beautiful backyards at McKendree. I continued to watch the red streaks of cardinals darting across the yard, a bossy mockingbird, a little chickadee and others fly through the trees.While sipping tea I also see many squirrels, some rabbits, and the occasional groundhog. This is a pretty nice view that I have now! Of course if I can get a jungle location in Costa Rica I will have tropical birds, monkeys, agoutis, and maybe an occasional sloth. But at moments like this I’m tempted to think “a bird in hand is better than two in the bush.”

And this is just part of what goes through my mind as I pursue my “wild idea” of moving to Costa Rica. Yet all adventures have risk and not matching my current lifestyle is one of those risks. (Or having to spend more money instead of less.)

Hopefully my “thinking out loud”  and being brutally honest will help someone else facing the same decision and that is one reason for this blog, along with my own personal record. I have two other things to post today, but will do them with different titles.