Lots of people want to quit their jobs and move to the beach. But a lot of people don’t, and a lot of people wait until they’re retired, and I can honestly see why. Quitting your job when you don’t know have a plan about how you’re going to make your next dollar is intimidating as shit, especially when you’re moving to a place you’ve never been where you also don’t speak the language. But I figure if families with five kids and seventy five year old whiter than white people do it, so can I. Here’s our solid advice for preparing for Costa Rica.
Preparing for Costa Rica: Moving Abroad
We honestly didn’t do that much research about where we wanted to go. We knew we wanted to move out of the country. We knew we wanted to live near the beach. We knew we needed to live somewhere that didn’t require a vehicle and had multiple scuba diving shops (Peter is a scuba instructor). We knew it needed to be relatively cheap and semi legal for us to live there for a while, and we knew we needed to be able to go somewhere else relatively painlessly if we hated it and wanted out. Or, you know, got deported. And voila, there was Costa Rica. Plus, I had been here a couple of years before on vacation and thought it was beautiful and relaxing and contained beer and sand. Game on.
I sold my car for $4,500, saved a couple thousand more, cancelled my car insurance, sold some furniture, quit my bartending job and bought a plane ticket. Actually, I should mention that my Grandpa is a mechanic for American Airlines and has thus spoiled me in terms of cheap, and often free, flights for few and far between occasions such as these. And that’s it. We were all set. There are things to be said for traveling without pets or children.
We found an apartment on Craigslist that had everything we were looking for: a pool, internet, a two minute walk to the beach, full kitchen, a balcony, and most importantly, furniture! There are lots of monthly furnished rentals in Costa Rica, by the way. Our rent for a two month lease in a studio apartment was $600, including bills, and then dropped to $475 plus electric once we signed a 6 month lease. Super cheap considering we were paying $880 plus all bills for an unfurnished 1 bedroom apartment in Austin.
We bought walkie talkies (since we knew our US cell phones wouldn’t work and before we realized we could buy a phone for $30), water shoes, bug spray, rain boots, sunscreen, and ponchos, seeing as how rainy season in Costa Rica started the day we moved. Then we packed a couple of hammocks, lots of swimsuits, some sandals, a flask, and called it a day.
I would recommend downloading WhatsApp to text all your friends and family back home, which works through internet access and is totally free, as well as getting a Skype account in case you’re not a fan of the whole texting thing.
And then we moved.