Why I Moved to Costa Rica

DSCF0039I am fast approaching my nine year anniversary of moving to Costa Rica. And yes, time DOES fly when you’re having a good time!

Unlike many others, I had not visited the country numerous times before deciding to do a trial move. I had visited several other countries with the idea of settling down in some exotic locale to retire (I stopped working at 50 but was 54 at the time). There were three countries on my list, though if I had done more traveling several more might have be in the running. In any case, I was considering 3 places: Brazil, Czech Republic and Costa Rica.

Czech Republic had a lot going for it. Beautiful and available women, great food, a sophisticated culture and it was quite affordable (at the time). There were 3 negatives that I couldn’t ignore, however. First and foremost was the weather. Late Spring, Summer and early Autumn were quite pleasant but the winters… ugh. Then there was the distance from my home at the time in the States. I didn’t know how often I would be wanting to return to visit or whatnot, but the cost and flight time wasn’t something I enjoyed. Lastly, there was the language. By that time I had already acquired a fair foundation of Spanish, but I bought myself a book and some tapes (remember those?) to try to learn Czech. I could see that it was not going to be a walk in the park, to put it mildly.

!069_69nhBrazil was a strong contender for it’s own reasons. Beautiful and friendly women, good food, and a climate that wasn’t cold, though the heat in summer was a minus. The negatives of language and flight distance were similar to those I had with the Czech Rep. But I felt I could probably learn Portuguese if I had a chance. However, unlike Spanish, there were no classes I could take at a community college.

Costa Rica, San Jose in particular, had the best weather of all the places, plenty of appealing women, wasn’t outrageously far from the States and the locals spoke a language that I already spoke a little. For my own tastes, it was the best choice.

So in June of 2004 I came down to give the place a tryout, and I ended up staying. My earliest experiences were not quite as clueless as Clueless Clyde, but like him, I learned quite a bit by trial and error. I didn’t know a soul in town when I moved down, and my only ‘friend’ was the receptionist in the hotel I was staying at, who helped me find my first apartment, which was on the outskirts. Most days I’d take the 20 minute bus ride into town and my first hangout was the old rail at the Presidente Hotel Bar (RIP). The only other place I knew about, other than the Del Rey, was the New Fantasy, where I was a frequent flier.

My first pick-up bar experience was at the old Piano Blanco bar. I was still not sure if the women hanging out there were working or not. In the next few weeks I added the old Nashville South and the New York bar to my hangouts. I met lots of other gringos and kept my ears open, and got some good advice along with a lot of BS. I remember one guy who recognized me as a newbie and told me that I shouldn’t worry about meeting women, after I met a couple they’d introduce me to their friends and I’d eventually have them calling ME. How prophetic that turned out to be!

My first forays into the Rey were intimidating for me. It’s a strange experience to almost all men to be hit on and propositioned constantly, not to even mention having our crotches groped. Like most men, I hadn’t had a lot of experience saying “no” to women who wanted to have sex, and I will admit that the first couple of women I took home weren’t much to look at but simply more aggressive than the others.

I slowly learned how to say “no” and got better at selecting my companions. Even now I occasionally pick a lemon, but my decision making got quite a bit better after my first missteps. And as I met more fellow hobbyists, I listened to their tips and stories and would sometimes get a “review” of one chica or another that persuaded me to either pull the trigger or forget about it.

4359543145_162a87d528_bAll the while my Spanish was slowly improving, though not as quickly as I expected. I was expecting to reach the level I am at NOW about 7 years ago. But I remember one moment in the New York bar when I was able to say something funny to one of the bartenders IN SPANISH. It was a break through for me, and since then I have been able to feel much more comfortable socializing with the locals. It was Marilyn Monroe who once said something like: If you can make a woman laugh, you can get her to do anything. I think she was exaggerating a little, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the ability to charm a chica, a pro or otherwise, results in better experiences.

Well, for this post, I think I’ll stop there. Next installment I’ll go into a few other milestones and unusual occurrences that I hope will be of interest. Stay tuned.

Lingerie Model !acx DWP 2c Clyde Cover ACX 2  !t Clyde 1 !t Clyde Heads South !t Clyde 3 Cover !t Clyde Complete Cover !t DWP 1 Sexy African Woman in front of Hotel Door


  1. I greatly appreciate your honesty and candor. I'm quite interested in CR. Perhaps we will meet sometime.

  2. Tom Mann says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Is it true the cost of living at present in CR is becoming a big negative to relocating there; as opposed to Ecuador, Nicaragua, etc?


    • Thomas Ray O'Brien says:

      Living is cheaper in Ecuador and many other countries. Depends on what you want. No place is perfect for everyone, even every monger.

    • I tried to figure out IF I could live in Nicaragua. Short answer is NO! Poverty is everywhere starving children all over. Why do you think over 600,000 plus Nicaraguans live in Costa Rica? Many come to CR to give birth. It almost like The Mexicans going to the USA for anchor babies. Also seeing a horse beaten to death in the streets of Granada and no one intervened. The cruelty to animals. Most all of the wildlife has been killed for food except some areas in the Blue Fields. The land stripped of it's trees. Hot and humid and brown outs frequently. They are lucky to make $250.00 a month working 12 hour days 6 days a week. A very hard life there.

      No I will stay here in CR inflation, taxes crazy catch and release laws for criminals , unfriendly banking, Immigration system broken and courts and rule of law, cars cost twice that in USA, Bribery. Still I choose this over Nicaragua… Paradise lost here in CR however, you have to adjust take what works for you. Thanks Thomas for your story.

  3. I am very much looking foward to reading about your experiences. Please keep them comming

  4. It is hard to compare one’s experience with another. Yet the common thread is there. The naivety, the approach to women and all our own personal history. Your life story is a fine story and your good feeling towards the chicas has always inspired me to emulate your human approach despite it’s pitfalls.

  5. I had been to San Jose several times and always liked it a lot. Then in February of this year I moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, having never been here even once. Never been to Thailand, nor anywhere in SE Asia. Cost of living was the reason. I pay less than $175/month rent for what was a newly remodeled (when I moved in) studio condo. I bought a brand new 2013 Honda PCX 150 'motorbike' as they're called here, for about $2,300. I've taken it on trips up into the mountains, including Doi Inthanon, Thailand's highest peak, which is about two hours from here.
    Now the bad news.
    So far the weather is god-awful, though they tell me it's the worst it's been in over a decade, and it's supposed to get 'cool' in October.
    "Oh, the food in Thailand is just wonderful, and it's so CHEAP"
    The food sucks. I swear to god they'll eat anything, and it's not bugs and the BS you see tourists eat in Pattaya, it's fatty, smelly, greasy, god knows what part of what animal this came off of, gag-me meat, cooked up on half of a 20 year old rusty oil drum, homemade BBQ grill. Those contraptions, and they're EVERYWHERE, definitely impart a very distinct flavor into whatever meat is cooked on them, and it's NOT good.
    I don't have much to do EXCEPT look for something to eat, and I'm less than 50/50 on stuff I've tried. Nothing great, and more than half the stuff I throw away in disgust. I eat at friggin' McDonald's several times a week (Cheeseburger set: 1 cheeseburger, fries, Coke Zero–no refills = $3.30). That's what they call any kind of 'meal', McDonald's or otherwise, that has several components, a "set".
    They do not speak English here, despite what you might've heard, or what they try to tell you. They've been trained to recognize the word; "English", like when you ask; "Do you speak English?", and they've then been trained to respond "Little bit", while making an appropriate hand gesture. Having said that, you've now experienced the full extent of their English.
    Meanwhile, Thai is a horrible language which I have no desire to learn.
    I could go on, and on. Maybe CR is cheap, somewhere. Probably should've looked harder.

  6. Geoff Speed says:

    Costa Rica and Colombia are my two favorite places…since I live in Florida and speak Spanish these are good choices for me. The weather is very nice in both countries depending on where you are and the cost of living is much less than the USA. Costa Rica is very beautiful….and easy to get around by car or bus since it is a small country..to go any distance in Colombia a flight is needed because of the size and mountain ranges. My preference in food is Colombian even here in the USA although food is good in Costa Rica is fine also. Cities are very modern in Colombia…..hotels, shopping, transportation and in general are much like home. It all depends on what a person is looking for and personal preferences in things. NOW..the clubs and the chicks…young beautiful women are the norm in both Costa Rica and Colombia. I would say 15-20 women for every American man..no shortage here and the nightlife is excellent, but a little better in Colombia. In my travels having been two times to Costa Rica and over twenty times in Colombia..the sexist, sensual, beautiful, nicest women are Colombianas.
    Just have a good attitude, laugh a lot, enjoy yourself..and learn some Spanish and things will go well.

  7. Don Quixote says:

    Not everyone is rich enough to retire when they are 50. The picture above of the headless chica is super. Would you happen to have her name and phone number?

    • Thomas Ray O'Brien says:

      I could introduce you to the headless chick, though the years have taken a toll on her. The one on the beach… sorry, DQ. Same initials as Dairy Queen. Coincidence???????