- Ed­i­to­rial

Howler Magazine - - Featured Contents -

Costa Rica is a draw not only for tourism and ad­ven­ture travel but also for peo­ple want­ing to re­lo­cate and live in a place of peace and beauty. The be­lief that par­adise ex­ists here can be as com­pelling as the no­tion of sim­ply open­ing up your life to the gift of pura vida and re­ceiv­ing it au­to­mat­i­cally. Many who are sim­i­larly in­spired to set­tle in Costa Rica en­counter a more dif­fi­cult re­al­ity. Par­adise might still be at­tain­able for each of us in our own way, but even our rel­a­tively tan­gi­ble ex­pec­ta­tions for liv­ing the dream will sel­dom be met in­stantly or eas­ily.

I per­son­ally have had to fight for cer­tain pura vida prom­ises that proved false, in­clud­ing as­sur­ances of a prop­erty de­vel­oper's com­pli­ance with health, safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards and reg­u­la­tions. Un­for­tu­nately, there was no more rea­son here than any­where else in the world to be­lieve ev­ery fast-talk­ing sales­per­son was telling the truth, or that ev­ery word in a fancy mar­ket­ing brochure was ac­cu­rate.

It's a time for op­ti­mism and ex­cite­ment in the boom­ing beach area of Gua­nacaste. Plans for the new Flamingo Ma­rina have the full green light, with the prom­ise of op­por­tu­ni­ties for jobs, de­vel­op­ment and ex­pan­sion in many sec­tors, along with higher prop­erty val­ues. It's a great time to be here wit­ness­ing the growth. Up­grades to lo­cal in­fras­truc­ture in­clude the re­cent ad­di­tion of high-ca­pac­ity wa­ter pipes to sup­ply com­mu­ni­ties in the Ta­marindo, Flamingo and Playa Grande ar­eas. Road paving projects un­der­taken re­cently are sig­nif­i­cantly im­prov­ing ac­cess through­out the same re­gion. The short-term in­con­ve­nience of small traf­fic jams will be well worth it. Con­struc­tion of new homes, com­mer­cial cen­ters, a new movie theater and gro­cery stores pro­vides fur­ther ev­i­dence of this up­swing.

As the area grows, re­spon­si­ble de­vel­op­ment is the key to en­sur­ing healthy growth. It is im­por­tant to keep in mind

Costa Rica's renown as a role model for en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion and ecofriend­li­ness. For tourists, in­vestors and ex­pat home buy­ers alike to per­ceive par­adise in this eth­i­cal light is a sell­ing point that car­ries weight. As noted ear­lier, what I learned from my own ex­pe­ri­ence is that claims in a sales brochure about a com­pany's com­mit­ment to en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion are no guar­an­tee of hon­esty or in­tegrity. Ac­tions por­tray a more ac­cu­rate truth. As ste­wards of the en­vi­ron­ment, we all need to share re­spon­si­bil­ity for ex­pos­ing truths that are be­ing ma­nip­u­lated and mis­rep­re­sented. If plan­ning to be­come, or re­main, part of a com­mu­nity, do all the re­search you can to be fully in­formed. The in­ter­net is a great source of in­for­ma­tion. Be knowl­edge­able about who you do busi­ness with.

At the same time, never stop dis­cov­er­ing for your­self why Costa Rica is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly vis­i­ble and de­sir­able to the out­side world as a place to visit and live. The re­sound­ing re­sponse of ev­ery tourist I ask about their rea­sons for com­ing here is the prom­ise of ad­ven­ture. Well, we do de­liver on that prom­ise, per­haps like nowhere else on earth. There is a place for all all of us here; each area is unique and spe­cial. Go out and visit as many lo­cal spots as you can and sam­ple the tra­di­tional foods pre­pared by fam­ily mem­bers who own so­das. Keep­ing the per­spec­tive of guests in this coun­try, and re­spect­ing the lo­cal ways of life, is how we get to know the real Costa Rica. The peo­ple are won­der­ful and wel­com­ing; meet them and forge new friend­ships.

Over the next few months, the Howler will fea­ture ar­ti­cles about eco­tourism, yoga re­treats, culi­nary ad­ven­tures, med­i­cal tourism, and in­vest­ing and do­ing busi­ness in Costa Rica.

It’s a time for op­ti­mism and ex­cite­ment in the boom­ing beach area of Gua­nacaste.

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