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Reinvent Yourself in Costa Rica


Living in Costa Rica

The year was 1998 and my two sons were teenagers. We were living the good life on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina, but as typical Americans, overdoing everything. Too much on our plates, exhausted.  

Being a single Mom with two teenage, sport fanatic boys we always planned a big adventure trip over the Christmas holiday break. We had been to Hawaii and enjoyed the islands, windsurfing on Maui, scuba diving at Molokini with the sharks and swimming with the gigantic mantas on the Big Island.

We also took many trips to different islands in the Caribbean and both sides of Mexico. We loved Playa Del Carmen for the sport fishing, swimming on horseback, the ancient ruins, and  even a circus where the boys  were trapeze artists. The trip to St. Lucia was extraordinary as well, along with the clearest diving in the Caymans.

All wonderful places to visit but I was always searching for the perfect place to buy property and somehow we felt  "island fever" would set in these locations.  Then my boys announced that this year we should go to Costa Rica. So I started researching and found the best surfing was of course at Tamarindo and Monkey Point in Playa Negra, both made famous by one of my favorite movies, Robert August's Endless Summer. (BTW Robert August still lives here in Tamarindo).

However, getting there in 1998 was not exactly easy as you had to fly into San Jose and rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle and make the 7 hour white knuckle drive to Tamarindo.  The road from Villa Real to Tamarindo was not paved and the town was a dusty little beach village with few amenities. But, we booked into the El Diria hotel, a tiny shadow of the luxurious resort today and got there in the middle of the night, dirty, tired, hungry and grumpy.

Our first morning in Tamarindo was so incredibly beautiful as we sat on the patio of the hotel enjoying a tropical fruit breakfast and pico de gallo on gallo pinto, watching the Pelicans dive for fish, the boats bobbing in the natural marina, and the surfers catching perfectly formed and endless waves near the river mouth. The boys were completely sold especially when they found out they could order beer and not be carded, AND charge it to the room. After my first walk from the river mouth and Playa Grande to Capitan Suizo and over the hill to Playa Langosta I was pretty much sold as well. The sunset, best in the world, sealed the deal!

We returned each year to stay in either Tamarindo, Playa Langosta, or Playa Negra, all pure paradise to us at this point. I decided to buy a large ocean front lot at Rancho Playa Negra and saw a wonderful little Remax office in Tamarindo where I met Chris, Bonnie, and Lisa Simmons. I think I was one of their first clients and the deal sparked a true friendship that would eventually lead me to work with them.

jeanne_cordes_costa_ricaEach year I was scheming to find a way to move to Costa Rica. Eventually, Chris Simmons helped me sell the ocean front lot and buy a beautiful penthouse in the Sunrise complex in Tamarindo.  The day finally came when the boys were out of college on on their own life paths and I announced to the shocked world of my family friends that I was moving, alone to Costa Rica. I have never looked back. My tropical adventure came true a little late in life but I am now living the dream. I learned to surf in my 50s, I found a fabulous little tennis club to continue my passion for that sport and I decided to become an equestrian.

I bought a gigantic Friesian horse from Holland and now ride with the tropical winds in Playa Negra.  My family loves to visit and Costa Rica is now my home, and home away from home for my friends and family. Sometimes the experience is challenging but I am loving every moment of it.  Pura vida for me equals pure adventure, peace of mind, and living la vida loca in a good way!

Moral of the story is, it is never too late to reinvent yourself, never too late to live your dreams, and especially never too late step outside the box and your comfort zone. I am living proof of this. Just do it!

In my next blog I will introduce you to the wonderful world of Equestre in Costa Rica, magical and exciting . . .

Jeanne Cordes
RE/MAX Ocean Surf, Tamarindo
Costa Rica Real Estate Expert