This sounds so appealing. Maybe I should explore this option for the future. Afterall, Costa Rica is absolutely gorgeous, the cost of living is much lower, the people are very friendly and my Spanish needs improving.


By Erin Morris, International Living

I’m floating in a natural hot spring under a black velvet sky sparkling with a million sundry stars…

…savoring the luxurious feeling of the rich revitalizing minerals as they wash over me, relaxing and invigorating my mind, body and soul.

I can feel the occasional deep earthly vibration from Arenal Volcano’s rumbly tummy. I think to myself, “Is this real? This is perfect. This is living.”

Just take a look at this place:

arenal-volcano

The next morning I step outside onto the terrace to enjoy my morning cup of Costa Rican coffee while wild blue morpho butterflies float and flutter about the garden. Iridescent hummingbirds buzz around an array of exquisite flowers.

As I enjoy a delicious plate of fresh cut papaya, pineapple, and mango, I can hear monkeys playing in the nearby trees. I look up to see baby howler monkeys swinging from branch to branch in a lively game of chase while their parents watch from close by.

It’s time for me to return to my home in the city. As I drive back to the Central Valley, I promise to return to Arenal’s hot springs soon…but not too soon. First, I need to continue my goal of visiting new places in Costa Rica every other weekend.

Costa Rica is the land of biodiversity and microclimates and it’s possible to drive 15 minutes in any direction and experience completely different climates and landscapes. White-sand beaches, black-sand beaches, deserts, volcanoes, national parks, rivers, waterfalls, jungles…it has everything.

Even in the Central Valley, the most populated part of the country, you are never too far away from secluded nature. It’s easy to find yourself surrounded by lush green jungle, a kaleidoscope of flowers, and a menagerie of animals. You can have this in your backyard if you wish. For me, this is a huge part of the magic of Costa Rica and the main reason I chose to live and work here.

A second factor in choosing Costa Rica as my international home was the proximity to the United States, my previous home. Trips back to the southeast to see friends and family are easy, short, and relatively inexpensive.

In order to live in Costa Rica and afford this type of lifestyle, I teach English at a local university, 30 hours per week. I have no prior experience teaching English, but had no problems finding a job here in Costa Rica. I even found a company who was willing to sponsor my English-teaching certification.

Most companies require certification to teach English in Costa Rica and some will even offer a work visa.

The average monthly salary for an English teacher in Costa Rica is $1,000. This doesn’t sound like much compared to a normal wage in the States, but it is 2.5 times the normal Costa Rican salary of $400 per month. For $1,000 a month, I get a nice place to live in the Central Valley, groceries, transportation money, and a budget for frequent trips to the beach, hot springs, or other areas of the country.

For my next trip, I’m planning on going to the Osa Peninsula to explore Corcovado National Park and to swim with the dolphins.

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