Beaches, Waterfalls, and Wine Bars—Living the Pura Vida in Costa Rica
American expats and entrepreneurs Casey Siemasko and Dan Moore arrived in Costa Rica five years ago with just two backpacks and no intention of staying long term. The married couple had spent the prior few years as digital nomads, exploring the world while funding their travels via their online businesses. Once they’d spent some time in Costa Rica, however, their priorities changed. They knew they’d found a place they could call home.
Casey and Dan’s life of international adventure began in Taiwan, where they taught English in language schools for several years. There, they saved up enough money to build a financial cushion and launch their digital nomad lifestyle.
The couple had started a blog, A Cruising Couple, in 2011, which they’ve maintained throughout their time in Taiwan, their digital nomad adventures, and now in Costa Rica. Over the years, they studied blogging and search engine optimization through a variety of in-person and online courses. By applying the techniques they learned, they were able to turn the blog into a profitable income stream.
Once their blog took off, they started a full-service travel and tourism marketing company, Untethered Media, to share their digital marketing expertise. Today, they help tourism companies build websites, strengthen their online presence, and connect with target audiences.
Dan and Casey can operate this business from anywhere in the world there’s a decent internet connection. The place they’ve now chosen is a small town called Uvita on the beautiful Pacific Coast of southern Costa Rica. What the area lacks in malls, it makes up for with incredible beaches, secluded waterfalls, and a fun-filled community of entrepreneurs.
Uvita is unique among expat communities in Costa Rica in that it’s filled with a mix of both retirees and those still working, often on their own businesses. Dan and Casey both comment that it’s refreshing to be around like-minded entrepreneurs who are working hard every day to advance their business dreams. “We have impromptu brainstorming sessions and help each other out,” says Casey.
In their free time, Dan takes advantage of the great surfing while Casey enjoys relaxing on the beach and hiking through the rainforest. Both are also avid runners and can often be seen out training for an upcoming marathon. They also love to explore hidden gems in southern Costa Rica, such as the Bellavista Treehouse community and Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula.
After several years in Costa Rica, the committed entrepreneurs decided to start a new venture…something decidedly more old-school—an open-air wine bar and sushi restaurant called Mosaic. Opened in December 2017, the business is operated by Casey with Dan’s sister, Sarah Moore, and showcases regional produce, such as tuna caught by local fishermen.
Keeping all of these balls in the air takes up considerable time and energy. But there are advantages to having multiple streams of income, as they’ve learned over the past few months when the coronavirus pandemic impacted earnings in the wine bar. According to the couple, access to different earning avenues has helped them keep all their businesses afloat during these strange times.
It also helps when you have paradise outside your door. When she’s feeling frustrated, Casey says she tries to remember to get up from the computer, take a break, step outside for a walk, and embrace the moment and the beautiful place in which she lives.
For anyone interested in moving abroad and adopting a similar entrepreneurial lifestyle, Casey and Dan recommend that you start building income streams before you leave. The world of online freelancing and entrepreneurship is growing quickly and open to people of all ages and professional backgrounds, meaning you can start laying the foundation of your online earning stream from anywhere…whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or traveling the world, as Casey and Dan were.
According to the couple, having multiple income streams in place gave them the freedom, funds, and flexibility to truly embrace the pura vida lifestyle of Costa Rica. The phrase, which encapsulates the vibrant culture of this Central American paradise, means the “good life” or the “pure life.” So when a tropical downpour prevents you from hearing your Zoom call, it’s pura vida. And when you’re enjoying that hard-earned glass of wine, overlooking the sunset on the Pacific Ocean, that’s pura vida too.
By Tara Tiedemann