The Perfect Destination for a Nature-Filled Semi-Retirement
Home to at least half of all Costa Rica’s wildlife species, Osa Peninsula in the southwest of the country boasts incredible biodiversity and outstanding natural beauty. Beaches perfect for surfing abound along miles of untouched coastline, while inland waterfalls cascade into rivers surrounded by pristine jungle. The region, one of the country’s largest protected zones, is an unspoiled natural paradise, and yet it still offers all modern comforts.
It was this quality that inspired nature loving expats Monica Garaycoechea and her husband to move to the area in 2013. Today, they enjoy lazy, peaceful days watching howler monkeys play in the trees, or being serenaded by toucans, from the terrace of their home, Casa Milagro (Miracle House). “We have a little piece of the comfort of America in the middle of the jungle. It’s amazing,” says Monica.
Now 64, Monica classes herself as semi-retired from her career as an online life coach. She currently works about seven or eight hours a week, more out of a sense of obligation to her clients than financial necessity.
Monica qualified as a life coach back in 1996, later deciding to leave a 16-year dentistry career to follow this passion. In 2008, she started an online personal transformation business, called Doctor Monica. Her goal, she says, is teaching clients to “balance the human side of life with its relationships, health, success, work, money, etc., with the spiritual side of fulfillment, comfort, trust, enjoyment, and creativity.”
The fact that she can complete this work from her jungle home is testament to the infrastructure in Costa Rica. Monica and her husband bought and extensively renovated their three-bedroom, two-bathroom property for around $250,000. The property also came with an acre of land, which they use for a vegetable garden. “I don’t think I could have this level of comfort in the U.S. or other modern cities around the world,” she says.
Monica says that by living on the peninsula, they enjoy the best of both worlds. Because the area is protected, it’s not overly touristy. Yet, it’s also close to modern luxuries like great restaurants and shopping.
Their home is a short 20-minute drive along the highway to the beachside towns of Ojochal and Uvita de Osa.
Ojochal, with its wide beaches, has one of the largest expat communities in Costa Rica. Uvita de Osa is an oasis where Marino Ballena National Park meets the Pacific Ocean at Whale Tail beach, frequently described as one of the most beautiful in the world. Uvita also boasts great restaurants and a large expat community, and is famous for its annual live music festival. “These beautiful towns have everything we need or want,” says Monica.
Another benefit of living on the Osa Peninsula is the remarkably affordable cost of living, which means the couple can easily afford luxuries like a cleaning lady and a gardener. “You have the freedom to choose and live a lot better for less,” says Monica, adding that even though she works less than one full day a week, they can live without sacrifices.
The only challenge with working online in laidback, peaceful Costa Rica, Monica notes, is trying to stay motivated. “You must be a great entrepreneur or passionate about what you do to not lose momentum here because the tendency is to relax,” she says with a laugh.
Happily ensconced in their jungle home, Monica and her husband have no plans to leave. “Here we can enjoy the beauty of being embraced and hugged by nature,” she says.
By Bel Woodhouse