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Expats’ love affair with Costa Rica is well-known, but reasons vary for why so many people abroad flock to the Central American country’s shores. For some, it’s the perpetually beautiful tropical climate, while for others it’s the wide array of local foods that are always fresh and in season. Costa Rica also makes for an excellent staging area for travel to other Central and South American hotspots. Then there are the locals, who are reputed to be among the friendliest on the planet. But, for many it’s likely a combination of these things set against one of the most breathtaking tropical backdrops in the world. For more on this continue reading the following article from International Living.

The story of how most expats ended up living in Costa Rica is so similar to mine: “I came to Costa Rica on vacation, fell in love, and decided to stay.” But fell in love with what exactly? What is it about Costa Rica that entices someone to leave their home country and start all over in a foreign land?

I was first lured by the wonderful tropical climate. Life is so much simpler living in warm, but not too hot, weather. I don’t need a big wardrobe, I don’t need allergy medicine anymore, and I can live in the simplest of structures.

I live in an un-insulated house and control the small fluctuations in temperature by opening or closing my windows. Rare cold days and nights become a hot topic of gossip and help to create a bond and sense of community as everyone retells the story of how they spent their cold evening huddled underneath the blankets, watching movies.

A huge variety of beautiful plants thrive year-round. Mangos and other exotic fruits grow in abundance, so they are not expensive like they are in the States. In my backyard, I have orange and lime trees that constantly produce new fruit.

In fact, most of the fruits and vegetables here in Costa Rica produce year-round, so it’s extremely easy to be healthy and eat local in-season food. There’s no complicated menu planning as you wonder what the grocery store will have in stock that week—it’s all in stock, always!

Traveling is one of the biggest draws to this country with trips to exotic locations easy and inexpensive. Currently, I’m living in a picturesque mountain town. That’s already like a vacation to most people (including me).

So when I take time off to travel to the Pacific Coast or the Caribbean Coast, I am taking a vacation… from my vacation. I can take my dog with me—she is welcome at most establishments—and stay at a nice hotel on the beach for $15 – $30 a night.

If that sounds fantastic, that’s because it is!

The people I have met and continue to meet every day in Costa Rica are amazing. Most of the Ticos (Costa Rican locals), especially those in the smaller towns, are warm, caring, respectful people. And as for expats, I have met some of the most interesting people among that crowd.

Most of them are adventurous creative people with a wide range of amazing histories, big imaginations and big dreams. It’s a cross-section of people who wouldn’t normally find themselves in the same social circles in the States, but since we all have the expat factor in common, we get to become friends and expand our remarkable international networks.

I find myself being thankful on a daily basis for my happy, exotic life in Costa Rica.

This article was republished with permission from International Living.