Over a year ago, I left the U.S. on a one-way ticket to Costa Rica for $131. Having spent the prior 15 months locked away in a tiny room during the height of the pandemic, I had an invitation to come to Costa Rica and live for three months while overseeing rental properties for some friends in Playa Grande.
My first thought was that it would be a nice change of experience, perhaps a reset for my overtaxed nervous system, a season along the Guanacaste coast in beautiful Costa Rica. Living in such a manner with all of your worldly possessions in one bag requires a great amount of flexibility and willingness to move about with uncertainty. This, for me, is where the adventure and the freedom come with living such a way of life.
As of this writing, I have now been living in Central America for over a year as a nomad and expat. I’ve enjoyed leisurely seasons along the Guanacaste Coast in Playa Grande, with its laidback surf town vibe and epic sunsets, and alternatively, I have lived for months in the mountains within the Central Valley, surrounded by hectares of coffee during the rainy season.
Another requirement in flexibility for such a way of living is what can be referred to as “border runs” every 90 days. Most countries such as Costa Rica allow a tourist from the U.S. to visit and stay for up to 90 days. Panama, with its long history with the U.S., offers a more generous stay of 180 days. These border runs have become a regular part of my routine. Such is the case with most expats until they go through the process of obtaining some form of residency.