Exploring Costa Rica: A Kansas City Family's Relocation 43

Lindsey Wade, part owner of RW2 Productions and The Guild in the Crossroads, and his wife, Jennifer,  a 25-year apparel industry veteran, did what many of us only dream of doing and moved to their favorite vacation destination—Costa Rica. They have always had a passion for travel and adventure, and their love of surfing is what originally drew them to vacation in Costa Rica.

“We rented a car and traveled around the country and eventually landed on a beach we now call home.”

Eight years ago they made a “five year” plan that if they were not both 100 percent happy with their lives in Kansas City, they would move to Costa Rica. They had traveled there in 2007 and fell in love with the beauty, the energy, and the excitement of the country.  In 2015, they took a leap of faith and moved to Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas where they bought a house, a car, and enrolled their four-year-old son, Henry, in school.

The Wades had traveled internationally for most of their lives, both together and separately.  They had been to the beaches of Florida, Mexico, Greece, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Australia, Italy, Hawaii, Turks & Caicos, and Puerto Rico, but they always felt that Costa Rica had a different energy about it.

“There is no place more beautiful, peaceful, or more exciting than Costa Rica. It is a paradise for an adventurous spirit.”

There is such biodiversity in Costa Rica, not only because it’s a land bridge between North and South America, but also because the terrain is so varied, and there are weather patterns moving in from both the Pacific and Atlantic/Caribbean. There are impressive volcanoes, mountain areas, rivers, lakes, and beaches all throughout the country. There are many beautiful beaches – most of the popular ones are on the Pacific side, but the Caribbean has many expansive beaches as well.

Lindsey is still very much involved with his Kansas City businesses, and they still own a home in Kansas City, so they are able to travel back often, which has helped with the transition for their son.  Moving to Costa Rica hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.

“We spend more time with our son, Henry, but less time with our extended family.  We have a healthier lifestyle here, because we have time to work out, cook fresh meals and are more in tune with nature.”

Your mind is healthier simply by breathing the clean air, and the connectivity between nature and people is very unique.”

Because the Wades have made Costa Rica their home, they have in-depth knowledge to share with future travelers wanting to head to this beautiful country.  They live on the Pacific side of Costa Rica in Playa Hermosa, which has one of the most consistent surf breaks in the world.  Forty-five minutes from their home is Manual Antonio National Park, which has one of the most impressive landscapes in the world and has several coves with tons of white sand beaches and lush foliage amidst great mountains and forests that reach the beaches. Additionally, it is located in the tropical forest where one can see all kinds of wildlife such as sloths, monkeys, and 184 species of birds.  They live a short drive from Arenal Volcano which has an abundance of outdoor activities that provide travelers great opportunities to learn about the environment and spot wildlife. Visitors to Arenal can enjoy canopy tours, canyoneering adventures, self or guided hiking trips, and even white-water rafting excursions. There are hanging bridges to be explored and hot springs to be soaked in. The Wades recommend staying in the lodge at the base of the volcano and watch the lava flow glow at night.  If hot springs sounds enticing, Tabacon Hot Springs set amidst a rainforest near the base of the Arenal Volcano, is a fantastic place to unwind. Jennifer and Lindsey also enjoy experiencing the local waterfalls and zip-lining through the jungle which is only about 15 minutes from their house.

Traveling in some Central American countries can at times be risky depending on the destination; however, Jennifer and Lindsey contend that,

”Costa Rica is extremely safe for travelers.  There are very few violent crimes; the biggest concern for tourists is petty theft and pedestrians on the road at night.”

The move for the Wades has been a big change, but they think it has been worth it.  For them, Costa Rica has a different day-to-day pace and also offers a different perspective on the way to live life. They appreciate the slower speed, the concern for environmental issues, the happiness of the locals, and the way the culture celebrates families and children.  The national saying is “Pura Vida” which means “Pure Life.”  By definition it means to live a peaceful, simple, and uncluttered life with a deep appreciation for nature, family and friends.  A “real living” that reflects happiness, well-being and satisfaction.  The energy of the country revolves around Pura Vida, and the people wish it on each other constantly; in fact you hear it all day long—when you greet someone, say good-bye, or even in passing.  It is a daily reminder to keep your priorities straight and enjoy the gift of life.

If you are thinking of traveling outside the country this summer, consider going to Costa Rica which offers visitors a surprising array of attractions, a strong commitment to the environment, and a never ending connection to nature.  It is only a six hour flight from Kansas City, which for international travel is relatively fast and easy. The beauty and tranquility of Costa Rica will not disappoint.