Living in Costa Rica feels like Summer Camp

Our first year of living in Costa Rica is winding down and we’ll be heading back the the States for six weeks this Summer. As our first year comes to an end  and after talking with my friend Karin aka Costa Rica Housewife, we realized that living in Costa Rica feels a bit like summer camp.

Most expats, with kids, living in Costa Rica take the Summer to head back to the States to see family and friends and get a little dose of good ol’ America. Others unfortunately are leaving for good. So, this past month has been a little different then the rest, it feels a bit like the end of summer camp when you have to say goodbye until next year, but with some excitement and anticipation of who will be at Summer camp next year!?  There will certainly be a fresh group of people who will start their first year of living in Costa Rica. They’ll have to learn and adapt to the Camp Costa Rica way of life themselves, as we all did.

We most definitely will be returning to Camp Costa Rica in the fall.

The sad part is because some of the people we have gotten to know are leaving to go back to the States for good, their time in Costa Rica is up and it’s back to “reality.” Most of them are going back kicking and screaming and would much rather stay. There are a lot of people that move to Costa Rica for a year, they give it a try, steal a year to live the Pura Vida life but then eventually have to go back.  Of course, some people move down here for a year and end up never leaving, or move somewhere else in the world.

Living in Costa Rica not only feels like Summer camp because of the people that come and go, but because for a year we have literally lived in our swimsuits, ate more watermelon that any other food item, and I officially have more sunscreen and bug spray containers in my house than shoes!

The community of parents and children living in Costa Rica is a unique one to say the least but you instantly form a bond with these people because they’re doing the same thing you are and you’re going through a similar experience at the same time. Which is also why you learn to depend on one another a whole lot faster, because living in Costa Rica has it’s twists and turns and no one understands those better than the people you are surrounded by each and every day.  And much like camp, you don’t really get to choose who you’ll be bunking with, so you better hope you can get along with the other campers!

PS.  We will be on House Hunters International next Wednesday June 11th!  HGTV 7:30pm PST / 8:30 CST / 10:30pm EST

You’ll see that our style of camping is a bit more like “glamping” 😉

Follow me on Instagram @andreafellman


  1. Dawn

    I have been past your website details by Katja in Mexico because we are planning to Move from the uk to Costa Rica with our kids. I’ve read a couple of your blogs which are great and exciting but I really want to know why you are leaving? We hope to make this a permanent move and buy a guest house. Of course we are not sure if we will ultimately want to but that the idea. But it makes me want to understand why people choose to leave? Would love to hear from you about this and in the meantime I shall continue to read the rest of your blogs. Thanks Dawn

  2. Harris

    We loved the community of expats we found in Costa Rica at La Paz School. Leaving them was the hardest part.

    But we are wanderlusters- as the guy who sold me that green landcruiser said to me when I asked him the same question, “there’s a lot of world to see”. The beaches of Costa Rica are some of the most beautiful in the world and there are multitudes of hidden gems in the rainforest & volcano areas as well.

    We were able to visit other countries in Central America as well ( and still want to get to South America in the future), but we were ready to move on. Off the beach and back to a city… To a new continent to explore Europe with the kids. But make no mistake, we had an incredible experience in CR – and honestly, the #1 reason is because of all the like minded expats who became our extended family.

  3. Andrea

    Hey Dawn! Everything that my husband said is very true. I will also say that we are people that need a little more action in our lives – Costa Rica is very slow paced, not a lot going on, days are short since the sun goes down at 6pm all year round. Also, finding good food and a variety of food can be a challenge – we like food:) Also, classes and opportunities for the kids is also limited – plenty of outdoor activities of course but other things such as the arts and technology. Our time there was very special, but it was time to move on to a different type of adventure!

  4. Dawn Banks

    Thanks guys for sharing your experience. It’s always important to consider things form all angles. I was captured by your articles as we will be putting our kids into La Paz school so good to hear it was such a great experience. I wish you luck and look forward to hearing about your travels in from here. Thanks again

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