Sunday, September 4, 2016

KNOW Your Community Before Deciding to Live There

D'Angelo and myself last weekend at the Chili Cook-Off in Nuevo Arenal.

If you're not familiar with Nuevo Arenal it's located on Lake Arenal about an hour from where we live in La Fortuna and continuing on another hour to Tiliran. It's really the only road that connects our region with the Tamarindo (Guanacaste) area in the Northwest of Costa Rica. Not everyone spends a lot of time in Nuevo Arenal but just about everyone travels thru it. It has a fairly extensive expat community but more importantly, an organized expat community. So they often do things together, like the Chili Cook-Off. I would say their were about 150 people there and almost all of which were gringos. Not too many locals at this particular event. You would NEVER see this many expats doing anything in our town of La Fortuna. We are not organized nor do we even really hang-out together. I am not saying we don't have any gringo friends here, we do, we just don't seem to get together the way folks in Nuevo Arenal do and if we do, it's usually just a handful of friends. Probably the biggest reason Nuevo Arenal is organized and La Fortuna isn't is because a large percentage of folks in Nuevo Arenal are retired and older. A lot of gringos who live in La Fortuna, like yours truly, still have to work, so many of us are pretty busy doing are own things. Nuevo Arenal is much more blue-haired with obvious time on their hands and moves at a much slower pace than the more touristy, every gringo out for themselves, La Fortuna. Which brings me to the point of this post.. which isn't Chili.

When and if you ever decide to live in Costa Rica, you really need to consider the community or area you want to live in. Do you want a lot of expats around you for camaraderie and all that comes with it or is that what you basically are trying to avoid altogether. Many expats who come here would rather experience more of the local culture minus the gringos. D'Angelo and myself do a different COMBO. We don't want an over abundance of expats around but we also don't really associate with locals either. We love Costa Rica but basically do our own thing, preferring tourists over residents. Tourists come, we hang-out and have fun for a day or two and then they leave. Not much conflict in that. We have nothing against Nuevo Arenal, obviously many people love it there, cooler, beautiful surroundings etc, but we could never live there. Never, ever and I'm sure most Nuevo Arenal residents would say the same about Fortuna. There's a couple reasons why I say, never, ever. Both relating to the above. One, not much of a nightlife in Nuevo Arenal. Two, way too many gringos there. And although Nuevo Arenal residents are quite organized and do have a sense of community, they also have the bad that comes with it,,, backstabbing, gossip, meanspiritedness, warring cliques- think Hillary supporters living along side Trump supporters with few options to avoid the drama. Unless of course you become a recluse. I would have to become a recluse because I'm definitely not into the drama.

Really, my opinion is not relevant. Obviously it comes down to 'different strokes for different folks', just be damn sure you know WHAT you're moving into before you do it.

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