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International Living | CoCo4Expats | How it All Began | Our Story

Updated: Feb 20


Going overseas brings a whole new meaning to the concept of "retirement." After all, why would you move to another country just to sit on a porch all day or play bingo? That's why so many IL readers who make the move end up starting something new in their overseas home. It could be as simple as taking up a new hobby, playing a sport, or joining a band. Or, like Cindy Kaminski and Mandy Adams, it could mean starting a fun new business together.

Read their story below…

P.S. Costa Rica is a land of stunning beaches and lush jungles… rushing rivers and naturally warm thermal springs… fresh mountain lakes rimmed by regal volcanoes… rich farmland where anything grows… and vast amounts of colorful Costa Rican culture. (Plus, it's now easier than ever to get a visa there.) If you think this expat-favorite slice of paradise could be your overseas home, then you'll want to check out Costa Rica 101: Your Blueprint to the Pura Vida Lifestyle. Get all the details here.

New Friends and a New Business in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica By Kathleen Evans

Mandy and her husband Gary are originally from England, but had lived in the U.S. for 20 years. "We moved to Chicago for a year's contract, which turned into two and then became 20 years in Atlanta for my husband's work," Mandy shares. "I worked as a personal trainer with in-home clients and then in a local gym." Both ladies, in their mid-50s, look much younger—it must be the Pura Vida lifestyle. (Pura Vida—or "pure life"—is the national motto of Costa Rica.)

"Ever since we've been married, my husband subscribed to International Living," Cindy says. "He was always quoting facts about life in Costa Rica. My response was, ‘I'm not moving to Costa Rica! It's a third world country.' Well, fast forward to Covid and graduating out of my ignorance—we planned a trip to Costa Rica."

The first week Costa Rica opened after restrictions (Fall 2020), Cindy and Donald flew on an empty plane and visited the towns of Jacó and Manuel Antonio. "Our first day in Manuel Antonio, I turned to my husband and said, ‘We're moving to Costa Rica,'" Cindy laughs.

Their initial real estate offer did not work out, but they found a trusted realtor and narrowed their search to Playas del Coco, Guanacaste. "We were attracted to Coco because of the drier seasons, close proximity to the Liberia Airport and the ocean, the town's walkability, and a great expat community," Cindy explains.

When they returned in June 2021, they had a single-family home in the Pacifico development under contract on day one. They secured a large cash down payment and took advantage of owner financing—resulting in a monthly payment of just $2,000. "We went back… put our house on the market… sold it in one day... then packed everything and moved," Cindy says happily.

Mandy's story is different, but similar. "Unbeknownst to me, Gary was researching places where our money would stretch further. We were so tired of the rat race and we wanted to retire early. He picked Costa Rica, so we made our first trip to look at properties in 2019."

They visited several popular areas, but nothing was perfect until they saw Playas del Coco. "This was our last stop and we fell in love with the area." Mandy and Gary bought a 3-bed, 2-bath condo in the same development as Cindy and Donald. Downsizing from their large home in Atlanta, they opted to pay cash for the condo.

"We went home and sold our house and everything in it. We had a flight booked to move to Costa Rica in April 2020. We figured Covid would have settled down by then." Unfortunately, Covid delayed things. "We finally managed to arrive in Liberia in September 2020 on a last-minute private jet deal, with a few belongings and a dog and cat," Mandy says. "The rest of our belongings had already been shipped and were waiting in our condo."

Coco is a popular expat enclave, but it's not just about what a community has to offer—it's about a new lifestyle. Cindy explains, "In the United States it was all about the fast pace, being tied to stuff, and living for the next vacation. In Costa Rica it's hard to spell stress. The norm is sunny skies and seeing the ocean every day."

Mandy nods in agreement. "The Pura Vida way of life here is so relaxed. We're happy living simply. It doesn't get old."

Cindy and Donald estimate their monthly living expenses to be approximately $3,500, utilizing personal investments and Donald's social security. They also have money from the sale of their U.S. business for any surprise expenses.

Mandy and Gary budget $5,000 for absolutely everything. Currently, they live off their savings until they're old enough to draw from their pensions and Social Security.

But it was when Cindy and Mandy met at a local pool that the two had their best idea...

"Mandy and I were at the pool and we were talking about the challenges of moving here... wishing we had a resource for everything we needed to know in one place," Cindy explains.

The two decided to create a website that would serve the expat community in their new hometown of Playas del Coco. "We also wanted to focus on local people who give back to our community and share the stories of our local business owners," says Cindy.

And was born. The site generates revenue by charging membership fees.

Cindy learned how to create a website and Mandy did all of the financial and legal aspects of creating the company. They launched the site on November 1, 2022, and (as of this interview) are working with over 65 different businesses, growing daily.

These energetic, active ladies are proof that retiring overseas can be the start of your most exciting new chapter.

Editor's Note: You can follow in Cindy and Mandy's footsteps with the advice and insider information you'll find in Costa Rica 101: Your Blueprint to the Pura Vida Lifestyle. Created by Kathleen Evans, this in-depth resource offers you experienced perspective, valuable judgment, and on-the-ground guidance that will save you time, money, and frustration when you head to Costa Rica yourself… You can be sure you'll be completely and reliably "in-the-know."

Order your copy of Costa Rica 101 here today.

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