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Expat’s Story: Donna Mocce

My story starts in 2018 the first time I ever came to visit and vacation here in Costa Rica. I spent eight glorious days in Puerto Viejo. Well, I must say I fell in love

La Fortuna in Alajuela

My story starts in 2018 the first time I ever came to visit and vacation here in Costa Rica. I spent eight glorious days in Puerto Viejo. Well, I must say I fell in love with Costa Rica. I found the people to be warm and hospitable and the nature was fantastic, not like any other I have ever experienced.

I am a lover of animals and worked as a volunteer rehabilitating orphaned baby animals for years. Needless to say, when I went back home, I couldn’t stop talking about this beautiful country. I returned one more time in 2019 and decided to visit the other coast. Words can’t describe the feeling that I felt just experiencing it for a few weeks. It was so much different from the Caribbean side, which I already loved.

The Pacific side had much more to offer in the way of tourism, places to stay, exciting things to do and many types of lifestyles. You could stay in Jacó and experience the nightlife, or head down to Manuel Antonio and see the wonderful animals and nature. Then going up to the Guanacaste region and find a different type of atmosphere and climate, drier, hotter, and a bit more laid-back.

I think every beach in Costa Rica is gorgeous, but there are differences between one area and the other. Some are ideal for surfers and rougher waters with high waves, and others are much better for families with small children and people that just want to relax and swim without worrying about undertows. Let’s not forget about the monkeys that you will find in a lot of beach areas, who want to steal your food or just your attention.  I was amazed by them.

So at the end of my second journey here my mind was made up, and I knew this was the place that I would want to retire and spend the rest of my life’s journey.

When the devastation of Covid arrived in the United States in 2020, my company closed down, and I lost my job. I applied for early retirement at the age of 62. As most US citizens realize, Social Security doesn’t allow you to live the best life possible. So after struggling from March through October and eating into some of my savings just to make ends meet, I decided to take a chance and sell most of my belongings and car and come to Costa Rica to live.

I had done research since 2018 on the different climates and areas and cost-of-living. Through my research I found out that living on the coast near the beach which I would’ve loved, would not be lucrative for me, due to it being a tourist area and having higher costs for rent, electric, and even food. I then decided to research more about the Central Valley. I liked the idea of not being very far away from the Juan Santa Maria airport in Alajuela and also the area of San Ramon.

Not only that, but I found them to be areas which offered an abundance of choices for banking, shopping, doctors, etc. By going on many groups of Facebook and speaking with everyone who posted different ideas about these areas, I came to realize that this would be perfect for me. Every day I would search for my forever home and most of the time by the time I got to the listing agent or individual it was already rented. I didn’t give up, and finally I found the perfect house for me just outside of San Ramon in the town of Palmares. Palmares has enough of everything that I need from day to day.  If I can’t find something, San Ramon is only 10 to 15 minutes away.

I’m 40 minutes from the airport and Alajuela, which is the main canton of the Providence where I live. There I can find a large Walmart,  the City mall, and many other large stores. I am so fortunate to have found this brand-new two bedroom one bath cute house on a private dead end street, one and a half miles from the center of Palmares.  I have wonderful neighbors who are the kindest and most caring people. We are all like a big family. They all look out for me since I’m a woman living on my own. I feel safer here than anywhere I’ve lived in the United States, or Europe.

Especially during all of this pandemic, I found that here and Costa Rica, precautions were taken more seriously than in the US. I always witnessed people wearing masks. I was so amazed that each store had a handwashing station or a sanitizing station for your hands. It made me feel much more comfortable going out shopping and doing errands.

I have no intentions of moving from Costa Rica, I have truly found my home in paradise.


 Written by Donna Mocce



Professional Translator who has worked in the Legal and Medical industries for more than 10 years, passionate about Human Rights and Political enthusiast. Master in Translation (Universidad Nacional) and she is also a photography and sports fanatic.

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