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Chasing Italy Asks Costa Rica Chica

Before we moved to Costa Rica we did a lot of online research.  A large part of that research was reading blogs and stories of those brave souls who went before us on this adventure. Two of  my favorite authors are Jen and Greg Seymour.  Jen is known as the Costa Rica Chica and Greg is Costa Rica Curious. We spent some time in the central valley, outside of the capital, San Jose, during the month of August and got to meet them both. They are an awesome couple living a great adventure in Costa Rica. After we met and had lunch I asked if I could interview her for Chasing Italy.

I’ve only been in country two months and it all still feels new. I’m still in that phase where I wish I had this or that from my former life. What’s one convenience you miss since you moved to Costa Rica?

I guess I miss convenience, period.  We knew when we moved here, that Costa Rica is not known for its “conveniences,” and I’m sure you’ve heard about tico time (sometimes it just takes forever to do one thing or to wait for something to get done, and you really just have to be patient).  Also us not having a car (which is our choice) makes things a little difficult sometimes – we have to time our schedule to catch the bus, and we don’t want to have too many bags to carry back from the grocery store.  Not a complaint at all – we are making it work for us, but sometimes convenience is something I miss.

We all have that first “Oh My” experience whether it’s a sunset or wildlife spotting. What’s your best Costa Rica memory?

We arrived in the middle of the night, and my first “OH MY” moment was the very next morning.  Our landlord had made coffee for us, we took it outside by the pool that overlooked into the central valley, and sat down to – PURE BLISS.  Here we were, literally in paradise!  It was gorgeous – the valley sloped down with beautiful flowers, trees and coffee plants everywhere.  There were butterflies and hummingbirds.  There were parrots!  We just sat there in jaw-dropping awe, hard to believe we were really here.

Since we know it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, what’s your worst Costa Rica memory?

I’m klutzy by nature, so my worst enemy here is the uneven sidewalks in the downtown area where I live.  I really have to walk with my eyes glued to the sidewalk, and holding my husband’s hand.  A couple weeks after we arrived here, we were walking into an area by a farmacia (pharmacy) in town, and there was an uneven gravel part in the middle of the walkway…  well I was looking up, and found myself totally sprawled out in the gravel – one knee totally torn up and bleeding profusely.  The good part about this, was that it was my first introduction to the farmacias here, and they took great care of me.  Sat me in a chair, cleaned and medicated my knee and sent me off with my knee completely bandaged up.  And they wouldn’t take any money for it!  The Costa Ricans as a whole are very sincere and kind people.  I tripped and fell a couple of other times too.

I like that I thought about my tripping and falling memories before I thought about my tarantula memories (yes, I’ve seen a few since being here!).  I had a severe bug phobia before I moved here, but am proud say how much better I am now (you kind of have to be, to live here!).

When did Costa Rica start feeling like home?

The first few months we were here, we stayed in a small efficiency apartment, which was great but it really didn’t feel 100% like home.  Then 3 months later, we found a great house to live in, and once we moved in – it was definitely “home”.  To be able to totally unpack our 9 suitcases, to be in our own space, to use our own coffee pot, to have a full size kitchen, etc. – it was like heaven.

From your blog I know that you love to bake and you’ve been cranking out a lot of recipes for your new cookbook, “Costa Rica Chica Cookbook.”  I know it’s a ton of work planning, writing, photographing, editing, etc. What kinds of recipes will be featured in your new book?

My cookbook “Costa Rica Chica Cookbook” was just published!  You can find it on amazon here:  http://amzn.to/1JmCnb9

The book contains some of my favorite recipes from the States, and in particular how to make them in Costa Rica (as some of the ingredients are different here).  If you’re in the States, don’t despair – I include substitutes so you can make these recipes at home too.   My book includes recipes for breakfast, pizzas and breads, hearty meals, and sweets.

All of your baked goods look so yummy. Has baking always been a passion? Does Costa Rica bring out your creative side?

I used to bake only occasionally back in the States, and I really was not into cooking at all.  I didn’t have time; with working a full time job, I was so tired when I got home and for sure didn’t want to stand in the kitchen for hours putting something together.  But now, having time and being in Costa Rica has definitely brought out my creative side.  Now, I love experimenting and cooking things from scratch!

In your opinion, what are 5 things to do or see in Costa Rica?

  • Catarata Del Toro (largest waterfall around)
  • Manuel Antonio (cool beach town with awesome National Park)
  • Osa Pennisula (jungle side of Costa Rica, not built up for tourism yet – you can see scarlet macaws and crocodiles here in their natural habitat, the wildlife is amazing)
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest (bucket list)
  • Hike Mt. Chirripó (bucket list)



Jen Beck Seymour

Jen is the author of the bestselling books:

Costa Rica Chica: Retiring Early, Simplifying My Life, & Realizing That Less is Best
Costa Rica Chica Cookbook: Stirring Up My Favorite North American Recipes In Costa Rica

When she’s not writing or blogging, she is either baking, hiking, playing piano, yoga-ing, sipping coffee, making arm candy or enjoying a glass of (boxed) wine… or yelling at her husband to come save her from a bug. She lives with her husband near Grecia, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Follow Jen’s adventures at: www.CostaRicaChica.com