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  • Writer's picturePura Vida Connections

Reasons to Love Southern Costa Rica by Diane Franklin

Oh, so many choices of different zones to choose from when coming to Costa Rica; each zone has characteristics of their own. Admittedly the San Jose and suburbs has major hospitals, lots of shopping and a major airport so why choose southern Costa Rica?

Water, Water, Everywhere

One big plus for the southern zone is all the water; some areas in the northern areas experience water rationing during the final weeks of the dry season. Coming from Michigan where water is abundant water rationing can be scary stuff. For many Norte Americanos having plenty of water is critical. Yes, we are spoiled.

Although all of Costa Rica is beautiful, the southern zone tends to be greener than the north during the dry season. When the north has turned brown during the dry months the southern zone is still luxurious with plenty of water running freely down the mountains in rivers and streams and waterfalls.

Lower Prices

We discovered prices in the Southern Zone to be less than the Northern Zone. Obviously most can live on less money in Costa Rica than back in the North America but when comparing the prices in San Jose and its suburbs we found many consumables priced less in the southern zone.

Some examples:

There is soooo much local food to purchase either directly from the farmer or one step beyond that fresh food prices are incredible. To “Eat Locally” is truly easy and affordable.

We can get fresh ocean caught red snapper for around $4.00 for a home cooked dinner for two!! Other fish are even less!

Coffee is less as coffee fields and handlers abound.

Building a house is more affordable in the Southern Zone.

Restaurant prices are less expensive in the Southern Zone.

Those are just a few examples, many more examples can be found.

Our Favorite and Most Useful Costa Rican Town—San Isidro de El General

One of San Isidro's main attractions is its HUGE farmer's market (feria) on Thursdays and Fridays. Most of your weekly food shopping can be accomplished just at the feria. Restaurants, shopping, hardware stores (ferreterias), cafes, lots of grocery stores, dentists, produce stands and much more fill the beautiful valley. In addition to medical help available at farmacias and clinics, San Isidro also has a hospital. If you need something, chances are you can find it in San Isidro.

Traffic congestion is less in the south. Unless you really like being stuck in traffic and spending lost time on the road along with thousands of other vehicles, driving in the Southern Zone if far more pleasant. The drives are beautiful; every trip out has something lovely to see.

Love The Locals!

Ticos in the Southern Zone are so friendly. Although we have a language barrier we can still find common ground to smile about, give and receive handshakes and hugs and share; (both ways too; even though they have less they love to share with us whenever they can!) Hiring the Locals for all types of jobs is affordable and easy.

We have noticed after a trip to San Jose and its suburbs, once we get back to the Southern Zone we start feeling at home. We are not city people so we appreciate country living. Here the traffic is lighter, the vegetation greener and the people more laid back; life is less hectic in the Southern Zone. It is more common to see families and friends along the roads chatting and enjoying each other or whole families walking along the road coming and going to visit family and friends. They might even be walking the family goat!! Life in the Southern Zone is more like we remember as kids but with modern technology thrown in. Coming to southern Costa Rica gives us that,”Ahhhh!” feeling.

You can read about Diane’s adventures and discoveries living in Costa Rica at

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