The cost of living on a steep, rugged Costa Rican mountain, at an organic farm in the jungle of the Osa Peninsula: TWO TIRES. The experience itself: PRICELESS.
Heavy and loaded with all of our belongings, our 20-year old Toyota 4runner barely chugs along up the steep, gravel road, its bald tires spinning, slipping and second guessing themselves with every slow inch of progression.
“Umm…what happens if the car just stops driving?” I ask, as I squeeze my eyes shut, afraid to watch, silently asking for help from someone, anyone.
“You don’t want to know,” Andy replies, his voice cool and steady, as his foot stomps the gas to the floor, his fingers turning white as he grips the wheel.
Just as we think we’ve almost made it, another mountain climb looms above us. I feel light-headed and realize I’ve been holding my breath. I remind myself to breathe. We have seen some death-defying Costa Rican roads in our 8 months exploring this country, but this one takes the grand champion ribbon.
I continuously glance in the rearview mirror, trying to inspect our tires. We needed new tires before we attempted to take our car mountain climbing. Thirty tense minutes into our drive we finally arrive at the top of the mountain, stopping to take in the beautiful ocean view as the sun is setting. The treacherous climb is already worth it. In Costa Rica, as in life, the worst roads lead to the most beautiful places:
We pull into Osa Mountain Village and the laid-back, positive energy instantly oozes into our car, flooding the tension, replacing it with peace. Exiting our car and leaving the recent stress in the past, we hear the distant whirl of a zipliner flying through the jungle, followed by a proud shriek of triumph. The rainforest around us is alive with the buzz of insects, the cries of howler monkeys and the calls of the macaws that inhabit the area. Our new home is a jungle paradise, surrounded by wildlife. Humans are the minority.
We unpack, settle in and begin to explore.
Our jungle view:
The pool gathering area, right behind our villa:
Fruit Tree Hill, where we can pick fresh fruit anytime:
Our fruit loot after our first hike up Fruit Tree Hill:
The expansive, diverse, overflowing vegetable garden:
Multiple majestic waterfalls are within hiking distance of the village:
Everything about this place is special, but I appreciate most the bi-weekly veggie drops. We place our empty basket out on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, and the next morning our basket is overflowing with a variety of fresh, colorful vegetables, greens, herbs and eggs.
My love for cooking has been dramatically reawakened in our short time here. Nothing is more inspiring than being handed an armload of delicious, bright vegetables and fruits, for FREE. My head spins with ideas, images of possible masterpieces dance across my kitchen. Cooking colorfully is a work of art and I am a non-starving artist.
Our new favorite meal is a freshly picked garden salad with homemade citrus dressing, using only organic ingredients grown here at Osa Mountain Village. Now that is ‘Farm to Table’:
Life is all about peaks and valleys, ebb and flow, the good with the bad and the high with the low. After the natural, overwhelming high of exploring our new piece of paradise, we notice that we have a flat tire. Andy gets out our jack, which he finds has mismatched parts and pieces that don’t fit together, but somehow still manages to change the tire. Thank God for Handy Dandy Andy.
We head down the mountain the next morning, our spare tire no longer a spare, and I jinx us by commenting that on roads like these we shouldn’t ever be driving without a spare tire. And, BOOM! Our spare tire explodes. I guess I asked for that one...
Luckily for us our new friends and neighbors, Brent & Mary, came to our rescue and picked us up. Having your spare tire explode in Costa Rica is not good. But having it explode a mile from a Firestone that just happens to be having a sale on mountain tires, is definitely not bad.
It’s been incredible exploring the grounds and getting to know our friendly, new neighbors. Osa Mountain Village is remote and secluded, but the people who live here have made it into a little village community. Everyone is genuinely welcoming and inviting.
Right away we are invited to potlucks, bird watching afternoons, numerous outings and sports games. For once it’s easy to remember what day of the week it is. Friday night is movie night, when everyone gathers to enjoy a movie on the big screen, while the community feline, Nacho Cat (he’s not mine either), lap-hops in search of the friendliest hands. Saturday morning is the farmer’s market and then the community softball game. Sunday is beach volleyball day. Sunday & Wednesday evenings are the nights we set out our compost to be picked up, as well as our veggie baskets to be filled. This makes Monday and Thursday mornings more exciting than Christmas morning, as we wake up to find out what the garden fairy has left for us.
Within a few days of arriving we are already discussing staying here for April as well. This is the perfect place for us to get even closer to nature, explore secret waterfalls, eat fresh and healthy food, save money on eating out, and to truly experience the real Costa Rica, for a fraction of the price we’ve been paying each month.
I can’t help but wonder…is this too good to be true?
...but then I remember the road.
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.