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An Expat Talks about Living in
Cahuita , Costa Rica
May 13, 2016
Cahuita, Costa Rica
A Canadian woman who moved to Cahuita, Costa Rica in the 1990s in her twenties fell in love and ended up staying for two years. In the end, the poverty, Rasta culture, crime and feeling that expats weren't really wanted in Cahuita made her decide to repatriate to Canada. Today, she lives in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
Before I moved to Cahuita, Costa Rica I didn't expect much except not the typical vacation in an all inclusive resort & to 'connect' with local people. I wanted to feel FREE without stressing for anything
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
I went to Cahuite for a 2 week vacation around 1993. I was only 23 years old & fell head over heals for a guy from Venezuela named Wareke. This is why I ended up & staying there for almost 2 years! Finally, I decided to leave because there was too much poverty & lots of people on crack and not working, just robbing any tourists they could. I was selling made artesanias (jewlery) by the beach near the entrance park of Cahuita and I often was intimidated by locals that wanted to either sexually harass me or wanted to rob me. So I ended up selling my artesanias en Puerto Limon on the cruise ships days along with a Peruvian family. I lived with my boyfriend Wareke on black beach in a small house with no water or electricity or even a washroom. We had to dig wholes in the jungle for a # 2.... At 23 it wasn't that bad but it could have been a lot better! I remember people were impressed with our names: Wareke & Annicka... how weird is that, strange names. But hey, we were deeply in love!
How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
I decided to leave Cahuita even though I had met nice friends that were from Québec, Canada as I am. I felt the place didn't like me! I felt people didn't like expats living there. I felt like an intruder. It was painful to leave since I had adjusted myself to a SLOW beat and I liked Wareke even though I knew he wouldn't do anything with his life. I forgot to say that in Cahuita, people smoke marijuana morning to night! The rasta mentality is very focused on being HIGH, but I was fed up with people trying to rob me all the time and that it was dangerous for a beautiful girl like I was to stroll along on the beach and in the jungle. I remembered that I had been followed a few times and that I had been scared of being raped. Cahuita IS not the place for a young single woman. After almost 2 years I came back to Canada and later settled in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
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Costa Rica is has both public and private healthcare systems. When you become a resident, you must enroll in the public healthcare system (CAJA). Many expats use the public system for routine healthcare and have private expat health insurance for specialists, surgeries and emergencies.
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