Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update: 10.9 ounces of cottage cheese— $5

When people visit Costa Rica, they immediately plan on zip-lining. My sister and her family are here for a couple weeks and this excursion is first on their list. My nieces can’t stop talking about it.

Zip-lining should be the country’s designated excursion. I’ll go as far as to say it should be printed on all Costa Rican flags and possibly their currency as well. When I sit and have coffee in Tamarindo, inevitably someone at a neighboring table is discussing all the fun they had while flying through the air on a cable.

Wanting to make a good impression with my eleven and thirteen-year-old nieces (and because we now wear the same size and I steal their cool Aeropostale T-shirts), I search for one that’s going to guarantee an exciting time. I pick Pura Adventura since they have great reviews on the internet and because you are secured to not one but two cables as you fly through the jungle.

When we first walk into their lobby I am greeted with big, friendly smiles. The manager comes from behind the desk and shakes our hands before welcoming us to his establishment. I always like it when a business does this; it usually means they really take pride in their product. We have to wait a half hour so I buy a bunch of soda to pass the time. Why I drink two bottles of Orange Fanta right before being strapped to a harness for an indefinite amount of time just goes to show you my train of thought when it’s 90 degrees out.

A truck pulls up and we all pile into the back. It feels like a hay ride as we drive through lush green pastures under trees full of monkeys. Cattle are periodically blocking the road and lazily move to the side once we beep the horn. The ride alone feels like a separate excursion.

Once we climb to our first platform and are safely harnessed, we look out across the first cable and realize we are above most of the trees. This gives sweeping views of the hills and valleys before us. I jump off and it feels like I’m zipping forever, spying down on the world like an eagle. There is nothing…nothing like a view from above the treetops. I feel happy, and free, and all those things I thought I lost when I was working in the office years ago. Costa Rica continues to make me feel like a kid again.

After a few cables, they encourage us to go upside down. I volunteer and marvel at how the world looks from this perspective. It’s the perfect metaphor for how differently I live my life today and how much it has changed. Five years ago I turned my life upside down, moved to Costa Rica, and each year I’m saying yes to more things I would never have tried in the past.

Whenever I get out of my comfort zone I learn something new. This journey never stops teaching me things and I welcome each new encounter that comes my way. It may be just shaking hands with a business owner or speeding upside down on a steel cable. Costa Rica reminds me to show up and be present in my life. It sure beats being a spectator.

We all rappel down the last platform and proceed to pile in the truck for the drive back. My four-year-old niece is sitting with my sister and anxiously waits to hear if we saw any monkeys. Since she didn’t get to go zip-lining, I want to do something special for her. I point to the horse stables and ask the guide in Spanish if she could ride an onion. Yes…you read that right.

As you can see, my Spanish is coming along splendidly. Thankfully the guide did not let her ride any vegetables just because a wacky gringo hyped up on Orange Fanta asked him to.

(Don’t forget to visit me at . I share lots of great pictures of our life here in Costa Rica!)