So, finally, you have fulfilled your long-cherished dream – bought a vacation villa in Arenal Hills, Costa Rica. This means you are about to transition into a new life that would include more frequent visits to the country and longer stays. A colorful social life will make the sojourns in your second home even more enjoyable. And for that, you will have to make friends with fellow expats as well as the locals. You must feel at home in a place where you plan to spend a long time of the year. Your new friends will help you enjoy stress-free extended vacations in your newly-bought villa in Costa Rica by guiding you on the mundane matters such as finding the best grocery store in the town or the procedure for paying the electricity bill. As an adult, building new friendships in a new place can be daunting but not impossible. Of course, you will not meet your bestie the very first day, but if you put constructive effort, you will start expanding your friend list in no time. Here are some tips on how you can connect to the local expat community and make new friends in your favorite vacation destination:
Hit The Farmer’s Market Every Weekend
During the weekend, people hit the local farmer’s market not only to replenish their weekly provisions but also to catch up with their friends. In the Lake Arenal area, the La Fortuna Local Farmer’s Market attracts a lot of expat crowd. The United Farmers Federation of San Carlos has been organizing this market for the past 13 years. Every Friday, the space in front of La Fortuna’s sports center (Poli-Deportivo) turns into a great mingling place of local growers and vendors and native and expat shoppers. Visiting this weekly market is a great way to bump into friendly expats. Besides meeting like-minded people, you will find here local handicrafts, and even home-style, pre-cooked Costa Rican delicacies to take home for dinner.
Explore the Region’s Restaurant Scene
Quite understandably, multi-cuisine restaurants are some of the most popular expat hangouts in the region. Be it Chinese, Italian, or English – the range of cuisine served here will surprise you. For example, Luigi’s Pizza has remained a hot favorite among the expat community that frequently gathers there to enjoy extra-large portions at a surprisingly low price. Another favorite expat joint is the Bar/ Restaurant Nene’s that is known for its authentic American fare as well as its exquisite wine selection. Head the place on weekend evenings to meet new people over a chilled beer, or a concoction of rum and Coke called Cuba Libre. Strike up a conversation over great food and a few drinks – the perfect way to cultivate new friendships.
Hang Out in the Nuevo Arenal Area
A small village on the north shore of Lake Arenal, Nuevo Arenal is the best place to find expats. And while in Nuevo Arenal, be seen in the right places, particularly in the Karacters Bar and Grill. Know what? American expats gather here for a taste of home when they had had enough Gallo Pinto, the Costa Rican rice and bean staple. Hit the place during the Happy Hour when the expat crowd is at its peak. Also, take part in the array of adventure activities that are available in this area – another excellent way to come across people with shared interest.
Be a Regular at Jaco
This beautiful Central Pacific town has an enormous expat population. You can explore the whole place on foot. As you walk along the streets, the shops on both sides will lure you with their astonishing assortment of merchandise. Expect to meet a dozen expats at these shops at any given point of the day. Another hot favorite expat destination is the restaurants that serve delicious Tex-Mex cuisine and the world’s best fish tacos. These eateries draw a huge foreign crowd, especially during the American football season when Americans throng these places to catch the game on the big screen. Cool way to meet new people, isn’t it?
Owning a new vacation villa in a community like Arenal Hills is exhilarating. It offers you the best of Costa Rican lifestyle in a picturesque location. However, to enjoy your stay here, you’ll have to be a part of a community. Take a proactive approach to creating a new social circle. We just told you how to do that.