This traveling family’s expert tips for pura vida in Costa Rica

Hopscotch the globe family of 3 and their dog in Costa Rica

If you’re itching to trade your office chair for a hammock and your desk lamp for some natural sunshine, we’ve got just the ticket with advice from the YouTube queen of adventure herself, Kristen from Hopscotch the Globe.

Maybe you’ve seen her navigating bustling marketplaces in Thailand, embracing the nomadic lifestyle in a tricked-out Airstream (with the fam in tow), or even followed along as she became a homeowner in the lush paradise of Costa Rica.

Today Kristen is spilling the tea—or should we say, the tropical fruit juice—on how to make every journey an epic tale worth telling. 

How did you end up becoming a traveling family making YouTube videos based in Costa Rica?

I started Hopscotch the Globe as a blog back in 2010 when barely anyone was making money off of social media. Originally, I started it so my family and friends could follow my adventures as I traveled around the world for 10 months. Then people I didn’t know started reaching out from all over the world asking for travel advice and thanking me for inspiring them to travel. I thought that was so cool and it made me fall in love with travel blogging even more. Since my background and true passion is in acting and film production, I wanted to combine all my loves into one and that’s why I started a YouTube channel

Siya joined me full time in 2014 and together we turned Hopscotch the Globe into what it is today. This lifestyle has given us the freedom to live wherever there’s an internet connection. After years of constant travel, we decided to create a home base in one of our favorite countries – Costa Rica. So, while we continue to travel the world, Costa Rica is a place that grounds us and has allowed us to build a community we can keep coming back to. We love the country so much, and love being able to share it with our audience who are looking to come explore this magical place.

How did you end up in Costa Rica?

Honestly, it’s a story full of synchronicity and manifestation. But to sum it up, at the beginning of 2020, we were at a festival in Costa Rica called Envision. On the last day of the festival, we came across a booth that was sharing info about this new community being built in Costa Rica. Immediately, we were intrigued since communal living is something we wanted in our future. By the end of a conversation we had with one of the founders, we had changed our flight and made plans to spend another week in Costa Rica, walking the land of this community and making friends with people who would eventually become our neighbors. 

Since we had just purchased a house in Canada only a few months before, we were not financially ready to purchase land elsewhere. However, as the housing market prices increased and our plans for living in Canada started to shift, we ended up putting our house in Canada on Airbnb and found a way to purchase a lot in this community in Costa Rica. 

A couple of months after that, we ended up moving into our Airstream full time (again) and selling our house. Since the market was hot, we made out well from the sale and applied that to our land in Costa Rica. Then for the next year, we lived and explored North America as a family in our Airstream and at the beginning of 2022, we shipped our Airstream to Costa Rica. Now, we are wrapping up our house build on the land in our community that incorporates our Airstream home. It’s very exciting!

What are your favorite parts of the country? 

Costa Rica is so diverse! It’s also not that big so you can go from the ocean to the jungle to a volcano to a waterfall in the same day. I would say that my favorite beach as of now is Samara. I also love spending time in La Fortuna to soak in natural hot springs and swim in the waterfalls. But most of all, I love how each day you can find a new adventure and treasure here. This country is incredible.

Most importantly – how’s the food?

The food is one of the top reasons why we love Costa Rica! If you love fruit, Costa Rica is paradise! Just when we think we’ve tried all the fruit in the world, Costa Rica introduces us to another one we’ve never heard of. Since there are 12 microclimates, you can grow just about everything here. It’s very easy to eat organic foods and everything is fresh and local.

What does a typical day look like for you?

We like to live adventurous lives, so no matter where in the world we are, we’re always up to something. We have based ourselves in both Costa Rica and Canada and also travel internationally throughout the year, so each day can look quite different but there’s always a sense of adventure and curiosity involved. 

In Costa Rica, a typical day could be having breakfast and then heading out to discover a new waterfall to swim in. We’ll usually bring a bunch of fruit and other yummy food to eat, and have a little jungle picnic. We get together with our close friend group almost every day. We hang out and all our kids play together. On weekends, we’ll all head to the beach and spend time in the ocean, building sand castles and ending the day with ice cream for the whole gang. We also like to have regular potlucks and pool days with our community. Of course, we work and often bring our camera along for the adventures. 

As adventure-seekers, what have you done since arriving to get your blood pumping?

Costa Rica is full of adventurous activities. We’ve done the best zip lines in the country, paragliding, parasailing, ATVing in the jungle, and night walks to spot local creatures. 

What is the biggest adjustment you’ve made and that travelers might also encounter when moving abroad?

In Canada, we have access to everything we can imagine in the blink of an eye. You can order something online and get it delivered the same day. There are endless options for places to dine out and all these specialty items you can’t easily get in Costa Rica. Things take more time here, and sometimes it can feel frustrating when it’s not something you’re used to. 

It’s also been a big adjustment to live amongst the poisonous creatures that inhabit Costa Rica. It’s more of a conscious way of living like watching where you step, using a flashlight at night, shaking your shoes before putting them on and checking your bed sheets for scorpions. That kind of thing.

Costa Rica is famous for its beaches and also its rainforest. Where are your top 3 places to visit for those planning a trip there?

That’s a hard question to answer because every person has different interests. But as someone who loves nature, fresh food, relaxation and adventure, I would recommend La Fortuna, Monteverde for the hot springs, waterfalls, adventurous activities, wildlife and volcano hikes. Then a trip to the coast for beach life. 

If you love to surf, then Nosara or Santa Teresa are great spots for both beginners and experts. If you prefer calmer waters, I really love Samara. It’s also very family-friendly.

What’s the best piece of travel advice you could give readers who are looking to travel or move to Costa Rica?

Watch our videos on YouTube or reach out to us via our Instagram or blog! We have plenty of information and experiences to share with you about both traveling to and moving to Costa Rica. 

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