Costa Rica Living – Angelina Cooke has a big family — seven kids ages six to 18 — but that didn’t deter her from moving the clan to Esterillos Este, Costa Rica in 2011. The 39-year-old left central Ontario for the central Pacific where she and her husband work as eco-conscious land developers. Their new home offers fresh produce, friendly neighbors and crocodile close-ups.
We really wanted to live somewhere warm and beautiful where we could grow food for our family year round and pursue our dream of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Having a big family did present some challenges especially for the older children that didn’t want to leave their friends. They were also a little reluctant to learn a new language. But we wanted them to experience different cultures and ways of living.
What do you like most about living in Costa Rica?
The people, for sure. Ticos (Costa Ricans) are known for their kind and friendly nature. We’ve felt welcome from the day we arrived and have made friendships that feel more like family. The wildlife that comes to our property every day is high on my list, too. On any given day we are visited by two types of monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws, armadillos, and we have resident crocodiles in the nearby lake.
What are the good and bad of raising seven kids in Costa Rica?
The hardest part is not having a large public library to go to. We’re a homeschooling family and having access to a variety of educational resources in English is a necessity. But the best part is watching the world become their classroom. With environmental protection such a big thing here, they’re learning valuable lessons about how to tread lightly on this planet and how to be responsible and compassionate people.
What is a typical meal you would have with your family?
What I love about C.R. is how affordable produce and whole foods are in comparison to the higher costs of processed foods. It’s more cost effective for me to feed my family healthy meals made from scratch. Plates are covered in a variety of three to four veggies, a grain, usually rice or quinoa, beans, and sometimes a little meat, but not too often. Oh, and sweet cooking bananas.
What would be on your itinerary of best things to do in Costa Rica?
Ride the Superman de Osa zip line
Costa Rica has the longest zip line in the world that reaches 145 kilometres per hour. What a thrilling way to look down on the canopy trees from above. $95 with transportation, Costarica.com/tours/superman-de-osa.
Book a whale and dolphin tour
At certain times of the year you can take a boat tour and watch the whales and dolphins up close.
$90 for adults, $50 for children, Bahiaaventuras.com.
Visit the Arenal Volcano National Park
Not only can you go see the volcano but there’s lots of wildlife, hot springs, rafting and other super fun things to do. $10 entrance fee, anywherecostarica.com.
Mai Nguyen is a Toronto writer.
From The Star