Sunrise To Sunset: A Day in The Life Of A Black Expat In Costa Rica

By Leah Freeman-Haskin


Nosara, Costa Rica is a small town on the Pacific side of the country. We moved here to escape the hustle and overwhelming grind in the States that had taken a toll on our relationships, health, and well-being.  We needed an escape. A chance to reset and work our way out of a routine that felt monotonous and uninspiring.

Nosara is a small town. There are no paved roads and the sounds of howler monkeys, dirt bikes, and roosters became the daily soundtrack. We lived in town, away from the tourists and among the Ticos just 10 minutes from the beach. Here was our daily routine:

RELATED: What It’s Like To Be Black In Costa Rica

6:00 am – The sun rises at 6 am year-round in Nosara. If the sun doesn’t wake you up, then the screeches of roosters and the growls of howler monkeys will. No need for an alarm clock in the jungle.

6:30 am – We enjoy a family breakfast of sausages, plantains, and beans before getting ready for the day.

7:30 am – We hop in our 1991 Jeep Cherokee that has caused us more headaches than it is worth. We drive down the bumpy road to our son’s school. During the dry season, the dust is so intense that we have to wear goggles or sunglasses as well as face masks to protect ourselves.  Our Jeep didn’t have air conditioning, so the tropical summer heat and dust felt suffocating during most rides.

The drive to school was about 30 minutes. At that time, it was not uncommon to have to stop on the road to let a herd of sheep, cows, bulls, horses, goats, or other wildlife strolls by. The roads were bumpy, narrow, and steep, making for a great adventure every morning.

8:00 am – We arrive at our son’s school – a magical place that sat on the ocean. He spent recess on the beach and ate lunch in treehouses in the jungle.

8:05 am – My husband and I would head down to the beach, which we have all to ourselves. Depending on how we felt, we’d run, sit, meditate, float in the ocean, or just talk. We would always take a moment to acknowledge the journey we were on and how we were proud of ourselves for making a change.

8:45 am – Wifi was an issue throughout the town and the signal was especially unreliable in our house, so my husband and I would drive 15 minutes to town and set up at one of the large resorts. The WiFi was strong, the views were magnificent, and a green juice was the perfect way to relax into the day. My husband, an online personal trainer, and I, a writer, would get to work for the next few hours.

12:15 pm – Back down the road to school to pick up our son.

12:45 pm – Time to cool off. We would grab a bite to eat in town and then head to a pool that was free and always open to the public or down to the beach for a quick dip.

2:30 pm – A few quick errands to the local markets in town.

3:00 pm – Back home we would finish up any outstanding work, swing in our hammock, or nap in the sunshine.  We would also facetime with friends and family back home or explore in our (first ever) backyard for fresh limes, giant bugs, and sticks for building spaceships and lean-tos with our son.

5:00 pm – We jump back in the Jeep and head into town for sunset – the most magical time of day in Nosara. The entire town comes out to enjoy the daily sunsets on the beach. Children run around naked and free, you catch up with friends, the horizon is dotted with surfers, musicians play their guitars, and you feel the connection with the energy of the community. But everything stops just as the sun slips behind the horizon. A silence comes over the beach as we all witness the magical end to another day.

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6:00 pm – Similarly to sunrise, sunset is at 6 pm year-round in Nosara. Nighttime overtakes the beach quickly as everyone packs up their things and heads home.  

6:15 pm – Outdoor showers.

7:00 pm – We enjoy a traditional dinner of plantains, rice, chicken, and beans as well as laughter and the recounting of another beautiful day in paradise.

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Leah Freeman-Haskin

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