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US Family Finds New Life in Costa Rican Blue Zone

CNN published the story of a U.S. family that moved to Costa Rica, and it changed their lives completely. Kema Ward-Hopper and Nicholas Hopper decided to get married in the Central American nation, and years later, they made the decision to permanently relocate. Now, they live in one of Costa Rica’s blue zones, an area characterized by longevity, a slow-paced life, and a healthy lifestyle.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months before their wedding in 2016. “[I had] started treatment and everything. If you see pictures from my wedding, I didn’t have hair, and I didn’t really look like myself. But I was sick,” she told CNN. When she found herself in Costa Rica, she realized she felt different and felt as good as she had felt after her diagnosis.

“That was the first indicator that there was something special about Costa Rica,” she added. Kema Ward-Hopper had to undergo a unilateral mastectomy and a reconstruction surgery.

Subsequently, in August 2017, their family home in Houston, Texas, was destroyed by Category 4 Hurricane Harvey. Then, they decided it was time to leave. “We ended up losing our home. So, it just seemed like a lot of bad things [happening] back-to-back,” Ward-Hopper said.

They explored different options and ended up choosing Costa Rica, as they were amazed by the country’s health care and education system, as well as the environmental protections.

The nation’s proximity to the US was also a factor that weighed in. Back in 2018, they decided to make Pueblo Nuevo, in Nicoya, their new home. They spent some time in the area and loved the feeling of adventure. The family loved the sense of community and how friendly people are. They pointed out the health benefits they’ve experienced and how wonderful it is for their kids to be surrounded by nature.

“We have noticed that we feel better when we’re here. Our cardiac health and lung health seem to be better,” she added. The family enjoys the slow-paced life and all the benefits that come with it.

While they don’t know if they will remain in Costa Rica forever, they certainly believe “it feels like home” for the moment.

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