Friday, January 27, 2023

‘We’re killing ourselves in Canada’: why a Simcoe County family moved to Costa Rica and opened a villa for tourists

Ashley and Andrew Michael in Costa Rican waters.

Leaving Canada and starting again takes courage and vision. Costa Rica.

But Michael’s family did exactly that in 2018.

Growing up in Barrie, Ashley and Andrew, tired of the daily grind, packed the young family of three out of their home in Essa Township and moved to the Central American countryside with plans to build a luxury jungle lodge outside the city. ,

He never looked back and his original villa is now open and welcomes guests.

Ashley, Peyton and Andrew Michael at home in Costa Rica | photo of corcovado waterfall

“We are the first[foreigners]to go into this area,” Ashley told “But there is another area about an hour away from our house where many foreigners live who have been living there for 20 years. Jaguars walk by in their front yards. The area has changed a lot, from overhunted to feeling wild again. We would like to recreate that here. We have not been able to return to Canada after COVID-19. Our lives can be scary and difficult; We spend all our money, but we are trying to do something. Our lifestyle is amazing.”

Where does this willingness to take risks come from?

On their honeymoon, Ashley and Andrew stayed at an eco-lodge. In Amazon basin Peru, his room had three walls and an open view of the rainforest.

“I thought we’d eat anaconda or something,” Ashley said. “But the whole time we were there, we thought, ‘Why are we killing each other in Canada?’ We started talking at that point about how great it would be to do the same with our lives.

After the couple had their daughter, Peyton, she traveled to Costa Rica three years in a row, renting only a car, not a hotel room. He liked the country for its accessibility and good health and education systems.

Then align the timings. Ashley was fired from her job and Andrew, who worked in restoration for Autocor, was not happy with his career.

They sold everything from bikes to Peyton trampolines and headed south.

Costa Rica took some getting used to, and Peyton was unhappy at first when she realized it was more than an extended vacation.

But he was able to have weekly Zoom calls with his old class. He is now home schooled but has many local friends.

His first property was 12 hectares in Riyito de La Palma and was acquired after a few months.

His vision was to create a nice view off the beach and enough space for hiking trails. It took months to clear the lawn, build the house, and build the driveway.

Later he bought some more land and his parcel increased to 54 hectares. The property is located within a rainforest and has six waterfalls, three of which are currently swimming and hiking destinations.

Ashley laughed and said, “You are not what you seem the real Lepage.” “Every piece of property seems to be for sale by some farmer who was given the property by grandfather and then divided between two or three people. You have to find out if it has a title and if it is genuine. It took us a while to find what we wanted.”

More information about the villas can be found at

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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