Notes from the Beach House: The Earthquake Edition

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This summer ended with us moving on from our housesit in Mexico, where we escaped Hurricane Ernesto, to the next housesit in Costa Rica – just in time for us to experience the long-awaited ‘Big One’. At 7.6 on the Richter scale, this earthquake was intense and lasted roughly 60 seconds, an eternity when the world is literally shaking. We had arrived the day before and were just settling in at our new beach house when we found ourselves sprinting outside barefoot across the gravel driveway with the homeowners.

For the next two months, we are caring for a house that belongs to a family of surfers from the U.S. and couldn’t feel safer considering how well the house held up in the earthquake. Not a cup, plate or picture was out of place, while some of the local houses were totally obliterated and the supermarket looked like the apocalypse.

earthquake damage costa ricaWhile life is still a beach for us, our surroundings could not be more different. Instead of the glare of the bright blue Caribbean shining at us from all angles in Mexico, now the crashing waves of the Costa Rican Pacific thunder in the distance. The house is set high on a hill, just 500m from the beach as the crow flies, but we are surrounded entirely by lush, tropical jungle. Howler monkeys eat, sleep, play and howl in the trees right by the infinity pool, waking us in the morning and entertaining us throughout the day.

A new pet has entered our lives as well. We are looking after an adorable little mutt with a Napoleon complex who most definitely thinks she runs the show. I took to her right away, but Dani was still truly heartbroken leaving our last dog in Mexico. Two months is the longest we ever spent with a pet before, but her heartbreak was more intense because they really had a very special bond.

mexico caribbean housesitTwo months was also a long time to hang out with our new Kiwi friends. We miss them a lot too, although it may have been the best thing for all of our beer bellies to stop hanging out for a while!  Down at the beach, we got into a really comfortable routine, which started at sunrise taking the dog out for a walk on the beach, and ending with snorkeling and/or dinner with the Kiwis more and more often as our housesit days dwindled.

At three weeks into our remote housesit Dani and I were suffering from cabin fever, yet after eight weeks we could have easily stayed eight weeks more.

Now, in our new home, there is one aspect of life that is infinitely better – we are back on the grid! Lights can be switched on and off freely and ceiling fans can stay on all day if we want without worrying about how many amp hours the solar batteries have or lugging out a hundred pound generator to make more electricity. Oh and the internet…After eight weeks of only 350MB of downloads per day, we are now free to surf the web at will. We can use Pinterest again (just 20 minutes on Pinterest at through 50MB of our 350MB limit, to put that into perspective), listen to Spotify radio while we work, download podcasts, and the most glorious of all – we have YouTube again! It could not feel better to be back online and on the grid. Monkeys, an infinity pool and a cute little dog don’t hurt either!

costa rica housesitLet us know if you have any questions about how we housesit around the world. We’re happy to share advice and experiences with you. 

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Tags : notes from the beach house


    1. Well, let’s hope that this was the last disaster for a while 😉 The housesit is really nice though, even though there have been several smaller earthquakes…

    1. Thanks, Scott! Yes, I always thought it would be a cool experience to feel an earthquake, but when it happened it didn’t feel as cool as I though 😉

    1. That’s exactly how we did it, Cole! Instead of being fixed on a certain location and dates, we just randomly applied for all the housesits that sounded interesting and were roughly in the area (we were in the South West of the U.S. at that time), and finally, a homeowner liked our profile and we got our first housesit. He was really happy with us and provides an excellent reference anytime a homeowner calls him – which helped us tremendously with all the other housesits we got.

    1. There are so many housesits in New Zealand – you shouldn’t have any problems of finding a couple of cool housesits there, Marsela 🙂 We’d be happy to give you some advice as soon as you’ve booked your plane tickets 🙂

    1. Thanks, Andi – we love the house… it is one of the nicest house we’ve taken care of so far – and definitely the first one with an infinity pool! 🙂

    1. Tammy – we actually only realized how lucky we were that ‘our’ house was not damaged after seeing the supermarket and a few houses in the village that got hit much worse than our sturdy house.. one house was completely destroyed 🙁

  1. hi, i just found out about house i have a few questions:
    1-when you house sit, do you have to pay for the bills (internet, electricity,water etc)?
    2-do you pay for your own food&grocery shopping?
    3-do you find another house for sitting,before you leave the one you are already sitting?


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