Episode #7: Val and Lupe (part 1) 🇨🇷

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By Norm Schriever. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this episode I sit down for cocktails with Valeria and Guadalupe Montera, Tica (Costa Rican) sisters who’ve become two of my best friends over the last seven months living in Tamarindo. If you’ve traveled to that sleepy surf town, maybe you’ve even seen Val or Lupe at their Tierra Bendita Café.

That’s how I met them, and their cute garden café with amazing food and dope music has become my regular go-to spot for smoothie bowls and coffee every morning.
Hearing the girls say "Gooooood morning, Normando! Would you like a cafecito with milk?" is now part of my blessed AM ritual.

But Val and Lupe have a story that goes far beyond what you see at their café, transcending their model good looks and engaging banter in both Spanish and English gleaned from the streets (ok, the malls) of Los Angeles.

In fact, even a year ago they were living in San Jose, the capital city in Costa Rica, where they were on-track for lucrative careers in law and architecture, respectively. However, their soul-sapping corporate cubicle life further pushed them to the Less Than Zero life on the weekends, and soon they were depressed, despondent, and self-medicated with the prospect of spending their next 30 or 40 years that way.

So, Val and Lupe chose the road less traveled, deciding to move to the beach in Tamarindo, which is about five hours away from San Jose but may as well be another planet in terms of the pace, vibe, and the pura vida, or pure life.

It was anything but easy: the Covid pandemic essentially shut down Costa Rica from tourism for about seven months, but at least they were living a life of purpose and passion now. Finally, after months of struggle and hard work, they grew their Tierra Bendita Café, which means sacred or holy ground in Spanish. That’s an apropo term for the place that both saved their lives and serves as the center of community life in Tamarindo for so many (me included).

We talked about all of that when we sat down at Lizard Lounge recently, my favorite bar in Tamarindo, with the mic rolling and margaritas flowing. Over our nearly two-hour conversation, Val, Lupe and I covered the story of their move to Tamarindo, the build-up of their café against all odds, dealing with mental health, chasing their dreams, sacrificing everything to live an authentic life, and much more.

These sisters couldn’t be more different in terms of personality, but I like and respect both of them a little more every single time we talk and the closer we become.

Enjoy this part 1 of my conversation with Val and Lupe, and I’ll bring you the (slightly more inebriated) part 2 very soon. (And shout-out to Wes at Lizard Lounge for hosting us and always being a stand-up dude!)

You can follow the sisters and their café life at @tierrabendita.cr on Instagram,

and give some love to Lizard Lounge at @lizardloungecr

15 episodes