There are lots of reasons why expats choose to live in Costa Rica. From the cheaper cost of living, the laidback beach lifestyle, the tax breaks, and welcoming people. Costa Rica makes a strong case for living and retiring, even though the prices have gone the gringo way in recent years.
Costa Rica is definitely not for the person that relies on heavy infrastructure. It is good to start with this statement. That said, once you get passed the city, and into the regions, you’ll discover places full of beautiful sceneries and wildlife. Lush green valleys, movie-like, developed and undeveloped beaches. Volcanoes, lakes, you name it. Costa Rica has it all for the person that loves to be in touch with nature.
Some say Costa Rica possesses one of the best climates in the world. You have sun all year round, with a rainy season, but mostly, temperatures are very welcoming depending on the region. The climate for example in Guanacaste characterizes itself as being hot and dry, perfect for a beach setting. Costa Rica is thankfully drier than it’s neighboring country, Panama, which many consider it to be generally too humid.
One of the highlights of Costa Rica is it’s people. The Costa Rican is humble, welcoming, always with a smile. They tend to live by the unofficial national motto: “Pura Vida” or “Pure Life”.
They are people who grew accustomed to tourists, and therefore have developed a strong sense of service and hospitality. This is a trait that you don’t normally see in other countries. Always with a smile, they tend to manage themselves in English, so your transition can be easier. Still, we always encourage learning the local language. Until you do, you won’t unlock the whole country’s potential.
While still Third World, Costa Rica boasts in its main cities many amenities you would expect from the first world. Top-notch hospitals and schools, chain stores like Wal-mart and PriceSmart (A local version of Costco.
While skimming down with time, tax exemptions are still an attractive asset for expats. The main tax break here is the principle of territoriality. This means that the income you earn from abroad is not taxable in Costa Rica. Many immigrants come here and offer services as consultants and writers for offshore businesses, and pay no tax on their income.
Retirees get even sweeter deals, as they can get discounts for medicine, services, and other products.
There are many popular spots for expats to go live and retire. Most of them go for the capital, San José, and the others seek that seemingly unreal, laidback, beach lifestyle. Here are the most popular destinations for living in Costa Rica:
Most look for their place to rest around the Guanacaste region, which features Tamarindo between its many options. Tamarindo is an expensive place to live since it’s so accustomed to tourists, though. But the lifestyle is amazing.
Covering a very large area, the Central Valley is a popular suburb destination for expats that look for the perfect climate. Some popular expat towns include Escazú, Atenas, and Grecia. All of them are considered enclaves that feature many close gated communities of expats.
The coasts of the pacific region are all a thing of dreams. The region is home to one of the mating areas of humpback whales, and houses many of the best-known beaches in Costa Rica. It is also considered an enclave of Baby Boomers. The region has many living options for expats:
Uvita: Uvita is a small village, noted for how the mountains seem to be in contact with the shore. It has developed quickly through the years, thanks to the important and ever-growing presence of expats. Uvita has expanded to being the tourist hub of the Southern Pacific Region. It has many tourist and cultural activities that range from festivals to surfing, excursions, etc.
Ojochal: Located just in the south of Uvita. It is one of the less developed destinations, but therein lies the pristine beauty of the beaches it boasts. Therefore, he cost of living can be much less than in other parts of Costa Rica, appealing to the adventurer expat.
Dominical: A preferred surfing spot, thanks to its amazing breaks. The town is well-developed, as it boasts big supermarkets, restaurants, supply stores and gas stations. Getting here is easy as the main bus terminal runs trips every hour from here to San José and back.
This commonly overlooked province features the town of our preference, San Ramón. If slow paced, family-centered life is what appeals to you, then you might want to consider San Ramón. San Ramon is still being discovered and remains affordable. In San Ramon, you can rent for as low as US$350 per month or over US$1,000 per month.
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