Home to around 5 million people, Costa Rica has attracted retirees from the United States for years thanks to its tropical climate, low cost of living, and beautiful scenery. There are countless advantages of moving to Costa Rica, and because it is so fashionable, many people are moving to this beautiful country.
Life in Costa Rica is often attractive to foreigners. The quality of life is incredibly high, and your money will last longer than expected. Much further than most places. Although Costa Rica is a center of all things tropical, life here is different if you live here. As in any country, there are everyday aspects of the culture and lifestyle that most visitors are not exposed to. Many residents are foreigners who started out as travelers, and fell in love with the country!
Here are some things to consider before making the permanent move. Also, we highly recommend that you take one of our Costa Rica relocation tours with our local experts beforehand.
The pros and cons of living in Costa Rica
From personal experience, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of living in Costa Rica. However, the cons should be considered before coming here. The things most people enjoy living in Costa Rica is the culture of Costa Rica and exploring the beautiful country. It also has excellent and accessible health care, and domestic help is widely available.
There are many great places to live, such as San José, Dominical, and Atenas. A great advice would be, that you rent for several months before making the decision to move. Life in Costa Rica is generally amazing with some not-so-desirable days. But how can you beat waking up in the morning listening to birds singing every day of the year?
How are rains there?
Once you are in Costa Rica, you have probably experienced a bit of rain. However, even when the rainy season arrives -it will rain almost every day- mornings will always be beautiful. If you are here in October, it is sure to rain every day. But, after all, rain is not such a bad thing; in Costa Rica, it is not as cold as snow and it is very refreshing after a hot day.
Is it true that there are myriad of insects?
Well, it is the tropics, so there are small insects in many places. You can expect your home to have lizards and ants. Most are generally harmless, but can still give you a scare. Care must be taken if you live on the beach or in the jungle because these areas tend to have more insects.
Cost of living in Costa Rica
In some areas, the cost of living is cheaper; in others, it is more expensive. It really depends on how much you want to spend. If you expect to eat the same food as at home, it will be expensive since imported products are almost 50% more expensive. A common way to save money is to go where locals shop, such as farmers markets, where you buy all kinds of fruits, legumes and vegetables. Nothing beats fresh fruit from locally grown produce!
Even though the cost of living has risen significantly over the past decade, housing, medical bills, and transportation remain highly accessible. If you have a monthly income of US$ 2,000, then you are going to pay for a high standard of living. While the average rents range between US$ 450 and US$ 850 per month, mainly for houses with 2 or 3 bedrooms. What is more, residents of the Central Valley enjoy a mild climate, year-round, which eliminates air conditioning costs.
As for public buses, these are incredibly cheap and widely used by locals. A 4-hour trip can cost, on average, about US$ 6.
Health care through the socialized health system costs less than US$ 40 a month, while private insurance ranges from US$ 600 to US$ 1,300 a year. However, it is still a bargain when compared to the cost in the United States.
A calm and loving country
Located between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica is a bit different from the countries of Central America. Unlike its neighbors, Costa Rica has operated peacefully and without an army since 1948.
Costa Rica is also called the “Switzerland of Central America” for good reason; with no armed forces to finance, the government invested heavily in its people and natural resources, ensuring that education was free for all residents, gradually implementing sound environmental policies. Today, more than 26% of the nation’s budget is dedicated to nature reserves, national parks, and other protected areas.
For new families with young children, integration into the local community is simple, with access to private and public schools in major cities and towns. The country has one of the best educational systems in all of Latin America and offers multiple bilingual schools with American curricula.
With Costa Rica’s magnificent beaches and rainforests, the entire country is like an immense playground, offering endless opportunities for family, outdoor adventures.
You have probably heard the phrase ‘Pura Vida’, which is widely considered the unofficial motto of Costa Rica. Although technically it translates to ‘pure life’, this pair of words has a much deeper meaning that symbolizes a relaxed Tico (how Costa Ricans are called, affectively) way of life.
However, in some cases, it can be frustrating. You are probably used to a faster pace of life. Especially if you are from North America, it can be hard not to get what you want right away. Living in Costa Rica requires a little more patience to understand this culture. Also, why being in the rush? Instead, you better enjoy your time in this beautiful land.
But, above all, Costa Rica is a great country to live in. It is just that it may take you some time to get used to at its people’s pace.