Home to just over 4.5 million residents, Costa Rica, has attracted U.S. retirees for years thanks to its tropical weather, low cost of living and beautiful landscapes. There are countless perks of moving to Costa Rica, and many people are catching on and making the big move.
Living in Costa Rica is often appealing to foreigners. The quality of life is incredibly high, and your money goes pretty far depending on your town, lifestyle and how you travel. Though Costa Rica is a hub for all things tropical, planning to live in Costa Rica full-time is different than visiting it is a tourist. Like in any country, there are everyday aspects of the culture and lifestyle that most visitors are not exposed to. Many residents are expats that started as travelers then fell in love with the country. You could be next!
My Costa Rica highly recommends that you take one of our Costa Rica Relocation Tours with our local experts beforehand and also learn all about the reliable real estate agents in Costa Rica!
Here are a few things to consider before moving to the tropical paradise of Costa Rica:
Articles to Help
Relocation & Retirement
Retiring in Costa Rica is becoming more and more popular. But there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind before you make the move in order for everything to go as smoothly as possible. Read through our tips and things to keep in mind and learn all about expat living!
Moving to Costa Rica
Are you thinking of moving to Costa Rica? You will want to check out our list of pros and cons on moving to Costa Rica. What is driving in Costa like? Which restaurants are amazing? Should I relocate to a gated community?
Medical tourism is becoming more and more prominent everywhere. This is because the prices and quality of work done is great. Come here and find out how you can save on your next procedure.
Dental Tourism is by far one of the most sought after form of Costa Rica travel, this may be surprising, but why not? Costa Rica’s prices happen to be low and the work is more than professional.
Is Costa Rica Safe?
Safety is a big concern when you’re moving to a new country. Luckily Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Central and South America. With no standing army and a culture of pura vida, you’ll find Costa Rica a pretty tranquil place to live. Read more for Costa Rica safety tips!
Costa Rican Culture
Costa Rica is full of pura vida culture. You’ll find a dedication to national pride, environmental preservation and La Sele–the national soccer team.
Costa Rica Language
In Costa Rica los ticos speak Spanish primarily. Costa Rican Spanish has several slang words and you probably won’t go 5 minutes without hearing “pura vida” or “mae.” Costa Ricans also use the vos conjugation, although it’s common for people to mix tú, usted and vos all in one sentence.
Costa Rica Weather
Costa Rica has two seasons, the dry season and the rainy (green) season. Both seasons vary throughout the country and both have their pros and cons. The dry season tends to last from December to April. The green season lasts from May-November.
Tips on moving to San Jose after college
Are you fresh out of college and looking to relocate to San Jose, Costa Rica for a couple of months or even a couple of years? Read out three articles full of practical tips on how to make the move and actual living a whole lot easier! Learn about which grocery stores are the cheapest, where the farmer’s market is located, which are is safe and which is not, …
Teaching English in San Jose, Costa Rica
Wanting that once in a life time experience of teaching English in Costa Rica? Read our personal account listing all the good points as well as the bad points of teaching English in San Jose, Costa Rica!
The 12 steps to buying land in Costa Rica
Discover the 12 steps that make buying property in Costa Rica a breeze! Your own slice of paradise was never so easy to reach.
The Pros and Cons of Living in Costa Rica
Talk to most expats in Costa Rica and you’ll find that the pros far outweigh the cons of living in Costa Rica. But the cons should be considered before moving here. Getting a residential or working visa can be tricky and if you’re coming from the US, you’ll find a very different culture. If you move to San Jose or the surrounding suburbs, be prepared to deal with a lot of traffic. Remember that you’re moving to a tropical country, so be prepared to deal with some new critters too!
The things most people enjoy about living in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican culture and exploring the beautiful country. There is also excellent and affordable healthcare, and domestic help is widely available. Thanks to the many beautiful attractions in Costa Rica, you will never be bored. A great tip of advice, come and rent for several months before deciding to move to see how you like it. Living in Costa Rica is usually amazing with some not so desirable days. But how can you beat waking up in the morning hearing birds sing every day of the year?
The Rain and Bugs
Costa Rica weather can be difficult to get used to at first. The dry season is wonderful. It’s like spring every day. But come the rainy season it will rain almost every afternoon and the mornings are quite hot and humid. The rain isn’t always a bad thing, though! it’s not nearly as cold as snow, and it is very refreshing after the humid mornings.
Insects: It is the tropics, so there are small bugs in many places. You can expect your house to have geckos and ants. Most are usually harmless but can still give you a fright. Caution should be taken if you live at the beach or in the jungle because these areas commonly have more insects.
Cost of Living in Costa Rica
The cost of living in Costa Rica varies depending on where you decide to settle down. It’s more expensive in San Jose than smaller, more rural towns, for example. If you expect to eat the same food you eat at home, it will be costly. Imported products cost almost 50% more. A common way to save money is to go to where the locals shop. For example, the farmer’s markets to buy fruits and vegetables. Nothing beats fresh fruit of locally grown products.
While the local cost of living in Costa Rica has risen over the past decade, housing, medical expenses, and transportation are still very affordable. A $2,000 monthly income will afford a high standard of living, as average rents range from $450 to $850 per month for 2 or 3-bedroom homes.
Central Valley residents enjoy mild weather, typically mid 70’s, throughout the year which eliminates air conditioning costs.
A Peaceful, Loving Country
Unlike its neighbors, Costa Rica has functioned peaceably without an army since 1948, also called the “Switzerland of Central America” for a good reason. With no armed forces to fund, the government invested heavily in its people and natural resources, ensuring education was free to all residents, while gradually implementing sound environmental policies. Today, more than 26% of the nation is dedicated to natural reserves, national parks, and other protected areas.
For new families with young kids, integrating into the local community is simple, with access to both private and public schools in the main cities and towns. The country has one of the best education systems in all of Latin America and offers multiple bilingual schools with American curriculums.
Since children are quick to pick up new language skills, they’re able to make friends and adjust to cultural differences quickly. With Costa Rica’s gorgeous beaches and rainforests, the entire country is like a giant playground, offering endless opportunities for outdoor, family adventures.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Pura Vida,” which is widely considered Costa Rica’s unofficial slogan. Though it technically translates to “Pure Life,” these two words have a much deeper meaning – one that symbolizes a relaxed Tico (Costa Rican) way of living.
Pura Vida is an interesting saying. It’s genuine Costa Rican! It is a great thing and a wonderful way of life. But in some instances, it can be frustrating. For example, if someone shows up late to a meeting, they might just say pura vida, even if you’ve been waiting for a while. More than likely you’re used to a faster pace of life. Especially if you’re from North America, it can be hard not to get what we want right away. Living in Costa Rica does require a little more patience and calm understanding of the culture. Why rush, sit back enjoy and don’t stress you might live longer.
Above all else, Costa Rica is a great place to live. It just takes some getting used to.