RETIRE IN COSTA RICA
Retire in Costa Rica
. If you are considering retirement in Costa Rica, then read on. Costa Rica is one of the best places to retire in the world. Do you know that more American's live in Costa Rica than any other country outside of the US? Costa Rica has the ideal climate
, is easy to get to, and is a long lasting democratic republic. Costa Rica is friendly to American's and Canadians and its infrastructure is somewhere between 3rd
world and first world including affordable first world quality healthcare. Costa Rica is known as the Switzerland of Central America and has invested in education and social services instead of funding a military. This country has a heart and soul culture that is extremely friendly, open and much different that its neighbors to the north and south.
Is Costa Rica really different? Why?
Costa Rica really is different than its neighbors in Nicaragua and Panama and elsewhere in Latin America. Even during the 1970's and 1980's when Central America was surrounded by civil wars, drug lords and controversy, Costa Rica has managed to keep itself independent and actually has helped broker peace in the region. The combination of all of these things, affordable healthcare, democratic government, no military, well educated, long-standing and stable government, growing infrastructure, open business environment, environmental at heart, and beautiful with the perfect climate, have shaped the people and Costa Rican culture into an open, welcoming, friendly, helpful, educated society. You must visit Costa Rica to experience this culture first hand. Many people who are well traveled and visit Costa Rica are shocked that Costa Rica isn't the same as other popular tourist destinations. Costa Rica is different. Period.
Costa Rica Geography. Costa Rica, against popular belief is not an island; it is an isthmus that borders Nicaragua to the North, Panama to the South, The Pacific Ocean to the West and the Caribbean Sea to the East. The center of the country is mountainous with lush rainforests in the center and south and tropical dry desert to the Northwest. Costa Rica is a country with volcanoes, waterfalls, rivers, streams, rich fertile soils for farming, coffee plantations, cattle farms, green grassy pastures, beaches, jungle, cloud forests, and rain forests, diverse geography and one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Do you know that Costa Rica only holds about .6% of the world’s land mass, yet is home to 6% of the world's biodiversity? No wonder Costa Rica is popular among tourists and retirees alike.
Where to Live in Costa Rica. Even though Costa Rica is a small country, there are different regions in Costa Rica, each with its own unique features. The Central Valley includes San Jose and popular suburbs of Escazu, Santa Ana, Cariari, San Pedro and Heredia. This is the area in the center of the country where most of the populace lives. The climate in this area is very moderate and spring like year around. San Jose is approximately one hour from the popular beach town of Jaco via a new, modern highway. Guanacaste includes the North Pacific Region. This is the Northwest part of Costa Rica that used to belong to Nicaragua. The climate is warm and dry and the geography is tropical desert. The Central Pacific Region is from Puntarenas south to Manual Antonio. This is the area where Jaco Beach is located. The area has transitional forests with moderate rainfall and stays green year around. The Central Pacific stays mostly dry from January to April with moderate late afternoon showers during May to December. The Central Pacific also has the best infrastructure of any beach town or coastal area in Costa Rica. South Pacific starts around Dominical and goes south to Panama including the Osa Penninsula. This area receives the most rainfall on the Pacific Coast with season similar to those in the Central Pacific. The area is mostly undeveloped with lush, green rainforests and dense jungle. The Caribbean or East Coast of Costa Rica includes a port town of Limon where many cruise ships dock on their way to the Panama Canal. The Caribbean Coast is mostly undeveloped with beautiful, natural beaches and the Northern part of the Caribbean (Tortuguero) can only be accessed by boat and is very remote. The culture on the Caribbean is mostly made up of Jamaican's and Dominican's as they migrated to Costa Rica to work in the banana plantations that exist near Limon. Most foreigners coming to Costa Rica to retire, choose the Central Vally (Escazu and Santa Ana), Jaco, Hermosa, Herradura (Los Suenos Resort) and Manual Antonio in the Central Pacific and Tamarindo, Playa del Coco, Flamingo, Playa Hermosa and Papaguayo in the Northern Pacific, Guanacaste region. This area is dry and mostly remote with extreme weather changes, but expat communities started to pop up during the real estate book around 2005 after the Libera Airport was upgraded for international travel.
Food is extremely important when considering where to retire. Common questions we get asked are what kind of food is available and what will I need to give up? if you love to eat, you will love living in Costa Rica. Food varieties are plentiful, restaurants reasonably priced. Cook at home, go out to eat or order carry out. No matter your food choice and venue, Costa Rica has it!
Rethink and Reinvent your life in Costa Rica.
Why are so many foreigners including Americans and Canadians retiring in Costa Rica? What is there to do in Costa Rica when I am retired? This is a question we here time and time again. The simple answer is that you can do anything and be anyone you want to be. While "The Greatest Generation," mostly retired to a life of tranquility, The Baby Boomer Generation seems to want more from their retirement. Retirees now a days act and feel younger than their parents and grand parents did when they retired and they are looking for more. Costa Rica offers an adventurous, but not dangerous retirement. Most of us have watched Magnum PI enjoy tropical Hawaii. We have seen movie after movie of exotic, tropical environments, but the reality is that most of these tropical environments like Jamaica and many Caribbean Islands offer a great place to spend five to ten days of vacation for those escaping the cold, winter, Northern weather, but with very limited activities and lifestyle for those spending more than a couple of weeks. Costa Rica offers all that they offer, plus so much more. Many retirees get more active than they were in their sedentary lives in the US and Canada. They rediscover biking, hiking, walking on the beach, birding and nature exploration. They join other expats in clubs for card playing, horse shoes, bingo and more. They love to explore this tropical masterpiece because it is safe to drive around in Costa Rica (unlike Mexico and many other developing countries). Still more retirees volunteer at their local schools and non-profit organizations, giving back by volunteering their time and life expertise. Others ride motorcycles, dirt bikes, atv's. Some others raise or board horses and even have that working farm they always dreamed of having, but never had the time to do it.
Why Retire in Costa Rica?
Well, in addition to the natural beauty of Costa Rica and its beautiful and friendly culture, the weather is perfect
, the location is still close and accessible to the US and Canada with hundreds of flights on major carriers every day, the cost of living is less than the US and Canada, property taxes are less than the US and Canada, the food is excellent and dining out costs less than the US and Canada, a housekeeper costs less than $2 per hour (never cook, clean or do laundry again), healthcare is excellent at a fraction of US/Canadian prices with no wait, dental is excellent at a fraction of US/Canadian prices, the water is clean and drinkable, roads and infrastructure are good in popular locations and getting better every day on out of the way locations, property values are stable and cost effective when compared apples to apples to popular US and Canadian locations, you can go to the beach year around - it never gets cold here, it's easy to communicate as many Costa Rican's speak English and Spanish is similar to English so it is relatively easy to learn, Costa Rica is stable and democratic and has been for a long time and the transition to living in Costa Rica is much easier than most other international locations.
Cost of Living in Costa Rica.
How you view the cost of living in Costa Rica depends upon your lifestyle and where you live in the US or Canada. In General, the cost of living in Costa Rica is about 50 cents to 60 cents on the dollar compared to living in the US. It is even better if you live in Canada as taxes are much lower in Costa Rica. Often times we see companies promoting other countries in Latin America which accuse Costa Rica of being too expensive. It is true that the cost of living has increased in Costa Rica vs where is was fifteen years ago (like the rest of the developing world), but it is still reasonable and in most cases a better value than elsewhere.
Every region in Costa Rica will have different prices for goods and services just like there are differences in the US. In Jaco, for example, if you dine at a restaurant on Main Street that are focused on tourists, you will pay more than if you eat at a restaurant off Main Street (there are many). We can get a great meal here off Main Street for under $4. Further, on Main Street, you can get a gourmet meal for about $10 per person. That is a great deal as long as you are comparing apples to apples.
Movies in Costa Rica are much cheaper. Compare a $9 movie in the United States to a $4 movie in Costa Rica. Popcorn and soda in the US is $10.. My son and I went to see a (new release) movie in Jaco and paid $10 for two tickets, popcorn and a soda.
Services in Costa Rica are much less in Costa Rica than elsewhere in North America. The cost for labor is about $2 / hr for minimum wage. True, you can go to a very poor, depressed country and get labor much cheaper, but what you will learn is that the quality of life is also lower and often the large disparities of incomes and classes create higher crime rates. What good is it to live dirt cheap in a depressed country, if you never feel safe? You will feel safe and fit in, in most areas of Costa Rica. Further, on activity we like to do is to take weekend drives and explore the different areas of natural beauty in Costa Rica. We do this freely and safely.
Dental and medical work is also reasonable in Costa Rica. A crown from a private dental practice costa about $250 and fillings cost $30. Get your teeth cleaned by the Dentist - not an associate! Medical is also more reasonable. Prices vary by procedure, but in most cases around 50 cents on the dollar from US prices.
Note - electronics and vehicles cost more because of import taxes. We recommend buying computers in the US. Cars cost more, but also hold their values vs used car costs in the US. When you sell your car, you will retain more and in the long run, this may cost you less for the value of the vehicle. For example, I owned a car for five years that was a popular SUV with all of the options. This vehicle only depreciated $10,000 over 5 years or only $2,000 per year. By the time you add in licensing, insurance, maintenance, you will find that it costs you about the same to have a car in Costa Rica, though it will cost more upfront. Overall, based upon my findings it is about 40% to 50% cheaper, living in Costa Rica than in the US, but with a high quality of life.
The internet is a wonderful tool, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there. In fact, there is so much information, that it is confusing. Ken and his staff will help you sort out the facts from the fiction. Plus, we will always encourage you to travel to Costa Rica to see it for yourself and never advise that you send any money or any deposits prior to visiting no matter how good of a deal it appears on paper and no matter how friendly a sales agent is over the phone. Contact us today for the first step of putting your dream retirement into motion. If you take no action, you may become a statistic and you don't want to be one of those people who always dreamed about living an exciting retirement in a tropical paradise, but instead spend it wishing and wondering what it would have been like if you had.