Why Do So Many Expats Live in This Part of Costa Rica?

Why Do So Many Expats Live in This Part of Costa Rica?

Grecia is a medium-sized town in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, about a 30-minute drive from San Jose. It’s half an hour that makes all the difference in the world, say expats who live here.

Watch our video report here:


While nearby San Jose offers world-class hospitals and all the shopping malls and big box stores anyone could want or need, it’s also fraught with big-city woes…especially mega hustle and bustle and traffic problems.

Not so, though, in Grecia, where the pace of life is slow and there’s plenty of time to stop and smell the coffee…literally.

At an elevation of just over 3,000 feet, the hills above Grecia are lush with coffee plantations. And should you want some sugar in your coffee, you’ll be happy to know that sugar cane also grows here.

This perfect combination of altitude and latitude makes for temperate weather conditions, too. The days are warm and mild…and the nights are mild, too. Overall, daily temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

We spent a day there strolling through the colorful mercado (fruits, veggies, seafood, and carnicerias), peering into the pretty church that anchors the plaza and sitting under a shady tree in the park eating ice cream. That evening we met friends for dinner at Restaurante La Galeria where we feasted on ribeye steaks that rival any served by restaurants back home in Nebraska, but at half the cost. (This is cattle country, too.)

The next day, our friends took us on a tour of the nearby mountain ridges that overlook Grecia and nearby Sarchi (one of Costa Rica’s famous woodworking towns). These ridges are where most of the expats live. They’re looking for fresh air and expansive vistas…both are in plentiful supply here.

You can still buy a sizeable lot for $30,000 or less, or a home on a couple of acres of productive land for about $100,000. A gorgeous 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom cabin with handmade artisan furniture and two large patio areas is on offer for $159,000. On 3.5 acres of fertile land—perfect for fruit trees and more—the real estate agent we spoke with thinks it will sell for less. (Bring an offer…the global economic problems have hurt real estate sales all over Costa Rica.)

For even more bargains, he says, look to villages a bit farther out…like Naranjo and San Ramon.

And heed this tip: when you go to Grecia, spend a night or two at B&B Grecia. Denny, the Canadian owner, will make you feel right at home. And he’s a wealth of reliable information about what’s going on in the area—everything from live music to real estate to the area’s best veterinarians. Check out Denny’s from-the-heart blog.

Our friends chose Grecia for two reasons, they say.

One—for 30-minute proximity to the fantastic and affordable health care options of San Jose. (As a resident you’ll pay about $45 a month for complete health care coverage—that means there is no additional cost, folks!)

And two—because Grecia is not San Jose.

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