With topical weather, incredible beaches, lush mountains, low cost of living, and a model public health care system, Costa Rica is a popular retirement destination. Thousands of expats have left the snow and high prices behind to live in Costa Rica. What’s the attraction?
Costa Rica has some of the most breath-taking Pacific beaches on the planet, with miles of surf breaks that have made much of its Pacific coast the stuff of legend.
But Costa Rica is also a world leader in ecological, sustainable development. Much of Costa Rica’s lush, tropical forests are protected natural preserves, and Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world that set a deadline for being carbon-neutral and is actually nearing that goal.
This combination of natural beauty, sustainable ecological policies, and killer surf has ensured Costa Rica’s niche as one of the most popular tourism and vacation spots on earth, with 1.5 million people visiting this little Central American country each year.
But beyond a sun-drenched week on the beach, what makes living in Costa Rica so attractive?
The recent debate over health care in the U.S. has suddenly put Costa Rica and the country’s public health care system in the spotlight.
Costa Rica is one of the healthiest places on earth, and in one part of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, people have some of the longest lifespans on record. The Costa Rican healthcare system is rated highly, with universal health insurance and world-class public and private hospitals. The public health insurance system is known as the Caja, and all citizens and legal residents are covered at a cost that, for a retiree, average about $45 per month.
Just $45 per month for complete health care coverage… no wonder life in Costa Rica is so appealing.
Live in Costa Rica For Less
What about other costs? A typical monthly budget, based on calculations for two people living in a mid-range, two-bedroom home, ranges from $994 to $1,730 per month including rent, utilities, transportation and Internet.
You’ll save, too, on the little things that matter the most, but can add up. Like:
- Ticket to see a movie in a modern theater—$5
- Minimum price to see a cultural event at the National Theater—$8
- Ticket to see a First Division soccer team match—$12
- Fresh Ahi Tuna—approximately $3.60 per pound
- Fresh Mahi Mahi—approximately $3.50 per pound
- A pound of beans—$0.70
- A pound of rice—$0.50
- A bottle of Imperial beer—$0.85
- A pack of local cigarettes—$0.87
- Bus ride from downtown San Jose to Escazu—$0.55
- Bus ride from San Jose to Jaco Beach (60 miles)—$3.57
It’s definitely affordable to live in Costa Rica.
But living in Costa Rica is about more than saving money. Keith and Karen Duncan moved to Costa Rica from Toronto, Canada, and say, “We feel rejuvenated here. Our lives are less complicated. We’ve made dozens of new friends. We have a beautiful home in the mountains overlooking the Pacific and are surrounded by exotic plants and wildlife. We don’t need heat or air conditioning. We have ocean breezes during the day and mountain breezes at night. Howler monkeys are our alarm clock. Local beaches are pristine. Fruits and vegetables are delicious, as is the amazingly fresh fish. We wish we’d moved here years ago.”
There are a lot of places that make the promise, but when you move to Costa Rica you can actually live in the ultimate tropical paradise.
Editor’s Note: Click on the video below to see Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins update on Costa Rica. In this video, Dan and Suzan run through just some of the merits of living in this beautiful country. These benefits (and many more) are the reason International Living is holding its next Live and Invest conference in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, this August.