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Feeling Good in Costa Rica

One of my favorite surprises upon moving to Costa Rica was the open-air ferias or farmer’s markets. They can be found all over the country, and offer delicious fresh fruits and vegetables at very affordable prices. For example, at my favorite market (located in the town of San Isidro de General and held every Thursday and Friday), you can buy three pineapples for $2, mangoes for less than a dollar a pound, and a head of lettuce for 50 cents.

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Fun for All Ages: The Top Five Watersports in Costa Rica

With 763 miles of coastline on the Pacific and Caribbean, Costa Rica is blessed with its share of beautiful beaches…not to mention pristine waters. And inland lakes and rivers provide more outstanding scenery. But these waterways are more than just pretty to look at. They’re the playgrounds of watersports enthusiasts of many different disciplines. Below […]

Virtual Teaching from Monteverde, Costa Rica

When Carla Willoughby, 40, decided to move from Asheville, North Carolina, to the mountainous Monteverde region of Costa Rica, she needed an income. And she knew that life would be much more comfortable if she were making U.S.-level wages in her new home, where the dollar can stretch further.

A Pilgrimage in Costa Rica, Money Back in Colombia and Much More…

Le Marche is a land of rolling hills topped with traditional stone farmhouses, honey-colored villages seemingly untouched since the Middle Ages, and farm-to-fork cuisine served up in rustic trattorias, where a meal will cost you as little as $7.

A Close-Knit Beach Community on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula

I’ve always lived near the coast. But in Florida, where I’m from originally, a trip to the beach wasn’t always fun, thanks to crowds, noise, and looming hotel towers. But during my recent trip to Nosara, a Pacific-beach community on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, I found the polar opposite of those overrun Stateside beaches…and a place unlike any other I’ve visited during my two years in this country.

Pacific-Coast Buys for a Fraction of the U.S. Price

Warm and sunny days…beautiful people lounging on the sand as surfers vie for choice waves… palm tree-lined boardwalks in picturesque beachside towns, dramatic craggy cliffs…the California coast has certainly captured the popular imagination. No wonder; it’s one of the most pleasant places in the world to live. But on the flip side, it also has some of the most expensive real estate in the world and a high cost of living.

“Why Did You Move to Costa Rica?”

Whenever I meet new expat or Tico friends in Costa Rica, the question invariably comes up: “Why did you move here?” The answer is actually pretty simple. We were looking for a better lifestyle than we had in south Florida, where we were living before we moved. We found it—and our new and improved quality of life has meant that my wife, two young sons, and I are still here and happy two-and-a-half years later.

Perfect Climate…Secret Hideaways…and Fresh Opportunities in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a very cool country…and it’s not the temperature I’m talking about. With its smoking volcanoes, clear blue crater lakes, fantastic surfing beaches, and a turquoise swimming hole in the middle of the forest on a mysterious island, it’s a magical place to be.

Popular Costa Rica: Is the “Pura Vida” Lifestyle for You?

The 2014 Fast Track Costa Rica Conference is over and done with – and as expected, it was a roaring success. I’d wager the people who attended this conference were people who had read and heard about Costa Rica’s breath-taking natural beauty, very affordable cost of living, and the Pura Vida lifestyle—and were interested in seeing if it’s somewhere where they could enjoy a happier retirement for less than what they are paying at home.

The Duncans Couldn’t Quite Relax in Costa Rica…

On that trip in 2000, the couple bought a lot for $30,000 in a gated community just outside the small village of Ojochal, which sits just off the two-lane coastal highway. Their aim was to build a home for their retirement and use it as a vacation property themselves and also for rental income. They visited often during the building process. In 2007, they moved down permanently.

Is It Crazy to Retire to Costa Rica?

People often tell us how brave they think we are, and that they admire us for venturing out and doing this crazy thing—quitting our jobs in our early 40s, giving up all stable income, and moving to and living in a foreign country. Of course, some people have also told us that we’re crazy. And, it’s true: it is crazy…but it works for us!

Costa Rica on a Budget: It Can Be Done

The most common thing I hear from friends who live in the States about my move to Costa Rica is: “I hear it’s getting very expensive there.” While it’s true that Costa Rica may not be as inexpensive as it was a decade ago, it’s still very affordable, and much less expensive than say Austin, Texas and Honolulu, Hawaii—two places I lived before moving to Costa Rica.

Virtual Teaching from Monteverde, Costa Rica

When Carla Willoughby, 40, decided to move from Asheville, North Carolina, to the mountainous Monteverde region of Costa Rica, she needed an income. And she knew that life would be much more comfortable if she were making U.S.-level wages in her new home, where the dollar can stretch further.

A Working Retirement in Unspoiled Ojochal

When Bruce and Shelagh Duncan, 67 and 65, respectively, came down to Costa Rica’s southern Pacific Coast 13 years ago, they felt an immediate affinity. “It was the weather…and the people we met,” says Shelagh. “It is mostly unspoiled and offers many breathtaking views of the mountains and the ocean. We can walk along deserted beaches and explore caves and secret beaches that are only accessible at low tide.”

My Favorite Place in Costa Rica

Yet, we moved away—first to Tamarindo, a beach town on the northern Pacific coast, because we kind of missed the beach, and then to Escazú, a suburb of the capital, San José, to be closer to the hospital there when my youngest son had a medical issue. We liked both places, especially Tamarindo with its super laid-back atmosphere and close-knit expat community. And sunset drinks on the beach with friends, of course.

Costa Rica: A Country That Has it All

Costa Rica is one country that may truly have it all: A year-round tropical climate, modern cities, Caribbean beaches, Pacific coastline, rainforests, lush valleys, and majestic mountains. With its slower pace of living, warm, welcoming climate, healthy, fresh foods and reputation as one of the “greenest, cleanest” countries in the world with little pollution…it’s no wonder Costa Ricans are considered the “happiest people on the planet.”

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A Peaceful Retirement in Atenas, Costa Rica

When they left the States in the spring of 2012, Chuck and Anna were determined not to settle for mediocre. They wanted their dream. “We were looking for a mild climate, better health care opportunities, and lower costs,” says Anna. “We were looking for an adventure, amazing views, and lots of things to do,” says Chuck.

I Could Never Forget Costa Rica…

I remember Costa Rica. How could I forget? In 1997 my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I were married there. It was the first time I’d been south of the U.S. border. We found a small boutique hotel in San Jose that offered wedding packages. They’d supply the notario for a civil ceremony (sort of like getting married by a Justice of the Peace) along with a bottle of champagne and a guy playing music on a portable keyboard. It was perfect.

A Costa Rica Adventure – for $2,000 a Month

My husband, Paul, and I were happy with our lives in the United States. I was 45 and Paul was 55 when we met. We lived in the Baltimore area and had stable jobs making a decent income. Sometime in 2007 we started to talk about retiring early and moving somewhere cheaper to live.

Owning a Café in a Costa Rican Jungle Town

Owning a Café in a Costa Rican Jungle Town

The Southern Zone is about three to four hours from Costa Rica’s capital, San José, depending on what part of the coast you’re going to. It starts roughly at the funky surfer town of Dominical and goes all the way to the border with Panama. Most expats, including everyone from retirees to business owners with young families, live between Dominical and Ojochal, a village in the jungle about 45 minutes south

Why I Keep Going Back to Costa Rica's Great Lake Region

Why I Keep Going Back to Costa Rica’s Great Lake Region

I visited the Lake Arenal region a few weeks back with family from out of town. When people visit us here in Costa Rica, we usually end up there at some point. Just three hours by car from our home in the Central Valley (and the international airport), it’s an easy drive—very picturesque as you pass through the rain forest, farmland, and small villages of the countryside.

Fun and Profit on Costa Rica's Coast

Fun and Profit on Costa Rica’s Coast

I worked in advertising and marketing for over 20 years and it was a career that for the most part, I enjoyed. But on a vacation in my 30s, I took a good hard look at what I wanted and liked to do in life. I stayed at a small retreat hotel and participated in a group travel experience.

Starting a New Life in Atenas, Costa Rica

Starting a New Life in Atenas, Costa Rica

I’ve moved many, many times within the United States. The longest I stayed anywhere was in Santa Cruz, California where I vowed to keep my two children in school with the same classmates from kindergarten through high school graduation. That kept me grounded for 20 years.

So Many Expats Find Opportunity in Costa Rica

So Many Expats Find Opportunity in Costa Rica

During my travels through Costa Rica in the last couple of years, I’ve met expats of all stripes, including many who decided to move overseas…and go into business at the same time. There are young families, middle-aged couples, single folks, and people of retirement age who definitely aren’t ready to quit working…all seeking opportunities in this little Central American gem.

Video: A Tour of Montezuma, Costa Rica

Video: A Tour of Montezuma, Costa Rica

Montezuma sits at the far southern tip of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. Still a working fishing village where locals go out daily on open boats called pangas, it has also become a destination for travelers and expats seeking a close-knit community on the beach.

Arenal Volcano

Explore the Happiest Paradise on Earth

Costa Rica is one country that may truly have it all: A year-round tropical climate, modern cities, Caribbean beaches, Pacific coastline, rainforests, lush valleys, and majestic mountains. With its slower pace of living, warm, welcoming climate, healthy, fresh foods and reputation as one of the “greenest, cleanest” countries in the world with little pollution…it’s no wonder Costa Ricans are considered the “happiest people on the planet.”

A Surfer Finds His Paradise on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

A Surfer Finds His Paradise on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

When I’m back visiting the U.S. and tell people I live in Costa Rica…I already know the picture they have in their mind. It’s a shoreline. First, the brilliant blue water…a strip of sand unmarred by footprints…a fringe of palm trees…then a rain forest with towering trees and lush vegetation alive with toucans and capuchin monkeys…and finally jagged green-covered mountains looming behind it all.

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Jen and Greg Retired in Their 40s – Thanks to a Simpler Life in Costa Rica

Jen, a Wisconsin native, met and married her husband Greg in Dallas where Jen worked in commercial title insurance and Greg as the vice president for a company that handled paper and electronic discovery for law firms. They enjoyed city living, flashy clothing, and fine dining without much concern for cost.

Laid-Back, Affordable Living on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast

Laid-Back, Affordable Living on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

Head out of San Jose, crest the cloud forest-covered mountains to the west of Costa Rica’s capital, and in about two hours you’re on the Caribbean coast. Another two hours or so south and you’re in the heart of the region. A pretty short ride…but it’s like a different world.

IL Radio Episode 43: Exploring the Nicoya Peninsula

IL Radio Episode 43: Exploring the Nicoya Peninsula

Costa Rica has so much name recognition that almost everyone has some idea about this tropical paradise even if they’ve never been there. Jason Holland has not only been there, but lives there with his wife and family and scouts this country, a perennial expat favorite, relentlessly for International Living.

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Working Remotely is Easier Than You Think

Michael Crowther has been working for the same company for years now. Last year he was able to persuade his employer to let him keep his job… but work remotely from Costa Rica.

The Nuts and Bolts of Doing Business in Costa Rica

Thanks to a climate that features warm weather year-round, a stable democratic government, excellent health care, low cost of living, and a laid-back lifestyle, Costa Rica has been welcoming expats looking for a pleasant place to live and retire for more than 30 years—and is still going strong.

American Café Thrives in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

In the jungle of Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, where monkeys howl from coconut palms, sloths lazily cross the street, and reggae wafts in the air… is a café you might expect to find in a neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Real estate prices are still low in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica's Pacific Coast.

Buy in Costa Rica’s Overlooked But Most Beautiful Region – for $37,000

The Southern Zone, for me, is the nicest part of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast—it’s largely unspoiled because for a long time, it was difficult to get to. That’s why prices stayed low here while values went through the roof up north. Previously, it was about a nine-hour drive from the capital San Jose to the Southern Zone.

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The Charms of Europe’s Second Cities: Buy Property from $82,000

In the popular imagination, it’s the great capitals of Europe that get the most attention. Tourists flock to Paris, Rome, Madrid, and London for the big-city flair, museums, and monuments. It’s the thing to do. And granted, you should seize any opportunity to stroll the Champs-Élysées on a beautiful spring evening or explore London’s international cuisine and regal parks.

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Off-the-Beaten Track Homes in Costa Rica…From $80,000

Of all the places I’ve visited in Costa Rica, the Nicoya Peninsula is the one that feels most like the frontier. It’s a somewhat isolated region, with mile after mile of untouched coastline along the blue Pacific, craggy hills, vast cattle farms in the interior, and mazes of what are often dirt roads running through forests and fields. It’s also one of the world’s Blue Zones, where researchers have found that locals live longer on average due to a combination of diet, climate, and lifestyle.

Cars can be expensive to purchase in Costa Rica, so traveling by bus is an affordable and efficient way to get around.

Traveling by Bus in Costa Rica

When moving to Costa Rica, many newly-arrived expats decide to forgo having their own car. In retirement on a limited budget they want to eliminate the added expense of maintenance and fuel for a vehicle. Cars can be expensive to purchase in country and import from North America too, so that’s another reason to go car-less.

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