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We Couldn’t Leave Costa Rica

Skip ahead a year and a half, and we find ourselves still gazing with eyes wide open at the land where we began. Costa Rica completely captured this whimsical family, much to our surprise, with its total package. As nature lovers, we experience an ever-present awe for our intense surroundings—the tropical birds, countless waterfalls, incredible beaches, and stunning mountain views…so much diversity in such a small country.

Costa Rica Ticks All the Boxes for Me

I still remember the first time I went to the feria, or farmers’ market, in Grecia, the Central Valley town I call home here in Costa Rica. It was a bit embarrassing. I was buying some carrots and potatoes and had dutifully handed over my filled-to-the-brim bags to be weighed. The vendor read out the total, and I handed over a 10,000 colones note (about $20). Still adjusting to the exchange rate, it took me a second to realize I owed him only about $1.50—and I was taking all his change for the day! I quickly counted out some coins and handed those over to the grateful vendor instead.

We Couldn’t Leave Costa Rica

Skip ahead a year and a half, and we find ourselves still gazing with eyes wide open at the land where we began. Costa Rica completely captured this whimsical family, much to our surprise, with its total package. As nature lovers, we experience an ever-present awe for our intense surroundings—the tropical birds, countless waterfalls, incredible beaches, and stunning mountain views…so much diversity in such a small country.

Five Cultural Attractions to Enjoy in San José, Costa Rica

For many visitors and even many expats who’ve lived in Costa Rica for years, the country’s capital, San José, remains a very utilitarian destination, so to speak. As the commercial center, it’s the place go for the best shopping in the country. If you can get it in Costa Rica, it’s in San José. And as the governmental center, when you’re going through the residence process…you end up in San José.

Vegas-Event

Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas Conference 2014

While your neighbors tighten their belts and reign in their retirement dreams… you can live with less stress, more freedom, and all the comforts you’ve always imagined.

Discover the world’s best retirement havens – and pinpoint the one that’s right for you.

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.

The Nicoya Peninsula is a somewhat isolated region, with mile after mile of untouched coastline along the blue Pacific.

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.

Vegas-Event

Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas Conference 2014

While your neighbors tighten their belts and reign in their retirement dreams… you can live with less stress, more freedom, and all the comforts you’ve always imagined.

Discover the world’s best retirement havens – and pinpoint the one that’s right for you.

Vegas-Event

Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas Conference 2014

Fast-Track Costa Rica: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference
September 2014 – Las Vegas, NV

While your neighbors tighten their belts and reign in their retirement dreams… you can live with less stress, more freedom, and all the comforts you’ve always imagined.

Discover the world’s best retirement havens – and pinpoint the one that’s right for you.

Nosara-Costa-Rica

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.

Vegas-Event

Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas Conference 2014

While your neighbors tighten their belts and reign in their retirement dreams… you can live with less stress, more freedom, and all the comforts you’ve always imagined.

Discover the world’s best retirement havens – and pinpoint the one that’s right for you.

Paul and Gloria Yeatman are expats living in San Ramon de Alajuela in Costa Rica’s western Central Valley ©Creative Commons/Christopher Gosselin

Poco a Poco…Getting Settled in Costa Rica

A fter more than four years of living in Costa Rica, we are still taking Spanish lessons. It’s a process; as they say here, poco a poco (little by little). Of course, we could just speak English. Many expats do. Lots of locals speak some English and we have many expat friends. But when we first decided we wanted to live overseas, we knew that we also wanted to integrate into our new home.

costa-rica

Poco a Poco…Getting Settled in Costa Rica

A fter more than four years of living in Costa Rica, we are still taking Spanish lessons. It’s a process; as they say here, poco a poco (little by little). Of course, we could just speak English. Many expats do. Lots of locals speak some English and we have many expat friends. But when we first decided we wanted to live overseas, we knew that we also wanted to integrate into our new home.

montezuma2

Why I Have Never Lived in Costa Rica

In the 12 years that we’ve lived outside the U.S., my wife, Suzan Haskins, and I have called seven locations in four different countries home. Thanks to our work writing and reporting for International Living, we’ve become what we call “serial relocators.”

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse and beautiful countries—you find deserted beaches and vast national parks like Manuel Antonio.

Where to Live in Costa Rica: Five Top Expat Havens

It’s the friendly and welcoming people, the natural beauty, and the tropical lifestyle that will really steal your heart. “Costa Ricans are a gracious people,” says Rene Aoki, who has lived in the Arenal region for 19 years. “It’s an easy place to live where you can make close friends.” New expats find well-trodden ground and benefit from the experience of those who came before them.

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse and beautiful countries—you find deserted beaches and vast national parks like Manuel Antonio.

Best Places to Live in Costa Rica: Five Top Expat Havens

It’s the friendly and welcoming people, the natural beauty, and the tropical lifestyle that will really steal your heart. “Costa Ricans are a gracious people,” says Rene Aoki, who has lived in the Arenal region for 19 years. “It’s an easy place to live where you can make close friends.” New expats find well-trodden ground and benefit from the experience of those who came before them.

atenas-costa-rica

How to Retire at 41 to Costa Rica

Their vacations in tropical places left Denice and Robert Key wishing for more out of life and thinking, “What if…?” The couple had traveled throughout the Caribbean and Mexico when they were younger, and they could never quite escape the itch to retire early and move to a warm, exotic destination—something completely different from their Colorado home.

A Costa Rican Lifestyle That Pays for Itself...

A Costa Rican Lifestyle That Pays for Itself…

“You might wonder why I’m swapping Florida for Costa Rica,” Steve says, “and, you know, the answer is really simple. I’m more relaxed when I’m in Costa Rica.

A Perfect Climate in Costa Rica's Central Valley

A Perfect Climate in Costa Rica’s Central Valley

After a lifetime of cold weather in Alberta, Canada, retired couple Rick and Peggy Stewart were ready for a change. And they found a perfect climate—and many more benefits—in the rural community of Santa Eulalia about 20 minutes outside of the small town of Atenas, in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. From their new home in the tropics, they can’t help but rub it in with friends and family back home.

"We Drove 6,000 Miles to Find Paradise in Costa Rica..."

“We Drove 6,000 Miles to Find Paradise in Costa Rica…”

My husband Mike and I loaded up the van with luggage and our two dogs, Dino and Sprite, and set off on our long road trip. One month and 6,000 miles later, we arrived in paradise. Yanina, the owner of the resort, has been our main guide and comforter as we trudge through the red tape of dealing with customs regarding our shipment of personal goods, setting up bank accounts…

Volunteering in Costa Rica

Volunteering in Costa Rica

For prospective expats in search of a more active overseas life, there is plenty of opportunity, especially in the field of volunteering in Costa Rica. There are several organizations that facilitate many different types of community work throughout the country. You can teach English, rescue wildlife, champion environmental or social causes, preserve habitat, help needy families, and much more.

Buying a Car in Costa Rica

Buying a Car in Costa Rica: 8 Tips

When moving to Costa Rica, many expats wonder whether they should bring their car from home or buy something when they get down there. Well… it depends. As covered in this article, “Bringing a Car to Costa Rica,” importing a car from the U.S., while relatively easy, can be quite expensive. In fact, you could pay close to the value of the car in import duties and fees.

Bringing Your Car to Costa Rica

Bringing Your Car to Costa Rica

Before you leave, work with the shipping company to make sure your car meets emissions standards. The test is done in the U.S. You should also consider whether your car will make a good match for Costa Rica. Although auto shops are common and labor inexpensive, the most common parts available are for Asian vehicles and every mechanic can fix them. It can be more difficult to repair an American or European vehicle.

Visiting the Hot Springs of Arenal, Costa Rica

Visiting the Hot Springs of Arenal, Costa Rica

If you’re ever in the Arenal region of Costa Rica there is one activity you have to make time for: a dip in one of the natural hot springs. Known locally as “aguas termales,” the 90 to 110 degree Fahrenheit waters are naturally heated by volcanic activity. In fact, most of the hot springs have a great view of the Arenal volcano from the pools.

Bringing Your Car to Costa Rica

Bringing Your Car to Costa Rica

Before you leave, work with the shipping company to make sure your car meets emissions standards. The test is done in the U.S. You should also consider whether your car will make a good match for Costa Rica. Although auto shops are common and labor inexpensive, the most common parts available are for Asian vehicles and every mechanic can fix them. It can be more difficult to repair an American or European vehicle.

Buying a Car in Costa Rica

Buying a Car in Costa Rica: 8 Tips

When moving to Costa Rica, many expats wonder whether they should bring their car from home or buy something when they get down there. Well… it depends. As covered in this article, “Bringing a Car to Costa Rica,” importing a car from the U.S., while relatively easy, can be quite expensive. In fact, you could pay close to the value of the car in import duties and fees.

costa-rica-sunset

The Best Sunsets in Costa Rica

In my mind, there’s nothing better than watching a sunset in a beautiful location, drink in hand. Fortunately, in my new home of Costa Rica, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that. There’s 780 miles of Pacific coast–prime sunset-watching territory, as well as several spots inland that give you a great view.

Video thumbnail for youtube video Video: Los Chorros: A Spectacular Waterfall in Costa Rica’s Central Valley

Video: Los Chorros: A Spectacular Waterfall in Costa Rica’s Central Valley

Thanks to Costa Rica’s mountainous terrain and abundance of rivers, there are spectacular waterfalls throughout the country. In the video below, International Living Costa Rica Correspondent Jason Holland highlights a waterfall, known as Los Chorros, just outside of the village of Tacares. From the center of Tacares you’ll see large signs directing you to the waterfall, officially known as Los Chorros Parque Recreativo, which is three kilometers outside of town

Living in Alajuela, Costa Rica

Living in Alajuela, Costa Rica

Alajuela, just 13 miles or so from Costa Rica’s capital, San José, is in many ways the country’s second city. It is second in size, with a population of 50,000. And it is also the home to La Liga, one half a bitter soccer (here known as futbol) rivalry with San José’s team, Saprissa. The country’s main international airport is in Alajuela. And it’s the birthplace of national hero Juan Santamaria.

costa-rica-san-ramon

Volunteering in Costa Rica

For prospective expats in search of a more active overseas life, there is plenty of opportunity, especially in the field of volunteering in Costa Rica. There are several organizations that facilitate many different types of community work throughout the country. You can teach English, rescue wildlife, champion environmental or social causes, preserve habitat, help needy families, and much more.

Living in Santa Ana, Costa Rica

Living in Santa Ana, Costa Rica: One of San Jose’s Top Suburbs

San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, is full of small towns and villages that have merged over the years into the greater metro area as the city grew. One of those is Santa Ana, population of about 11,000. At one time known mainly for its ceramics and pottery, this once sleepy hamlet is fast becoming one of San Jose’s top suburbs.

Living in San Ramon, Costa Rica

Comfortable and Convenient: Living in San Ramon, Costa Rica

With 70,000 residents in the metro area, San Ramon, in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, has many of the advantages of big town life: widely available and cheap medical and dental care; an abundance of shops, restaurants, and cafés; and just that feeling of “energy” that comes with living in a bustling regional center.

Living in Jaco, Costa Rica

Living in Jaco, Costa Rica: A Favorite With Expats and Tourists

Located in the heart of the Central Pacific coast region of Costa Rica, Jaco (pronounced: ha-ko) has long been a favorite of vacationers and expats.
This lively beach town features several large resorts, as well as many options for longer-term residents, like condos, gated communities, and lots for building.The wide range of housing options in all price ranges, from budget to luxury, as well as many amenities and comforts of home, make living in Jaco, Costa Rica a great choice for lifestyle and retirement overseas.

Living in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Living in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The Manuel Antonio area on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast has been a long-time favorite of visitors. Just two hours from the capital San Jose on a well-maintained modern highway, Manuel Antonio is the site of the country’s most popular national park. In 2011, Forbes magazine named it one of the world’s best.At 4,000 acres, it’s a relatively small refuge and one of the smallest national parks

"We Drove 6,000 Miles to Find Paradise in Costa Rica..."

“We Drove 6,000 Miles to Find Paradise in Costa Rica…”

My husband Mike and I loaded up the van with luggage and our two dogs, Dino and Sprite, and set off on our long road trip. One month and 6,000 miles later, we arrived in paradise. Yanina, the owner of the resort, has been our main guide and comforter as we trudge through the red tape of dealing with customs regarding our shipment of personal goods, setting up bank accounts…

market-grecia

The Benefits of Eating Like a Local in Costa Rica

Eating like a local is one of the best ways to keep your cost of living low in Costa Rica. And for dining out that means frequenting your local soda, the equivalent of a diner or neighborhood restaurant in the U.S. They serve simple, nutritious food, including the casado, the unofficial national dish, which runs $4 to $6.

Reclaim the Joy of Weekends in Costa Rica

Reclaim the Joy of Weekends in Costa Rica

Here in our home on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, we’ve taken back the weekends. We sleep in a bit. A small breakfast of fresh fruit and rich Costa Rican coffee follows—just something to hold us over. We pack up and drive from our condo in Tamarindo north along the coast about a half-hour to Brasilito, a tiny fishing village.

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