Located about three hours northwest of San José, Costa Rica's capital, the Arenal region has been drawing eco-minded travelers in search of opportunities in wildlife watching, jungle hiking, water sports, and other activities for decades. But in recent years it's become much more than a tourist destination, attracting an increasing number of expats interested in making permanent homes here. The area is dominated by the 33-square-mile Lake Arenal. Also, looming above the landscape at the east end of the lake, is the 5,479-foot Volcan Arenal, a cone-shaped volcano that is active but not dangerous
When I talk to my friends in the U.S. about my life in the Orosi Valley, they say I live a perpetual vacation. That’s pretty much true. My life here couldn’t be more perfect. This area offers me all the things I was looking for in an overseas retirement—a laidback lifestyle, a low cost of living, and an abundance of things to do and places to explore.
The beaches of Costa Rica are world famous. They’re a major reason the country gets so many tourists each year—2.66 million in 2015, a new record. And why thousands of expats live on or near the beach…that laidback lifestyle is irresistible to many.
Whether you’re looking for a bustling beach resort town with plenty of restaurants, chic boutiques, and nightlife…or you’d rather string up your hammock between two palms and fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and not see another person all afternoon…you can get it in Costa Rica.
Development is coming to Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast, also known as the Southern Zone. But this region, known for its vast rain forests, jungle-covered mountains, and untamed beaches, remains unspoiled and full of natural beauty and wildlife. While a trip to the Southern Zone used to mean a long and cautious drive along a bone-jarring, potholed, dirt road, thanks to the Caldera Highway the Southern Pacific coastal areas are now more accessible than ever before.
For such a small country, Costa Rica is amazingly diverse as far as landscapes, climates, and lifestyle. There are bustling beach towns, big modern cities, and lush jungles. But throughout the country you will also find unspoiled rural areas of farmland, forest, and charming villages. Life is lived much as it has for generations. If you’re looking for a quiet place with small town values to set up home, you might consider the Costa Rican countryside.
Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, also known as the Gold Coast, is a tourist and expat favorite. It’s no wonder. It’s the sunniest region of the country. And visitors and residents alike have a variety of communities to choose from: busy resort towns, expat enclaves, deserted beaches, laid-back seaside villages, and more. Life is about surfing, fishing, shopping at charming farmers’ markets (and buying fresh off the boat seafood), and lazing away the day on the sand.
Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast has a long history as a beach destination. Costa Ricans from the Central Valley (the mountainous interior region surrounding the capital, San José, where most of the population lives), have been coming to the area for vacation and beach getaways for decades. And North American and European visitors have been right there with them for many years, too. They’re drawn by several factors, many of which also attract expats to the area for long-term living…
Costa Rica has been a top retirement destination for more than three decades. An estimated 20,000 North Americans call it home today (more if you count part-timers and “snowbirds” who come for North American winters). And it continues to be a favorite of retirees for the same reasons it always has been: low cost of living; ideal climate; natural beauty; a stable government; friendly locals; safety; easy residency requirements; and bargain real estate.
Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, also known as the Gold Coast, has been an expat haven for decades thanks to a dry and warm climate, beautiful beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle