Fast-Track Costa Rica: Lifestyle and Opportunity Conference

In an Uncertain World, the Last Thing You Should Put On Hold is Your Retirement Dreams…

Sharon and Wes Puckett live in a three-bedroom home on a 25-acre parcel of land in the "perfect climate" mountains of Southern Costa Rica.

"Our total expenses are about $1,325 a month, which includes our rent. We have simplified, but we have the best of everything…and we’re just minutes from the beach. We are truly living the ‘pura vida’ life."

You, Too, Can Easily Live the Good Life in Costa Rica. Here’s How…

Dear International Living Reader,

"It was a good time for a new adventure," say Sharon and Wes Puckett who found themselves at a fork in the road back in 2014.

Living in Colorado, Sharon says, "I’d been working for over 30 years as a library employee and Wes had been retired for over a year and was growing weary of the cold weather. We were in good health and we had worked hard and raised our family when our peers were out exploring (we married young)."

As they faced retirement and the prospect of living on a fixed income, "We pulled the ripcord on daily life as we knew it, and started our retirement research."

Friends had decided to retire to Costa Rica, and Wes and Sharon went with them on a vacation to check it out.

"We rented a car and traveled through the beautiful countryside to small, out-of-the-way places in the mountains and visited the Pacific Ocean. Wes and I fell in love with Costa Rica. It had the climate Wes wanted and the mountains I loved.

"So we sold our empty nest in Colorado, and everything in it, and set off on our retirement journey."

They were certain they were making the right decision, but they were somewhat unprepared for the reaction from family and friends.

"How can two people, who have lived their entire lives in Colorado, move so far away?" their friends asked.

Today, Wes and Sharon have a ready answer for that.

"We feel like we are living in an oasis…away from the real world, yet also so close to it."

After all, Costa Rica is less than a three-hour flight from the U.S.—less time than it takes to fly from Denver to Miami, for instance…

Howler Monkey
Who needs an alarm clock when you have howler monkeys as neighbors?

As Sharon explains, "At dawn I wake to the sounds of toucans and howler monkeys. As I drink my morning coffee, and look out across the yard, the clouds quickly moving towards me, my wild imagination has me thinking this is what heaven looks like…misty clouds surrounding an incredibly beautiful garden paradise; that abounds with small animals, birds, and butterflies.

"Yes, sometimes I do pinch myself to make sure that’s it’s real… I truly love it here: the people, the relaxed approach to life, and the spectacular natural beauty."

And where in the U.S. these days, she asks, can you enjoy a comfortable retirement (and a million-dollar view) on just $1,325 a month?

That’s what Sharon and Wes budget each month to live in this self-proclaimed paradise.

"Our total expenses are about $1,325 a month which includes food, rent, electricity, upkeep on our car and fuel, and dining out," says Sharon. "We go grocery shopping once a week at the local low-cost feria, which is the largest covered farmers market in the county. San Isidro is beautifully situated in a fertile, agricultural area part of Costa Rica and we eat healthier now with a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish."

The rent for their two-bedroom, two-bath home…surrounded by mountains on a nearly three-acre parcel of land…is just $490 a month.

Thanks to the climate, "We do not need air conditioning or heat. We are tucked away in our own mountain paradise without any close neighbors, but still close to everything.

Another bonus to life in Costa Rica is that the couple pays just $107 a month—total, for the both of them—to join Caja, the national health plan.

And, Sharon adds, "If we feel the need for some "vitamin sea," we jump in our car and are at the beach within 45 minutes. I feel relaxed after an afternoon in the warm, tropical climate of Playa Dominical with no agenda other than to walk the beach with my husband and enjoy each other’s company.

"I can honestly say that we have the best of everything: The beautiful mountain life, yet just minutes from the city or the beach. In our golden years, Wes and I are truly living the Costa Rican ‘pura vida‘ life."

Don’t Put Your Retirement on Hold. You, Too, Can Live "Pura Vida" in Costa Rica.

You may be at a similar fork in the road as Wes and Sharon were in 2014…not that long ago.

Maybe you’re wondering what the best path is…especially when you’re thinking about retirement. Should you downsize? Should you move to another community where the cost of living is lower?

And when the world around you is also uncertain, your instincts may be to put off the decision making altogether…

But as a good friend of mine says, "I’ve worked all my life to get to this point…where I don’t have to work the rest of my life. Now, it’s my turn. I’m going to enjoy every minute and do all the things I’ve always wanted to do…whenever and wherever I want to do them."

This is the year to check out Costa Rica: Where retirement dreams come true.

Maybe you’ve been to Costa Rica? If so, you know what a strikingly beautiful country it is… Nearly 25% the country is national park land and protected areas. There are plenty of beaches, too, on both Pacific and Caribbean Coasts. And the country’s Central Valley offers a nearly perfect climate…never too hot and never too cold.

For years, it’s been one of the most popular tourist destinations for North Americans. Retirees, too, have taken note of all this country has to offer.

Costa Rica is close, friendly, easy…and so very affordable.

Costa Rican Cowboy
Costa Ricans are proud of their country and will welcome you with open arms.

If you’ve been there, you know how friendly the Ticos are. That’s how Costa Ricans refer to themselves. Ticos welcome everyone with open arms.

And you know how close Costa Rica is to the U.S. and Canada… You can quickly and easily get a direct flight (less than three hours from Miami) into two international airports in Costa Rica (and a third in the works).

If you’re looking for an easy, relaxed, affordable retirement, you really need to discover all that Costa Rica offers. For example:

  • Excellent weather—From the temperate Central Valley to the beautiful tropical beaches, there’s a climate for everyone. (Say goodbye to cold and snow.)
  • Top-quality healthcare—The World Health Organization ranks Costa Rica’s healthcare system as better than the U.S., despite that Costa Rica spends 87 percent less on healthcare per capita. (And as Wes and Sharon Puckett say, you’ll likely be healthier than ever when you’re able to spend more time outside and eat healthier, fresher food.)
  • The most stable democracy in Latin America—No other country has the peaceful history and democratic stability of Costa Rica (and no army)!
  • All the comforts of home—modern shopping malls and world-class hospitals. Reliable high-speed internet is available just about everywhere.
  • Low, low taxes—You’ll pay zero income taxes on foreign-earned income. If you buy a home in Costa Rica, your annual property taxes will be little more than $200-$500 in most cases. And there’s no capital gains tax!

And—as Wes and Sharon and others have learned—Costa Rica offers advantages most of us aren’t aware of:

  • A built-in community of English-speaking locals and expats—it’s said that more than 11,000 U.S. retirees currently live in Costa Rica.
  • It’s healthy… with little pollution and lots of clean water and fresh air. (Costa Rica is one of the only countries in the world to reverse deforestation!) In 2016, a staggering 98% of its energy came from renewable, money-saving sources.
  • Adult literacy is practically 100%. Thanks to the well-educated, well-informed workforce, many international companies have offices, factories, and call centers here—contributing to the strong and stable economy.

It’s no wonder the happiest people in the world live in Costa Rica. Sociologists from the Happy Planet Index have said Costa Ricans "report the highest life satisfaction and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the Americas (second only to Canada)."

What does all this mean? Costa Rica offers one of the world’s lowest poverty indexes, highest literacy rates, happiest people, and therefore a high standard of living, all this, and you’ll find a surprisingly low cost of living.

It’s no wonder that many foreign retirees are living Pura Vida (the purely good life) in Costa Rica. And you could, too…

Find Out if Costa Rica is Right for You at International Living’s

2017 Fast Track Costa Rica Conference August 17-19 InterContinental Hotel, San José, Costa Rica

Join us and discover everything you need to know about Costa Rica to determine if it’s your ideal retirement or relocation destination…

Come away with all the knowledge and contacts necessary to make your move with confidence.

Costa Rica offers many benefits, it’s true. But what does all this mean to you?

If you’re concerned about your financial future or your health…wondering if you’ll be able to have the kind of life you dream about…or if you can afford to retire at all.

Or maybe you’re wondering if now is really the best time to retire overseas…

To that, I say: thousands of people from the world over have made their dreams come true in Costa Rica. And you can, too.

You can quit working and start living. You might even start a profitable new venture…something you’re passionate about and have dreamed of doing. When you join us at our Fast Track Costa Rica Conference, we’ll show you how.

We’ll introduce you to dozens of others who have gone before you. They’ll share their experiences living in Costa Rica and introduce you to the communities they live in….places you’d likely never visit as a tourist.

We’ll also introduce you to dozens of reliable experts…attorneys who can help you with visas, property purchase and rental contracts…healthcare and insurance professionals who can explain all your many healthcare options…real estate experts…moving and shipping resources…tax experts…veterinarians who can reassure you about pet care and many others.

They’ll help streamline your move to Costa Rica and save you lots of time and money in the long run.

I’m Jackie Flynn, publisher of International Living.

We’re bullish on Costa Rica, as you may know. And the more research we do about it, the more over-the-top bullish we become.

Costa Rica just makes sense. It’s the most politically stable country in Latin America, with a long history of peacefulness. (Costa Rica doesn’t even have an army.)

Plus, Costa Rica has all those advantages I’ve already told you about. It offers great weather, beautiful beaches, world-class healthcare, and it’s so very affordable for daily living.

In a moment I’ll share a typical monthly budget for a couple living in Costa Rica. Most report that they live far better in Costa Rica on about one-third of the costs back home.

Some get by—and very comfortably—on budgets well under $1,500 a month, as Wes and Sharon Puckett report. It’s easy to do when you don’t need heat or air conditioning and you can easily grow your own food or buy local produce for pennies at any number of nearby farmer’s markets.

And of course, your healthcare costs will likely be a fraction of what they are now. Most retired couples in Costa Rica have a comprehensive healthcare plan that costs them an average of just $100 to $200 a month.

Why Do So Many Expats Settle in The Central Valley? For Convenience, Climate, and Cost of Living…

As I mentioned, Costa Rica’s Central Valley is where most foreign retirees settle. That’s because of the temperate weather and proximity to the many modern amenities of the capital city of San José, with mega shopping malls and world-class medical care.

That’s where you’ll find Ed and Jackie Cusack. Not that long ago, as they were approaching their 60s, it felt as if the winters in Indiana were getting longer and causing more discomfort. They found themselves wondering where and how they were going to spend the next stage of their lives.

After traveling off and on to Costa Rica, they decided to escape, once and for all, from the conference calls, emails, and deadlines, and focus more on the joys of simplicity. They decide to take their early retirement benefits from Social Security, and in 2013 they told their employers that they would be trading in their business clothes for shorts and flip-flops.

Initially they decided to live in Costa Rica’s popular tourist town of Tamarindo, but as they traveled around, they discovered a completely new side to the country.

"Don’t get me wrong; with its gold-sand beaches, Tamarindo is a beautiful place, and many expats are very happy there," Ed says. " But the climate is hot and dry, averaging in the 80s F and 90s F all year. Sure, we had pools to swim in, beaches to enjoy, and air conditioning to lounge in. But reality set in when it came time to pay our first electric bill."

Fast forward three years.

Today, Ed and Jackie live in the hills above the charming town of Sarchi, about a 40-minute drive from the international airport at Costa Rica’s capital city of San José.

It’s convenient to get back to the States to visit family and friends, they say. And even though they have a car, Ed says, "We’ve found ourselves using public buses more and more often for trips to the city, rather than driving. At a cost of about $1.50 for a trip to the capital, San José, the bus saves us the cost of driving, the frustration of dealing with city traffic, and, of course, finding parking."

Costa Rican Ox Cart
Ed and Jackie Cusack live near the famous Central Valley woodworking town of Sarchi.

The climate is perfect, they say. Because of the elevation of the town and surrounding areas, the temperatures are temperate and comfortable—no higher than 80 F during the day and in the high 50s F or low 60s F at night.

They’re happy living a simple life surrounded by natural beauty and wildlife. Their four-bedroom, two-and-a half bath home has a small garden and a shared farming field behind the house, "so we can grow our own tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, and fennel. We can go into our backyard in the morning to pick fresh oranges and limes for juice, gather avocados and passion fruit from our front yard for afternoon snacks, and microwaving food is a thing of the past."

As Ed says, they paid roughly $2,000 a month in the States for mortgage, insurance, and utilities, "And we saw these expenses drop to $770 a month since moving to Sarchi…which shows just how affordable this region is. We could not dream of retiring in the States on the budget we have now."

Today their basic monthly expenses come in at just $1,100—far less than they spent every month back in Indiana But living more frugally doesn’t mean they have to live with just the bare essentials.

As for healthcare, Ed says, "We are fortunate to have good health overall, and we haven’t needed to visit doctors often. On the couple of occasions when we wanted to consult a doctor, we found an English-speaking doctor locally who provided a thorough examination and laboratory blood work for about $50. Monthly blood pressure medicine costs about $30 a month. Many drugs that would be by prescription only in the U.S. are over the counter here. Most pharmacies also have a medical practitioner who will check you out at no charge."

It helps, of course, that Costa Rica’s Central Valley climate is nearly perfect. Not too hot and never too cold, they can spend lots of time outside.

"We tend to brag on social networks about the beauty of our new home in Costa Rica, with its friendly locals, warm climate year-round, and the abundance of flora and fauna that we never got to enjoy in the States. We can enjoy just slowing down to appreciate nature, neighbors, and simplicity."

And Just How Affordable is it to Buy a Home or Vacation Property in Costa Rica?

Despite its popularity, you can find great real estate bargains in Costa Rica—and that’s whether you rent or buy.

As anywhere in the world, prices are higher in high-traffic tourist and resort destinations. That’s the rule of supply and demand, after all.

But if you relocate to Costa Rica, it’s doubtful you’ll settle in a tourist destination. Most expats, in fact, settle in the Central Valley. There, you’ll find prices extremely affordable. Same with the Lake Arenal area to the north and certain pockets of coastline such as the Southern Zone where the Pucketts live.

In fact, if the beach is your thing, you’ll be spoiled for choice, as Costa Rica offers more than 1,000 miles of coastline. Know where to look and you’ll find some incredible bargains.

Check out these bargains available right now in the popular Central Valley:

  • Affordable carefree condo living: On the western side of metropolitan San José, near the Forum Business Park in the well-to-do suburb of Santa Ana, you can pick up a brand-new two-bedroom/two-bath condo in a complex with swimming pools, tennis courts, lot of green areas, and more starting at just $106,000. In nearby Escazu, a huge three-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath home of nearly 3,0000 square feet—with a nice garden and upscale finishings like granite countertops, ceramic tile, and an enclosed terrace is selling for just $265,000.
  • Just a few miles from the suburb of San Ramon (also very popular with expats) a small two-bedroom home is for sale on a 5,400 sq. ft. lot. The home has been recently renovated with skylights, natural wood accents, and all new tile. In a safe family neighborhood, the property features lots of mature shade trees. Price: Just $64,500!
  • Just nine minutes from Puriscal—just an hour by paved road all the way from the airport at San José—you’ll find an 1,800-sq.-ft. three-bedroom/two-bath home that’s been built to North American standards. You’ll love the gorgeous mountain views that surround this nearly two-acre property. You’ll love the 15-foot wood-beam ceilings. There are natural streams and springs on the property, fruit trees and more… even a horse barn. Price: just $199,900.

And remember, property taxes are ridiculously low. The current tax rate is 0.25% of the property value. That means you can expect to pay annual property taxes of about $400 for the home near Puriscal. What a deal, huh?

Best of all, if you sell your home in Costa Rica, you won’t pay a dime in capital gains tax. Zero, zip, zilch.

At our Fast Track Costa Rica Conference this August, we’ll pinpoint the areas where you’ll find the best property bargains and profit opportunities.

Not ready to buy? Rent!

The very best advice for any potential expat anywhere is "Rent before you buy." Fortunately, Costa Rica offers a multitude of rental choices.

If you budget $600 per month in rent, you’ll find good options for quality living…maybe with a bit left over! Paula and Gloria Yeatman pay $550 a month to rent their 1,000-sq.-ft. two-bedroom apartment in the center of the town of San Ramón in the Central Highlands. Wes and Sharon Puckett’s rent is just $490 a month for their two-bedroom, two-bath fully furnished home in southern Costa Rica near San Isidro and Dominical.

At the upcoming Fast Track Costa Rica Conference, we’ll show you exactly where and how to find the country’s best rental bargains.

For natural beauty, laidback living, and affordability, Lake Arenal is well worth a look…

Prefer to live even farther from the city, but still in a temperate climate? Beautiful, affordable Lake Arenal is well worth a look.

Costa Rica Property
If you love the outdoors…fishing, hiking, boating, and more…you’ll be enchanted by Lake Arenal.

Just a three-hour drive north of San José, but still in the highlands, the lake area is blessed with a spring-like climate year-round.

If you like to fish, this may be the place for you. The 33-square-mile Lake Arenal is known for its Rainbow bass sport fishing. And for windsurfing and sail boarding.

Looming above the green landscape at the east end of the lake is the 5,479-foot Volcan Arenal, a cone-shaped volcano that’s active but not dangerous. (A side benefit from the volcanic activity is that thermal hot springs abound in the area. The mineral-rich waters, naturally heated to upwards of 100° F, are said to have medicinal properties in regards to arthritis and other ailments.)

You’ll find a vibrant and active expat community here, too, along with a small town atmosphere, a rural feel, and peace and quiet.

Fortunately, Lake Arenal is one of the places in Costa Rica that has yet to hit its stride as far as real estate prices go. Some real bargains can be found here. Like:

  • A small-but-flat riverfront lot—all useable land between the river and the main lakeshore road, a negotiable $17,500.
  • A 1,200-sq.-ft. home with stunning lake views. On a fully landscaped acre, with a swimming pool and cabana. Watch monkeys play in the trees and enjoy outdoor living from two covered decks, just $189,000.
  • Looking for a business to run? A four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with an awesome volcano view is perfect for a B&B. In fact, it’s already been converted to three fully furnished one-bedroom apartments that regularly rent for the week or month. It can be yours for just $130,000.
  • And this one is almost too good to be true: a cute and oh-so-tidy Tico-style home with two bedrooms and an awesome lake view. The price is right: Just $59,000!

Beach living more your style? You, especially, will be happy in Costa Rica:

  • Playa Hermosa, just a few miles south of the popular resort town of Jacó is a happening Central Coast town that draws many expats and tourists. There, you can buy a fully furnished two-bedroom one-bath condo so close to a great surfing beach you can hear the surf from both bedrooms. The price is an incredibly low $75,000.
  • In Herradura, very close to the upscale Los Sueños Resort and Marina, the price for this spacious 2,200-sq.-ft. four-bedroom, three-bath home—with a private swimming pool… has been reduced from $299,000 to just $250,000.
  • In popular Flamingo Beach, a 1,600-sq.-ft. two-bedroom condo in downtown Flamingo—and in a gated community with 24-hour security and parking—and literally just steps to the beach can be yours for just $249,000.

Beach Lovers Take Note: The Costa Rica Coast That Deserves Your Attention Right Now

Playa Hermosa Costa Rica
The Costa Ballena is dramatically pretty…and oh-so affordable.

If you’re a beach lover…or a real estate investor…there’s an area of Costa Rica that particularly deserves your attention…right now.

It’s the southern Pacific coast…called the Costa Ballena (whale coast) for the majestic humpback whales that migrate to the warm waters here each year from December to April.

(Just 45 minutes from here is where the Pucketts live…the couple whose story I shared at the beginning of this letter.)

The Costa Ballena is more lushly beautiful, more deeply colorful, and the views from the hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean are more strikingly dramatic than anywhere along the more popular Gold Coast to the north.

You’ll hear all about it when you join us at the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference. We’ll tell you exactly where to go, who to see, and what kinds of properties make sense if you’d like to buy in this part of the country.

If history repeats itself (as we expect it will), now that the new coastal highway is open and once the new international airport opens as planned, property prices here will rise rapidly.

The Beach Destination in Costa Rica That’s a Bargain Hunter’s Dream

"Costa Ballena prices are very low as compared to what you’ll find along the Gold Coast, just a day’s drive to the north," reports Pathfinder International real estate expert Margaret Summerfield. "And the Costa Ballena is far prettier, in my opinion."

You’re just in time to SAVE BIG $$$ along the Costa Ballena:

Playa Hermosa Costa Rica
Building standards are high and costs are low.
  • In Ojochal, the town that’s most quickly growing along this coast, you’ll find a private river-view estate on 2.5 acres of land. The 1,800-sq.-ft. two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home has gorgeous wood accents throughout and hardwood floors in the master bedroom. Doors open to the terrace and pool. There’s plenty of room to add on to the existing home or even build some guest casitas. The asking price for this gem is just $198,000.
  • In the hippest and happiest surfer town along this coast, you can buy a quarter-acre lot with a three-floor two-bedroom home on the river, not far from the beach. Price: $98,000. There’s a deck with fantastic views, and yes, this lot has a free and clear title. (And seller financing is available!)
  • And for as little as $40,000, you can purchase a home site in the best community along this coast… with truly superb views. And with costs of custom homebuilding of the highest standards at only $100 per square-foot, you can build a 2,000-square-foot dream home for $200,000

In California, a comparable home would cost you 10, maybe 20 times more. But why live in California with its high taxes, pollution problems and skyrocketing cost of living, when you can live in beautiful, pristine, affordable Costa Rica?

When you join us this coming August in San José for International Living’s Fast Track Costa Rica Conference, you’ll hear from all our best Costa Rica resources… attorneys, doctors, insurance professionals, construction and real estate experts…who can help you better understand the many benefits and options Costa Rica offers. They will tell you where to go to find the best quality, the best deals and values… on everything from real estate to moving companies to doctors, spas, restaurants, and more.

You’ll also hear firsthand from others who’ve done what you’re contemplating…

You’ll meet expats like Jason Holland, International Living’s roving Latin America editor.

Jason and his wife, Liz, had grown weary of the frantic pace of life in the States. They were looking for a more welcoming and laidback environment to raise their son, Owen.

"I’d been laid off from my job in South Florida," Jason says, "and started working as a freelancer…which was going well. My wife was pregnant and we had no medical insurance. We already had a five-year-old. Things just weren’t adding up. We had always wanted to live overseas…somewhere with a lower cost of living. We had been to Costa Rica before—and we knew it fit the bill."

So off they went, along with their happy-go-lucky Standard Poodle, Jester, and their curious little Havanese, Shadow, to Costa Rica. They settled in Grecia, a popular small town in the Central Valley. But they also lived for a time in the beach community of Tamarindo. And they welcomed another child to the family. Little Wesley was born in June of 2012 at the CIMA Hospital in Escazu.

Jason and his family fell in love with their new life in Costa Rica…for all those benefits I’ve already mentioned, and because, as Jason says, he grew tired of over-the-top consumer culture, fast-paced lifestyle, and stress…

At the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference in August, you can be sure Jason will be there to help you out… So will Jackie Minchillo from Tamarindo and Gloria and Paul Yeatman, who live in the Central Valley…and John Michael Arthur who lives with his partner, Michael, in the Cartago area…and many more, from all areas of the country… all along the Pacific and Caribbean Coasts, the Central Highlands, and Lake Arenal.

These are all smart people, like you. And they all say that the decision to move to Costa Rica was one of the best they’ve ever made. And they have no intentions of ever leaving.

Besides everything I’ve already mentioned, Costa Rica has something very important going for it: a strong economy.

Of all the countries in Latin America, Costa Rica is the number one tourist destination. Tourism brings in more than $3 billion every year. (Tourist arrivals increased 12.8% in 2016 over 2015 numbers.) And remember, this is a small country the size of the state of West Virginia.

Plus, Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. Many multi-national companies have located here. And unlike most of Latin America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances—they only represent about 1% of GDP.

Importantly, according to U.S. government statistics, Costa Rica enjoys the region’s highest standard of living and a low unemployment rate.

Now, the Big Question: What About the Daily Cost of Living? Just How Affordable is Costa Rica?

How much does it cost to live in Costa Rica? The short answer is: whatever you want…within reason, of course.

You can spend just about as much or as little as you want. As Jason Holland says, if you focus on what’s important you can live very well in Costa Rica for very little money. He also says that you don’t have to "keep up with the Joneses" here.

"Your ‘needs’ will become simpler," says Jason. "You can live comfortably with a lot less stuff."

For sure you can live like a rock star in Costa Rica on $4,000 per month. Most expats, though, report they live happily and without sacrifices on a monthly budget of $2,000 to $3,000. Sometimes even less.

For example, as I’ve mentioned, Wes and Sharon Puckett’s budget in the mountains of Southern Costa Rica is just $1,325 a month. Ed and Jackie Cusack’s budget in Sarchi in the Central Valley just $1,100 a month. Paul and Gloria Yeatman, in the Central Valley town of San Ramon, live well and travel often on a monthly budget of just $1,800.

The rent for their two-bedroom apartment in the center of town is $550. They have high-speed internet, utilities, weekly house cleaning… They spend money on food, entertainment, and transportation, as we all do. They spend just $60 (total for both of them) for the country’s universal health plan (known as Caja) and another $80 for medications not covered.

More on healthcare costs in just a moment…

By moving to Costa Rica, Paul and Gloria say they’ve reduced their total living costs by 65%

But it’s not just the cost savings you should consider…it’s the overall improvement in your quality of life.

Here’s a typical monthly budget, based on calculations for two people living in a mid-range, two- or three-bedroom home in the Central Valley:

Housing (average rental): $500 to $1,000
Electricity: $50 to $70
Gas: $10 to $20
Water and trash collection: $12 to $25
Maintenance/fuel for one car: $100 to $250
OR… Transportation (taxi): ($130 to $170)
Phone (land line/local calls): $7 to $25
Phone (cell phone): $20 to $70
Cable or satellite television: $30 to $50
Internet: $35 to $50
Caja health plan $110 to $200
TOTAL: $864 to $1,760

We’ve listed a range here, because some of these expenses depend on your tastes, habits and consumption. And note that this sample budget doesn’t include groceries or entertainment, but a good rule of thumb is to budget about half of what you spend at home.

(As Ed Cusack says, since he and Jackie are able to grow much of their own food and much of the rest they buy at inexpensive ferias—farmer’s markets, "Our weekly food bill has shrunk to about $50 a week, from about $125 a week in the States.")

Your actual budget may be even less. Sharon and Wes Puckett pay just $107 a month for the two of them for their Caja national health plan. Some landlords include internet and other expenses like lawn care, water and trash pick-up. And, of course, if you pay outright for your home you won’t have any housing costs.

You can see how affordable it is to live in Costa Rica. Choose to live in the Central Valley where you won’t need heat or air conditioning and your monthly expenses will be very low, indeed.

You can afford to treat yourself with things you might not afford at home…like a maid and gardener, spa days, and more…

In Costa Rica, even the lowest budget affords a very good lifestyle. You’ll enjoy guilt-free consumption at very low prices. For instance, splurge on a salon haircut, manicure or pedicure ($5-$10 each), pay a maid to clean your house ($14 a day) or a gardener to do your lawn work ($4.50 an hour).

Remember, thanks to Costa Rica’s government healthcare program, your healthcare costs will be negligible. But should you desire elective procedures, you’ll pay about one-third what you will in the States. A facelift, for instance, averages $2,800 to $3,200 in Costa Rica, compared to $7,000 to $9,000 or more in the United States. A visit to a dentist will set you back about $50, including X-rays, and a teeth-cleaning will run about $40.

All This, and World-Class, Affordable Healthcare

Hands down, Costa Rica’s universal healthcare system is one of the best in Latin America and, indeed, among the best in the world. Once you obtain legal residency in Costa Rica, foreigners are eligible (required, in fact) to participate in Costa Rica’s universal healthcare system, CAJA. For this coverage, a retired couple might expect to pay $100-$200 a month total for the two of them (a percentage of your income). It’s affiliated with ten major public hospitals in the country and many small clinics in almost every community.

You can also buy private insurance—most plans cover dental work, optometry, and cosmetic surgery in the case of an accident. Prescription drugs, certain medical exams, sick visits and hospitalization are covered at 70% cost, and surgeon and anesthesiologist costs are covered at full cost. Private medical insurance in Costa Rica currently costs about $200-$300 a month per person, depending on age, health, and other factors.

And don’t worry about language issues—many doctors speak English and have received training in Europe, Canada, or the U.S.

You’ll save, too, on the little things that matter the most, but can add up. Like movie tickets for $5 or less…four avocados for just $2…a whole pineapple for $1…bus rides from San José to Escazu for just 75 cents or to Jacó Beach (60 miles) for little more than $4.

But it’s not just the potential cost savings that you should consider…it’s the overall improvement in your quality of life.

More time and more money to spend as you like…no taxes, no inflated prices, no more worries about outliving your retirement nest egg.

Maybe even money to spend on things you might not afford at home…like a maid and gardener, spa days, and more

Are you ready to learn more about all that Costa Rica has to offer?

If So, Please Join Us August 17-19 in Costa Rica

At the Fast Track Costa Rica: Lifestyle and Opportunity Conference this August we’ll show you exactly how to live this laid-back luxurious lifestyle…no matter how small your budget.

If you want to salvage your retirement dreams, retire even earlier than you thought you could, or just live a more carefree or luxurious life than you ever thought possible—then there’s no better opportunity to gain access to so much expertise…in one place, at the same time.

Whether You’re Retiring or Buying a Second Home…or Starting The New Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of… This Conference Will Help You Make It Happen Don’t Put Your Dream Life On Hold

People are coming to Costa Rica for various reasons. And we’ve got all the bases covered with all the high-powered local experts you need to know.

  • See firsthand how little it really costs to live in Costa Rica. Not via some theoretical budget, but by meeting the people who are already doing it. People like Gloria and Paul Yeatman, Jason Holland, and more…
  • Discover the best places to live and buy property, by learning all about the latest hot spots on the Costa Rica real estate scene. Not from some agent’s listing, but by hearing from the International Living contacts who have traveled to see these areas firsthand.
  • Get in early on the newest emerging markets. Not by listening to salespeople, but by taking advantage of our market analysts’ extensive experience.
  • Learn what it takes to start up a business. Not from a book, but from expats who have done it themselves…and done it well.
  • Know what documents you need to qualify for residency and Costa Rica’s healthcare system…and where to bank, the best place to buy insurance, buy a car, etc. etc. Hear it straight from the attorneys, professionals, and others who are guiding your fellow expats.
  • Get all the details about your tax obligations, both in Costa Rica and at home…

Get the whole picture, not just the fluff. Taxes, insurance, and visas are not the fun part of being an expat. But you need to know this part of the story before you take your next step in Costa Rica. Our trusted professionals will deliver the information you need.

To discover the real Costa Rica, you need to hear from people like yourself—those who have gone before you

At this Fast Track Costa Rica Conference, we’ve invited an unprecedented number of expats who have bought second homes, retired, or started a business in Costa Rica. Just a short time ago, they were in the same position that you are today.

Here are just a few of the people who make up our staff for this groundbreaking seminar. Remember: they’re not just presenting their topics. One of the primary seminar benefits is that they’ll be available to spend time one-on-one discussing your own situation.

Dan Prescher
International Living’s Dan Prescher will be your emcee for this conference. As special projects director and media director for International Living, no one is more qualified to talk about living overseas than Dan. He’s traveled all over Latin America researching and writing about everything from deserted beaches to bustling world-class cities where life is good and costs are low. He and his wife, Suzan Haskins, are four-country expats.

Roger Petersen, legal counsel
When it comes to residency, tax law, corporations, trusts, banking, and real estate, there is no better authority in Costa Rica. Educated in the U.S., Roger has been practicing law in Costa Rica since 1992. He’ll bring you up to speed with the practical information you need to know if you’re planning to retire, buy a property, or start up business. His firm, Petersen & Philps, is one of the leading law firms in Costa Rica when it comes to expat issues and more.

Dr. Kenneth Rojas Calderon
Dr. Rojas is a private practice physician with associations at the top private hospital in San José, Clinica Biblica. He’ll be on hand with details about Costa Rica’s excellent healthcare services and private healthcare options.

John McGee—President/CEO, Expat Global Medical
John’s focus is on implementing quality, affordable, and customized health insurance strategies to benefit your individual needs when you decide to live overseas. He’ll help you home in on your best options for private global medical insurance.

Winton Churchill Winton Churchill is founder of the Barefoot Consultant an international training and consulting company that can help you make a living from anywhere in the world by tapping into your own skills and career experience. "By taking charge of their earning power, the baby boomer generation now has the power and access to put their skills and abilities on the global market regardless of where they live or work now," he says. Note: Winton will offer an optional hands-on workshop on the first day of the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference. Details will be sent in your registration confirmation package.

Tim Garrett
Tim heads the Garrett Insurance Group, which has been present in Costa Rica for more than 30 years, fulfilling the insurance needs of the large expat community. He’ll help you discover all your insurance options when you become a resident of Costa Rica.

Margaret Summerfield (via video)
Born in Ireland, Margaret has spent most of her adult life living outside her home country. She now resides in the Casco Viejo neighborhood of Panama City, Panama—and from there she travels extensively in her role as Managing Director for Pathfinder, International Living’s preferred real estate advertising partner. She’s logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling in Central and South America, scouting new properties, and new opportunities, off the beaten track.

Jason Holland
Jason had the benefit of living overseas from an early age. His father worked for the U.S. government in Turkey, Germany, and Spain. Jason was born in Madrid and spent most of his childhood in Spain, returning to the U.S. to attend the University of Florida. After graduation, Jason worked as a journalist, writer and editor, but the call of the expat lifestyle was strong. In February 2012, he and his family moved to Costa Rica. Today, he spends his time traveling in Latin America, researching and reporting on behalf of International Living.

Jackie Minchillo
A native of Michigan, Jackie and her husband became fed up with the demands of corporate America and harsh winters, and began to explore their options with one goal in mind: To start truly enjoying life and have the ability to travel the world long before retirement. She’s traveled the world and today lives on Costa Rica’s Gold Coast and is an International Costa Rica correspondent and freelance journalist covering travel, social issues, and female-focused topics.

John Michael Arthur
John Michael spent 30 years as a family practitioner in his hometown near Dallas before moving to Costa Rica three years ago with this partner, Michael. They live on a three-and-a-half-acre farm complete with a river in the Orosi Valley. Days are spent tending to the more than 125 fruit trees in the orchard, milking the goats for homemade ice cream and cheeses, gathering eggs from the chickens, ducks, and geese, and tending the gardens and finding creative ways to use the river and land.

Suzan Haskins
As Senior Editor for International Living for nearly 16 years now, Suzan has traveled extensively in Latin America, searching for the world’s best and most affordable lifestyle opportunities. She has lived in Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Nicaragua, and currently lives in Mexico. (But Costa Rica is dear to Suzan’s heart—she and her husband, Dan Prescher, were married there.) She’ll be on hand to talk about the challenges and rewards of expat life.

Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, it’s possible the speakers may change. Other experts, however, will take their place covering the same topic.

And what’s more, you’ll get first-hand information directly from the experts in Costa Rica on:

  • Shipping your household goods
  • Banking
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Cultural acclimation
  • Learning Spanish easily for enjoyment and business
  • The legal ins and out of buying real estate in Costa Rica
  • The best visa option for your needs
  • How to safely move your pets to and keep them healthy in Costa Rica
  • Home, auto, life, and health insurance
  • And much, much more…including all the country’s best destinations depending on your lifestyle needs

Our seasoned professional experts will deliver the on-target information you need to get the real picture about living, buying, or starting up a business in Costa Rica.

And yes, many of the expats I’ve introduced you to here will be there, too. I’ve already told you some of their stories. They left the U.S. or Canada for a variety of reasons…but for sure to escape high costs and frigid winter temperatures. To a person, they’ve found the American dream alive and well…but in Central America. They’ll tell you the unvarnished truth about life in Costa Rica…the good, bad, and the not-so-good.

Believe me, this firsthand information is worth its weight in gold.

We’ve got a full schedule planned for you…and we’re mixing business with pleasure.

After registration on Thursday, August 17th, we’ll have two hours of general sessions from approximately 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM to introduce you to some of our key experts and staff members. Then, our special welcome cocktail party will take place from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, held in the networking and exhibit hall to give you the opportunity to network and chat with the speakers, exhibitors, and your fellow attendees.

The networking and exhibit room will open bright and early at 8:30 AM on Friday, August 18th. General sessions will kick off promptly at 9:00 AM and go until about 5:30 PM…followed by our always-exciting VIP event that evening for Publisher’s Roundtable, Lifetime Society, RETA, Explorers Club, Platinum Circle and World Club members.

On Saturday, the networking and exhibit room will open at 8:30 AM (it remains open all day) and sessions will run between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM. You’ll get more information in your confirmation letter and we’ll send you a detailed schedule a week before the event.

On Saturday evening, we’ll have our Farewell Cocktail Reception, and you’ll be ready to do some firsthand exploring of Costa Rica!

You’ll discover everything you need to know about Costa Rica, and in one of the country’s most comfortable and beautiful settings…

We’ll gather at the Real InterContinental Costa Rica Hotel in San José. It’s one of the country’s best hotels and it’s ideally positioned in the heart of popular Escazú, adjacent to the most prestigious shopping mall with 365 stores, bars and restaurants and more.

This hotel features the hottest concepts in entertainment and dining, including two outdoor pools in landscaped gardens, the largest urban spa in Central America and four unique concept restaurants—and there are many more great restaurants in walking distance. We can guarantee you won’t go hungry!

We’ve negotiated a special discounted rate of $145 per night for a single or double room. This rate includes a full American buffet breakfast, internet access, and complimentary use of the health club. If you’d like to arrive early or stay longer, the hotel has agreed to honor the rate for three days before and after the event, depending on availability.

You will get complete contact information for the hotel (with all related travel information) including our special group code, in your confirmation letter once you register for the event.

This Conference is a One-of-a-Kind Opportunity. The Depth, Breadth, and Diversity of Lifestyles in Costa Rica Just Can’t Be Found Anywhere Else…

You’ll see all sides of Costa Rica. From luxury living to a comfortable and enjoyable way of life that you can manage on a social security check…from the lush green mountains to the dazzling beaches and everything in between.

Playa Carrillo Costa Rica
Beaches, mountains, rainforests, hot springs, and more…you’ll find it all in Costa Rica.

This conference will bring you up to speed on affordable lifestyles that you didn’t know about before.

Think about it. If you gather this information on your own, you’ll spend thousands of dollars, and months of your time. Knock on doors, search the internet, sit in lawyers’ offices, and hang out with real estate agents, it will be impossible to assemble the body of knowledge that we’ve pulled together for this conference.

As Joseph Locasclo, a past attendee of our Costa Rica conference said, "I enjoyed the fact that most of the presenters were either locals or expats. Their presentations were very informative and all were very approachable and helpful."

Another past attendee, Robert Scolara, agreed. He said: "It was informative, entertaining, professional yet casual and most importantly, we were not pressured to do anything!"

Frankly, our Fast Track Costa Rica Conference is a good investment of time and money for anyone who’s considering making a life in Costa Rica…well worth every penny you’ll pay to attend.

But here’s one more important thing to consider:

Register for the Fast Track Costa Rica: Lifestyle and Opportunity Conference and we’ll send you via e-mail one of the most valuable reports about Costa Rica we’ve ever developed.

This special report—Your Dream Retirement: Live the Good Life in these Five Costa Rica Destinations—was created specifically to deliver actionable information and real examples about life in Costa Rica and details about why we believe it’s the best retirement destination in Latin America…not the cheapest, and not with the lowest real estate prices…but hands-down the best.

No matter your budget or lifestyle, you’ll learn how you can live the life of your dreams in Costa Rica. You’ll also learn more about some of the locations we’ve discussed here… San José and the Central Valley, Lake Arenal, Guanacaste, the Caribbean Coast, the southern Costa Ballena, and more.

Why is this so important?

Because before even getting on the plane for Costa Rica, you’ll have studied each of the geographic areas, along with property examples and the different lifestyles you’ll find there.

Once you get to the conference, you’ll know exactly where to focus your energies in order to make the most of it… You’ll know which regions interest you, and what they cost.

What’s more, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’d like to explore after the conference, when the optional real estate tours are available.

Your Dream Retirement: Live the Good Life in these Five Costa Rica Destinations will be rushed to you immediately when you sign up for the conference. That way, you can make the most of it before you head to Costa Rica.

This valuable report is only available to Fast Track Costa Rica Conference attendees. It will not be offered for sale.

Register For the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference Now

The full price for this event is $1,195 ($795 for your guest).

An incredible bargain for two-and-a-half days of information-packed meetings, and access to well-informed and experienced contacts ready to share their firsthand experience.

And what’s better, you’re probably eligible for a further discount!

  • International Living subscribers get $50 off
  • Lifetime Society Members get $150 off
  • Platinum Circle, Publishers’ Roundtable Members and Real Estate Trend Alert Members get $200 off
  • Explorers Club attend FREE
  • World Club members attend FREE

If you’re not an International Living subscriber or VIP member, and you’d like to become one before the conference, or you’d like to find out more, please call Donna DeRemigis at 1-866-381-8446 or contact her online at

Pre- and Post-Conference Tours

Don’t forget, Pathfinder International works with local contacts in Costa Rica and will offer a number of optional property tours after this event. So you’ll not only have the chance to learn about the property market, but also to see it firsthand. We’ll send full details before the conference but be sure to plan on staying in the country for a few extra days before and/or after the conference. For more information, email

The Conference entry price includes:

  • All presentations
  • Formal and informal Q&A sessions
  • Introductions to reliable real estate sources, business contacts, fellow expats, and professional legal resources
  • Coffee breaks and snacks (breakfast and WiFi is included with your room)
  • Welcome and farewell cocktail receptions
  • Seminar materials, notebooks, and handouts
  • Digital downloads and video and audio recordings of all conference presentations

And of course our special report, Your Dream Retirement: Live the Good Life in these Five Costa Rica Destinations.

Registration is easy, via any one of the following methods:

Note: You’ll receive information about hotel reservations and rates, getting to Costa Rica, and more in the confirmation letter you’ll receive after you register for the conference.

Act Now, this conference will sell out quickly.

An overwhelming number of International Living readers have expressed an interest in discovering more about Costa Rica. We expect this event will be very popular. We urge you to sign up soon to guarantee yourself a seat.

This conference and its companion report, Your Dream Retirement: Live the Good Life in these Five Costa Rica Destinations, is more valuable—and appeals to a broader audience—than any country conference we’ve held previously.

Please take a moment to register now, using our secure online order form. (Hotel and travel information details will be in the confirmation letter that will be sent to you once you register.)

REGISTER Here NOW for the
Fast Track Costa Rica Conference

This is your best chance to fulfill your dreams in Costa Rica, whether it’s to:

  • Enjoy a comfortable, secure retirement,
  • Own a second home in a warm, sunny climate,
  • Start that business you’ve been dreaming about, or
  • Learn more about one of the world’s best-performing property markets…

This conference will provide the content to fit your needs.

Remember, this is the biggest discount we offer; making this the best time to register for the conference and SAVE.

Please join us August 17-19 for an in-depth look at Costa Rica and an experience that may change your life forever.

This will be the deepest, broadest, most in-depth look at any country that we’ve ever presented.

Don’t leave it until the last minute to get the discounted pricing—seats are already selling quickly. Please follow the link to our secure online order form or call 1-866-381-8446 (toll free from the U.S. or Canada) or +1 (410) 622-3040 today, to lock in your place at the conference.

REGISTER Here NOW for the
Fast Track Costa Rica Conference


Jackie Flynn

Jackie Flynn,
Publisher, International Living

P. S. The last several conferences we’ve hosted in Costa Rica have sold out. If you’re interested in discovering more about this scenic welcoming country, and how living there can change your life for the better, please don’t run the risk of being shut out. Register Now.

Please take a minute to sign up now, or call 1-866-381-8446 (toll free in the U.S. and Canada) or contact us at

Here are comments from attendees of past Fast Track Costa Rica Conferences:

"Appreciated the ability to learn about Costa Rica in depth while vacationing in the country. This is the best possible way to visit any country in my opinion. Not only did I have a great time here but I feel that I really know Costa Rica now."

Warren Marshall

"A very valuable experience, the content presented was very valuable."

Hilary Williams

"Schedule was great. All speakers were qualified and helpful."

Gil Wood

"Conference was well run with a lot of valuable information in a short period of time. Conference was extremely informative on all aspects on retiring in Costa Rica. Definitely worth the price and the contacts made will prove invaluable. I have already received emails from contacts about our desire to retire on the Gold Coast. Thank you to all of the speakers and International Living for putting together a well run, informative conference on retiring in Costa Rica!!"

Diana Robusto

"Very informative; definitely hit all the "hot" topics; Great speakers; nice variety."

Carolyn Mergens

"The speakers for the areas did a good job, and we wound up with a surprising favorite! Their descriptions and the feeling they gave us for the areas were pretty spot on with our own opinions."

Linda Venable

"The agenda was very well done. Covered the most important topics for decision making."

Jerry Johnston

"Very comprehensive agenda. I am very impressed. A little overwhelmed but nice to know I will have access to it again. I would do this again."

Ninette Crunkleton

"IL helped me get here (to Costa Rica) by offering opportunities that will enhance my life forever."

Randall Richardson

"Loved the good, bad and ugly approach; it was very authentic and increased my confidence level."

Patti Nelson

"It was great to hear such a variety of information in one place. The conference opened our eyes to ways of earning an income and the possibility of renting to determine the exact location we would love to live."

Gina Sweenie

"Although I’ve been reading International Living for years, this was my first conference. The conference and tours have us planning a longer stay next time. Perhaps a move after. We thoroughly enjoyed our week!"

Sharon Lowe

REGISTER Here NOW for the
Fast Track Costa Rica Conference