Costa Rica Fast Facts

Costa Rica Tamarindo Costa Rica

Population: 4,872,543

Capital City: San José

Climate: Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands

Time Zone: GMT-6

Language: Spanish (official), English

Country Code: 506

Coastline: 1,290km

Central America’s Retirement Gem: Stable, Easy, and Affordable Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a beautiful country, with long stretches of deserted and undeveloped beaches…dense jungles teeming with exotic wildlife…towering volcanoes, lush green valleys, and hundreds of crystal-clear lakes and rivers…

Not only that, but the country offers a great climate year-round, neighborly atmosphere, no-hassle residence programs, excellent healthcare, a stable democracy, and safety and security. It doesn’t hurt that many retired couples report living well on $2,000 a month—that includes all their costs.

For these reasons, as well as the welcoming locals who are warm and friendly to new foreign neighbors, Costa Rica has been an expat haven for more than 30 years.

That’s another bonus: you don’t have to be a pioneer in Costa Rica. There are well-established expat communities throughout the country. Things are “set up” so to speak, when it comes to shipping your household goods, using the healthcare system, buying property, and more. And by following this well-trodden path, your transition to your new life is much easier.

It’s small, about the size of West Virginia. But the variety of landscapes, climates, and lifestyles in Costa Rica is amazing. You have the rainforests, wild beaches, and charming seaside villages of the southern Pacific coast, also known as the Southern Zone.

A Landscape and Lifestyle for Every Taste

There are the bustling market towns surrounded by sugar cane fields and coffee plantations of the Central Valley. Around the pristine 33-square-mile Lake Arenal, expats have taken up residence on the verdant hills rising from the shore, with vast lake views from their homes. On the Caribbean coast, life is laidback and moves to the rhythm of reggae. And that’s just a small taste of all Costa Rica has to offer as far as places to live.

With all these different climates and landscapes, it’s no wonder that this Central American jewel is also one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet. With just 0.03% of the earth’s surface within its borders, the country has an estimated 5% of the world’s species. In Costa Rica, this natural world surrounds you, putting the country on the forefront of eco-tourism and eco-living. Sloths, capuchin monkeys, toucans, and scarlet macaws will be your new neighbors.

central-valley
Central Valley, Costa Rica

And no matter which location you choose, you can benefit from bargain real estate, whether you buy or rent. Three-bedroom homes in the Central Valley start at $119,000 to buy and $500 a month to rent. And two-bedroom condo, a short walk to the beach on the central Pacific coast, in a lively  town will cost about $700 a month, and a similar property is selling for $165,000. Deals like this can be found throughout the country.

Another big bonus is the high-quality, low-cost healthcare. There are two systems: private, for which you can pay cash or use insurance, and the government-run public system which you join when you become a legal resident. Overall, expats in Costa Rica pay a fraction of what they did back home for healthcare.

All these advantages make Costa Rica a premier destination for those looking for a secure, fun, and active retirement surrounded by new friends in a beautiful setting.

Find Out More From Our Costa Rica Editor

From the Archives of Costa Rica

The American Dream Was Killing Us…So We Moved to Costa Rica

The American Dream Was Killing Us…So We Moved to Costa Rica

Lifestyle
By |
July 13, 2016

My lifestyle has changed significantly since moving to Central America three years ago. One reason my wife Jen and I moved here was because the American Dream was killing us. We both had successful careers and no children; this meant we had a lot of disposable income. We had the large house (occupied only by two people and a dog), two cars, and all the possessions we could want. We had all the things that define “making it” in the U.S.

Visiting the “Dynamic Duo” of Costa Rica’s Central Valley

Visiting the “Dynamic Duo” of Costa Rica’s Central Valley

There are many places in Costa Rica’s Central Valley where you can experience what the country is all about, maybe too many. When my wife and I have friends visit, we often have a hard time deciding what to show them. That being said, we always save one day for what I call the dynamic-duo of the Central Valley—Poas Volcano and La Paz Water Gardens. These two iconic destinations are close enough to each other to visit in the same day and they provide a wonderful experience.

“Where could we meet U.S. expats already living in Costa Rica?”

“Where could we meet U.S. expats already living in Costa Rica?”

My husband & I will be visiting Costa Rica beginning Sept 18th. We would like to meet with some US expats who have made the move. Our plan is to move within the next year. We will be in San Jose for 3 days then over to the Pacific coast. We'd love to meet some potential new neighbors currently living in Costa Rica...

Why Costa Rica’s Farmers Market is More Than Just Produce

Why Costa Rica’s Farmers Market is More Than Just Produce

One of the things my wife and I love about living in Costa Rica is our weekly trip to the feria, the country’s farmers market. Growers from the region meet there each weekend to sell just-picked fruits and vegetables. There are also vendors selling quality meats, poultry, and fish. Not only is the food fresh, the prices are incredible. For example, I can buy three pineapples for just $2, or a kilo of potatoes for $1.50. In addition to the great selection and price of foods there are other reasons we love going there.