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, 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

From the Big City to Life as a Restaurateur in Costa Rica

From the Big City to Life as a Restaurateur in Costa Rica

Jillian Feibusch knew early on that there was a better life to be had other than living in the craziness of the San Francisco Bay Area. "I was working as a makeup artist for Chanel. Because of the high cost of living, daily commute, health issues, and the intense desire to do something more with my life, I moved to Costa Rica so I could breathe," she says.

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

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

For decades Costa Rica has been among the world’s premier retirement destinations. It still is. Chuck and his wife Anna launched their Pura Vida lifestyle in 2012. They sought a mild climate, better healthcare, amazing views, and lots to do…and all at a lower cost of living. You’ll find established and welcoming expat communities all across the country. It’s easy to make friends to explore the jungle with, or to share an ice-cold, two-buck Pilsen beer while watching the sun set from a beach.

“Our 10-Acre Home in Costa Rica Cost Just $192,000”

“Our 10-Acre Home in Costa Rica Cost Just $192,000”

The wedding of a friend's daughter in Quepos, Costa Rica, set David and Diana Hoyt on a path of discovery to their future dream retirement home. With the celebrations over, the couple decided to extend their trip to check out the country's Southern Zone. There, they promptly fell in love with Ojochal "where the mountains meet the sea."

I’ve Never Been Disappointed With My Move to Quepos, Costa Rica

I’ve Never Been Disappointed With My Move to Quepos, Costa Rica

Nine years ago, I retired to Costa Rica. And I've never been disappointed in that decision. Don't get me wrong, I believe myself to be a true American and love my home country for what it is, but the speed of life there eventually got too much for me.

Making an Overseas Dream a Reality in Costa Rica’s Jungle

Making an Overseas Dream a Reality in Costa Rica’s Jungle

While loving life in Boise, Idaho with friends and family close by, Scott and Nicky Freymond noticed a sense of restlessness a couple years back during the long, harsh winters. They started to research options for a sunnier second home that would ultimately give them the best of both worlds.

Come to Costa Rica and Say Goodbye to Watching the Clock

Come to Costa Rica and Say Goodbye to Watching the Clock

I have a confession to make: I had an addiction. Or maybe it’s better described as an obsession…or a mania. There was a time when I probably could have stood in a dank room full of the similarly afflicted and said, “Hello, my name is John, and I have too many watches.”

Artboard 1Artboard 14Artboard 1Artboard 1down-arrowdown-arrowArtboard 1facebook-roundfacebook-squareArtboard 12Artboard 1googleplus-roundgoogle-squareheadphoneshealthcarehousehouseArtboard 2Artboard 1Artboard 1locksearch-mag3Artboard 1Artboard 15Artboard 1next-largenextArtboard 1plusprev-largeprevread-more-arrowread-more-arrowsearch-magSlider Arrowto-toptwitter-roundtwitter-squareyoutube-roundyoutube-square