In Pictures: Five Great Havens to Live in Costa Rica

Costa Rica…the name alone conjures up visions of lush tropical rain forests and crashing surf on long stretches of white sand beaches.

Costa Rica inspires these visions for two reasons. Number one, they’re true. Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse and beautiful spots on earth with Pacific and Atlantic coastlines that are the stuff of legend.

The second reason that the idea of Costa Rica can instantly create pictures of tropical splendor is that it has been one of the most popular destinations for expats and second-home owners for decades. Costa Rica as a tropical haven is firmly established in the expat literature.

Expats have been flocking to the Central Valley for decades. Known in Spanish as the Steins Control, it is actually a high-altitude plateau—above 3,000 feet—that is surrounded by tall mountains. In the middle you have Costa Rica’s capital, San José. Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, near the border with Nicaragua, is popular for those seeking a beach lifestyle and warm climate. Known as the Gold Coast, this region receives the least rainfall and has more sunny days than anywhere else in the country. Thousands of tourists visit Arenal every year. For them, it’s all about the volcano, which gives its name to the region. But most visitors miss the best part of the area: the 33-square-mile lake, also called Arenal. This is where the majority of expats live in this region. The southern Pacific coast, known as the Southern Zone, is what most people picture when they think of Costa Rica. It’s steamy rain forest. Jungle-clad mountains drop dramatically to deserted beaches. There are no large resorts. No high-rises blocking the ocean view. On the Central Pacific coast, Playa Herradura is a sheltered bay with cozy seafood restaurants. And south of Jaco you have several very low-key communities like Esterillos, Bejuco, and Hermosa, where surfers mix with retirees enjoying sunset cocktails on the beach.
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Thousands of tourists visit Arenal every year. For them, it’s all about the volcano, which gives its name to the region. But most visitors miss the best part of the area: the 33-square-mile lake, also called Arenal. This is where the majority of expats live in this region.

 

Read the full article on Costa Rica’s top 5 expat havens here.

Take a look at our Costa Rica Infographic here.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Costa Rica and other countries in IL’s daily postcard e-letter. Sign up for these free daily postcards here and we’ll send you a FREE REPORT – Why Are Americans Still Flocking to Costa Rica.

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