Popular Costa Rica: Is the “Pura Vida” Lifestyle for You?

The registrations for the 2014 Fast Track Costa Rica Conference are now open…and we know people are excited to attend. Last year’s conference sold out in record time… We expect this year’s event to sell out very quickly, too.

I’d wager the people who have already snapped up a seat are people who have read and heard about Costa Rica’s breath-taking natural beauty, very affordable cost of living, and the Pura Vida lifestyle—and are interested in seeing if it’s somewhere where they could enjoy a happier retirement for less than what they are paying at home.

They’re right about Costa Rica being beautiful; boasting both a Pacific and Caribbean coastline, thick, lush jungle and forest (around 50% of Costa Rica is forested), and an array of colorful, rare, and exotic animals and birds, like toucans, sloths, turtles, and howler monkeys, most of the country looks like something out of a glossy travel magazine.

So much unspoiled beauty isn’t accidental, by the way. The Costa Rican government is proud of the country’s natural assets and is committed to protecting and preserving both the environment and the wildlife.

As for the cost of living, despite what you may have heard, this country is still affordable. Expats regularly report to us that they live comfortable, very content lives on around $2,000 a month…including rent…per couple. A single person could live well on between $1,400 and $1,700. (Of course, as with any country, how much you pay depends on your own taste and lifestyle. We know people who pay a lot less to live in Costa Rica; we also know some who pay a lot more.)

You can eat much healthier in Costa Rica—for a fraction of what you’d pay to do so at home. Locally grown, fresh produce is freely available and very inexpensive in Costa Rica. You can buy bananas for just a nickel each…avocados for 50 cents…pineapples for 75 cents…carrots for 35 cents a pound…and oranges 10 for a dollar.

And the cheap produce isn’t all that will keep you feeling healthier in Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s national health care system, which all residents have to join, will cost you from just $75 a month and that fee covers everything: including your doctor visits and prescriptions.

The Pura Vida approach to life will cut your stress levels down to nothing, too. If you’re not familiar with the term “Pura Vida,” it refers to the uniquely Costa Rican approach to life: a laid-back, easy-going, warm, friendly attitude that pervades everyday interactions.

It’s an approach that works: sociologists from the Happy Planet Index have declared Costa Ricans to be the happiest people in the world. (If you’re curious, Canada came in at #58; the U.S. in the bottom third of the index at #104.)

To sum up, people are happier, healthier, and able to live a more enriching life surrounded by dramatic scenery and sunshine in Costa Rica. It’s really not surprising that so many people are eager to move here.

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