Retire in Costa Rica: Why 20,000 U.S. Expats Have Got it Right

Costa Rica’s fame as a retiree destination is richly deserved. With a year-round tropical climate, modern cities, Caribbean beaches, Pacific coastline, rain forests, lush valleys and mountains, there is something for everyone (except freezing weather!)

And Costa Rica is becoming an environmental legend as well, well on it’s way to becoming a carbon-neutral country and preserving much of its most beautiful mountains and forests as national parks.

This is why more than 20,000 U.S. expatriates already live in Costa Rica, enjoying one of the highest standards of living in Central America.

Compared with some other Latin American retirement destinations, Costa Rica isn’t the cheapest. There are countries like Ecuador, Nicaragua and Belize where the cost of living can be much lower. But there are few countries as stable, friendly, and economically and technologically advanced as Costa Rica, and many expats don’t mind trading a few extra dollars for the benefits that this country offers when they retire to Costa Rica.

Depending on your lifestyle, you can retire in Costa Rica easily on $1,200 to $2,000 per month. Rents range from $500 to $3,000 per month for a large house with a large yard, depending on location. So you see that by shopping around a little, Costa Rica can be just as affordable as many other Latin American countries.

One remarkable benefit that is getting more attention than usual lately is Costa Rica’s health care system. Expats can take advantage of modern medical facilities and well-trained doctors for monthly payments of little more than $50… the price of an average restaurant dinner in the U.S.

It’s important to have the proper visa if you plan to retire in Costa Rica. Rentisa visa holders have to show income of $2,500 per month for at least five years, guaranteed by a banking institution or make a deposit of $150,000 in an approved Costa Rican bank. You must change at least $2,500 a month into colones (Costa Rican currency) and live in Costa Rica at least four months of the year.

Those seeking a pensionado visa needs to prove a minimum income of $1,000 per month from a qualified pension or retirement account or from Social Security. You must also change at least $1,000 a month from dollars into colones and you must live in Costa Rica at least four months of the year.

In Costa Rica, the good life is called “pura vida.” For those who retire in Costa Rica, pura vida is a daily fact of life in this beautiful, exotic, and surprisingly affordable country.

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