In recent years, Costa Rica has become a top destination for folks with a portable income. If your job can be done from a laptop—and these days, most jobs can—you can enjoy an enviable lifestyle in Costa Rica, thanks to the low cost of living and reliable high-speed internet.
But folks don’t come to Costa Rica for the internet. They’re drawn—as I was—by the natural beauty that the country offers in spades—from deserted white-sand beaches, to wild rainforest, to soaring jungle-covered mountains—the low cost of living, and the laidback lifestyle.
Those seeking the quiet country head to the Central Valley region in the mountains of the interior. In towns like Grecia and Atenas you’ll find the traditional Costa Rica of hillside coffee farms, small villages, bustling market towns, and a distinct lack of tourists. There, in Costa Rica’s temperate highlands, you can rent some beautiful low-cost homes.
You can rent a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house—fully furnished, with a million-dollar view of the Central Valley—for just $625 a month, including WiFi and a weekly gardener. When I lived in Grecia a few years ago, I cherished our mountaintop home with panoramic views.
On the Pacific coast you can choose from busy resort towns full of visitors like Playas del Coco or Jaco, or sleepy fishing villages like Potrero or Esterillos. Tamarindo, where I lived for a long time, is the place to be if you like a beach lifestyle with plenty of dining and entertainment options.
There’s a gorgeous balmy climate here in Costa Rica, with year-round warm weather. The Central Valley is temperate, never too hot, never too cold—so there’s no air conditioning or heating needed. It never goes above 85 F during the day, dipping into the 60s F at night, enough for a light sweater. It’s very similar to southern California, especially with the lack of humidity. Nearer the coast, the beaches are always warm and humid (too much for some people, just right for others), although it cools off at night.
Like any tropical country, there is a rainy season for several months a year. But for the most part it rains for a short time in the afternoon (more often in the rainforest areas), so it’s not a deal breaker.
There are also the more intangible benefits of living in this Central American gem. There’s a saying in Costa Rica: Pura Vida. It basically means “life is good,” and is a major part of the local sense positivity and community.
People are happy. They laugh. They make it a priority to spend time with family and friends. They’re welcoming to newcomers and expats. And it’s a philosophy that quickly rubs off on you. I know I became more relaxed, less stressed, and ready to enjoy the experiences of day-to-day living, whether it was gathering with friends, swimming in the ocean, or trekking through a verdant rain forest.
In Costa Rica, the things that used to matter so much, like having the latest TV or car, go way down on the list, making way for sunset drinks with friends with your toes in the sand or sitting on your terrace and watching a toucan swoop across the jungle in front of you.
When you’re working or running a business…you can still enjoy the Pura Vida. With reliable high-speed internet service everywhere, you can take a video conference in the middle of the jungle, upload videos to your blog from your swimming pool, or edit your novel from your deck overlooking a breathtaking vista. And because the cost of living is so low (for medical care, housing, transportation, and more), many find that they have to work much less to live comfortably, and have plenty of off-hours for fun.
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