Costa Rica is a rugged, rain forest Central American country with coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific and known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity with roughly a quarter of its area made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife. Costa Rica is generally regarded as having the most stable and democratic government which is very appealing in today’s world. In fact its the home of the United Nations University for Peace which says a lot.
Costa Rica is one of the most visited international destinations so naturally it’s main source of income is tourism.
According to the most recent Happy Planet Index Costa Rica is one of the most satisfying places to live and from a retirement lifestyle point of view that ticks a lot of boxes for us especially given a life expectancy in Costa Rica an impressive 79 years – higher than all of its Central American neighbours. One region in particular, the Nicoya Peninsula is known for its longevity and its residents frequently live beyond 100 years of age!
FUN COSTA RICA FACTS
Costa Ricans say “Pura vida” (pure life) or “Que tuanes”. Costa Ricans also refer to their partners as “media naranja”, or the other half of their orange. We rather like that 🙂
WHAT TO DO IN COSTA RICA
Before we talk about the reason so many people want to retire to Costa Rica (including ourselves) let’s look at some of the things you can do there
Watching the arrival of the sea turtles on the beaches of the Pacific Coast is one of the greatest experiences to be found in the country.
Go white-water rafting at Turrialba
Surf on the Nicoya peninsula
Explore the Monteverde cloud forest
There are more than a dozen volcanoes in Costa Rica, including Arenal, which is 5,358 feet high.
It’s the world’s hummingbird capital with 52 species
It’s got some of the world’s best beaches (we’ve checked this out!)
You may get lucky and meet a Sloth as we did
You can see some mysterious spheres on the Diquís Delta, created by an unknown civilization (there’s over 300 of them)
There’s an amazing zip-wire ride called Sky Trek with almost 2 miles of cables reaching 100 metres in height.
The Rio Celeste in the Tenorio Volcano National Park which is a unique blue river
COSTA RICA IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S TOP RETIREMENT DESTINATIONS
It’s been said that retirees who live in Costa Rica now live better than ever. Now we can’t substantiate that as we don’t live there but we know people who do. For 30+ years it’s been a popular retirement destination so it’s already set up for expats plus it’s remarkably affordable to live with friends reporting that their retirement fund goes further than it would’ve back home (USA).
Our friends have told us that thanks to the climate, they have no AC or heating bill and groceries are cheaper n Costa Rica because there’s an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed products. Who could disagree with a much healthier lifestyle.
Talking with many of their fellow expats report reckon they live well for around $1,950 a month per couple, including housing costs.
“We can do as little or as much as we want. We choose our own pace. It’s very much a return to an old-fashioned way of life and our perfect retirement lifestyle if we’re honest”
REASONS TO LIVE IN COSTA RICA
- There’s ‘bargain’ real estate available. Even desirable walking distance to the beach homes or mountain view homes can be purchased for under US$100,000
The country has a long record of safety and stability. Costa Rica has had no army since 1948 and a strong democratic government since then.
Top-quality affordable healthcare. In the just-released 2019 Bloomberg Global Health study of the world’s healthiest countries, Costa Rica ranks as the healthiest country in Central America… ranking ahead of the U.S. If you become a citizen, you can qualify for the CAJA national health system that provides comprehensive coverage, no matter your age (retirees need just $1,000 a month per couple from Social Security or a pension to qualify).
Choice of lifestyle that suits you best – bustling market towns or isolated beach spots or even a quiet farming village. You really can find something that suits you personally.
English is widely spoken…by plumbers…mechanics…doctors…real estate agents…shopkeepers…and more. You’ll have all the modern conveniences you’re used to like cable and satellite TV (with many channels in English), high-speed internet, smartphones, and American and European foods and other products in stores and restaurants.
And you’ll also find plenty of communities full of fellow expats where friendships come fast thanks to the common bond of moving overseas. That means you’ll have a very active social life—and don’t forget all your new local friends too. The people of Costa Rica are very friendly —in fact, a new study from the World Economic Forum found Costa Rica to be one of the most welcoming countries in the world to foreigners.
What more can we say in truth
A wonderful place to visit (we’ve been to Costa Rica 6 times) and high on the list of best places to retire to (it’s on our list)
The Pura Vida attitude (life is good) and laidback lifestyle that Costa Rica is known for makes this one of those places you need to explore and consider for your retirement or just an amazing adventure
We first started researching places to retire as far back as 2005 when we subscribed to a magazine called International Living. If you want to dig deep then we would recommend you check out their reports and events they run just as we did. We have no affiliation with them but as long time subscribers we’re happy to share. For generations of expats, International Living has been the place to turn for accurate and timely advice.
Thanks for reading Pura Vida Costa Rica and we look forward to seeing you for the next article in our travel and retirement destination series
Until next time …