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What you Should Know Before Moving to Costa Rica

What You Should Know Before Moving to Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become a haven for American Retirees in the past few years. There are many reasons behind this, but the main ones have to be the low cost of living and the tropical beaches and cool breezes. I’m a big fan of Costa Rica and here’s what you should know before moving to Costa Rica.

For many of us, this sounds like the best way to spend our retirement years… living large in a Latin paradise. Being a big fish in a small pond as I often say. And statistics are proving that Americans think the same. There are more than 50 American communities in Costa Rica.

Most of these communities are made up by retirees, but also Expats and entrepreneurs make are popular in the country. Costa Rica has welcomed these groups of people with open arms and I expect the number to continue growing.

Before moving to Costa Rica you should have a clear and precise idea of what city you would like to live in. As I mentioned in my other article there are many options and you can choose one that fulfills all of your needs. For this reason, I suggest you rent for a few months before committing.

Capital City, San Jose

For me, I prefer or require the capital, San Jose. I like their business centers, low cost, and readily available workers, fast internet, etc. But, this is because I’m running a publishing company. Many expats prefer the privacy (I’d say isolation) of the beach communities.

Although, for the most part, it is a tropical paradise with warm sandy beaches, there a number of diverse landscapes that differ from region to region. The good thing is that everything is relatively close. The bad thing is that San Jose is landlocked and beached are a long drive or a short flight.

Also, government programs promote foreign investment and through that you can obtain a second residency .  They have been on the rise for some time now. A residency visa would facilitate you staying on the island for a long period of time.


Roasted Coffee Beans

Residency Through Investment

Besides obtaining a residency through investment, there are other ways in which you can become a citizen of this amazing country. Such as through your wife or husband, children, employee, etc. Every case is different so you should research to find out if you qualify for a residency or citizenship in Costa Rica.

As opposed to other central American countries nearby (such as Nicaragua right now), Costa Rica’s history has been for the most part quite peaceful. There has not been an issue in decades and the government and the economy are stable.

You should know that the majority of Costa Rica practices the Roman Catholic faith and that it is the state religion. Freedom of religion is granted in Costa Rica, but most social norms come from Catholic practices.

Another factor that you should consider before moving to Costa Rica is how safe it is. You should have no problem walking in the streets at night. Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Latin America, but of course, there are some areas you should never visit. Take some precaution and learn where these areas are located.

Why Central America?  Is it not dangerous?

I get this question a lot. Why are you in Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, or where ever? It’s so dangerous. The same is true of any big US city. There are places in LA, NY, Chicago, and Detroit I would not go at night… and the rest of the city is fine. The same is true throughout Latin America (the exception being Venezuela, of course).

USD Widely Accepted

Costa Rica accepts dollars and most American credit and debit cards. Before moving you should consider changing some of your dollars for Colones (Costa Rican currency).  Some towns only accept Colones as a form of payment. The dollar is very strong right now, and you should take advantage of this before moving to Costa Rica.

Health care in Costa Rica is not of the same quality as it is in the United States. Yes, they have public and private hospitals but the public ones are for the most part reserved for the locals and are not of standard quality. That is, only citizens can use the free public hospitals.

Therefore, you are left with the private hospitals. Ask your healthcare provider if your medical insurance is covered in Costa Rica. If it is not, then make any adjustments necessary to make this happen. Being close to good medical care is a necessity for any American retiree.

This might not apply to every American retiree who just wishes to spend some time in Costa Rica, but they have the highest salaries and the lowest unemployment rate in the region. This is because it is a great place to set up an online business and most employees are very well educated.  

Maybe you’re looking for a part-time job to fully maintain yourself on the island and in Costa Rica, you can get one without a problem. Also, the literacy rate in Costa Rica is 98% making it the most educated country in Latin America.

So much to offer!

There are many things that you should consider before making the decision to move to another country. I personally believe that Costa Rica has a lot to offer any American retiree. Including those that will retire from their US lives and start a new business and new adventure abroad.

Learning Spanish before you go to Costa Rica is essential. If you listen to people that say you’ll be fine with your English, they are wrong. You must do your best to be able to converse with the local people, it’s the respectable thing to do. Go and visit my buddy Olly Richards at IWillTeachYouALanguage and sign up for his Spanish Uncovered class, you won’t be disappointed.

I hope you’ve found this article on retiring in Costa Rica to be helpful. For more information, or for assistance with any second passport in Costa Rica program, please contact us. We’ll be happy to connect you with a local expert and to setup an offshore structure for you.  Thank you.

I would also like to offer you the country guide to Costa Rica. It has a ton of information that you can really use. Here are a few additional articles that I know you’ll love!

5 Things to Do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica: Cost of Living by Region and Residency Options

17 Things You Might Not Know About Costa Rica

8 Reasons to Retire to Costa Rica in 2020



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