GREAT! Most foreigners settle in the central valley in and around San Jose
, Grecia, Atenas, Heredia, and Alajuela
. …. and depending on how high above sea level you are ( 3,000 feet is average ) the weather is great. Around 72 degrees F. most of the time all year round. No air conditioning needed and no heating. Lots of tropical breezes and warm sunshine. Rains in afternoons May thru mid November. The dry season comes t in late December thru mid April. Very little rain comes during these months and hundreds of tropical flowers are in full bloom including the many species of orchids. On the other hand if you settle around the beaches, weather is much warmer, around 80-85 F. year round. Air conditioning is needed in the beach areas, and most all hotels have it. But, the tropical breezes blow constantly and add relief to the heat.
Natural Beauty: Abundant beauty…especially outside the cities in the countryside. From the rainforest to the coffee fields, to bananas, to sugar cane, to pineapples…a thousand shades of GREEN. Tropical flowers are a million different colors especially the many species of orchids which are in full bloom February through April and May. Then there are the mountains, volcanoes, beaches, wild rivers, and 350 species of colorful birds.
Lifestyle: Slow and easy..never get in a rush! Costa Rican people are friendly and helpful. Democratic government with elections held every four years..no military coups, or communist takeovers. Peaceful if you live in the countryside. Cities are noisy and polluted. Biggest problem is petty theft.
Cost of living: Depends on your lifestyle. If you are a high roller then of course you will spend a lot of money here. However: the overall cost of living is cheaper in Costa Rica than in the USA, Canada, or Europe. Fresh vegetables and fruit can be purchased weekly (Friday afternoons and all day Saturday) at the local farmers markets (in every town) at great savings. ( Local supermarkets prices are much higher and the produce is not nearly as fresh) Housing comes in all shapes and prices. So if you take your time and do your ahead of time research you will find what fits your budget. In Escazu , San Jose, Santa Ana, and surrounding the homes and apartments cost more… Nicer ones built to American standards start at around $700.00 and up. The farther out you get from the larger metropolitan areas the less you pay for housing Places with views to mountains usually cost more. Nice places on the beaches built to American standards are expensive …I dont want to quote prices here because depending on rainy or dry season, the prices vary. Cars are unusually expensive in Costa Rica so investigate this ahead and budget for it. If you import your auto from your home country…the Costa Rican government will hit you with a BIG import tax. So take heed…investigate this ahead of time. Contact The Association of Residents of Costa Rica (ARCR) www.arcr.net for resources to help you with this.
What makes the cost of living in Costa Rica less expensive? Household help is cheaper. The ladies love this. Usually one hires a maid by the hour. You can ask other foreigners who live here the going rate per hour, but the last I checked it was less than $2 per hour but some benefits have to be added to this. Some women want a full time maid and this is around $250 a month..again the benefits must be added to this. So be sure to get all the facts before hiring your household help, gardeners, or drivers. Check ARCR -Association of Residents of Costa Rica www.arcr.net Next: Private medical care and private medical insurance is much cheaper in Costa Rican and is considered to be very very good. Many of the doctors speak English and have trained in the US . Private Hospitals Cima (private hospital ) and Clinica Biblica. Both serve very well the foreign community and are much cheaper to receive care there than in the US. Also medications are cheaper.
Real Estate taxes are much cheaper. I pay $400 annually on my $180,000 home.
Dental is excellent and much cheaper. I pay $350 for a crown..and I love my dentist, who is in Alajuela.
Recreation: Out door nature orientated activities are too many to list here so Ill tell you about a few of them. Beaches, mountains, National Parks and wildllife reserves, white water rafting, rainforest, deep sea fishing, bird watching, golf…and more.
Social Clubs-Enough to keep you more than busy- meeting new and interesting people and learning new things. to mention a few: Newcomers Club-headquarters Escazu 2. Womens Club of Costa Rica-headquarters Escazu , Wine Club, Cooking classes and Gourmet Club, all headquartered in Escazu. People come from all the surrounding areas come to attend these clubs. For the guys there is tennis, golf, computer club….and much more.
These social clubs and their meeting places, times, and dates are listed in the Tico Times English language newspaper published every Wednesday. You can buy it in all the places expats go..grocery stores, airport, book stores. A condensed version is online www.ticotimes.com (but social calendar is not in the condensed version.)
So who would like to live and retire in Costa Rica? Burned out baby boomers looking for a simple life. A more relaxed and less expensive life style, and a little adventure when they want it.
Those wanting to “start a new life” open a new business, make new and interesting friends, explore a new part of the world, learn Spanish, or find love and companionship. And people who just searching for a great adventure in a new land of sunshine and gentle rain.