Its homicide rate is 10.3 people per 100,000, second in the region only to Nicaragua at 8.7. Manuel Antonio National Park. “We love the medical care here. It is 15 minutes from Cuidad Colon, 20 minutes from Santa Ana, 20 minutes from Atenas, 25 minutes from Escazu and 1 hour from Puriscal. This makes the region easily accessible from North America. But everybody hangs out together,” says Robby, who lives in Uvita with his wife and daughter. People laugh about the Pura Vida but it’s true, it’s really here. In Playa Hermosa, Aqua Sport is the perfect beachfront restaurant to have a cocktail and watch the sunset. There are many expats in Tamarindo, but there's no real "meeting places." Houses are set among the trees and often have panoramic views of the Pacific. There’s a dry season from December to April, when temperatures are quite high – pleasant in the valleys, warmer in the lower coastal regions. In this updated version of the best places to live in Costa Rica we cover many more locations such as Playa Flamingo, Nosara, Lake Arenal, Jaco Beach and Ojochal. Restaurants Recommendations: Get breakfast at Bulali and enjoy delicious Peruvian food at Zonna Gastro bar. The bus stop is a short walk from our house, and is an affordable way to run errands in town or to take in some culture in San José (an hour away), like a museum tour or a theater performance.”. Expats interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Although the decision to live in Costa Rica was quick, the seed was planted years before. South Paci… Monteverde, is one of the most popular tourist destinations, and the road up to the mountain town is also a dirt road.Costa Rica did complete construction of its Coastal Highway in 2010 which made the southern area of the country much more accessible.I lived in Manuel Antonio which is on the South Pacific coast about 10 minutes away from the beach. Costa Rica is an ideal emigration spot from the U.S. with first-world amenities like ... Great Places to Retire Outside the USA. If you’d rather slow things down, but still have a friendly expat community and great shopping options, you may prefer the farming towns of San Ramón, Atenas, and Grecia. "I love Grecia. We eat mostly fish and vegetables,” says Robby. Permission to move to Costa Rica doesn’t mean permission to work. On the other hand, residents of Atenas, Costa Rica believe their town has the best temperatures during the whole year. Year-round sunshine, breathtaking views, laid-back atmosphere and close proximity to national parks all make Tamarindo a popular destination for family vacations and eco-adventures. Sammi extensive cost of living in Costa Rica breakdown shares expenses, as well as tips on how to live in Costa Rica on a budget. AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Costa Rica, San Jose, Pedestrian Walkway. I would definitely check out Flamingo/Potrero," advised one expat. A few go to an English speaking church. The best place to live in Costa Rica may not always be the beach communities simply due to the fact that the cost of food, utilities, housing and property tends to be higher in those touristic and coastal areas. It has a stronger community feel for expats than most others.". People either love or hate Jacó. The Southern Zone. An expat in Jaco, Costa Rica shares 6 fun activities for expats (and tourists) to do in Jaco. var myCookie = getCookie("ILPOSTCA"); Almost every town in the area hosts a weekly feria, providing access to budget-friendly fresh food. This... Costa Rica is has both public and private healthcare systems. It is very easy to live there without a car. And, of course, that is always subject to various opinions. For the best views in all of Costa Rica from a hotel, or perhaps the best in the world you have to stop by Hotel Three Sixty. Guanacaste lies next to the Pacific Ocean, and its northwestern side is the most preferred due to its less population and better development compared to Limon and Puntarenas. Diets are high in fresh produce and low in processed foods. It is on the Pan-American Hwy and two bus lines run every hour between here and San Jose. I love and prefer Guanacaste. "I just spent a month in Ojochal housesitting. “At the same time, there’s just enough of a town here, and access to really good cuisine, that when we do want to go out and have a good time with people in an upbeat atmosphere, we can.”. The Cariari Country Club is there and it would be possible to live within walking distance to the American International School a great school with great teachers. It’s quiet—only the wind rustling through the trees and the clink of ice, as I take a drink from my iced tea, break the silence. Yes, $400/mo for an in-town apt. if (end == -1) { And, given the many English speakers here, you don’t need fluent Spanish to fit in (though knowing some helps). Most expats report lower energy costs in Arenal than you’ll find on the coasts; you won’t need air conditioning as often here, if at all. "There's a large US, Canadian and French contingent there, but you can also find residents from every continent," added another. Summary: Although the infrastructure is not as well developed, life on the Gold Coast is much more relaxed and friendlier than that of San Jose. Location: 20 minutes north of downtown San Jose. Costa Rica - Manuel Antonio - A Village Tour One of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio is high on most traveler’s lists. 4. Do you like the heat? On the other hand, residents of Atenas, Costa Rica believe their town has the best temperatures during the whole year. San Francisco. Prices vary and there is a good expat community here. This is not a Bay area city, but it is a great place to live. People here have a strong sense of purpose, as well as strong social and family networks that ensure they feel loved well into old age. People considering a move to Central America often narrow down their list to Panama and Costa Rica. If you need to be near schools and San Jose, Escazu is an upscale suburb popular among expats. Location: 15 minutes west of downtown San Jose. Craving Indian food? Restaurants Recommendations: Artisan Brew Pub has a huge select of craft beers and pizza. "Lake Arenal area is a very nice place to live, I lived there for several months. Still, deals are out there, especially if you go inland a bit or sacrifice an ocean view. Do I need an attorney? Many expats warn newcomers about the high cost of housing and food. They host a weekly lunch for women (some men come and gather at the same time). People have been drawn to this area for years for its healthy lifestyle. One of the best places in the world for American Expats is Costa Rica. Central Pacific= Bajamar – Tarcoles – Punta Leona – Herradura – Jaco – Hermosa –Esterillos – Bejuco – Palo Seco. This is one of the main areas that a lot of retirees choose to relocate to initially. Tamarindo. The OPs are right: the dining is limited and night life is very limited. In the U.S., it seems like you never have the time. We learned how to really relax and enjoy from the locals here at the beach, and we’ve been welcomed in this community.”. Most fruit we get from the fruit stand.". Locals slowly ride bicycles rusted from the salt air down the winding coast road. Make a reservation and enjoy the sunset at Panga's Beach Club, watch a game at Sharky's Sports Bar and get a quick bite for breakfast or lunch at La Bodega. Crime is relative. Here you feel totally connected to the family.”. Some love the beach. If you want the amenities and fast pace of city life, try the large towns of Alajuela, Cartago, and Heredia. The water has the highest calcium content in the country, helping to strengthen bones. These data show the lowest levels of violence in history. 7 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica. Here you’ll find the ease and tranquility of beach living with enough modern-day amenities to live comfortably. Plenty of buses to and up and down the coast too. This means one assault every 46 minutes. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. “Here we’ve really gotten into organic living. Although the decision to live in Costa Rica was quick, the seed was planted years before. It is also home of the famous Tamarindo beach, though this is quite expensive, and Nosara - the most unique and favorite home to many discerning expats," wrote one expat in a discussion about Guanacaste vs. Puntarenas. “This allows us to live really well,” says Irina. Home to both Costa Rica’s largest volcano, Volcán Arenal, and its largest freshwater lake (18 miles long by three miles at its widest), this area is perfect if you’re after a laidback retirement in a rural setting, surrounded by natural beauty. Other notable schools for expat students in the Central Valley include the British School of Costa Rica in San Jose, Lincoln School in Heredia, Tree of Life International School in Santa Ana, European School in Heredia and Pan-American School in Santa Ana. And modern highways mean that access to big-city conveniences, U.S.-brand stores, and world-class hospitals is straightforward. Most of the time, you’ll be able to get by with just light clothing. One expat summed it up perfectly when he said not to let your desire to live in paradise get in the way of thinking about the logistics. Tamarindo has about 80 restaurants, so it is a good place to find a variety of choices for eating," described one expat living in Tamarindo. The way the town is built is really nature friendly. Gabi Logan, Leaf Group Updated October 24, 2017. Restaurants Recommendations: Get breakfast at Carpe Diem Cafe in Protrero, enjoy lunch and a swim while taking in the views at Gracia Mar Vista in Brasilito, watch the sunset at Coco Loco on Flamingo beach. Along with this excellent weather comes bargain bin real estate prices in comparison to the United States. Just 20 miles inland is San Isidro de El General (aka Perez Zeledon). Few North Americans know Costa Rica as well as Paul and Gloria Yeatman, authors of the popular blog, Retire for Less in Costa Rica. One expat offered advice to a newcomer looking to settle on the beach in Guanacaste, "I recommend looking at Tamarindo, Playas del Coco, and Samara as moderate size beach towns (small compared to full size CR cities) with decent stores and restaurants conveniently available. You are unable to work as an employee on any of the visas that allow you to live here after you retire. Best Cities for Americans to Retire to-Costa Rica. La Fortuna, in Costa Rica's northern highlands, is centered around an attractive park … "The Heredia area has a variety of climates. My favorite beach south of Tamarindo," wrote one expat in a discussion about beach towns in Costa Rica. Many more gringos in Atenas but I think smaller and too warm for me. And beach-goers doze lazily in hammocks strung between trees on the beach, pondering a dip in the clear blue water. Both of these lie mostly within the province of Guanacaste, where golden sands feed into the Pacific. Location: 1.5 hrs south of Jaco Beach, 3+ hrs from San Jose, An expat in Dominical suggested, "look for Dominical on the Pacific coast south of Quepos. Costa Rica is has both public and private healthcare systems. Cost of Living in Costa Rica. var end = document.cookie.indexOf(";", begin); “Before we moved to Playa Langosta, we traveled extensively all over the Caribbean and all over Mexico,” says David Weed from New Jersey, who lives in Playa Langosta with his wife Cathy. It is a family town, so considered very safe. Which type of residency is right for me? We have many social gatherings, fundraisers, water sports, and tourist activities for visiting friends and family. The town is very accepting, almost too much so," described another expat living in Ojochal. drive up the mountain from me, it is even cooler. Subscribe to the Magazine Today and Save 35%. If you love the big outdoors, the possibilities here are endless. “It’s a much different pace. Costa Rica is an incredible place to live, and if you’re looking to move somewhere where you can stretch your dollar, it should be near the top of your list. Ladies of the Lake, a large, diverse group of women who meet monthly to share their experiences, challenges, great food, and involvement in local charitable and fun activities," described one expat. I watched some videos about Grecia and it seems a very nice place but to me there is something missing, the ocean. It is very safe, as most rural areas in Costa Rica. You will find many types of housing here from single family, condominium complexes and beachfront homes in a multitude of price ranges to fit all budgets. This article answers these and many other questions. There are 27 different weather patterns in Costa Rica... hard to imagine in a country smaller than West Virginia! 10 mins.out of town and can find a nice house for less than that, some on bus lines.". Location: 15 minutes south of Dominical, 3.25 hours from San Jose. “There’s something in the air that provides the deepest sense of peace. If you are on or near the beach, expect heat. But most expats are concentrated in and around three main towns. Their tagline is "from our garden to your table" and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with amazing views surrounded by greenhouses, gardens and fruit trees. With a population of approximately 12, 200, Santa Ana is another one of the more popular expat towns. When they retired overseas, Jim and Irina Just wanted great weather and great views. Settled by Jamaicans and other Caribbean peoples starting more than 100 years ago, the area still has a strong “island” vibe. It’s a place where beach bars play reggae as patrons knock back cold beers. Using the word best, it might be best to travel there for about two weeks, moving from town to town to town to see what there is to offer," wrote one expat. Hummingbirds fly in all the time,” says Pamela, who has ginger, heliconias, and fruit trees like mangosteen, guanabana, and banana surrounding her home. Some love the mountains. Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. "The Central Valley is at 4000 feet and perfect weather besides being close to the international airport which is key to our traveling back to the states and afar," explained one expat. We order from a farm in Tinamaste [a farm town about 30 minutes inland]. Located in a valley, it boasts a moderate climate, a public hospital, good shopping, movie theater, a variety of restaurants, a thriving expat community, entertainment venues and assortment of recreational activities. The community has a local farmers market (feria) which is always a good deal to purchase locally from regional farmers. The rich volcanic soils and pleasant weather also make this a superb place for your dream garden. Chuck and his wife Anna launched their Pura Vida lifestyle in 2012. Average temperatures hover between 80 F and 90 F all year. It is a small village, with several nice features including a great ex-pat community, who pride themselves on contributing to the area and the people in many ways," remarked one expat in Costa Rica. If you want to run a small business such as a hotel or restaurant then Costa Rica is definitely the best choice. But you don't need to head straight to the beach—travelers flying into urban San José will find plenty to do with kids upon arrival. They have also set up organizations like the Homeless and Helpless animal rescue and Ladies of the Lake to give back to their new community. Their house sits at 4,500 feet on the slope of Poás Volcano, with expansive views of the coffee farms on surrounding mountains. Population: approximately 15,000 And on every side I’m surrounded by thick rainforest teeming with life. So, it’s not uncommon to see rain in the mountains as the sun shines on the beaches. You won't find a coffee shop or wine bar (yet) in Atenas. Where To Retire in Costa Rica – Top Areas To Consider Moving To: 1. } Despite all of the challenges, the list of what expats like about life in Latin America far exceeds the challenges. Real estate prices, including rentals, tend to be lower than in the beach areas (particularly on the Pacific). Some love being alone in the jungle. Expats in Costa Rica talk about the best places for families to live in Costa Rica. Restaurants Recommendations: If you're in Uvita, visit the Farmer's Market on Saturday (you'll meet some expats there), enjoy pizza at Pizza Time and grab a beer or coffee at Sibu. Living in Panama Vs. Costa Rica Vs. Belize . Like most coastal areas in the tropics, it can be warm and humid—high 80s F to low 90s F most days. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. The cost of living is lower here than in many other parts of Costa Rica and the pace of life is slower and more relaxing. While it is more humid with more wet weather that the Northern Coast, it is the only area where the mountains drop onto the beach. The majority of expats in San Jose, actually choose to live not in the city, but outside of it. In the afternoon, if I go downtown, rarely see any. There are always women walking with their babies in strollers, meaning very safe. “We had a terrific life in the States; we just couldn’t afford it in retirement,” says Jim. Its homicide rate is 10.3 people per 100,000, second in the region only to Nicaragua at 8.7. Have breakfast (lunch or dinner) at Cafe Mono Congo, have a meal and a craft beer at Fuego Brewing Company and take in the amazing view at La Parcela. Costa Rica has an equable climate, with temperatures varying between 68°F and 78°F, rather reminiscent of spring. This video is Part 5 of a 5 part series on the Best Places to Live or Retire in Costa Rica. Tamarindo. Here are a few popular expat towns in the Central Valley: Population: approximately 11,000 if (begin != 0) return null; Table of Contents show The Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica. They also wanted to be close to the airport, hospitals, and culture, and to have a vibrant expat community to mingle with. Great Places to Retire Outside the USA. Access roads are dirt and sometimes in rough shape, so four-wheel drive is key. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Most of them live up in the mountains and see a few maybe once a week at the feria. But that doesn’t do it justice… “I actually enjoy everything more and appreciate the small things, such as trying a new fruit or vegetable each week from the farmers’ market in town,” says Denice Key from Colorado. Looking at real estate listings can be an invaluable tool to learning what your retirement money can actually bring you in terms of a place to live. Actually, they are convinced, theirs is the world’s best climate. It's very close to beautiful mountains to the north and good proximity to San Jose," described one expat. According to Wikipedia, Cuidad Colon is home to the University for Peace, which brings students and professors from all over the world to this United Nations-mandated university. In this updated version of the best places to live in Costa Rica we cover many more locations such as Playa Flamingo, Nosara, Lake Arenal, Jaco Beach and Ojochal. The weekly farmers market, known as the feria, is the largest one in the Southern Zone, sellin… Location: 45 minutes northwest of downtown San Jose. Porky's Burger Bar is well-known sports bar with burgers, beer and a relaxed atmosphere. The Best Place to Live in Guanacaste: Tamarindo. Thanks to his wife’s influence, Robby and his family have also adopted a healthier lifestyle, which is easy to do here. It’s clean, doesn’t have regular extreme weather events, and the people are really friendly. } Costa Rica is on most retirees' bucket lists. The beaches are beautiful and the nightlife during tourist season is terrific with live music, fiestas and great restaurants if you avoid the tourist traps.".