This Week in Costa Rica

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This Week in Costa Rica is a weekly, online radio program and podcast by US expat, Dan Stevens

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10 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job and Move to Costa Rica

Here at This Week in Costa Rica, we have always been big fans of Josh, Park, and the writing talent at Viva Tropical.  Last week we posted a great article by one of their writers, Camille.  This little piece just lit up on our social sites and we thought it’d be nice to share it with our regular readers.

Viva Tropical

Nationals and residents of Costa Rica seem to all share one integral thing: a deep love for the country that surrounds them. Native Costa Ricans, expats, and even travelers who have spent time in this land of monkeys, waterfalls, and surfing, speak about the area with deep admiration and pride.

Arturo Sotillo

Arturo Sotillo

Costa Rica has become one of the most popular places in the world for North American retirees and expats to relocate. What exactly is it about this beautiful country that lures people to pack their belongings and invest their lives there?

Here is our list of the top ten reasons that inspire many people to make the move to Costa Rica.

1. Stunning Nature Abounds

Costa Rica is literally covered in natural wonders. It has epic volcanoes with spewing lava that create natural hot springs you can soak in. It has tall mountains you can climb to see the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

It has hundreds of miles of shoreline varying from black to pink to gold to white. It has dolphins and whales for you to watch on and off shore. The sea varies from enormous waves for exciting surfing to calm and still for snorkeling and diving.

The land is covered in old growth trees, swaying palms, and beautiful flowers. Rushing rivers and waterfalls flow through mangrove forests or reveal themselves deep in the jungle.

Animals take refuge in the lush landscape and the Osa Peninsula is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. Howler monkeys live in the trees in your backyard. Sloths cross the road causing traffic jams. Toucans and scarlet macaws fly over your head.

Costa Rica is easily one of the most magical and beautiful countries on Earth.

2. Great Healthcare is Affordable

Healthcare is top-of-the-line and inexpensive, which has brought a new kind of tourism to the country: medical tourism. Hospitals in the capital of San Jose offer world-class care. Procedures including dental work, surgeries, and more are available at a fraction of the cost of the U.S. and are extremely high quality.

Costa Rican citizens receive free healthcare and residents can pay a low fee to join the national healthcare program. Private healthcare plans are incredibly affordable starting at around $50 per month. Even the out-of-pocket medical costs for those with no coverage is staggeringly low compared to the U.S.

3. Comfortable Climate Year Round

While there is a distinct wet and dry season in most of the country, temperatures on both coasts average between the high 70s and low 80s year round. Even in the rainy season there is typically some sunshine every day. This comfortable weather allows you to enjoy outdoor activities and nature every day of the year.

4. Its Proximity to North America

The capital city of San Jose is an airport hub for flights to North America and has inexpensive, direct flights to major cities in the U.S. including Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, and New York. These flights often cost less than national flights across country. This makes it easy to stay close to family, have visitors, and run home to stock up on certain comforts that can’t be found in Central America.

5. The Established Expat Community

Because Costa Rica has been popular among expats for years it has a well-established supportive community in most of the coastal towns as well as in San Jose. These communities have created excellent schools for children, health-focused stores, markets, restaurants and cafes, and other practices like yoga, pilates, and bodywork.

The communities are very supportive and make integration into a new country much easier. Living in a small town with like-minded people, you may even find yourself in a closer community than the one you were in back home.

6. A Healthy Lifestyle

Eating less processed foods and more local fruits and vegetables, being outside with nature every day, and using your body to achieve more tasks are all changes that take place for most people who move to Costa Rica. Many report losing weight because they become much more physically active.

The slower-paced lifestyle and immersion in nature help one to fully relax which is incredibly health beneficial. Not to mention, outside of the city there is much less pollution and toxic fumes than cities in North America.

Want to get yourself, and your money, out of the USA? 

Want to get yourself, and your money, out of the USA? 

7. The Stable Government and Economy

Costa Rica abolished its army in 1950 and has kept its spot as one of the most stable democracies in the world since then. It is the only country in Latin America to make the list.

The economy is also experiencing steady growth with greater foreign investments as well as tourism which bodes well for those looking to invest in the country.

8. Kind, Generous Local Culture

Local Costa Ricans, Ticos, are some of the most hospitable, nature-loving, peace-oriented people on earth. They love their country and are welcoming to tourists and expats who love it too. Costa Rica has a 95% literacy rate and nationals are highly educated.

Raised in an amazing ecological environment, most are quite knowledgeable on plant medicine, wildlife, and other aspects of nature that many people in North America never study.

The smaller coastal towns tend to have very integrated communities where locals, long-term tourists, and residents are friends. It’s also fairly common for families to be multicultural with one local Costa Rican parent and one foreign parent.

Be sure to listen to our weekly podcast!

Be sure to listen to our weekly podcast!

9. Outdoor Adventure Opportunities

With unlimited hiking trails, white water rafting, excellent swells for surfers, rivers for kayaking, and standup paddleboarding, Costa Rica is an adventure lovers dream. High adrenaline activities are very popular here including ziplining and bungee jumping. In Costa Rica, even a simple walk on your nearby beach can become an adventure.

10. The Pura Vida Lifestyle

What may truly set Costa Rica apart from the rest of Central America is its dedication to the words “pura vida”. Pura vida is more than a phrase, it is a way of life. When locals say “pura vida” it is a reminder to themselves and the rest of the world to relax, let things go, and be grateful for what you have.

Isn’t that why most people get off the grid after all?

It may not be the place for everyone, but Costa Rica is an exceptional option for anyone looking to live abroad in Latin America. These are just a few of the many reasons to move here.


We spoke with Josh Linnes about living as an expat here in Costa Rica.  That interview can be found below.

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What are the Best Beach Towns for Expats in Costa Rica?

Viva Tropical - Costa Rica has long been famous for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This gorgeous shoreline with great surfing and incredible wildlife has lured expats for decades. Today many beach towns in Costa Rica are well established for those looking to relocate to towns with some of the same comforts of home in a tight-knit community with plenty of nature.

Playa Samara

   Daniel Stenberg

 

Daniel Stenberg

Many cite Playa Samara, on the North Pacific Coast on the Nicoya Peninsula, as their favorite beach town in the entire country. The relaxed fishing village has a strong community feel for locals and tourists alike. The town has many local authentic “sodas (Costa Rican cafes) as well as expat-run sushi bars and Italian restaurants. The horseshoe bay is a great gathering place where fishermen wade into the water then run out with their fresh catch. Groups of people crowd around to admire what they pull out and some purchase it for their lunch or dinner. At more populated spots on the beach locals, expats, and tourists play games of volleyball or take kayaks and stand up paddleboards out into the ocean.

The many nearby beaches are great for hiking and exploration including Playa Carillo known for its crocodile sightings, Playa Buena Vista, and Playa Barrigona where Mel Gibson owns a home. All beaches can be accessed by long walks on the shore around rocky points or on back roads on a bicycle. Slightly further inland are farms with domesticated animals like sheep and cattle which gives the area an authentically Nicoyan cowboy feel.

Playa Guiones

   Chris Goldberg

 

Chris Goldberg

National Geographic named Playa Guiones one of the top surf towns in the entire world and we can see why. Beginners, intermediates, and experts can all enjoy the clean waves here that can be surfed all day long. Nearby beaches also offer a variety of breaks for those looking to really challenge themselves. Surf schools are everywhere as well as surf camps for kids.

In addition to having some of the most versatile and consistent surf in all of Costa Rica, it also has a well established expat scene. One of the first yoga studios in Costa Rica is in Playa Guiones, the Nosara Yoga Institute, which has led to the opening of many yoga studios and retreat centers. There is also pilates, kickboxing, massage, horseback riding, stand up paddleboarding, and many more physical activities. It is a great place for families as there are tons of activities for kids as well. Surf camps, horseback riding clubs, ballet, and gymnastics are just a few. There are also two reputable international schools that ensure quality education for children of all ages.

The dedication to health also makes Playa Guiones a great place for health-conscious individuals and families. The town boasts an organic grocery store, farmers market, and a few organic healthy cafes.

Playa Cocles

   Magalie L’Abbé

 

Magalie L’Abbé

Playa Cocles on the South Caribbean coast hosts stunning beaches, tons of wilderness, and tons of local and international culture. This neighborhood is most famous for its barreling waves at Beach Break and close proximity to Puerto Viejo just a couple of miles away, but it’s quickly becoming a yoga and health hotspot as well. The neighborhood houses locals and expats from North America, Canada, Europe, Australia, and South America giving it great international appeal in a very undeveloped town. The community here is infectious with a weekly farmer’s market, community garden project, community dinners, and events at Om Yoga.

About a century ago Caribbean islanders came to this part of Costa Rica, which lends a fascinating local culture to the area. Traditional Costa Rican rice and beans are steamed in coconut milk, reggae plays in the streets, and coconut curry with lobster is sold from big pots on the beach. Many families are multicultural with European, Jamaican, and Latin roots and locals often speak English, Jamaican Patois, and Spanish.

Unlike many Pacific Coast beaches, the water in Playa Cocles and nearby beaches, many named some of the most beautiful in the world like Manzanillo and Punta Uva, is turquoise and warm. Beach break can fill up on the weekends and for surf competitions, but a short walk away and you will find yourself in completely undeveloped deserted wilderness beaches.

Montezuma

   Drivebysh00ter

 

Drivebysh00ter

Though it has become a popular tourist destination, Montezuma manages to maintain the laid-back hippie roots that made it popular in the first place. Health and environmentally conscious expats comprise most of the transplants in Montezuma and this is clear by the businesses that thrive here. Several yoga studios sit in town and on the beach and it’s even possible to take free community yoga classes several times a week.

The landscape in Montezuma is quite unique to many beach towns in Costa Rica with beautiful rocky cliffs to climb to secluded beaches, natural tide pools, and great surfing for beginners. There are also two waterfalls within walking distance of town.

Manuel Antonio

   Zhu

 

Zhu

Manuel Antonio is arguably one of the most popular destinations in all of Costa Rica. The beaches and national park are stunning, outdoor activities like snorkeling, parasailing, fishing, and whale watching make it a desirable vacation destination. However, it’s also a great place for expats to live.

The popularity of the area makes it a solid place for investing in tourism. Hotels, vacation rentals, and restaurants receive relatively consistent business year-round unlike many other beach towns in the country that tend to clear out in the low season. There are many local hotspots where it’s possible to meet expats like Emilio’s cafe and Agua Azul overlooking the ocean.

Because of the tourism industry nearly everyone in the area speaks English and most restaurants cater to North Americans. This can make for a much easier transition for those with hesitations about moving abroad.

These beach towns offer some of the most accessible expat communities in the country and are a great place to consider if you have dreams of relocating to Costa Rica.

 

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