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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Costa Rica Climate: Incredibly Diverse and Tropical

One of our favorite sites to hit is Viva Tropical.  Josh, Park, and their team of writers do a spectacular job of covering lifestyle topics from a variety of countries throughout Latin America.  A recent post about Costa Rican climate caught our eye and we thought we’d share it with you.

Viva Tropical -  When many expats think of Costa Rica climate, the first thing that comes to mind is tropical. Costa Rica is warm and tropical, and while this is true in many regions of Costa Rica, the climate in this small country is very diverse and varies from region to region.

It may be surprising that such a small country is made up of so many micro-climates, but if you have been planning on making a move down to Costa Rica, it’s good to know a little more about the different climate zones before you commit to a spot.

Costa Rica climate

Costa Rica is located close to the equator and sits between 8°-11° North latitude, providing it with the ideal weather that attracts more expats each year. While the Costa Rica climate is known to be like ‘eternal spring’ with the average temperature ranging between 21.7°C (71°F) and 28°C (81°F), the country’s climate will change drastically as you move throughout the regions, so take the time to experience as many as possible before you take the plunge.

Rainy season vs. dry season

Like many tropical countries, the Costa Rica climate is split into two seasons, rainy and dry.  The dry season or summer (named ‘verano’ by Spanish colonizers) generally runs from December to April, while the rainy season or winter (‘invierno’) spans from May to November.

Yet even the dry and rainy season will vary slightly from region to region and the distinct topography of each place will have an influence on the climate.

The sweeping mountain ranges that spread from northwest to southwest split Costa Rica into two regions, the Caribbean slope and the Pacific slope. And the rainy and dry season differs on each slope.

Along the Caribbean slope the rainy season spans from late April through to December while the Pacific slope experiences its rainy season from May to November.

Free 44 Page Ebook: Pay Dirt! - A Blueprint for Creating Wealth Abroad

Free 44 Page Ebook: Pay Dirt! - A Blueprint for Creating Wealth Abroad

But it doesn’t end there. The climate on each slope will also change according to the region. The Northern portion of the Pacific slope will experience an extreme dry season with little to no rain and the Southern half will have a shorter and less intense dry season.

So now that you know the basics of Costa Rica climate, you can begin to take a closer look at the different climate zones, a factor that will help many expats in choosing the ideal spot to call home.

Central Valley

The Central Valley of Costa Rica, that includes the capital city of San Jose, attracts many expats and tourists with its ‘eternal spring’ climate. But even in the valley the climate will change from warm and dry to chilly and humid depending on which side you choose.

When it comes to Costa Rica climate, it all depends on elevation.

The western suburb of San Jose, Pavas, sits at an elevation of 3, 280 ft. (1000 m), giving it an ideal average temperature of 71°F (22°C), while in the foothills of the Poás Volcano (located on an elevation of 6, 070 ft.) on the opposite side of Central Valley, the average temperature is a much cooler 62°F (17.4°C).

But no matter where you choose to settle, in the Central Valley, you can expect to be greeted with moderate temperatures, clear mornings, and rainy evenings, making it the perfect combination for many expats.

North Pacific

The gorgeous North Pacific region is the most popular region in Costa Rica due to its warm sunny weather and numerous beaches like Playa Conchal, Playa Ocotal and Playa Coco, to name a few.

Liberia, the capital city of Guanacaste can be found in the North Pacific region and boasts an average temperature of 82°F (28°C), perhaps a little too hot for some expats, but just right for others.

Central Pacific

This region of Costa Rica includes the provinces of Puntarenas and San Jose and is home to many popular expat destinations like Dominical, Uvita and Jaco.

In Puntarenas to the north, it is not uncommon for the daytime high to reach the low 90s and while this may seem a bit on the hot side, the cool breeze coming off the Pacific works wonders to help manage the heat.

South Pacific

The South Pacific is home to some of the country’s most diverse landscapes and in this region you can enjoy both mountain ranges and majestic stretches of rainforest, including the Corcovado National Park (home of the world’s only Jaguar reserve).

As a result of this varied topography, the climate in the South Pacific bounces from hot to cold. In some higher areas the temperature can dip as low as 50°F (10°C) making a light jacket a must.

Near the coast, the average temperature remains high year round, from the low 80s to the low 90s, but a more moderate climate can be found in the Valle del General (the general valley) and the temperature here will hover around the high 70s to the low 80s.

Caribbean

Spanning the length of the Caribbean coast, the Caribbean region is quite humid, and here, heavy rainfall can sometimes last for days.

Although it rains throughout the year, you will find drier weather in September and October, which incidentally, are the wettest months in the Central Valley.

Northern Zone

In the Northern Zone, the climate will differ in accordance with the altitude. In the areas that sit at a higher elevation, the temperature can drop to the low sixties, while the lowlands remain in the high seventies to low eighties.

The Northern Zone is also home to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a breathtaking, mist covered forest that has become a popular tourist spot.

So which climate is right for you?

With cool temperatures in the highlands, eternal spring in the Central Valley and heat along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, the Costa Rica climate is extremely diverse and definitely something all expats should consider.

To make sure that you pick the right region for you, rent before you buy and experience the many different micro-climates Costa Rica has to offer until you find that perfect match and the perfect place to call home.

 

We spoke with Josh Linnes from Emerging Terrains on the radio show and podcast a few weeks back.  Click the player below to hear Josh's take on "lifestyle design hacking" in Costa Rica! 

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