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How to Move to Costa Rica

So, you’re finally ready to make your move to the tropical paradise known as Costa Rica.

There are many people from all over the world, that are choosing to move to the breathtakingly beautiful country located in Central America.  Did you know that Costa Rica has approximately 2.5 million tourists and visitors every year? And, about 50,000 North American expats and retirees now live there permanently.

Each of those 50,000 Expats probably asked the same question… How to Move to Costa Rica?

It doesn’t matter if you are a retiree, surfer, nature enthusiast, have a young family or just desire a simpler, sunny life by the beach, Costa Rica (the “Tico” citizens) most likely will welcome you with open arms.

Let’s be clear about something important, reality, a new life in Costa Rica is not “perfect”. This is the case for expats, retirees and it’s citizens.  – We are going to share some practical information and honest advice that will help you before you move to Costa Rica.

Where to live in Costa Rica

Choosing where to live will be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Costa Rica is typically divided into five regions: Central Valley, Gold Coast, Arenal, Southern Zone, and Central Pacific. The expat communities are largest in the Central Valley, Gold Coast, and a little in the Southern Zone.

Many expats find the towns of Jacó, Tamarindo, Dominical , Uvita, Ojochal, Escazu, Atenas, Grecia, and Puerto Viejo very appealing as places to live.

The Costa Rica Healthcare System

The country has a modern and highly rated healthcare system, even more highly ranked than the United States. Costa Rican people enjoy universal health care insurance and have an average life expectancy of 75+ years. That is one of the highest in The World.

The state-run health system is called the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, or CCSS. It includes medical care in any of the 30 hospitals and 250 clinics throughout Costa Rica.

Note: Tourists won’t be turned away from Caja medical facilities in case of emergencies.

Doing Business in Costa Rica

Most foreigners find it easy to do business in the country. The Costa Rican government makes it easy because they want more jobs created for Ticos. You are not required to be a resident to start a business, you can start a business on a standard 90-day tourist visa.  That will allow you to buy an existing business like a hotel or B&B, or to build your own.

Obtaining a Work Vista in Costa Rica

It is not easy to obtain a work visa like it is easy to start a business. You must first prove that you are filling a position that a Costa Rican is not qualified for or incapable of doing, and an employer must sponsor you.

Citizenship and Residency

Obtaining Costa Rican citizenship can be very difficult for North America/European expats… most will not qualify for citizenship. However, it is possible to obtain residency and live a normal expat lifestyle.

Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica

Foreigners and locals have the same rights and follow the same laws as citizens. Property ownership is protected by the Costa Rican constitution. You don’t even need to live in Costa Rica to buy property or own land and you can buy and own property while on your tourist visa.

Property Rentals

Rentals can range from $400 to $900 for a simple apartment, $700 to $1,800 or more of a small house, and upwards of $2,000 or even $3k per month for larger homes, private villas, or luxury condos.

The Cost of Living in Costa Rica

It is possible to live a modest lifestyle in Costa Rica on a minimum of about $1,500 a month in Costa Rica, or $50 a day.

However, Costa Rica is not be considered a “cheap” country to live in. It is just cheaper to live in than the U.S. and Europe.

Note:  If you add eating meals out at restaurants, drinking out or other entertainment, activities and side trips, budget for at least $2,500 – $3,500 in costs. A retired couple can live comfortably for about $2,500 to $3,500 a month for two people, that would include the cost of housing, food, transportation, medical care (that can vary greatly), and entertainment.

Do you want to see if you qualify for Costa Rican residency?


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