At CRIE we get a lot of questions…
Costa Rica exudes that much-needed vacation lifestyle no matter how long you have lived here. From the amazing shoreline with sand in shades of color unseen in other parts of the world to spectacular volcanoes and hot springs where people bathe and soak up the majestic beauty of the country, every day can be a vacation whether you have work to do or you just want to find somewhere to relax and enjoy the scenery. Nature abounds in Costa Rica! It’s easy to drop what you’re doing, move to Costa Rica and make this great country your new home instead of just a short vacation.
A Few Destinations for Your Move to Costa Rica
When you are considering a move to Costa Rica just to live in paradise or to spend your retirement years in peace and quiet, it may help to discover a few of the best places that paradise offers before cementing your life into a permanent stay.
Right on the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, Guanacaste is a traveler’s dream. This is a place where the sun never fails to shine. Check out volcanoes, beautiful hot springs and some of the most beautiful vegetation in the country. You’ll also be able to see some of the local wildlife including monkeys and vibrant birds. Guanacaste runs all the way to the Nicaragua border where you can cross over and take some time to visit Nicaragua during your stay. If you enjoy the old westerns on television, you’ll like the western themes you’re bound to see in Guanacaste.
If shopping is something you enjoy, then Jaco is the place for you. This town offers some of the best shopping as well as restaurants in Costa Rica. While Jaco is quite popular with tourists, it is also a great place to visit as well as live full time. You can enjoy quiet nature walks. Head to the beach to try your hand at surfing and tackle the hearty waves. Or, spend a few hours soaking up the sun. Be sure to take along your sunscreen because the sun seldom ever fails to shine here. Many of the tourists as well as locals enjoy Ziplining, hiking, checking out the local wildlife and beautiful lush gardens as well as taking time in the evenings to dance the night away with friends and others visiting the area.
No matter where you go to Costa Rica, you’ll be close to the ocean. One of the best places to see the ocean, however, is on the Nicoya Peninsula. The Peninsula has 80 miles of pristine shoreline and is surrounded by some of the greenest jungle land in the world. There are many things to do including fishing, surfing, swimming and even checking out a local cattle ranch. The area is usually very hot and sunny. Watching the sunset over the water is a special event and one you won’t want to miss. To get to the Nicoya Peninsula, you can drive directly from San Jose in about six hours. Be sure to check out the great waterfalls when you visit the peninsula.
Finding the Right Home
Chances are that you have thought long and hard about making the move to Costa Rica. This means you have taken care of your living arrangements ahead of time and know where you want to live. Some of the best places for expats include Jaco, Guanacaste, Tamarindo, Dominical, and Grecia. There are several other ideal areas, but these are at the top of the list and favored by the U.S. and Canadian expats that reside in Costa Rica.
It may take some time to find the right home to move to Costa Rica because many homeowners tend to rent vacation rentals which can be a little expensive. When you’re planning to stay long-term, it’s best to seek help from a realtor who can find better pricing for long-term rentals than what you may see online for vacation homes. If you are lucky, you may find a home with basic furnishings so you won’t need to bring your own or try to replace everything by purchasing them when you arrive. Many expats opt to buy a home so they won’t have to worry about finding a decent rental rate.
Moving Your Belongings
A licensed overseas mover will be necessary to bring home furnishings to Costa Rica. Due to import costs, it can be a little expensive to import furniture. Cars need to be delivered through an international auto shipper and while it can also be a bit expensive to import a car, you may find it much easier to import your own than to find one priced reasonably or in decent condition when searching for one locally to buy. You should also know that when buying a car in Costa Rica you will need to hire a lawyer or notary to transfer the car title and to ensure the car is not already registered to someone else.
The shipping fees are usually low when shipping from the U.S. and can be as little as $1000. This depends on how close the exit port is to Costa Rica. Shipping from Miami is going to offer the lowest shipping rates. The import taxes can range from 52% to nearly 80% based on the value and age of the car.
Residency in Costa Rica
Many expats living in Costa Rica opt to stay for the 90 days allowed for tourists. They then leave the country by running to Panama or Nicaragua for a few hours and re-enter.
However, it is better to gain residency when you plan to stay long-term. Residents are often eligible for many benefits and can get discounts on local flights, national parks and other areas where tourists may be charged a little more.
One of the best things about life in Costa Rica, besides the sun and beautiful surroundings, is the laid-back lifestyle. Living in paradise is something that will be the envy of all your friends back home.
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