Someone recently asked me why anyone of sane mind would want to move to a third world country such as Costa Rica and actually plan to live there. I would like to share, and to document, the reasons for this to my fellow American citizens who may someday decide to pick up their roots and do the same.
One of the primary reasons Costa Rica was selected is because of the multitude of climates that you can select to live in. If you want to live by the ocean and the great beaches of Costa Rica where it is hot and the humidity is high, the Caribbean coast is the ideal location for you. If you desire to live near the ocean and more great beaches where it is hot but the humidity is significantly lower, then the upper Pacific coast is the place for you. If you like it better in the temperate zone between 65 and 75 degrees, the western central valley is beckoning to you. Drive 20 km north in the central valley and you may need a sweater by day and two blankets by night. The coastal areas are the only places where you may need air conditioning and then only occasionally. There are cooling breezes throughout the country.
Another major reason is the lower cost of living. Utilities such as electric, water, and phone rates are drastically reduced. Food costs are extremely low with most restaurant meals so inexpensive that dining out may cost only a few U. S. dollars. Housing in many parts of the country can be obtained for as little as $100.00 U. S. per month for an unfurnished home or apartment. The purchase of a three bedroom home in many locations can be found for $30,000 or less. There are many retirees who will vouch that they live very comfortably on a retirement income of less than $20,000 U. S. The Costa Rican people are found to be a gentle, non-violent, and considerate people. They believe in family and traditional social mores that many times appear to be lost in other countries. Costa Rica itself is a democratic country, does not have a standing Army, and relies on its police force to maintain law and order which they do very well.
Violent crime is almost unheard of in Costa Rica. There are occasional break-ins of vehicles, some purse snatchings, but these are not of the violent nature where firearms are used and human life is in danger as in many other countries. These mostly occur in or around the larger cities. In the country and smaller towns they are almost unheard of. Costa Rica is one of the safest countries to vacation or to retire in that can be found. Another very appealing fact to many is that foreign residents may purchase property in Costa Rica with many safeguards in place by the government. These may be used for vacation, investment, or retirement purposes. Property taxes are extremely low and there is a ready source of labor for domestic and other purposes in the country with maid and general labor costs of just over $1.00 U. S. per hour. Homes can be constructed by master builders for one fourth to one fifth the cost of a similar home in the U. S. I have not as yet mentioned the breathtaking scenery of the mountains, rainforests, wildlife, birds, waterfalls, fishing, sailing, boating, and the many wonderful tours that can be taken from the many good tour operators in Costa Rica which are outstanding.
I am sure that given the proper time, I could climb out of my hammock here on the terrace where a cool breeze is blowing, put down my drink, and think of many other reasons why someone would choose to live in the wonderful third world country of Costa rica. However, at this time I have overtaxed myself in my accounts of these wonders. As we say in Costa Rica, “if it does not get accomplished today, there is always manana". I hope I have answered some of the more basic questions of why anyone would move to Costa Rica. If you ever get tired of where you are living, and want to vacation or retire to the wonderful country of Costa Rica, there is always room for you in our beautiful adopted country. Pura Vida everyone.
Bob and Debby Stone are former residents of Naples, Florida, and are now residents of Costa Rica. You may visit them at their website which is at http://www.costaricapropertysa.com