Perhaps Costa Rica has been a favorite vacation destination that you want to retire to, or maybe an increasingly flexible remote work schedule turns the possibility of relocation to Costa Rica from fantasy to attainable reality. No matter why Pura Vida calls you there, here’s what you need to know before moving to Costa Rica.
Once upon a time, Costa Rica was one of Central America’s best-kept secrets, but that is no longer the case. Living in Costa Rica is comparable in price to living in a small Midwestern or Southern US State. Costa Rica is the second most expensive Central American country to live in, with Belize being the most costly. You’ll also want to factor in the price of travelling back home into your budget or bank account. Compared to Toronto, Vancouver, California, or New York, it’s pretty cheap, with similarities to moving to Mexico, so as long as you are willing to make a few minor lifestyle adjustments, you can enjoy pure life in Costa Rica on a budget.
Costa Rica has the standard red tape of applications for foreigners seeking permanent residency or to become a temporary resident. In 2021, they passed a law that decreased the minimum property investment to attain the rentista category of Costa Rican residency from $200,000 to $150,000. For those who want to move to Costa Rica long term, consider relocating there for a year before committing to attaining residency, you can renew your visa every three months while you make up your mind, although you will need to plan a visit home, or to a bordering country during that time to be permitted to continue to stay in the country.
Safety and Security
While Costa Rica is safer than many Central American countries, their homicide rates are still more significant than in the US and much greater than in Canada or Europe. Most crime in Costa Rica is petty theft and non-violent.
Costa Rica has excellent health care. A lovely climate allows people to exercise all year long and enjoy fresh fruit and veggies at a reasonable, average price. Costa Rica is known for the care offered at its private hospitals, with services at just a fraction of the costs compared to the United States’ private health insurance. It should be noted, though, that the wait for health insurance can be pretty long, and many expats who can afford it will fly to the United States to seek out paid care faster.
As a remote worker, Costa Rica boasts cheap and fast internet. With two world-class airports, many flights are available to get you wherever you need to go for pleasure or business. Most Costa Rican companies won’t sponsor you to move to Costa Rica. However, many international people who obtain residency do so by working with a global company that offers transfers to the Costa Rica branch or a permanently remote role.
Costa Rica is known for hot and sunny weather, intense rainstorms, and a rainy season; plan your outdoor activities with that in mind. If you don’t do well in hot or rainy climates, it’s probably not the right place for you. If you enjoy changing seasons, you may want to reconsider moving to Costa Rica from Canada.
Suppose you or your children want to study and attain an excellent education for just a few thousand dollars each year. In that case, Costa Rica is likely a good fit, particularly if you come from the United States, where education is expensive. Education in Costa Rica at private universities is only a fraction of the cost.
Speak the Language
Before you move to Costa Rica, bust out your Duolingo or Rosetta Stone to work on your Spanish, the dominant language for most of Central and Latin America. You will find that although many expats speak English, your life in Costa Rica will be more enjoyable if you speak the national language.