For anyone who’s been there, the answer would be “why not?” There’s a lot to love about Costa Rica.
For openers, there’s the weather. It’s wonderfully warm year-round. And while the climate is described as “tropical,” much of it is tempered by cooling breezes from the Caribbean on the east coast and from the Pacific on the west. Caribbean Highlands, for example is kept naturally temperate by its elevation (up to 600 feet) and its proximity to the sea (just 3.5 miles) And Costa Rica has never been directly hit by a hurricane – NEVER!
Of course there are many reasons Why Costa Rica. Here is a brief list to help you understand that WHY.
Costa Rica has become one of the most desirable places in the World to retire and will continue to attract newly retired baby boomers in the coming years. No wonder Costa Rica is home to the largest per capita population of expats outside of the US.
Retire and relax in paradise!
1) Peace and Stability – Costa Rica is commonly known as the Switzerland of Latin America due to its neutral political stance, peaceful democracy, and dramatic mountainous landscapes. There has been some form of democracy in Costa Rica for well over 100 years and the country abolished its military long ago in 1949. The United States is their closest ally and many expats already live in Costa Rica. Former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias was once awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987.
2) Cost of Living – Life in Costa Rica is very affordable and one of the lowest in the Americas. For $1,500 per month a retired couple can live very well and for around $2,000 per month can live affluently. Utilities are up to 30% cheaper in Costa Rica than the US and Europe and a full time gardener and house keeper can be obtained for a few hundred dollars per month each. Numerous inexpensive local restaurants with fresh local fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood ingredients make eating out truly enjoyable.
3) Lifestyle – The ‘Pura Vida’ or the ‘Pure life’ is the local expression for everything from a greeting to a state of mind. The pace of life here is laid back and punctuality is merely a suggestion, which is the whole idea of retirement. There is also plenty to do for those searching a healthy active lifestyle such as: surfing, hiking nature trails, white water rafting, bird (and monkey) watching, sport fishing, biking, zip line tours, horseback riding, walking secluded beaches, and much more. Explore or relax as much as you desire. According to the New Economics Forum, Costa Rica is the happiest country in the World, consistently ranking 1st on the Happy Planet Index. It also ranks among the top Latin American countries on the Human Development Index.
4) Affordable Health Care – The cost of health care in Costa Rica is a fraction of that in the US or Europe. Many even come here for both medical and dental tourism to enjoy the benefits of World class medicine and a top travel destination. Public health care is readily available and private hospitals such as: CIMA Hospital, Clinica Biblia, and Hospital Catolica are filled with specialist doctors that studied abroad.
5) Climate – The year round warm weather is another of the desirable reasons to call Costa Rica home. The central valley has moderate temperatures and enjoys weather in the70’s most of the year. The coastal climates are warmer with plenty of sunshine for days at the beach. There are only two seasons here; dry season typically November through April and rainy season typically May through October. Even in the rainy season there are mostly sunny mornings with afternoon or evening rains. September and October are usually the rainiest months of the year.
6) Natural Beauty – Costa Rica is unsurpassed as one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the World with mountains, rainforests, volcanoes, pristine top rated beaches, rivers, and two coastlines bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Costa Rica, despite accounting for only 0.25% of the World’s land mass, it is home to 5% of the World’s biodiversity. National Geographic has called the Corcavado National Park on the Osa Peninsula in the Soutern Pacific Zone one of the most bio diverse places on the entire planet.
7) Sustainability – Costa Rica is very ‘green’ or eco minded with the majority of utility power coming from hydro-electric and wind sources, protecting rain forests and wild life, and promoting eco-tourism. The government even has plans to become the World’s first carbon neutral country by 2021. Costa Rica ranked 3rd in the World, and 1st in the Americas on the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. An astounding 25% of its total landmass is protected by reserves and national parks, more than any other country by percentage.
8) Taxes – Low tax rates are another popular reason for people to retire in Costa Rica. There is no income tax paid on income earned outside of the country and no capital gains tax. Property taxes here are extremely low as well.
9) Business Opportunity – There are numerous investment opportunities in Costa Rica with historically rising real estate values, ever increasing international trade, and a large tourism sector. It is the number one Latin American tourist destination, which is more than a $2 billion per year industry. Retirees can start a small business such as; bed and breakfast, hotel, restaurant, fishing charter, tour operator, spa, and more providing themselves with income and additional jobs for the local work force. Costa Rica also has a highly educated population with over a 94% literacy rate, making employment attractive for many international companies.
10) Comfort Factor – Costa Rica has more Americans living here per capita than any other country outside the United States. The locals are friendly to expatriates and there is less feeling of isolation with other retirees nearby. Only a 3 hour flight from Florida and the US; its close location makes visiting the States easy and accessible. Other comforts include majority English channels on SkyTV, internet access even in rural areas through satellites or 3G cell phone networks (4G coming soon), and the same or comparable stores and services in the larger cities and towns.
Next is Costa Rica’s commitment to the environment, striving to be fossil fuel free, starting with energy production. Below are a couple of articles that stress how committed they are, and what it ultimately means for you.
By TCRN on January 2, 2014
The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Costa Rica is among the top ten countries in the world with the best energy performance, according to the “Top 10″ Energy Performance Index of the World Economic Forum based in Switzerland.
Costa Rica ranks ninth in the report, second only to Colombia in Latin America. With coverage of 99% of electricity in the country, 91% of electricity from renewable sources and a good performance in terms of environmental sustainability, are part of the study points out of Costa Rica.
According to data from the page of Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), Costa Rica currently produces 73% of electricity from hydro, geothermal 13%, 4% wind and 1% biomass, for a total of 91% of energy generated from clean sources.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
Update: February 2015 – Costa Rica has announced that 100% of their electric power was produced by non-fossil fuel sources.Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter
While Costa Rica has less than 1% of the world’s landmass, the country contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity – giving it the most diverse assembly of plants and animal species on earth.
That biodiversity is carefully protected, too. Close to 25% of Costa Rica’s land area is in national parks and other protected areas, the largest percentage of land under protection on the planet. Not surprisingly, ecotourism – bringing men, women, and families together with nature – is one of Costa Rica’s major industries.
Costa Rica is home to more than 2,000 species of plants and flowers. No wonder nearly every square foot of Costa Rica is ablaze with lush, vibrant color.
And with over 840 different bird species – some 300 species of birds in the Caribbean area alone – Costa Rica is rated #1 in the world for bird watching.
But if you like your nature with a little more action, there’s world-class white water rafting on the Pacuare River, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling, major-league surfing or zip line tours and stunning canopy rides through the rain forest, just to name a few.
All of which means there’s enough nature in Costa Rica for any nature lover. Regardless of your reason for loving it.Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter
Visitors and long-time residents often describe Costa Rica as the most beautiful place on earth. From the Pacific to the Caribbean and from the highlands to the rain forests, Costa Rica is, indeed, breathtakingly beautiful.
Take our beaches. Costa Rica has miles and miles of them on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Beautiful, un-crowded white sandy beaches complete with gentle (and sometimes pounding) surf.
Or our lush rain forests. There you’ll see nature up-close-and personal in the form of beautiful birds and exotic animals etched against a backdrop of rich, verdant green.
But Costa Rica is much more than climate, flora and fauna and beautiful scenery. It’s mainly the people – and the people live life to the fullest. So much so that the national greeting is “Pura Vida” which roughly translates to “full of life.”
You’ll find Costa Ricans extremely friendly, easy going and tolerant. It’s all part of that Pura Vida thing.Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter