So, you’re thinking about moving to Costa Rica?
Welcome to just the right place. Our Blue Water family is just like you: Most of us were born somewhere else and, through luck or chance or sheer determination, we found our way here. To Costa Rica. To paradise. And we’re so glad we did.
Whether it’s been 5 or 15 years, we’ve all stuck it out. We’ve reveled in the highs and pushed through the lows, learned a few lessons and racked up more than a few victories along the way. And so, with dozens of years of accumulated wisdom in our back pockets, here are 10 of the most compelling reasons to consider moving to Costa Rica:
Lower-Stress Lifestyle (aka, the “Pura Vida”)
One of the most oft-cited reasons for moving to Costa Rica is a lower-stress lifestyle – the pura vida. We can both emphatically agree, while simultaneously chiming in with a “well, but…”
Because we believe in honesty and in telling the whole story, here’s the but: Moving anywhere, let alone abroad, can be a stressful undertaking. It goes beyond the actual minutiae of moving – not just the selling and the buying, the mortgaging and the inspecting, the packing and unpacking, but all the stuff that comes after: Learning the ropes of a new town, finding your next favorite restaurant or go-to grocery store, determining the best school for your kids, and all the other day-to-day details.
And when you move to Costa Rica, you’ll be doing it all in Spanish. (Or, much of it, at least.) Despite what it feels like on vacation, Costa Rican culture is not an exact-but-Spanish-speaking replica of life “back home”: When you live here, you learn that some things work differently. The pace is a little slower, life happens on a bit of a delay. Which is great when you’re visiting, but when you’re trying to open a bank account or get your internet connected… well, there’s that but we mentioned.
But here’s another: When all is said and done – when your furniture’s unpacked, you’re all settled in, and you’re surfing that newly installed internet that you paid for from your new Costa Rican bank account, you sit back and realize: Life is less stressful here. Maybe it’s the perfect 24º-35ºC (75º-95ºF) temperatures and everyday sun; it could definitely be that aforementioned slower pace – and, more importantly, your adjustment to it; or it could simply come down to realizing the life you’ve so long dreamed. Whatever the reason, there’s something inherently stress-reducing in it, like you can finally, FINALLY exhale. Which brings us to…
Moving to Costa Rica? Think Quality of Living
You can’t beat the quality of living in Costa Rica. We’d know – at Blue Water Properties, we come from all over the globe and have made it a choice to settle down here.
Did you notice we didn’t say cost of living? That’s because cost of living and quality of living are two different things: One focuses only on the bottom-line budget, while the other prioritizes the joy, satisfaction, health and happiness you derive from that life.
It’s no secret that Costa Rica is no longer bargain-basement. It’s also no secret that Costa Rica delivers great bang for your slightly more bucks: We’ll get into it in more detail, below, but moving to Costa Rica is about modern amenities and affordable healthcare, great schools and personal freedoms, eco-conscious living and epic natural surrounds. And it doesn’t hurt that residency requirements are straightforward and simple, especially if you qualify for investor residency after purchasing Costa Rica real estate.
In other words, you will need more dollars to live, but the lifestyle is worth it. And that’s what we mean by quality of living.
Affordable / Universal Healthcare
Since we’re already on the topic, let’s talk about the realities of Costa Rican healthcare. Because it’s not quite as straightforward as most of the internet says it is.
First things first: Costa Rica’s universal healthcare system is known as the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, aka the Caja or la CCSS. All residents and citizens are required to join and, for a monthly fee (assessed based on income), you’ll enjoy full and no-additional-cost access to every health service available, including for pre-existing conditions and monthly medications.
That said, most expats don’t rely 100% on the Caja. Why not? Because wait times can be onerous. That’s where the affordable part of this topic comes into play: Costa Rica also has a widespread and extremely high-quality, private healthcare: specialists, facilities, and services in every field you could ever need. While costs are much less than those of the U.S., not everyone pays out of pocket: local insurance, international insurance, and even medical discount subscription services help defray or even mostly cover the costs of private medicine.
And all that to say that you’ll probably rely on what we in Costa Rica call medicina mixta, or mixed medicine: a hybrid best-of-both-worlds that nets you high-quality medical services, quickly and for the best price possible.
Perfect is subjective, we know, so let’s be objective: Here on the northwestern coast, our weather hovers around 24º-35ºC (75º-95ºF) year-round, with sun almost every day of the year.
During rainy season (most residents’ favorite season, by the way!), you’ll often see afternoon showers and the occasional thunderstorm. When the rains pass, the clouds lift, the sun often comes back out, and we enjoy another spectacular sunset.
So, yeah, “perfect” almost seems objectively true, too.
Exceptional Scenic Beauty
You can’t even visit Costa Rica without witnessing, first-hand, what “exceptional” looks like. There’s nothing like it in the world: Rainforests that kiss white-sand beaches and lush mountainsides covered in coffee, roaring rivers that fall into white-water cascades and active volcanoes that puff and rumble.
And here, right here in Guanacaste, you’ll find endangered turtle nesting grounds and endless blue horizons dotted only by sailboats and islands, mangroves that spill into the Pacific and some of the world’s last remaining swaths of rare tropical dry forest. It’s a hundred superlatives and “world’s most ____s,” wrapped into one tiny country. One tiny country you now get to call “home.”
Excellent Private Education
Families love Costa Rica. So, if you have kids, know that you can still dream and plan on moving to Costa Rica. That is, at least in part, due to the excellent quality of international schools throughout the country, particularly in the Central Valley and the north-Pacific coast.
In our area – Tamarindo/Langosta, out to Potrero and Flamingo, and north to Ocotal, Hermosa and Coco – you can find dozens of private schools, many internationally accredited, most with bilingual or trilingual education, some progressive and others standardized, and with the high schools offering I.B. programs, international diplomas, college prep, and other programs designed to prepare kids for acceptance to the world’s best colleges and universities.
Moving to Costa Rica = Valuable Life Lessons
This one’s not so quantifiable, but moving to Costa Rica teaches you something. Or, some things. Because you’ll learn about yourself and the world, but also about others – about other lifestyles and ways of living, new cultures and broader perspectives. It’s both eye-opening and humbling, in the best ways possible.
Everyone’s journey is different, but here are a few things to check off your life-lessons list:
- Learning a Second Language: By the time you graduate from Costa Rica newbie to resident-with-experience, you’ll have had sufficient chance to practice enough Spanish to consider yourself anywhere from passable to fluent. It takes a little bit of effort – and purposely stepping outside your comfort zone – but this is an achievement you can definitely unlock.
- Earning Patience: Oooh, child. Circle back to our first reason – a lower-stress lifestyle – and you’ll see that life in Costa Rica isn’t always smooth sailing. There will be lines and red tape and things that don’t work the way you think they will (or, worse, the way you’re absolutely sure they should). Type B personalities – you’re all good. But Type A’s, you’re going to have some deep breathing to do. In the end, though, you’ll find that you’re a more patient, even-keeled person, especially in the face of frustration. It’s a good thing, if you can only get there.
- Breaking Down Barriers: There’s nothing like being the “other” – the fish out of water, the uninitiated, the one struggling across unsure footing – to teach us what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. Every time you step outside your comfort zone, every time you smile at a stranger, every time you fight your way through a challenge, you’ll have a chance to make a new friend, learn a new skill, or gain a new perspective.
There are so, so many more, because life’s lessons are personal. So, whether this is your final destination or just a stop along the way, Costa Rica promises to be a gracious teacher. Most of the time, at least!
Green & Social Conscience
Costa Rica has a reputation – and it’s a good one! You may have heard that we are one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world, or that we abolished our army in 1948 and diverted those funds toward education.
And what you’d have heard, would be true. Costa Rica has a lot of good going for it. More than 1/4 of our national territory is designated as national park, wildlife refuge, or natural reserve. With just 0.3 percent of the world’s total landmass, we house 5% of the planet’s total biodiversity. Here in Guanacaste, our own backyards protect endangered tropical dry forest – one of the most significant ecological restoration efforts in the neotropics.
And yes, we have no army. The Constitution guarantees Costa Rican children a public education. There is freedom of speech and of the press. We are a democracy. In other words, Costa Rican ideals, rights, and principles align with many of your own.
Strong Expat Community
We know, we know – why even consider moving to Costa Rica, if you’re just going to live among expats?
Hear us out. Because, first, a strong expat community does not mean a weak Costa Rican community. Just the opposite, in fact: Costa Rica is a diverse, often multicultural nation, interwoven with transplants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and other Caribbean and Central/South American nations. Add to that, a rich tapestry of new arrivals from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and other regions, and you have the wonderful place we call home.
This multiculturalism has given rise to Costa Rican communities rich in resources and amenities – everything from fiber-optic internet and grocery stores that import must-have ingredients, to those aforementioned international schools and restaurants specializing in world cuisine. The vast majority of the people you meet and interact with daily will be born-and-raised Costa Ricans, but you’ll also be happy to know a few expats, too. At the very least, they’ll understand you in a been-there-done-that kind of way. And that way can be invaluable.
This diversity has helped build better-served and more diverse communities, and has afforded remote-working conditions (including 100+ Mb internet and coworking spaces), more direct flights back to “home,” and a multitude of other big and little things that make life just a little easier on a community that cherishes both its local and international ties.
Moving to Costa Rica: What’s Your Dream?
Imagine your dream home, condo, vacation home, or investment property – what is most important to you? Are you a part-time or full-time owner? What’s your timeframe? Where does your budget fall?
At Blue Water Properties, we’re more than a real estate team. We’re bilingual, bicultural, and seriously experienced. And we put you first.
So, please get in touch. We’re sticklers for responding within 24 hours. Yes, even if you’re reading this post into the wee hours; we’ll have more information to you on that dream, within the day! And we look forward to it!