As you dig a little deeper into your dreams (dare we say, plans?) to retire in Costa Rica, you begin to get geographically minded: Where, oh where, will you settle?
If “the beach” figures anywhere in the mix, then let us introduce you to Playas del Coco and Playa Hermosa, two northern Guanacaste beach towns that, at least in our opinion, don’t get enough credit.
Planning to Retire in Costa Rica? Look Northwest
Playas del Coco, often styled as Coco or Playa del Coco, is Guanacaste’s biggest beach town – a city, even, if you’re loose with your definitions! But, don’t let the size fool you: Despite its diminutive acreage, this once-fishing village offers some of the best amenities on the coast.
Just to the north sits Playa Hermosa – note: not to be confused with the Playa Hermosa of Puntarenas province, just south of Jacó – which is a slightly understated and a bit quieter northern suburb of Playas del Coco.
Together and separately, Coco and Hermosa are wonderful places to call home: Oceanfront with beautiful beaches, close to the international airport and every major amenity in Costa Rica. And by close, we mean ~30 minutes to the city of Liberia and Liberia International Airport: the closest beach town to an airport and major private hospital in all of Costa Rica. You can’t live at the beach and be closer than this.
Of course, the biggest reason to retire here is community. And Playa del Coco and Playa Hermosa have it, in spades. Because, while these sister towns don’t get all the online glory (and that can be a good thing, when you live here), their appeal is undeniable – and it has brought together Costa Ricans and expats, to create a warm and welcoming community that will quickly make you feel at home.
Interest sparked? Then consider these 7 reasons you’ll not only love to retire in Costa Rica, but that would make Coco and Hermosa an ideal fit:
Reason #1: Your Days Will be Full (As Full as You’d Like, at Least!)
One of the best things about living in Costa Rica – and one of the top reasons that you’re drawn to retire in Costa Rica, probably – is the lifestyle.
Here, there’s always something to do. (It helps that the weather is near perfect, year-round!) And when you choose retirement in Playas del Coco or Playa Hermosa, those somethings-to-do are always just outside your door: beach strolls and waterfall hikes, surfing and stand-up paddleboarding, ocean kayaking and leisure sailing. And then, there’s excellent dining and beachside nightlife, morning sunrises and sunsets on the balcony… a whole new world to explore, now that you have the time.
Reason #2: It’s Affordable to Retire in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is no longer a bargain-basement destination, but you can still wring out some excellent bang for your buck.
Whether you’re looking to downsize into an empty-nester’s condo or searching for a retirement home large enough to host the family (because they will come to visit, and hopefully often!), Playa Hermosa and Playa del Coco real estate delivers homes – condominiums, single-family homes, gated communities, and ocean-view villas – in the $60,000-$1M+ range.
Reason #3: The Weather is Hot (and Drier)
And, if you’re planning to live at the beach, we assume you like it hot!
The truth is, when you live at the beach, you can expect year-round daytime temperatures from about the mid-80s to the mid-90s (29-35º C), with a cooling to the high-70s or low 80s (25-28º C) at night. What’s more, Playas del Coco and Playa Hermosa are located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s driest province. When you consider that rainy season humidity throughout the country can hover around 80-90%, Guanacaste’s extra bit of dry can really make a difference.
People who retire in Costa Rica, and specifically Guanacaste, often report improved wellbeing. (Although it depends on where you’re originally from, of course!) The key seems to be the warm weather and slightly drier climate – both, great on the joints – paired with lower allergens (it’s rainy season when pollen would normally fly, so daily showers keep the pollen count at bay).
Reason #4: Playas del Coco is a Walker’s Paradise
Ahh, retirement in paradise! That time of life when you have plenty of hours in the day and nowhere you have to be. It’s the perfect opportunity to slow down and take a leisurely stroll, sometimes literally.
So, okay, “walker’s paradise” is a relative term. After all, Costa Rican infrastructure isn’t always perfectly suited to pedestrians: the streets are narrow, the sidewalks can be iffy, and the directions are… well, they’re an adventure.
That said, Playas del Coco is as close as it gets to a “walkable” beach town. Downtown proper is less than a square-mile, with everything concentrated into a few city blocks: You can walk from the gas station to the restaurant to the grocery store (including an AutoMercado, where you’ll find many of your favorite imported food products) and back again, and your feet still won’t be tired.
Reason #5: You’ll Find [Almost] Everything in One Place
Speaking of downtown Coco, there’s another big advantage to being a small town with big-city aspirations: You’ll find almost everything you need, at least on a daily basis, grouped into that same few city blocks.
And for everything else, there’s Liberia. And we do mean, everything else: If it’s available and you can buy it in Costa Rica, there will almost certainly be a store that sells it in Liberia, just 30 minutes away. (And hey, for everything else, there are freight forwarders!)
Reason #6: You’re Just a Short Flight Home
Retiring abroad is an adventure and a joy, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never want to return “home.” Indeed, you’ll undoubtedly leave part of your heart behind – and have many reasons to return.
So, whether it’s for a getaway with friends or a grandchild’s graduation, there will be moments, milestones, and celebrations you don’t want to miss. And whenever one of those many reasons pops up, you’ll be thankful you live just 30 minutes from one of Costa Rica’s only two international airports: the Liberia International Airport (formerly, Daniel Oduber International Airport), code: LIR.
To put that in perspective, consider the airport commute from other popular beach retirement spots: Tamarindo/Hacienda Pinilla (80-90 minutes), Nosara (2.5 hours), Jaco/Playa Hermosa-Puntarenas (1.5-2 hours), Manuel Antonio (3 hours), Dominical/Uvita (3.5 hours), the Osa Peninsula (Sierpe: 4.5 hours), and the southern Caribbean (5.5 hours).
Reason #7: There’s a Major Hospital @ 30 Minutes
You can access everyday healthcare – general practitioners, pharmacists, and maybe a handful of specialists – within a short drive of almost any small town in Costa Rica. But major hospitals? They’re not so easy to find.
The reality is, for anyone planning to retire in Costa Rica, healthcare and hospitals are at least something you think about. So, you’ll be happy to know that Playa del Coco and Playa Hermosa are about a 30-minute drive to Hospital San Rafael Arcangel, the premier private hospital in Guanacaste.
And what makes this important is that, if you want to live at the beach, Coco and Hermosa are the closest beach towns to a major hospital. Literally anywhere else – from northern Guanacaste, south to Tamarindo, south to Nosara, south to Jaco and Manuel Antonio, south to the Osa Peninsula… every one of these towns is 90+ minutes to a private hospital (and many, at least that to a public hospital, too).
Hopes? Dreams? Plans to Retire in Costa Rica?
You have questions, we have answers! Whether you’ve already settled on your favorite gated community or are still browsing the options in Northern Guanacaste, we’d love to help you explore the world of master-planned communities.
At Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, we’re committed to you. Not to selling you a property or spamming you with all the options, but to helping – genuinely and with good intent – to match you to the perfect property for your needs and wants. We thrive on relationships and promise the fastest communication and best services in the industry.
We’re proud to offer some of the best Costa Rica Real Estate. We have both condos and homes, land and businesses for sale.
Go ahead – try us. Give us a chance to show off our expertise – and wow you with the possibilities! We look forward to it.