Costa Rica, a beautiful island paradise situated in Central America. Popular tourist spot and retirement haven thanks to its beautiful climate and cheap cost of living. People have been flocking here to enjoy the sun, sea, and culture for decades, and it seems every year, this tiny island becomes a more and more sought-after holiday and living destination. But what is living in Costa Rica like?
It would be remiss not to start by mentioning the unique weather of the area. It’s proximity to the Equator assures it is always warm, with temperatures ranging from around 55 to the high eighties. The tropical climate also means humidity, which often makes it feel far hotter than it is. Year-round, there is minimal difference in temperature, with the main difference between the seasons being seen in the amount of wet weather that occurs.
The rainy season varies across the country, and it does not experience the same level of a downpour at the same time. The Caribbean Coast tends to get more rain than the rest of Costa Rica, but this tends to back off in October and March. By contrast, the Pacific Slope sees rainfall most of the year, except for its dry season between January and April. From September to November, it has its heaviest and most frequent downpours. So while it never really tends to get cold, if you are a person who does not enjoy regular rain, then Costa Rica isn’t the place for you.
Affordability is also important. The cost of living in Costa Rica is markedly less than the USA, but by comparison, it is much higher than some other parts of Central and South America. Rent and home buying are far cheaper in all regions of Costa Rica for comparatively sized properties in the USA and Canada. And for much less than what one would pay for a property that is walking distance to the beach. Estimates indicate that the average person can live quite comfortably in Costa Rica for approximately $1,500 per month, which by many people’s standards, is incredible. But not everyone living in this country is on such a budget. Costa Rica is also home to stunning mansions that would set you back in excess of one million dollars. So, no matter your lifestyle, you can bet this country has the perfect house for you.
But there’s more to life than just a place to live. Education and employment are important things as well. The good news is that education has been free in Costa Rica since the 1800s. The better news is that it’s considered a very high standard. As of this year, the unemployment rate was at around 12%, which is admittedly not great. It’s not terrible, with some countries sitting higher, but it’s still definitely one of the drawbacks of living there. Jobs can be tough to get, especially if you don’t speak the language. It’s worth taking the time to learn Spanish and be sure you have skills that can be applied to available jobs in the area before choosing to relocate here.
Another crucial aspect of life anywhere is health care. This is another area in which Costa Rica does not disappoint. The country has a public health system, whereby everyone makes mandatory contributions out of their salary to ensure they can receive the appropriate treatment when needed. And such treatment is brilliant. Life expectancy and health quality is equal to that of far more developed nations, something of which Costa Rica can be truly proud.
Finally, it’s important to mention the crime rate. The good news is most crimes are considered petty and tend to be aimed at tourists, which makes sense. Tourists often carry large amounts of cash and are unfamiliar with the area, making them a prime target for thefts and robberies in most countries they visit, so it is hardly surprising that Costa Rica is no exception. In recent years, however, locals have become concerned by more serious crimes such as arms dealing occurring at sporting events, causing distress and unrest within the population. While these are frightening crimes and speak to a much larger problem, overall, the crime rate for Costa Rica is quite low and certainly far lower than most of their Central American neighbors.
Life in Costa Rica overall is comfortable, pleasant, and affordable. Education and healthcare are outstanding, and if you are able to secure employment and don’t mind a bit of rain, you will likely be able to live a very enjoyable existence in this lush, tropical paradise.