Costa Rica is among the more popular destinations in Central America for its biodiversity, isolated beaches and breath-taking rainforest landscapes. Some tourists spend a week and take advantage of the luxurious costa rica villas for rent. Others travel around and stay in guesthouses and hostels. But one thing that’s common with all visitors – many choose to return and even live in the country. Here are nine things to know before deciding to live in Costa Rica.
1. Costa Rica isn’t cheap
Unlike their Central American neighbours, the cost of living in Costa Rica is much higher. You can expect prices slightly lower than some parts of the United States. Renting an apartment or house in the tourist areas will likely cut a huge chunk out of your monthly expenditure. However, if you look around and find local-style accommodation, you can cut this bill in half. Eating out and living a lifestyle similar to back at home will also cause the expenses to skyrocket. For cheap and cheerful, head to nearby Guatemala.
2. Know the crowds
The expat crowd in Costa Rica is usually different from the tourists. A sizable proportion consists of retirees living on their United States pension. Many of these live here and have done for years. Some of the younger ones include backpackers who have fallen in love with the country, digital nomads and English teachers. If you want an active social life, it’s a good idea to be aware of the people you’ll be interacting with.
3. Costa Ricans are some of the happiest in the world
When the annual polls come out, usually Denmark and Norway rank as the happiest people in the world. But Costa Ricans almost always hover towards the top of the list. When you’re in the country, people live a more laid-back lifestyle and tend to smile a lot more than back at home. Nothing is too much for them and giving you a hand is second nature. When you consider the beaches and natural beauty, it’s easy to see why everyone is so happy!
4. The unmatched biodiversity
Regardless of where you stay in Costa Rica, you’re sure to have the chance to embrace their wildlife. From the multi-coloured birds soaring high over the rainforest canopies to the monkeys, sloths and crocodiles. This is one of the reasons the nation is a favourite among retirees. Few things in life can match waking up to the sights and sounds of the rainforest. You can be out hiking along jungle trails or snorkelling in the clear waters whenever you want.
5. Costa Rica’s beaches are some of the best in the world
Costa Rica is blessed with two long coastlines along both the eastern and western stretches of the country. Most expats decide to live somewhere near the beach. If you plan to live a little further away from the tourist trail, you’ll have the beach to yourself and pay a fraction of the rent. Several villages litter the landscape,and you shouldn’t have too many problems finding a rental. If you’re a beach-lover, you can sit on the beach in the warm morning air every single day of the week.
6. Learn some Spanish
While you should be able to survive by just speaking English, it’s a good idea to brush up on your Spanish skills. If you speak to everyone in English, they’ll assume you’re a tourist.Thismeans you will pay tourist prices. But if you speak to the locals in Spanish, you’ll gain their respect. And having fluency in the local language opens up doors and opportunities you might have otherwise missed. Several Spanish schools can be found in Costa Rica and you shouldn’t have any difficulties finding a local teacher for one-on-one lessons.
7. Warm temperatures all-year-round
The tropical climate gives Costa Rica year-round warm weather. Temperatures range from the low 20s (Celsius) before dawn to the low 30s in the afternoon. If you like the warm weather, you’ll instantly fall in love with Costa Rica. From November to March, the dry season produces relatively unbroken sunshine with a handful of rainy days. April to October gets torrential downpours transforming the landscape into a blanket of green.
8. Countless opportunities to hit the waves
With two long coastlines, it stands to reason that Costa Rica boasts some of the best surfing conditions in Central America. Professionals and hobbyists from around the globe regularly descend on their shores along the Pacific Ocean, which can get waves reaching several metres in height. If you’re thinking of moving to Costa Rica and are a surfer, you can live out the rest of your days by the beach. Or if not, learning to surf will be a fun and rewarding thing to do.
9. Delicious Costa Rican food
Costa Rican food blends influences from Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America. Using a mix of spices, it creates a host of flavours unique to the region. Add in the endless supply of tropical fruits on sale along the side of the street and the ubiquitous soda restaurants. It won’t take long for you to fall in love with the cuisine, especially their national dish: Gallo Pinto. This is a type of stir-fried noodles mixed with beans and eggs. And the meals tend to be surprisingly affordable if you know where to look!
Living in Costa Rica
There are dozens of reasons to move to Costa Rica including its friendly people, world-class food and biodiversity. Now add the thousands of kilometres of beaches, unlimited surfing opportunities and the chance to hike in the jungle every day.