That was one the question I was asked when I told my family and friends that I had decided to move here over thirty years ago. Others asked me if there was a revolution going here or if we had stores or if there was anything to do here. Many who I told had no idea of where Costa Rica was located and often confused it with Puerto Rico. Obviously people knew virtually nothing about the country at that time. Well, things have really changed since those days. In the States almost everyone you run into has visited here or knows someone who has and the country seems to be the buzz word these days.
Costa Rica has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Latin America and desirable retirement havens in the world for a variety of reasons. The country’s natural beauty attracts people from all over the world. Its reputation as an oasis of peace and the abolition of its army have even enhanced the country’s reputation as a premier travel destination and place to live and retire. This country has often been imitation but never equaled in my opinion. Countries like Nicaragua, Panama and now Ecuador are all trying to jump on the retirement bandwagon and become the “next” Costa Rica. Despite the hyping of some of these countries in the media, when you consider all of its attributes Costa Rica is still the best place to live or retire. Let’s look at why this statement is true.
The county’s year-round spring-like weather in the Central Valley is the most important reason why retirees come here. People are tired of the cold winters and blistering summers. Furthermore, climatic conditions have become more extreme as reflected by the string of hurricanes and devastating storms which have ravaged parts of in the U.S. In recent years. Temperature in Costa Rica is determined by elevation. If you like hot tropical weather, then live near the beach. If spring like-weather is your cup of tea then one of the towns or cities in the Central Valley will fit the bill.
As one of the clients on my retirement tour stated a couple of years ago, “Costa Rica is a user-friendly country for Americans.” Although the Latin culture is predominant here most Americans feel right at home in many ways. The Costa Rican people are warm-heated and espouse many elements of the North American culture. When I came here we didn’t even have cable TV. Now we have Sky (similar to DirectTV) Dish Network plus regular cable. We get most first-run movies the majority of which are in English with Spanish subtitles. The major grocery store chains like Walmart, Automercado and Pricesmart are replete with a plethora of products form the U.S. and have everything from Yoplait yogurt to Stove Top Stuffing . Other products form the U.S. are readily available here. What you can’t get here, can be ordered through one of the private mail companies like Aerocasillas.
The county’s health care is another draw for retirees. The cost of health care is astronomical in the U.S. And many retirees cannot make ends meet because of high cost of medicines and medical care in general. Costa Rica offers a viable alternative since medical care is accessible for foreigners, excellent and affordable.
Affordable items such as rentals, fruits and vegetables, Internet, public transportation, movies and other entertainment add to the county’s appeal as retirement haven.
The country also offers a wealth of both indoor and outdoor activities to stay active and happy and the opportunity to make many new friends with common goals.
Americans love Costa Rica’s pura vida or laid-back lifestyle which reflects the “lust for life” of the Costa Ricans who really know how to enjoy themselves and live with gusto.
All of the above enable retirees to live comfortably here, especially those who have been adversely affected by the economic downtown in the U.S. and face the prospect of having to work the rest of their lives. A couple living on Social Security pensions can have a lifestyle they could never have in the U.S. and live with dignity. One couple who has a on-line newsletter about living in the town of San Ramón (see www.retireforlessincostarica,com) lives very well on around $1500 per month, a feat that would be virtually impossible in the United States without sacrificing one’s lifestyle.