Different than Mexico, But the Dollar Still Goes
Situated between Nicaragua and Panama, many
Baby Boomers choose Costa Rica as an ideal place to retire.
In some ways, it is more modern IF you live in one of the
large cities. The climate, however, can be hot and
humid, especially along the beach areas. The mountain
areas are more temperate. And the cost of property
varies with how far you are from one of the major cities or
beaches - the further away you are, the less it is.
Political stability is one factor that has
created a growing economy in Costa Rice. However,
infrastructure outside the major cities is said to be
"iffy," with roads, phone and Internet service and medical
care spotty. And there are more legal hoops for foreigners
than exist in Mexico for buying property and doing business
in Costa Rica.
Nonetheless, Costa Rica is a beautiful
place for baby Boomers to retire. In most areas, housing costs less than what it
does in the U. S. and hired help is a steal. Utilities
(telephone service, electricity, and water) are cheaper than
in North America. With its exquisite mountains and delightful
beaches, abundant flora and fauna, American communities, and
affordable real estate prices, Costa Rica should definitely
be checked out by any Baby Boomer considering relocating to
a more affordable country.
The carefully selected information below
will help you to quickly learn about relocating to Costa
enjoy your retirement years. A good overview on this
subject can be found on
A word of caution - Recent reports say
Costa Rica has become overpriced and that the infrastructure
is crumbling. Plus, Costa Rica is said to be broke. So
proceed carefully and do your homework!
What does AARP
Costa Rica is where you go to live the lush life. It is lush
with nature—misty rain forests, extraordinary wildlife,
active volcanoes, and fabulous beaches—as well as such
comforting amenities as malls, supermarkets, restaurants,
museums, and social clubs. U.S. retirees have flocked here
for years, drawn by its mild climate, its prosperity
(relative to other Central American republics), its literacy
rate, its health care, and, significantly, its stable
government—with no army. Another plus: Costa Rica's
commitment to a thriving natural park system that is second
to none in Latin America. This is as bio-diverse a country
as you’ll find anywhere.
Whereas many beach-loving expats have settled in the resort
towns and villages along the Guanacaste "Gold Coast" on the
Pacific, the majority opt for the Central Valley, which is
home to the capital, San Jose, and 70 percent of the Costa
Rican (or "Tico") population. The outlying towns and villages
of the Central Valley offer temperate, dry days and natural
beauty, as well as the culture, hospitals, and shopping of
nearby San Jose. (Regarding the weather, expats here like to
brag that they can fine-tune their micro-climates by moving
up and down the hills.)
Though not the bargain it was a decade ago, Costa Rica
continues to draw moderate-income retirees to affordable
Central Valley expat havens such as Grecia and Atenas (which
claims "the world’s most perfect weather"). In 2007 Army vet
Ron Keller, 64, moved from Washington State to Atenas, where
he designed and built his own house in a gated community. "I
wanted a change in my lifestyle," he says. Keller reports
living comfortably on his military pension and Social
Security, and is happy with his move: "Would I make the same
decision again? Without question."
Texas retirees Skip and Donna Anderton, 63 and 58, moved to
Costa Rica in 2009, and are renting a three-bedroom house in
the town of Magallenes de San Ramon while building their own
home. Skip says that they do nicely on $2,000 a month and
praises the "excellent and economical health care." Their
one frustration? They didn't learn Spanish (but are taking
lessons now). Nevertheless, he says, "There are a lot of
Ticos who speak good English, and those that don't go out of
their way to communicate in some way There is a lot of sign
language and a lot of smiling. Everyone is most helpful."
more information about retiring in Costa Rica, see the
A piece of advice. Do your homework.
Learn about the pluses and minuses. And before making
any decision, take an extended vacation to visit candidate
locations within Costa Rica. Ideally, rent for the
first year before making a decision to purchase property.