The 5 Best Places for Expats to Retire in Costa Rica

It could be something in the pristine tropical waters or maybe something that floats in the balmy air, but Costa Rica provides peace and serenity in boatloads to those looking to enjoy a slower pace. It’s no wonder it features some of the best places to retire in the world. Let’s learn about where to retire in Costa Rica.

One of the most important aspects of the beautiful land that you will be introduced to shortly upon your arrival is the practical concept of “Pura Vida”, which can be roughly translated as “Pure Life”. As you will see even in this tiny morsel of Costa Rican goodness, the implications of Pura Vida in Costa Rican lifestyles and culture go far beyond any relatable definition.

For many decades now the Costa Rican cultures and philosophies of family, friend’s relaxation and above all enjoying life have attracted those beginning retired life. The Pura Vida concept of cherishing each moment before rushing to achieve and accomplish fit right into the retirement frame of mind and they exist on a national level – maybe it really is something in the water.

From the north to the south, in every valley and mountain side you will find a charming expat community that has established itself well and can provide you all the directions to settle right in and begin enjoying all this beautiful land has to offer.

Do you like exploration and adventure? There’s jungles and miles of tropical coastline! The shores and reefs abound with fish for the eco-conscious angler. Or, if you’d rather something a little slower paced, just sit back on the beach pilsner-in-hand in the good company of a warm and welcoming people who are always ready to expound on the deeper subtleties of Pura Vida.

Furthermore, you will not need to speak fluent Spanish to communicate and get around as most people speak a bit of English. But, you will soon be introduced to the important phrases and terms you need to communicate your needs and soon you may even learn a new language.

Costa Rica also boasts a considerably small cost of living in relation to most super-modern nations in the world. You can expect to head down to the local farmers market and fill your food stores with fresh fruits, veggies, meats and all other staples for as little as $40.

1. The Central Valley

There are several conveniences attached to living close to the capital city of San Jose, in the luscious Central Valley. Let’s just consider some of the popular features in a retirement paradise. Great views, pleasant weather, cultural value as well as a close proximity to the necessary amenities like medical centers, airports and other conveniences are important. A thriving expat community also ensures that many of the necessary

Furthermore, this location fits right with the average monthly retirement income of $2000 per couple. Whereas this figure won’t get you far in the US, the cost-effective Central Value will allow you a measure of elegance on this shoestring budget.

Find an adorable little corner of town and you will be secluded and quiet but walking distance from the local town complete with small shops and bus rides to everything you may need. You could probably afford a car, but with the convenience and no-rush lifestyle you will be facing, why invest in the aggravation.

The city bus in Central value can take you to many of the cultural location available in the capital city. You will find San Jose boasts interesting museums tours, theater performances and a decent culinary experience as well.

But, wait there’s more. The temperate year-round climate may have some hot peaks in the summer and colder nights in the winter, but nothing that can’t be addressed with the clothes you are wearing. Utility expenses are low as would be expected when the 2,500 to 5,000 ft. elevation provides a comfortable climate that always sits in the exquisite 70°F’s.

2. The Southern Zone

About 4 hours down the road from San Jose is the Southern Zone that stretches to Nicaragua in the South. Here there are spectacular villas that feature stunning views if the Pacific Ocean while their backs are set in the teeming emerald jungles – But they may cost upwards of $250,000.

But there are plenty of smaller villas that will cost less and still allow you to enjoy the cool mountain air and access to all the amenities you will need for comfortable and cost-effective living. Most of the expat communities are located in the three major cities in the area where all the one of the best healthcare systems in the world can be accessed.

With the recent opening of the coastal highway, the entire region is more available to expats and this means endless miles of beach front wilderness as well as affordable jungle villas where a pair of retirees can buy a small villa for $99,000.

3. The Caribbean Coast

Pura Vida can be found in its most essential form in the multicultural Caribbean coastline and its many charming coastal villages. This is the best place to build a fun and exciting social life based on dancing, music, and some of the best Jamaican and Caribbean Cuisines you could hope for.

The Port City of Limon is the most important city in the area and where all the important medical facilities are located. This may be an important thing to consider when selecting a pristine corner of Caribbean Coastline to call home.

And there is extensive coastline to choose from to, available in black, gold, brown and white sand fringed with the beauty of Costa Rican rainforests and jungles. A nice villa in the jungle with North American style facilities will cost about $110,000 and be close to all the shops and basic medical services.

4. Arenal

Arenal is the perfect place to settle back and lived a relaxed retirement in the shadow of Costa Rica’s largest volcano and freshwater lake. The rural communities enjoy a moderate climate that balances nicely between the 70° and 80°F’s. The whole area is known for its fertile ground and abundant plant life, rainfall can be especially heavy from May to through to November and this should be a consideration.

If you are looking for a quiet spot to perhaps raise a garden and enjoy the beauty of the region and views of the lake. Furthermore, if you are still the active sort and looking to engage in watersports and hot spring adventures, there is plenty here for you as well.

You will find that the costs for homes and properties tend to be lower in these inland areas than those you will find closer to the coasts. You can find a very comfortable two-bedroom home close to Nuevo Arenal for about $85,000. Many expats report considerably reduced costs of living in this region. A monthly $2000 will go far and it would be quite possible to live comfortably for much less.

5. Nicoya Peninsula and the Northern Pacific

If you have had it with the cold and even cool and are looking to bask in some warmth and even heat, you may love the North Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. At this point of the coastline, the annual temperatures can linger between the warm 80°F’s and the searing 90°F’s.

Here you will find all the amenities you are searching for in a retirement location right near the beautiful Pacific beaches. Furthermore, the costs of living in this coastal region are considerably lower than you will find in the Caribbean or Southern Pacific Coast near the Southern Zone.

Here you will be able to find an ideal 2-bedroom apartment for about $200,000 and still be within walking distance of the coastline as well as bus lines and shops that are located at your community center. This is even available in the highly-popular getaway regions of Tamarindo and Nosara.

So there you have it – 5 of the best places to retire for expats in Costa Rica. Plan a visit to see what could be in store for you for your retirement.