Best Places to Retire: Costa Rica

Last month I started a blog series titled “Best Places to Retire” and promised to feature several different locations from the list that was curated by International Living. I have visited four of the locations on International Living’s 2017 list, including: Spain, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Mexico; and have plans to visit many more of the locations in the upcoming years. All of the places listed are beautiful and unique in their own ways, of course, but far and away my favorite from the list is Costa Rica.

I’ve been several times with my family and we seem to always find new adventures! Costa Rica is located in Central America and welcomes foreigners with open arms. Their unofficial national motto, Pura Vida, means “life is good.” This translates into every fiber of the Costa Rican way of life. The Costa Rica laid-back attitude even translates into transitioning as an expat retiree.

“The pensionado program requires an income of just $1,000 per month from Social Security, a pension, disability, or other similar source. That covers the applicant and dependent spouse. It’s the perfect solution for long-term living in Costa Rica.” Additionally, the cost of living in Costa Rica is extremely manageable. International Living’s roving Latin America Editor, Jason Holland, reports “You can fill your fridge with fresh produce from farmers’ markets for about $35 per week…property taxes are just 0.25% of the home’s assessed value…a decent meal at a local restaurant will run you $5 a plate…and rents start at $400 per month for fully furnished condos or homes in nice areas.”

So the lifestyle costs are low and the healthcare costs are low, as well. “Legal residents, in the pensionado retiree visa program, for example, join the government-run healthcare system known as Caja, which has a network of clinics and hospitals throughout the country. After you pay a monthly fee based on income, your care is free. You can also pay cash or use insurance to access private medical providers… including clinics, hospitals, and individual doctors. Even with this system, the costs are a fraction of what you might pay in the U.S.”

The Pura Vida lifestyle doesn’t stop there, though, with a wide variety of climates, landscapes, and lifestyles there is definitely something for everyone. The mountains offer a more temperate climate and farming lifestyle, while the beaches get nice and hot and are accustom to bustling night life and tourism. On the Pacific side of the country there are even a few sleepier beach towns that have little-to-no tourist activity many months of the year, if solitude is more your thing. Furthermore, Costa Rica was one of the first countries to ever power their entire nation using renewable energy. In 2016, the energy of the entire nation for 110 consecutive days came entirely from renewable sources (hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass, wind, and solar).

Costa Rica has been hosting retirees and other expats for more than 30 years; and it’s clear to see why. Ready to plan your future? See all the Sotheby’s International Realty’s listings for Costa Rica here.