Living in Costa Rica: The Good Life

The question I am most often asked by my friends and family is,

“What is it like living in Costa Rica?”

My simple answer: “Pura Vida!”


Costa Rica living is laid back, friendly, and rich in activities. If you’ve done any basic research at all you’ve probably found the term Pura Vida somewhere. It translates literally to ‘pure life’ but its use extends to 'thank you,' 'hello,' and 'I’m doing well.' It’s a happy sentiment that permeates the culture here and that emphasizes that life is good.

I had so much fun in Costa Rica that my scheduled three month trip to earn my divemaster certification in scuba diving extended to one year!

And while you’re living in Costa Rica you’ll realize life is good. There are numerous national parks with flora and fauna you’ve probably only seen in National Geographic or on the Discovery Channel. Make friends with the howler monkeys and pluck ripe, juicy mangoes off a tree in your front yard.

Two coastlines, on the Pacific and the Caribbean, offer gorgeous beaches – many of which are completely deserted! The fact that there are calm beaches perfect for swimming right next to beaches with world-class surf breaks make things even sweeter. There’s nothing quite like catching the last wave in at Tamarindo while basking in the tangerine-gold sunset.

That brings me to a point about the numerous activities you can participate in here. Learn to surf, dive, and horseback ride. If you are an active person, living in Costa Rica will be a dream come true. It is an active person’s paradise.

But Costa Rica living is not just about the landscape and activities; wonderful people also live here. Natives here go by the name Ticos (Ticas for the ladies). They are a warm people, eager to make friends and to help you.

There is also an amazing expat community here. I’ve met people living here from all over the globe including Switzerland, Germany, Holland, France, Brazil, Chile, Italy, UK, Denmark, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, Colombia and more.

Living in Costa Rica is also much cheaper than in the States, and even more so than Europe. While it is a little pricier than other countries in Central America, the stable government, constant development, potable water, available amenities and lovely people make it a standout. Travel operators make transportation and touring easy. And your savings will buy you much more here than in your home country.

A Costa Rica retirement will see your pensions, savings accounts, and annuities go a long way. Utilities and general living expenses are much cheaper here. In fact, you may be able to afford luxuries that you might never have had at home. How does it sound to have maid service, a personal driver, or a cook? These possibilities would be well outside the reach of most people in Europe, America and Australia.

Another thing I really enjoyed about living in Costa Rica was how many people I became friendly with. The pace of life here is so much different than at home. Walking through Playas del Coco I always ran into people I knew and everyone had the time to stop and chat for a bit. That’s a huge difference from what I’m used to at home, but a nice difference. Things are even better if you take the time to learn Spanish.

When I have the financial resources, I am most definitely going to consider relocating to Costa Rica permanently. Some people are even able to find good paying work here as a real estate agent and don’t have to worry about saving up before hand. Or others mount their own business here such as a tour operation, bar or restaurant. My boss at the dive shop where I worked was in his mid-thirties and quit a lucrative job in architecture for his dream of living in paradise and diving every day.

Living in Costa Rica truly is paradise, and if you’ve never been I strongly recommend taking that first trip. Who knows, you may end up quitting your job and making Costa Rica part of your dream come true!


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