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Expat Guide to Living in Costa Rica

Whether you're already living in Costa Rica or preparing to move to Costa Rica, our Expat Guide to Living in Costa Rica offers articles and reports submitted by expats about expat life in Costa Rica. For answers to specific questions, visit our Costa Rica Forum to talk with expats in Costa Rica.

8 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats in Costa Rica

Expats living in Costa Rica discuss health insurance and quality of medical care in Costa Rica.

13 Best Places for Families to Live in Costa Rica

Expats in Costa Rica talk about the best places for families to live in Costa Rica. From the cool climate of the Central Valley to the beautiful beach towns in Gaunacaste and Costa Ballena, proximity to international and bilingual schools, safety and lifestyle are all taken into consideration.

Moving to Costa Rica: 8 Things to Know Before Moving to Costa Rica

Moving to Costa Rica has become more popular among expats. Making this choice requires a lot of research to ensure the expat experience you hope for will be realized. Expats that live there stress that it should start with a trip there before any major decisions are made.

6 Things to Do in Jaco, Costa Rica

An expat in Jaco, Costa Rica shares 6 fun activities for expats (and tourists) to do in Jaco. From surfing to bar hopping to shopping for organic fruits and veggies at the local markets, Jason Mueller shares some great activities.

Culture Shock in Mal Pais, Costa Rica

An expat in Mal Pais, Costa Rica provides a detailed culture shock report that offers a great example of someone who has learned to roll with the punches that come with expat life in a somewhat remote location. Covers everything from mosquitoes, to finding products from the local grocer, to getting your laptop repaired. And don't for get about the fruit bats and monkey poop!

Culture Shock in San Rafael, Heredia, Costa Rica

An expat who has had some challenges with the culture in Costa Rica makes some pointed observations about his experiences.

Living in Matapalo, Costa Rica

An expat in Matapalo, Costa Rica talks about living in this laid back beach town on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. He advises other newcomers to be prepared to blend in and slow down.

Living in Playa Hermosa de Jaco and Jaco, Costa Rica

An expat in Playa Hermosa de Jaco, Costa Rica says newcomers learn to relax, slow down and enjoy the carefree beach life in Jaco. Expats and locals love to surf, have picnics on the beach, go the the feria (farmer's market) on Friday mornings and choose from the diverse selection of restaurants.

Moving to San Marcos, Tarrazú, Costa Rica

It's a good idea to rent before you buy in San Marcos, Costa Rica. Meet your neighbors, get advice on where to live and if they know of any homes for sale. And, bring any electronics you'll need, because the cost is double in Costa Rica.

Dream vs Reality of Living in Cahuita , Costa Rica

A Canadian woman who moved to Cahuita, Costa Rica in the 1990s in her twenties fell in love and ended up staying for two years. In the end, the poverty, Rasta culture, crime and feeling that expats weren't really wanted in Cahuita made her decide to repatriate to Canada. Today, she lives in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Retirement in San Jose, Costa Rica

A U.S. expat retiree in San Juan, Costa Rica offers comprehensive advice on retiring and living there. Housing, crime, health care and more are covered.

More Culture Shock Reports for Costa Rica

Culture shock is part of the settling in process. Knowing the different phases of culture shock and how other expats in Costa Rica handle it can be very comforting. Below are some of the responses from expats in Costa Rica:
Submit a Culture Shock Report

More Living in Costa Rica Reports

What are people's priorities in Costa Rica - work? family? What are the best ways to meet other expats? Are people accepting of racial, cultural and religious differences? Below are some of the responses from expats in Costa Rica:
Submit a Living Overseas Report

More Moving to Costa Rica Reports

What should you take with you when you move to Costa Rica? What should you leave behind? What type of housing and neighborhoods are typical for expats in Costa Rica? Below are some of the responses from expats in Costa Rica:
Submit a Moving Overseas Report

Reviews of Schools in Costa Rica

Reviews and school profiles from expat parents and even a few school administrators in Costa Rica. Great place to find insight into school facilities, teachers and curriculum. Below are some of the reviews from expats in Costa Rica:
Submit an International School Review

Dream vs. Reality of Living in Costa Rica Reports

Most expats have have "dreams" (and fears) about the expatriate experience before they moved to Costa Rica. If you are already living in Costa Rica, share how those "dreams" have been fulfilled, and how they have not. Below are some of the reports from expats in Costa Rica:
Submit a Dream vs. Reality Report

Retiring in Costa Rica Reports

Retiring abroad can be a great option for retirees seeking their dream lifestyle at an affordable price. Help other retirees, who are thinking about retiring in Costa Rica, by filling out our Overseas Retirement report. Below are some of the reports from expats in Costa Rica:
Submit a Retire Abroad Report

Having a Baby in Costa Rica Reports

How did expats choose their doctors, midwives, hospitals? What is childbirth like in Costa Rica? Below are some of the reports from expats in Costa Rica:
Submit a Having a Baby Abroad Report

Working in Costa Rica Reports

What's it like to find a job in Costa Rica? How difficult was it to obtain a work permit? What types are jobs are typical for expats in Costa Rica? Below are some of the reports from expats in Costa Rica:
Submit a Working Abroad Report
Additional Articles
Fed Up with Trump vs Clinton? 10 Best Countries to Live Overseas If You're Thinking About Leaving the United States

If you're so fed up with the US presidential election that you're actually thinking about moving to another country, we have compiled a list of 10 countries to consider. For each country, we cover why expats like living there and touch on topics like taxes, lifestyle, government, healthcare and more.

5 Tips For Living in San Jose, Costa Rica

The majority of expats in San Jose, actually choose to live not in the city, but outside of it. There are great options in the surrounding area, including places that are closer to the coast than San Jose.

3 Ways to Get Rich as an Expat in Costa Rica

Expats in Costa Rica have three main ways to make money legally -- you can obtain permanent residency, find an online job or start your own business. Bill Ripley covers each of these options and offers great tips for expats looking to make money while living in Costa Rica.

Staying Safe in Costa Rica

Recent crimes in Costa Rica have involved robbers arriving at homes and impersonating police officers. Alley Cat offers great advice and detailed information about what you need to know when the police are at your door.

7 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a relatively safe, eco-friendly, expat-friendly destination with gorgeous beaches and friendly locals. Many expats say that housing and food prices in Costa Rica are high. We've gathered information submitted by expats about Tamarindo, Dominical, Ojochal, Atenas, Escazu, Grecia and others popular towns.

The Costa Ballena Region of Costa Rica

There's an area along the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica known as the Costa Ballena. Ballena means "whale" in Spanish and this area is the mating area of the humpback whales seasonally from December to April. This area is also home to a number of well known beaches in Costa Rica and noted for the large enclave of north American and foreign baby boomers, retirees and expats living in the area.

10 Tips for Living in Costa Rica

Should you wear jeans and a t-shirt in San Jose? Did you know that one place may have twice the rain and be windy compared to another place 10km away? Read our 10 Tips for Living in Costa Rica for insights from expats who have been there and done that.

Costa Rican Real Estate Market on the Rebound

The Costa Rican real estate market is slowly rebounding with steady growth in the greater San Jose metropolitan area in particular.

Cost of Living in Costa Rica: Comfortable Living for $1500 a Month, Luxury for $3,000

Costa Rica enjoys a relatively low cost of living. Barrantes covers the basic costs. Expats living in Costa Rica can live comfortably on $1,500 a month and luxuriously on $3,000 a month.

What you need to know to become a resident of Costa Rica

Straight-forward advice about obtaining residency in Costa Rica from Lic Giovanna Barrantes. Covers Pensionado, Rentista, starting a business and working as a Representante.

Moving Offshore -- Why North Americans are Heading Outside of Their Borders

As many Baby Boomers are feeling uncertainty in their home countries, experts are predicting a mass migration, most seeking warmer climates.

Medical Care Options in Costa Rica

Overview of healthcare in Costa Rica, including CAJA, INS, Private Medical Insurance and the best hospitals.

Horses, Bulls and Rodeos in Costa Rica

From Toro de la Ticas near San Jose to smaller rodeos throughout the country, rodeos and bull fights are very popular this time of year in Costa Rica.

Moving to Costa Rica with Your Pet

Moving to Costa Rica with your pet? There is a lot of confusion lately about pet shipping to Costa Rica. An old law is now being enforced on pets arriving in Costa Rica.

My First Steps in Costa Rica!

Romain describes his first days in Costa Rica, "Of course, I haven't yet met any scary snakes or spiders bigger than my hand, but I'm not afraid any more. Do you know why? Because this country gives you confidence. Because people here give you faith in what you can accomplish."

Ten Things You Should Know Before You Move To Central or South America

Lee offers ten tips for people contemplating a move to Central or South America.

Expat Interview: Paul Shepard - No Grand Plan

An invitation from friends to take a road trip, led Paul Shepard to a life he never could have imagined. That life began when his motorcycle stopped in Costa Rica.

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