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Expat Advice: Living in Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Lake Arenal

How long have you lived there?

6+ years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Ladies of the Lake, a large, diverse group of women who meet monthly to share their experiences, challenges, great food, and involvement in local charitable and fun activities. You can learn more about this group by contacting me, one of the original founders of this group:

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

A very diverse community consisting of the locals (Ticos), US, Canadian, Austrian, Dutch, German, Spanish, Australians, etc.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

People in this region, if they are not native to Costa Rica, are generally retired or have formed their own businesses, which is legal in Costa Rica as long as you have your legal residency. You cannot, however, work as an employee unless you are a permanent, legal resident, a different category than simple, legal residency.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Do your due diligence! Don't let your desire to live in paradise get in the way of thinking about the logistics. It doesn't have to be difficult, especially if you form a network of friends and advisors online prior to your move. My final advice--don't ever send anyone money for "services" in advance, unless you have completely assured yourself that they are a legitimate business (get references).

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Comments about this Report

May 30, 2011 06:00

Update: We are no longer affiliated with Remax, but our office is the same, full-service, professional real estate office, the only one in the Lake Arenal region with membership in the NAR's Costa Rican Realtor group, CRGAR. You can contact us at: or contact me personally at Pura vida!

Oct 1, 2011 21:37

are you able to refer a shipping company?

Feb 26, 2013 09:55

Just curious Laura, how windy is it on average? Is it windy year round, all times of the day? Thanks, Tim

Mar 30, 2013 16:17

Wind can be a problem from Oct-March, day and night. Very windy as a am writing this.

Feb 8, 2014 12:04

Since it seems to be windy for half of the year, are there any restrictions on residential sized wind turbines in the Lake Arenal area?

Mar 18, 2014 13:44

If you are fluent in spanish and engish and other languages in Arenol you can get a job in truism even if you are not a resident!!!! I am not not yet I have been the banquet Chef and Chef at Marriott and hired many "Ileagals" to work there. An Americam company can hire 10% of it employes that are of non resident status. We need them to help us teach the Costarican about the way we do business.

Nov 25, 2015 15:51

What is the weather like at the Lake?

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