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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.

Healthcare in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is has both public and private healthcare systems. When you become a resident, you must enroll in the public healthcare system (CAJA). Many expats use the public system for routine healthcare and have private expat health insurance for specialists, surgeries and emergencies.

10 Tips for Living in Costa Rica

Expats in Costa Rica love the Pura Vita vibe, Costa Rican's focus of family and friendship and being surrounded by nature. Can you live in Costa Rica on $1,000 a month? Is driving in Costa Rica dangerous? Expats share their tips and experiences living in Costa Rica.

Top 5 Reasons Expats Move to Central America

From lower cost of living to affordable healthcare and beachfront living, expats discuss the top reasons they moved to Central America.

10 Expats Talk About What It's Like Living in Costa Rica

Expats living in Costa Rica talk about Pura Vida, deciding where to live in Costa Rica, meeting people and more.

Banking in Costa Rica

Information for expats living in Costa Rica about banking in Costa Rica, wire transfers, banking fees, banking limitations for those on a tourist visa and more.

Cost of Living in Costa Rica

If you're moving to Costa Rica, you'll want to understand the cost of living in Costa Rica. Lifestyle, location and health insurance are part of the formula. Expats talk about real estate prices, rents, international school tuition, travel expenses and the fun stuff - travel, dining out and more.

12 Tips for Living in San Jose, Costa Rica

12 Tips for Living in San Jose, Costa Rica

An expat talks about what it's like living in San Jose, Costa Rica. He says that most expats move to San Jose for the lower cost of living, friendly people and climate. And, he offers an in-depth look at nightlife, recreational activities and more.

Expat Healthcare & Health Insurance

Expat Healthcare & Health Insurance in Playa Jaco

An expat in Costa Rica talks about socialized medical care, private health insurance, public and private hospitals in Playa Jaco. The quality of care at the hospitals she and her husband have visited surpassed the quality of care in the US.

Moving to Playa Hermosa de Jaco, Costa Rica

An expat who has lived in Costa Rica gives all kinds of great advice on living there. Cost of housing, what to bring with you, how to settle in and much more is covered in this comprehensive expat report.

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.

Culture Shock in Playa Jaco , Costa Rica

An expat living in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica enjoys the family-focused Costa Rican culture and the slower pace of life. She has great tips to help newcomers adapt to life in Costa Rica.

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!

Living in Montezuma, Costa Rica

An expat in Montezuma, Costa Rica talks about learning to live more simply, let go of material things and enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and life. But, you'll also have to adjust to living without Starbucks, driving on very bumpy roads, lots of insects and rainy season.

Living in Playa Potrero, Costa Rica

Playa Potrero is a small fishing village just north of Playa Flamingo in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. An expat living in Playa Potrero talks about what it's like living in this beach town with lots of North Americans and tourists.

Dream vs Reality of Living in Mal Pais, Costa Rica

An expat in Costa Rica compares what she expected life in Mal Pais would be like compared to the reality. She had hoped the move would renew her marriage and it has!

Retirement in Escazu, Costa Rica

An expat talks about being retired in Escazu, Costa Rica. She appreciates leaving the rat race behind, meeting others through expat groups and volunteering, that buying a property is much easier than selling one, the need for private health insurance in Costa Rica and more.

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
Expats in Costa Rica: Pros and Cons of Living in Costa Rica

Expats in Costa Rica offer some advice on the pros and cons of living in the Central American country. Topics covered include the health care system, where to live, and also some general information about the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

8 Things to Know Before Having a Baby in Costa Rica

Expats discuss their experiences giving birth in Costa Rica. Topics covered include public (CAJA) hospitals vs. private hospitals,high C-section rates, maternity coverage, dual citizenship, permanent residency for expat parents with babies born in Costa Rica, baby stores and formula options.

Best Places to Live Overseas: Costa Rica vs. Panama

When expats consider a move to Central America, there are more and more options available to them. Often, the conversation will turn to Costa Rica vs. Panama. Read what expats who have lived in both of these countries have to say.

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.

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.

Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Costa Rica from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Top 5 Reasons Expats Move to Central America

From lower cost of living to affordable healthcare and beachfront living, expats discuss the top reasons they moved to Central America.
From lower cost of living to affordable healthcare and beachfront living, expats discuss the top reasons they moved to Central America....

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.

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 i...

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.

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 gathere...

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.

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...

Retirement-In-EscazuAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Escazu, Costa Rica

An expat talks about being retired in Escazu, Costa Rica. She appreciates leaving the rat race behind, meeting others through expat groups and volunteering, that buying a property is much easier than selling one, the need for private health insurance in Costa Rica and more.

An expat talks about being retired in Escazu, Costa Rica. She appreciates leaving the rat race behind, meeting others through expat groups and volunteering, that buying a property is much easier than...

Moving-To-Playa-Hermosa-de-JacoAn Expat Talks about Moving to Playa Hermosa de Jaco, Costa Rica

An expat who has lived in Costa Rica gives all kinds of great advice on living there. Cost of housing, what to bring with you, how to settle in and much more is covered in this comprehensive expat report.

An expat who has lived in Costa Rica gives all kinds of great advice on living there. Cost of housing, what to bring with you, how to settle in and much more is covered in this comprehensive expat re...

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