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An Expat Talks about Moving to San Jose, Costa Rica

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

San Jose

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

I'll give the tip that it's always a good idea to bring at least one professional/business attire type of outfit and perhaps formal wear. Costa Ricans ("Ticos") take a bit of pride on appearance and do not appreciate the fresh off the beach, "dirty gringo" look of most tourists if you are applying for a job, etc.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Travel there first, travel around the country and find a place/local people that suit your tastes. Everyone in the country is generally friendly. I don't know why the other guy seemed to have problems making friends with Costa Ricans. Perhaps he is the type of foreigner who has difficulty adjusting to different cultures/places and ways of life. Costa Ricans are not "in your face" friendly or over the top outgoing by any means. They are, however, genuinely friendly if you're respectful and considerate of their space, culture, customs, etc.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

Housing can be very cheap, especially if you rent out a room from a Costa Rican family. While the family's home (bathroom especially) may not be of the same type that a middle-class American is used to, it is the best way to get to know your new home country's people. If you want, you could even rent out a room at a backpackers' type of hotel or hostel for cheap rates, too. I've stayed in simple beach-front hotels for US $9 a night!

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

I just wanted to clear up some of the bad reviews of the other guy who posted before me about San Jose, Costa Rica. First of all, if you are planning on moving to Costa Rica for whatever ex-pat experience, if possible, avoid San Jose. It is a very crowded, dense little city that is not all that interesting. Also, foreigners are more susceptible to theft here. That being said, get out of San Jose and live in any of the other great towns all throughout this beautiful country. True, transportation can be mediocre (if insisting on travelling budget), but it definately suffices. It's a small country and travelling from the Pacific to the Carribean can be done in one long day even on the slowest, cheapest bussed routes available.

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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Cheaper, undoubtedly. Unless you want to live in the most expensive/foreign-overrun areas of the country or unless you insist on staying in the same level of housing that you stay in back in the states. Costa Rica is not the USA. It's Costa Rica. Learn to live more simply, you probably won't miss it in the long run!

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Comments about this Report

dameion53victor
Aug 7, 2011 17:20

Hi, I'm Victor, They of course never mentioned any part of an identifying name for me to formally greet you by, but hellow friend. :)) I agree with you. I think the guy who posted just before you just got cought in an area, just did not properly search aroung the country enough. In your travels there have you ever been in the county of Pococi? I would love to know what the Caribian side of the country is like. I an seriously considering of moving there to live out my retirement. However I will be living on my Social Security and V.A. benifits. I would also like to have at least a fair access to doctors or a hospital. I have a lot to do yet, but I am very sure I will be moving to Costa Rica. I still have a lot to do in preparation to move there yet. anything that you may be able to tell me about the Caribian side of the country would be wonderful. My E-mail address is: Thank you - Victor

guest
Oct 15, 2012 12:40

Very Good I have lived here 21 years and Do avid San Jose only a 20 minute drive from out LOVELY safe Herediia Bus routes are great and we now have a NW Mall (for those who can not live without them :) Also WIRELESS INTERNET furnished apts Just utside of San Jose 3 or 4 km like San Rafael and NORTH of there has CLEAN air and PERFECT climate NOT hit and muggy like our beaches and NOT COLD like Cartago area :::I will when time write my experience here , Fully furnnished apts can be rented for $300 to $500 in our area.and City and VOLCANO VIEWS are AWESOME and you need not have the noise or petty theft as in San Jose ,,Prices are cheaper for stores here also and Restauarants STAY away from the Gringo Gullches like Escazu or Santa Ana UMLESS you want never to learn Spanish and PAy about double our prices for EVERYTHING including groceries ( May as well stay in USA..with traffic jams also ..GOOD Luck,

guest
Nov 10, 2012 14:07

Above tips are so much helpful. I also found some important information that we usually missed when we move. Here said avoid San Jose, it's a very crowded & dense city. But I love crowded. I don't live like alone. So love to move San Jose. But I was little worried about movers company. But ssmovers solve my problem. you can also try with them http://www.ssmovers.com

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

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

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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.

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