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An Expat Talks about Retiring in San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica

Oct 02, 2019


San Isidro, Costa Rica

Why retire in San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica? Can you live on $1,000 or $2,000 a month? How difficult is it if you aren't fluent in Spanish when you first arrive? A retiree who arrived in Costa Rica a month ago answers these and other questions.

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

San Isidro de Heredia

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

Affordability and a change of pace.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

All year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

Climate, amount of expats in country, ease of communication, and the ease of getting to the United States.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

Yes I lived in Panama from 1989 to 1991

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

One month

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How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

One

What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Language, and the slower pace. Both of which I was ready for I thought. However, it's more of a challenge than expected.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

The slower pace and learning a new culture counter to my own.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

Visit at least once recently. It's been thirty years since I was in the region before.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

So far for me it's like being on vacation. I haven't plugged into the retirement community yet since I don't know anyone. But I'm sure that will change. There are plenty of touristy things to do. It's Costa Rica, there's nightlife in various areas if you're interested in that. I like just getting on the public transportation and exploring the country.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Currently I am not a permanent resident of my host country. All I needed was my passport to come here. And to leave for a short time every ninety days. Residency is easiest with the help of a local residency attorney. It's not difficult but at this time I don't want to be a permanent resident

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

I'm renting. It's not difficult once you are in country. I rented an Airbnb first and went from there. All you need to do is find local contacts. Facebook has a page for each area. It's easiest to find a rental there. And make sure you have a contract checked by an attorney.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

It's a little more expensive than I planned but not overly so.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Making sure you have plenty in savings and that you have easy access to your finds without high fees from your financial institution

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

2000

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

Yes. I have private insurance through Cigna global and access to several both public and private hospital, and clinics.

Expats living in Costa Rica interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Costa Rica interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

No. I haven't seen any at all. I'm sure there is but if there is it's petty theft. And you just need to be smart and not a victim.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

You don't need a car. Public bus, Uber and taxi are readily available and throughout the country for a very low cost.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes. The more populous areas have great internet access. The more out of the way places do too but not as fast.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

Be sensible and open minded. Remember patience. You are no longer in the rat race.

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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

Healthcare in Costa RicaHealthcare 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.

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