Expats in Costa Rica reported their opinions and shared their insights about living abroad in our survey to determine the best places for expats to live in 2022.
Overall, 80% of expats in Costa Rica reported that they were either Extremely Satisfied or Very Satisfied with the Quality of their expatriate experience there. That is 10 percentage points above the global average of 70%.
Here are some highlights about lifestyle-related responses from expatriates in the Central American nation, which is located below Nicaragua and above Panama.
When asked about their entertainment options (movies, concerts, museums, etc.), 50% of expats, retirees and nomads indicated that they were either Extremely Satisfied (27%) or Very Satisfied (23%). That's 23% LOWER than the global average.
However, 79% in Costa Rica indicated that they were either Extremely Satisfied (55%) or Very Satisfied (24%) with local dining options, which is 11% HIGHER than the global average.
Interestingly, when survey respondents in Costa Rica were asked about Local Grocery Shopping options, 77% of respondents said they were either Extremely Satisfied (42%) or Very Satisfied (36%), yet a full 97% were either Extremely Satisfied (61%) or Very Satisfied (36%) with the local fresh food.
When asked about the quality of the local water in Costa Rica, 87% of expats globally reported being either Extremely Satisfied (58%) or Very Satisfied (29%). That's 16% higher than the global average.
Overall, two-thirds of Expats (67%) in Costa Rica reported being either Extremely Satisfied (33%) or Very Satisfied (33%) with their social life, and 65% said that they were either Extremely Satisfied (32%) or Very Satisfied (32%) with making friends locally. Both of these are about one-third less than the global average.
Direct Quotes From Expats in Costa Rica
"I enjoy the Tamarindo area and surrounding quite well but I prefer the Paquera area and Saint Therese. The infrastructure needs a lot of work here. There are many businesses and expats, lots to do and plenty to see. It is a super area for young and active," commented another expat living in Costa Rica.
"The weather is absolutely perfect in Escazu! Much better then San Diego even. What has been the best is it does not rain as much as we were led to believe it would. It might say 100% chance of thunderstorms each day but then there is no rain. Love it! No need for heat or A/C ever. The town has everything that is familiar to being in the US. You can even see movies at the MultiPlaza in English! Some of the best Italian food we have ever had is here. We are close to the international airport which allows us to make our regular forays to Europe and Caribbean easy."
"After the newbie excitement wears off, I doubt that there are many expats who really love living in Costa Rica. There are myriad problems and the lifestyle can actually be fairly boring. There's even a cottage industry of expats complaining about the country. However, especially for the money, Costa Rica is a more agreeable place to live than any other place I've lived. Most things, from utilities to the healthcare system, usually work, the weather is nice, and the people are friendly. Also, despite the high figures expats often toss around, $1000 a month for a single person is enough to live decently.
"Just as anywhere else, pick your friends and associates carefully and be alert at all times," said another expat living in Costa Rica.
"There does not seem to be a central or common way to socialize," commented one expat living in Grecia, Costa Rica.
"We chose Atenas specifically because of its small size and authenticity," remarked one expat living in Costa Rica.