Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

Living in Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Dec 02, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Costa Rica: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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What do I need to know about living in Costa Rica?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Costa Rica, they said:

"Be prepared for a lack of resources in almost every department. You are not going to find Walmart right around the corner and Starbucks will not be on every street. Yes, you can get used to it. You'll often find what you need; although it might be an alternative. Learn to live simply. Learn to live with space not things. Be prepared to pay a lot of money if you want to ship things here or to home. Be prepared for the rainy season. Be prepared for a lot of insects. Be prepared for humidity. Be prepared for crappy roads, many dirt and rocks. Be prepared to see people driving all over the road. Be prepared for your electronics to fail. Be prepared to meet a lot of wonderful people. Be prepared for illegality of cannabis; especially for those who have medical cannabis certificates in the States. Be prepared for the electricity to go out. Be prepared to travel 7km, one way to obtain gasoline for your vehicle. Be prepared to breathe fresh air. Be prepared for a lot of sun. Be prepared to see things that might appear alien to you - often. Be prepared to kiss women on the cheek when you meet them. Be prepared to learn what is truly important in life. Be prepared to let go and breathe," remarked another expat living in Montezuma, Costa Rica.

"Rent first. It may not be the lifestyle for you. Make sure you are comfortably with the idea of a tiny community, in particular, a tiny community of North Americans," added another expat in Playa Potrero.

"If you are moving to Matapalo, Costa Rica, prepare yourself to blend in & be prepared to slow down. Try to make everything you experience a learning experience. Do not stress out if things do not go the way you are use to. Nothing you have ever done will prepare you for living in a foreign county. Be happy," remarked another expat who made the move to Matapalo.

"I would advise them to spend time not as a tourist but as one might live here. Visit the grocery stores. I did not realize that some items I depended on were not available. The sales tax is almost double what it is in our town in the U S. I did not realize that mail is not delivered to one's house here. Check out the banks and see if you can open an account from which to pay your local bills. Check out the medical and dental choices here. We love Mario Garita Dental Group! If you want to have a Buyers's agent that is super awesome. Rudy Matthews is your man," explained one expat living in Escazu, Costa Rica.

"Relax, enjoy and slow down. Life at the beach is carefree, easy going and free of many stresses. Take in a sunset, have a fresh cup of local coffee and chat with a Costa Rican local and/or expat. Visit the feria (public farmers market) on Friday morning. Watch a local futbol match or take in many of the Artify Jaco murals and local art galleries. Enjoy the great restaurants which the area offers, visit the beaches and national parks within an hour of the area for day trips," said another expat in Playa Hermosa de Jaco.

"hmmmmmm...take a vacation here first, spend a few months and get a feel for the scene here. Also, online research is an option too," added another expat who made the move to Montezuma.

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Expats in Costa Rica may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, a leader in international insurance for expatriates. Allianz's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Their flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget..

How do I meet people in Costa Rica?

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Jaco Beach, Costa Rica
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