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Chinatown in San Jose, Costa Rica

Living in Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 01, 2024

Summary: People describe life in Costa Rica as relaxed, laid-back, and full of natural beauty. Expats love the warm climate, friendly people, and the abundance of outdoor activities. The cost of living for an expat in Costa Rica is relatively low, with a basic budget of around $1,500 per month. The population of Costa Rica is estimated to be around 5 million people, with the largest cities being San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, and Cartago. The cons of living in Costa Rica include the high cost of imported goods, the lack of public transportation in some areas, and the occasional power outages. Additionally, the cost of living can be higher in some areas, such as the beach towns.

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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:

"My wife and I lived in Tamarindo for 5 years. (We now live in southern Nicaragua near our daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters.) When we first visited Tamarindo, it felt like driving into a California beach town from the 1960's. We liked the beach front road and string of beach restaurants. But it is also very popular for tourists, so the town is often packed with tourists, which can get a bit annoying. However, there are also low tourist seasons when the town is very pleasant. We liked that we could easily walk to many restaurants in town, And we owned a nice condo with a great view of the bay," commented one expat who made the move to Tamarindo.

"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," remarked one expat living in Montezuma, Costa Rica.

"Be ready to live, love and relax. This is a beautiful country and we live in paradise," wrote one member in Playa Hermosa de Jaco.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Chinatown in San Jose, Costa Rica

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