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Ojochal, Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 04, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of Ojochal, Costa Rica is around 4,000 people. People describe Ojochal as a small, tranquil, and picturesque village located in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica. Expats love living in Ojochal for its laid-back atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and friendly locals. The weather in Ojochal is typically warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-30°C). The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,500 to $2,000 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is typically around $500 to $700 per month, while a two bedroom apartment can cost around $700 to $1,000 per month.

Is the cost of living in Ojochal high?

We asked people about the cost of living in Ojochal, they wrote:

"The cost of living is less than most tourist towns. For example if you own a restaurant in a non-tourist town and your food is not good or overpriced, you will quickly go out of business. Yet many well know restaurants are located in Ojochal. Water is abundant and you never need heat and most don't use AC. The temperature is more temperate than many other areas in Costa Rica, because the largest lowland forest in all of the entire Pacific region starts in Ojochal and continues to the south. The largest mangrove estuary in all of Central America is just to the south as well - so there is lots of clean air. The newest hospital in the CAJA system is located just two towns to the south in Cortez -- so healthcare is close and inexpensive," said another in Ojochal.

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Why do people move to Ojochal?

When we asked people why foreigners move to Ojochal, they responded:

"Ojochal is a well known international residential community, not a tourist town. It has a larger percentage of foreigners than nearly any other town in Costa Rica. It is often referred to as "the Culinary Capital of Costa Rica" since many expats have opened restaurants there offering food from their home countries. Ojochal was the starting point of the Costa Ballena Women's Network, now with hundreds of members. There's a large US, Canadian and French contingent there, but you can also find residents from every continent. We now have an Indonesian restaurant, 2 French bakeries -- and Italian, Mexican, French, Thai, Tico and World cuisine. There's one of the most extensive collections of cooking ingredients of any grocery store anywhere in Costa Rica, in fact if you like to cook, this is the place to be. The little supermarket in Ojochal sells everything from Caviar to Curry, 5 kinds of Capers, Spring roll wrappers, Nori, Pickled ginger, polenta, cous cous and everything else you could think of. The expat community has been thriving for over 25 years. The crime rate is also lower than most other areas since it is a residential community and not a tourist town. It is also located south of the passport control checkpoint on the Baru River, criminals north of this point don't want to cross that bridge. The beaches in this area are stunning: Playa Tortuga, Playa Ballena, Playa Ventanas. Plus, it is is also where the mouth of the longest navigable river in all of Costa Rica reaches the ocean (the Terraba River). There are at least 10 phases of development for expats in Ojochal and lots of activities for both expats and Ticos. The neighborhood community interacts more with Ticos than in many other parts of Costa Rica," added another expat in Ojochal.

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What do I need to know about living in Ojochal?

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

"The first thing to consider before retiring in Ojochal is the cost of living. Although it is generally lower than in metropolitan areas, it is important to factor in the cost of basic necessities such as food, housing, transportation, health care and utilities. As a retiree, you may be eligible for certain discounts or benefits based on your age. It is important to research any available options. Additionally, consider what activities and amenities you would like to have access to in the area. Ojochal is known for its eco-tourism, beaches and nature reserves, so retirees may enjoy the outdoors lifestyle. Additionally, there are many restaurants, shops, and cafés to explore. Lastly, it is important to investigate the location of the nearest hospital or clinic, as well as any other medical services in the area," added another person living in Ojochal.

"Before retiring in Ojochal you should understand the cost of living and the estimated costs for housing, food, transportation, and medical and dental care. It is a good idea to research what services and amenities are available in Ojochal, such as hospitals, public transportation, and shopping. Additionally, you should check to make sure you have verified residency in Costa Rica if you will be living there full-time, and whether it is a requirement if you are only living there part-time. You should also consider the climate of Ojochal and whether you are acclimated to the temperatures and humidity levels. There may be language and cultural differences you should familiarize yourself with before moving, and language classes may be available in Ojochal. Lastly, it is important to consider the access to leisure and recreational activities as well as any recreational facilities that may be nearby," explained one expat living in Ojochal.

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What do I need to know before moving to Ojochal?

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

"Before moving to Ojochal, it is important to become familiar with the local customs and culture. Ojochal is a small town in the South Pacific Coast region of Costa Rica that has a strong historical and cultural identity, so it is important to respect local customs and traditions. It is also important to become familiar with the local cost of living, as the cost of living in Ojochal can be quite high compared to the rest of Costa Rica. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the medical services available in the area and make sure any necessary vaccinations or medications are administered before moving. It is also important to make sure you have a valid visa before entering the country, and make sure you understand the regulations regarding work and residency. Finally, make sure you explore the area and familiarize yourself with the local attractions and landmarks before settling in Ojochal," remarked another expat in Ojochal.

"Before moving to Ojochal, it is important to research the cost of living in the area, as well as the availability of goods, services and housing. Make sure to check the political climate in the area, and learn the local regulations and customs. Be aware of the weather and climate of the area, and take precautions to protect yourself against tropical diseases or mosquitos, depending on the season. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the nearest hospitals and medical facilities, as well as having a good idea of where local shopping centers, banks and supermarkets are located. Local transportation options should also be researched, such as bus routes and taxi service, for easy access to other parts of the country should you need it. Additionally, knowing some of the local language, and any important cultural norms can help you when interacting with the local people and make it easier to settle in the area," explained one expat living in Ojochal.

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How do I find a place to live in Ojochal?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Ojochal is a popular expat haven in Costa Rica, offering an abundance of rental options. To find a place to live in Ojochal, search online for available options. Look for listings from local real estate agents and contact them directly to inquire about prices, availability and other information. You can also search popular international listing sites like Airbnb and VRBO for short-term and long-term rentals. Alternatively, you can connect with the local expat community to find recommendations and contact owners of desirable rental properties," remarked another in Ojochal.

"Ojochal offers a variety of housing options ranging from luxury hotels and villas to budget-friendly apartments and homes. Depending on what type of accommodation is desired, real estate agents, rental websites, and classified advertisements are good resources to search when initially exploring the housing market. Additionally, word of mouth is always a great way to find out about potential rentals in the area," explained one expat.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Ojochal?

"Expat homes and apartments in Ojochal are usually modern and luxurious, with high ceilings, large windows, and spacious interior design. They often have open floor plans and come furnished with high quality materials, such as granite countertops, marble and travertine floors, and stainless steel appliances. Many expat homes also include a pool, lush landscaping, and, of course, amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. The large balconies, terraces, and patios provide a perfect place to enjoy the tropical climate and the abundance of wildlife native to the area. Additionally, many homes are equipped with solar power and high-speed internet, making them a great choice for remote-working expats," explained one expat living in Ojochal.

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What is the average cost of housing in Ojochal?

If you are thinking about moving to Ojochal, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Ojochal generally varies from low end to high end. Low end housing can range from reasonably-priced newer homes and condos to pre-owned homes and condos. Higher end housing may include beachfront lots, luxury homes, and luxury villas. Prices will also vary depending on size, amenities, and proximity to beaches, restaurants, and other attractions," replied an expat in Ojochal.

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How do I meet people in Ojochal?

When we asked people living in Ojochal about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"There are many ways to meet people in Ojochal. One option is to join a local organization or group, such as a sports team, book club, or neighborhood organization. Taking classes or educational workshops through a local university or community center can also be a great way to meet new people in the area. Attending festivals or special events in the community can also be a great way to get out and meet new people. Additionally, you can reach out to local businesses and ask about any events or gatherings that are happening in the area, or you can try online forums and groups to connect with people in the Ojochal area," remarked another expat in Ojochal.

"Connecting with people in Ojochal can be done by attending local events and festivals, joining classes or groups, and getting involved in the community. Networking with locals while visiting the local shops, restaurants, and attractions is a great way to meet people. Social media is also a good way to connect with people in the area. Investing in local businesses and participating in volunteer activities are also great ways to meet and interact with people in the area," explained one expat living in Ojochal.

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What should I bring when moving to Ojochal?

People living in Ojochal were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Essentials such as clothing, toiletries, medications, important documents, and electronics; cleaning supplies and essential household items; bedding and towels; basic kitchen and dining supplies; sunscreen, bug spray, and other protective items; and items you will need to stay entertained such as books, puzzles, and board games. Other items like beach chairs, an umbrella or hat, a water bottle, swimming gear, flashlights and batteries, can opener, small toolkit, and battery-powered fans can also be useful," replied an expat in Ojochal.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Ojochal?

We asked expats in Ojochal what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"There are several banks located in Ojochal, Costa Rica, including Banco de Costa Rica, Banex, Banco Industrial, Banco Nacional Costa Rica, and Banco de San José. Each of these banks have branches and services located in Ojochal, where individuals can open and manage their accounts. It is advisable to contact the banks directly for the most up to date information on the best account options and fees associated with each," explained one expat.

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Will I be able to find a job in Ojochal?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Ojochal, they reponded:

"It may be possible to find a job in Ojochal, although the opportunities in the area may be limited. The local economy primarily revolves around tourism, so there may be seasonal opportunities available in that sector. Ojochal is also home to a number of expat communities, so there may be potential for service industry jobs as well," replied an expat in Ojochal.

"Residential construction and related, pool design, construction and maintenance, landscape design and maintenance, interior design and maintenance, restuaranteur, tourist related activities, shops, services," remarked another in Ojochal.

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What is life like in Ojochal?

When we asked people living in Ojochal what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in this area is vibrant and exciting. There is a great sense of community and many different cultures represented. The local people are friendly and welcoming, making settling in easy and integration fast. There are many activities to enjoy, from outdoor recreational activities to cultural attractions and events. The cost of living is lower than in other places around the world, making it attractive to those looking for a great quality of life without the huge expense. There is an abundance of modern amenities and services, making it easier to get settled and establish a home away from home. With the added advantage of having natural scenic beauty, this is a great place to call home," said another person in Ojochal.

"Living as an expat in the area can be a rewarding experience. The region is quite multicultural and there are lots of activities to enjoy. Many cities offer ample shopping and dining opportunities, with unique choices for all budgets. Safety is generally good, with a low crime rate, though it's important to observe the local laws and customs. The cost of living can be quite high, depending on one's lifestyle, though it is possible to find more affordable housing in certain areas. Public transportation, such as bus and metro systems, is well-developed and easy to navigate. Healthcare is also of a high quality and is readily available. The weather can be mild or even hot in the summer months, and the winter months can be cold. Overall, living as an expat in the region can lead to an interesting and comfortable life," remarked another expat in Ojochal.

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What do expats in Ojochal appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats in Ojochal appreciate the friendly and laid-back atmosphere, the natural beauty of the area, and the excellent restaurants offering a variety of international cuisines. Costa Ricans are known for their hospitality, and expats enjoy the warmth and camaraderie that is so much a part of the local culture. The close-knit community and easy access to amenities such as banks, grocery stores, and local markets, as well as events such as farmer’s markets and local festivals, help expats feel at home in Ojochal. Additionally, the abundance of outdoor activities such as surfing, diving, and hiking are all appealing to the many nature lovers who call this area home," replied an expat in Ojochal.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expatriates often find adjusting to a new culture and language the most challenging part of moving to a new country. Living in a different country can mean adapting to different norms and customs, which can be difficult and can take a long time to properly grasp. Another challenge for expats may be learning to navigate public and private transportation systems, as well as adapting to different food and dietary restrictions. In addition, finding connections and networking with people who can offer support and advice in navigating such a drastic change can be difficult. Mental health is also an issue that often confronts expats and can often be challenging to manage while living in an unfamiliar culture and environment," remarked another in Ojochal.

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Is there a lot of crime in Ojochal?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"No, there is not a lot of crime in Ojochal. This small, coastal town is known to be a safe and friendly place, with low crime and a strong sense of community. Tourists feel very safe in Ojochal, which is why it's become a popular destination for those looking to get away from it all and enjoy the sun and the sea," explained one expat living in Ojochal.

"Ojochal generally has a low crime rate. This small village on the Osa Peninsula is known for being peaceful, with a friendly local community. While there are some crimes such as small thefts and robberies, they are not common and most locals don’t experience any criminal activity. Overall, Ojochal is considered very safe to visit or live in," said another expat in Ojochal.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Ojochal accepting of differences?

"Ojochal is known for its diversity and warmth in welcoming people from all walks of life. Local people are very accepting and open-minded, with many different nationalities and cultures represented in the area. There are numerous expat communities at Ojochal, including French, Canadian, U.S., and other European nationalities, plus a large Argentinean and Nicaraguan population. Given this diversity, there is a wide range of activities and cuisine available to explore, making it a popular spot for travelers. Additionally, Ojochal is a hotspot for eco-tourism, with a variety of activities such as whale watching, zip-lining, turtle conservation, raising-awareness trips, and more. The community also features vibrant art scenes, with a large collection of galleries, sculptures and workshops," explained one expat.

"Ojochal is an incredibly diverse community, with a mix of cultures from all over the world represented. People in Ojochal are very open and accepting of differences, and the town is a very welcoming and friendly environment. There are many different cultures, languages, and religions present, and people from all walks come together to form a vibrant and welcoming community," said another person in Ojochal.

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What are the schools in Ojochal like?

"The schools in Ojochal vary in size and curriculum. Most schools in the area provide bilingual instruction in both English and Spanish and focus on the child’s individual learning needs. Private schools such as Colegio Interamericano, ACOPRON, Agape Kids, and Pura Vida English offer additional educational programming and often emphasize a mix of traditional and experiential learning approaches. Other schools in the area offer religious-oriented instruction and/or technical and agricultural focus," said another parent with children at in Ojochal.

"Ojochal has several public and private educational options for its residents. The Municipalidad de Aguirre has a popular public K-12 school located in the Ojochal and it offers a bilingual curriculum. Additionally, there are private schools in the area such as the Costa Rica International Academy, Emerald Coast International School, and LIFE Costa Rica School of Languages. These schools also offer a range of programs from primary to secondary levels and have a focus on bilingual education," commented one expat when asked about in Ojochal.

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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.

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