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Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

Pros and Cons of Living in Playa Jaco

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: The pros of living in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica include its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and vibrant nightlife. Additionally, the cost of living is relatively low, making it an attractive option for those looking to live on a budget. On the other hand, the town can be quite crowded during peak tourist season, and the infrastructure is not as developed as other parts of the country. Additionally, the crime rate is higher than in other parts of Costa Rica, so it is important to take safety precautions.

What are the pros and cons of living in Playa Jaco?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Playa Jaco responded:

"love the climate, people are helpful and friendly - beach sand is too hot in the summer sun," remarked another expat in Playa Jaco.

"The positive aspect of living in Playa Jaco and Playa Hermosa far outweigh the negative aspects. The area has excellent services for it's residents (locals and expats alike). The infrastructure is good with availability of internet, excellent water, paved roads, and reliable power sources. The police force is present but not overbearing and very helpful. Restaurants, bistros, bars and coffee shops are plentiful and reasonably priced. The community is very multi-national with expats from all over the world. The incredible variety of restaurants of the area boast this desirable quality with cuisine offerings from authentic French, Spanish, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, American style steak houses and of course, local Costa Rican cuisine. Due to our proximity to the ocean, seafood is affordable and plentiful. The area has many butchers, bakers, vegetable/fruit stands, along with large chain grocery stores. The area has a good expat community that are friendly, helpful and will assist with helping other expats offering excellent advice and/or encouragement. The beach is the lifeline of the community with many aquatic activities, family beach/surf events, a strong art and culture following, and volunteering opportunities. As the area is popular with local Costa Rican families from the Central Valley, the beach is a big draw and does get busy during holidays and long weekends. The local businessed really rely on tourism outside the area so although the traffic can get busy, it's important for those in the tourism business especially after the pandemic affected the area," explained one expat living in Playa Jaco.

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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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What do expats in Playa Jaco appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats in Playa Jaco appreciate the laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals. They also enjoy the abundance of outdoor activities, such as surfing, snorkeling, and hiking, as well as its proximity to the ocean and beautiful beaches. The local cuisine is also appreciated, with its blend of traditional Costa Rican and international dishes. Additionally, the local arts and music scenes attract many expats and offer a vibrant, growing culture of creativity," said another expat in Playa Jaco.

"There are many things I appreciate about my new culture in Costa Rica! Family ties, friendships and a slower pace of life is key here. Costa Rica is not a consumer-based society. There is less pressure on acquiring objects of status, impressing others and "keeping up with the Jones's!" How refreshing! Community life of home, family and close friendships emphasize what truly is important in life! I believe it is important to remember such a simple aspect of life in Costa Rica. You will be admired for your goodness, kindness and willingness to learn and adapt. Monetary riches and displays of wealth and superiority have little value in a culture based on family and country," added another person living in Playa Jaco .

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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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What do expats find most challenging?

"Adjusting to a new culture, making friends, language barriers, learning the local customs, understanding the currency and new forms of payment, renting or buying a home, finding employment opportunities, navigating the healthcare system, and handling bureaucracy can all be challenging for expats," remarked another expat in Playa Jaco.

"The most challenging aspects in Costa Rica is learning to leave the mentality of "how things are done" back home. Costa Ricans are proud of their independence! You may have an idea on how to get things done or how it should be done. Leave that thinking behind. You may make a casual commment or suggestion and this is encouraged. However, it is important not to humiliate or act superior. Costa Ricans want to keep their culture alive and wherein there are interested in other cultures, they are very proud and independent of their own. It is important to adapt and not try to control or change your new homeland. Remember as an expat you are still a guest," explained one expat living in Playa 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.

Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

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