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Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

Retire in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 04, 2023

Summary: Playa Jaco, Costa Rica is a popular destination for retirees due to its stunning beaches, lush rainforest, and vibrant culture. Retirees are also attracted to the low cost of living and the availability of quality healthcare. There are several retirement communities in Playa Jaco, offering a variety of amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and social activities. The average cost of a nice 2 bedroom home in Playa Jaco is around $150,000 USD, while a nice 3 bedroom home can cost up to $250,000 USD. The weather in Playa Jaco is typically warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit.

What is it like to retire in Playa Jaco?

"Retiring in Playa Jaco can provide retirees with an exciting and fulfilling retirement experience. Located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, Playa Jaco is a popular tourist destination, offering retirees direct access to miles of beaches and plenty of outdoor activities. With a mild year-round climate and an abundance of appealing amenities, Playa Jaco offers retirees a comfortable retirement lifestyle. Here, retirees can enjoy a variety of activities and amenities, including world-class restaurants, golf courses, shopping, art galleries, and entertainment. Additionally, localized activities like surfing and sea kayaking, as well as local attractions like Manuel Antonio National Park, provide retirees with more reasons to stay as they soak up the culture and enjoy the scenery. Retirees can also find a variety of affordable housing options that cater to their particular needs and budget. All in all, Playa Jaco offers retirees the perfect place to enjoy their retirement," explained a retiree in Playa Jaco.

"We are thankful there is an active expat community. Many expats meet others at the local church which helps to organize funding for in-need local families. Additionally, there are environmental clubs for turtle preservation and dogs/cat in need of assistance from street life. The beach is the center of the community and you will find family beach/surf day or family fun activities. Expats gather to play cards, play horseshoes, sponsor children from other areas to experience the beach, It is very much all about giving back to the community and the country that adopted For the expats in the area, community service is key. For those enjoying nightlife, Jaco and Hermosa often have live music. The public community park hosts festivals several times a year focusing on art, culture, music, dance, crafts and local/international food," explained one retiree living in Playa Hermosa de Jaco.

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What advice do overseas retirees have for others considering retiring abroad?

"When considering retiring abroad, it is important to research all potential countries of residence thoroughly and to pick one with a good cost of living, adequate health care and a comfortable climate, as well as a good infrastructure. Once the decision has been made, it helps to immerse oneself into the culture and language of the chosen country. Many overseas retirees also recommend taking short trips to areas of interest in the new country before committing to the move. Additionally, it is wise to create connections with other overseas retirees, who can provide helpful advice, support and a sense of community. Finally, obtaining all of the relevant documents and visas necessary for living abroad can be daunting, but is essential in order to live legally in the chosen country," explained a retiree in Playa Jaco.

"When retiring abroad, you need to ask yourself what is important for a successful and fulfilling retirement. The change of lifestyle can be difficult for some so don't expect to adapt immediately. One of the most important aspects is that you will have many challenges and it's a large learning experience on a daily basis. Adopt the lifestyle of your host country. Find humor in the differences and embrace the struggles you will have from time to time. Living abroad is the greatest gift I gave myself and the most fulfilling experience of a lifetime. I would not change a thing," explained one retiree living in Playa Hermosa de Jaco.

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What are the most challenging aspects of retiring in Playa Jaco?

"One of the most challenging aspects of retiring in Playa Jaco is navigating the language and cultural barriers. While locals within the area are generally welcoming, they may not be familiar with retirees and have certain expectations of them. Additionally, the cost of living in Playa Jaco can be quite high, making it harder for retirees to manage on a fixed income. Furthermore, the area is becoming increasingly popular with tourists, which can create issues of increased traffic, competition for services, and difficulty finding accommodation. Finally, many retirees may find it difficult to adjust to the more relaxed pace of life, which can be a shock after years of being busy in a career," said another retiree in living in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica.

"There are many challenges to being retired abroad and initially it is the aspect of not having the 9-5 pm routine with all it's familiarity. Add in you are now in a new environment, new culture, new surroundings, language issues to name a few. Leaving everything behind, including the familiarity of friends, family, work continuity can be very unsettling. Just getting out of the "comfort zone" is difficult for many people. However, you can look at this aspect as a negative or positive challenge. The manner in which you handle this change has a large impact on your success as a retiree abroad," explained a retiree in Playa Hermosa de Jaco.

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What are the most rewarding aspects of retiring in Playa Jaco?

"Retiring in Playa Jaco offers many rewarding aspects. The area provides a high quality of life with its beautiful tropical scenery, close proximity to shops, restaurants, and other amenities, as well as its welcoming, friendly atmosphere. The area is also very affordable and has numerous housing options for retirees. Retirees can enjoy the various activities available including swimming, surfing, horseback riding, and golfing, plus the nearby popular tourist destinations, cultural attractions, and the abundance of activities for seniors. There is also a range of health care services available in the area, offering access to quality care when needed. Lastly, Jaco provides a vibrant and safe community in a relaxed atmosphere where retirees can foster social connections and form active communities with fellow expats," said another retiree in living in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica.

"The most rewarding aspect is initially the most unsettling. Learning a new language, making new friends and challenging yourself to learn and get out of your comfort zone brings great achievement and enlightenment. The rewards come from know you CAN do this! After years in a business environment or as a busy Mom, discovering what you truly can achieve during your retirement is astounding. Rediscovering what you enjoy in life (ah, perhaps you had totally forgotten who YOU really are?) and one of the best aspects is you feel like you are on vacation doing so," explained a retiree in Playa Hermosa de Jaco.

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What are healthcare services like in Playa Jaco?

We asked retirees if they have access to good medical care in Playa Jaco. They wrote:

"Healthcare services in Playa Jaco are largely provided by local hospitals and clinics, as well as national hospitals and clinics located in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Private healthcare professionals are widely available in the Playa Jaco area, and the majority of medical facilities offer various services including primary care and specialty care, medical diagnostics, laboratory services, hospitalization, surgical treatments, and dental and cosmetic treatments. Quality services are provided while following stringent health and safety protocols. In addition, pharmacies, private health centers, and medical dispensaries are available in the area and provide a wide range of healthcare products, including over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, vitamins, and medical supplies," explained one retiree living in Playa Jaco.

"The area has several local physicians which offer quality care. Additionally, specialized physicians in the area of dermatology, dental, obstetrics, psychology visit the area once a month from the Central Valley. Excellent medical care is available in the Central Valley 90 minutes from Hermosa and Jaco," said another retiree in living in Playa Hermosa de Jaco, Costa Rica.

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How do I meet people in Playa Jaco?

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

"One of the best ways to meet people in Playa Jaco is to get involved in the activities and social events offered at the local resorts and restaurants. Another way to meet people is to join the local clubs and sports teams. Participating in a class or workshop is also a great way to meet new people. Additionally, events in the community, such as street fairs, festivals, and live music, are great opportunities to socialize and make connections. A final way to meet people in Playa Jaco is to join an expat group or a travel group, as these offer social support and friendship to people from all around the world," explained a retiree in Playa Jaco.

"One way to meet people in Playa Jaco is to join a local sports team, such as surfing or volleyball. Attending local events and festivals is another great way to meet people. Additionally, exploring neighborhood and beach bars, cafes and restaurants can be a great way to meet other locals and visitors. Finally, you can join social media groups or Meetup to connect with more like-minded people in the area," explained one retiree living in Playa Jaco.

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What is life like in Playa Jaco?

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

"In Toronto, life as an expat can be both exciting and challenging. The city is a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming place, with a large network of other expats to connect with and plenty of activities to do. The cost of living can be high, but there are plenty of job opportunities as well as affordable housing options in different areas around the city. Transportation is also well-connected and reliable, making getting around a breeze. The city is also known for being safe and crime-free. Language can be a barrier for some, as English isn't always the native language of many expats, but with various language exchange activities and other initiatives to foster cross-cultural understanding, this should not be a major issue. In summary, life as an expat in Toronto can be fulfilling, rewarding and enjoyable," explained a retiree in Playa Jaco.

"Living as an expat in the area can be a rewarding experience as there is a diverse international community which provides a supportive environment. There is also a wide variety of cultural activities and opportunities to explore the local surroundings. Transporation is usually convenient with public buses, ferries and taxis abundant with short distance travel. Expats can access a variety of services from local establishments, with the municipality and provincial governments proactively engaging with the needs of its expat residents. The local education system is highly ranked, with a rich international school curriculum and post-secondary institutions for those wishing to stay long-term. There are also plenty of recreational activities available, with access to beaches, nature trails and a bustling nightlife scene. In conclusion, living as an expat in the area offers a unique and rewarding opportunity as one can easily immerse into the local culture whilst not having to worry about security risks," explained one retiree 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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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 I need to know before retiring in Playa Jaco?

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

"Before retiring in Playa Jaco, it is important to understand the local culture and regulations. You should research the area and familiarize yourself with the cost of living, healthcare options, taxation, living options, and other legal and lifestyle considerations. It is also important to investigate safety and security in Playa Jaco, as well as other factors such as the availability of transportation and entertainment. You should understand the local politics, the economy, and the rights and opportunities for expats. Additionally, you should consider any language barriers you may face. Generally, it is a good idea to have a basic level of local language proficiency in order to maximize the quality of life you could have in Playa Jaco," explained a retiree in Playa Jaco.

"Before retiring in Playa Jaco, it is important to consider the cost of living, the availability of healthcare facilities, the type of visa required to stay for an extended period of time, the local culture and how to integrate, the climate and weather, the recreational activities and leisure pursuits, the availability of amenities and infrastructure, and the safety of the area. Retirement in Playa Jaco can be an exciting new journey, so it is important to consider these factors before making any decisions and to do research to ensure that it will be the right choice," explained one retiree living in Playa Jaco.

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What type of recreational activities are there in Playa Jaco?

"Recreational activities include surfing on all levels from beginning to highly advanced. Playa Jaco has no shortage of surf schools due to the outstanding conditions in the area. Hiking is common in the area. Miro Mountain is one of the most popular hiking activities as the trail wanders through jungles with a great opportunity for wildlife spotting. The Miro Trail climbs to an elevation of 1,100 feet with spectacular vistas of the Pacific. Miro Mountain Trail is also popular with mountain bike enthusiasts. The area has many mountainous trails so ATV is very popular to reach the higher elevation views and local restaurants. Yoga is popular in the area with many studios and profesional instructors. Art classes are popular in a new facility in Jaco. Golfing at a top course in Playa Herradura is just ten minutes north of Playa Jaco. Playa Herradura Los Suenos Marina boasts one of the best in the area for excellent sport fishing known world wide. Bird watching and nature loves enjoy the Carara National Park just 20 minutes north of Jaco and the Manuel Antonio National Park just one hour south of Playa Jaco," remarked another retiree in Playa Jaco.

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Where will I buy groceries and do other shopping in Playa Jaco?

"Playa Jaco has two large "big box" stores Mas x Menos and Maxi Pali. These stores are affiliates of Wal=Mart Corporation. Jaco also has many carnicerias, pescaderias, panaderias, (butcher shop, fish shop, bread/pastry/cake shop) There is a feria (farmers market) in Playa Jaco on Friday morning. There is also an organic market on Wednesday at a local restaurant. A visitor or tourist will find everything needed in Playa Jaco! Other stores feature souvenirs, clothing, surfing supplies, art/crafts and larger appliances stores," said another member 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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