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Retire in Escazu Guide

Retire in Escazu with confidence, armed with the knowledge from our extensive guide. It covers critical considerations for retirees, from the cost of living and climate to housing, healthcare, and residency choices in Escazu. We also delve into the social and cultural scene, volunteering options, public transportation facilities, and the city's walkability, helping you make an informed decision.
|-Retire in Escazu Guide

Retiring in Escazu is a dream come true for many international retirees. This charming city, nestled in the hills of the Central Valley, offers a unique blend of modern amenities and traditional Costa Rican culture. The warm climate, affordable cost of living, and high-quality healthcare make it an attractive destination for retirees from around the world. However, like any foreign country, there are challenges to consider, such as learning a new language and navigating the residency process.

Cost of Living

One of the main attractions of retiring in Escazu is the affordable cost of living. While it’s considered one of the more upscale areas of Costa Rica, it’s still significantly cheaper than many U.S. cities. For example, a comfortable two-bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood can be rented for around $800 per month. Groceries, utilities, and healthcare are also reasonably priced, allowing retirees to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.


Escazu boasts a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. The city is located at a higher elevation, which means it’s cooler than the coastal areas. The average temperature ranges from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for those who enjoy outdoor activities. The rainy season runs from May to November, but even then, the rain usually falls in the afternoon, leaving the mornings and evenings clear.


Costa Rica is known for its high-quality healthcare system, and Escazu is no exception. The city is home to CIMA, one of the country’s top private hospitals. Many doctors in Costa Rica, including those at CIMA, have received training in the U.S. or Europe, and many speak English. This makes it easier for international retirees to communicate their health concerns.

Public Healthcare System

Costa Rica’s public healthcare system, known as the Caja, is available to all residents, including international retirees. To enroll in the Caja, retirees must first obtain residency, which can be a lengthy process. However, once enrolled, retirees have access to free healthcare, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications.

Residency Options for Retirees

Costa Rica offers several residency options for retirees. The most common is the Pensionado program, which requires proof of a monthly income of at least $1,000 from a pension or Social Security. Another option is the Rentista program, which requires proof of a monthly income of $2,500 for at least two years, or a deposit of $60,000 in a Costa Rican bank.

Parks and Recreational Activities

Escazu offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. The city is surrounded by mountains, making it a great place for hiking and bird watching. There are also several parks in the city, including the popular Parque de Escazu, which hosts a weekly farmers market.


Escazu is home to a variety of restaurants, offering everything from traditional Costa Rican cuisine to international fare. Some popular spots include La Cascada, known for its seafood dishes, and Chancay, a Peruvian restaurant with a great view of the city.

Learning the Language

While many people in Escazu speak English, learning Spanish can enhance your retirement experience. The Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano offers Spanish classes for foreigners and is conveniently located in Escazu.

Local Culture

The locals in Escazu are known for their friendliness and hospitality. The city has a relaxed, laid-back vibe, and it’s common to see locals and expats mingling in the city’s parks and restaurants. The city also hosts several festivals throughout the year, giving retirees a chance to experience traditional Costa Rican culture.


Escazu is a walkable city with a reliable public transportation system. Buses run regularly between Escazu and San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Taxis are also readily available. While having a car can be convenient for exploring the surrounding areas, it’s not necessary for day-to-day life in Escazu.

In conclusion, retiring in Escazu, Costa Rica offers a unique blend of modern amenities, natural beauty, and traditional culture. While there are challenges to consider, the benefits of retiring in this charming city far outweigh them. With its affordable cost of living, high-quality healthcare, and friendly locals, Escazu is a dream retirement destination for many international retirees.

Retirees Talk about Retiring in Escazu

“The weather is truly perfect in Escazu, great amazing restaurants with so many choices, live music at Jazz Cafe, 2 great movie theatres showing films in English, lots of expats & English speaking Tico’s, great public golf course close by in Santa Ana & perhaps best of all a great little casino close by,” commented an expat living in Costa Rica.

Joshua WoodJoshua 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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