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So You Want to Retire Now in Costa Rica?

Retiring in Costa Rica – In my last article I listed many of the reasons  why retirees choose Costa Rica as a place to relocate. Once they become seriously interested in living here, the first step is to start to gather as much  information as possible from a variety of reliable sources.

There are probably 15 books about living and retiring in Costa Rica. About ten of them have been written over the last couple of years by individuals who have resided in the country for a short time. Nevertheless these authors have interesting experiences and anecdotes to share so anyone can benefit from reading their books. However, I believe that more valuable information can be obtained from  guidebooks  written by  authors with more experience living in Costa Rica. In my opinion the best books on the subject are: Moon Publications “Living in Costa Rica,” John Howell’s “Choose Costa Rica,” Phillip Baker’s “Costa Rica Now” and   “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica – the official guide to relocation.”

Currently there are scores of websites that are almost exclusively devoted to living here. Many contain useful information while some are not very good. Be aware that a lot of the people behind the sites have a hidden agenda and are trying to get your to purchase something so the information may be slanted and incorrect. Be careful of sites that only talk about the good things. Also, watch out for those sites that only stress the negatives and claim they tell the real story about the country. Look for sites run by people who have lived here for many years and who are not selling real estate or other investments to get the objective picture.

Hobby websites are another resource. Retired people have a lot of free time on their hands and put up entertaining  websites that have videos and articles about living here. Some of the sites are very good in that they contain a lot of practical information from people who have gone through the process of moving here and are adapting to a new culture.

On-line forums can also be a good source of information but be careful of the complainers and know-it-alls. A lot of people constantly use the forums as a stage to vent their frustration and search for their “Ten minutes of fame.” Don’t get me wrong! Discussions groups like ARCR Forum, Costa Rica Living or Central Valley Living can provide useful information. I must admit that I have lived in Costa Rica for almost 35 years and occasionally learn something new by reading the forums.

I would also suggest joining the Association of Residents of Costa Rica (ARCR). They offer a full gamut of services for anyone who wants to live here and have a highly informative monthly seminar which I include as part of my monthly relocation and retirement tours. We are really lucky to have an organization that helps potential retirees and current residents with virtually all of their needs.

On-line English newspapers can also provide information about living here.

After you have read the books, checked out the multitude of expat-oriented websites, read the on-line newspapers and the forums and separated fact from fiction, the next logical step is to visit the country to see what living here is really like and if it is really for you. I’d be lying if I said Costa Rica was for everyone. However, those who do fall in love with this country  and its pura vida life style would never think of leaving.

In my next article I will talk about the options available for touring the country with the purpose of moving here.

If you are interested in a Retirement Tour Click Here to See His Tours.

Christopher Howard conducts monthly relocation/retirement tours fill in the form below to receive Chrisopher’s free book when you register for a tour and have him contact you personally. For details please see: He also has authored and published 17 editions of “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica” and other guides about living in Costa Rica. See

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