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Who Should Live in Costa Rica?

Editorials – When it comes to living or retiring in Costa Rica, all around the Internet are people pushing how Costa Rica offers a life that everyone will love. If you look behind these people that paint a perfect picture of life in Costa Rica, most have an ulterior motive like real estate sales.  The truth is about 60% of the people that come to Costa Rica leave within the first year proving it is definitely not for everyone.

There are certain groups of people that will find Costa Rica perfect for them:

The Retiree – Yes it is true that you can find happiness retiring in Costa Rica but it is based on a few little details.  First of all you need to have money saved in the bank or at least $2,500 for a single person or $3,000 for a couple.  There are sites around the web that say you can live on $1,500 a month but most people do not find that lifestyle in Costa Rica something they want to finish their days living. Secondly, you need to live in a community with other retirees and stay active. Also coming as a couple helps a lot, this country can get quite lonely.

costa rica sex tourismThe Sex Tourist – Many men come to Costa Rica after either being rejected their entire life or just deciding that they do not want to have an adult relationship with feelings and emotions anymore. They come in search of their Latina arm candy or just a multitude of one night stands costing about $100 each.  You can head down to the Del Rey Hotel or see these usually over 55 year old men taking their 20 year old “girl friends” out shopping or to eat. This life makes them happy, one lay at a time. I guess this hold true for gringas too that are looking for a little latino loving.  But mot gringas turn off their brains and think that the games played by men in their home country do not apply here. Guess what the games are worse and you are considered prey for latinos guys. They too are looking for their sugar mamma.

The Permanent Spring Breaker – These people fill the beach towns of Costa Rica.  They bathe about 3 times a week, let their hair grow long, start drinking or smoking pot about 10 am, and stay out until about 4 am partying on coke or alcohol almost every night.  Imagine Spring Break during college and just have it go on for years. These are the people with no desire for life responsibility (yet usually have 2 kids from wild nights of partying) and are happy living pay check to pay check.  If they do not have money for rent, they will laugh and joke about the act they slept on the beach the night before.  These people all fill the sportsbooks in San Jose.

The Telecommuter – If you are able to work from home and do not have to deal with trying to find a job in Costa Rica or hiring employees, you can have a pretty good and stress free life.  Again for a person working from home you need to be bringing in about $2,500 for a single person or $3,000 for a couple the same as a retiree.  Make sure you are in a telecommuting costa ricalocation with good internet connectivity and a place where it can be fixed quickly if it goes down.  I have know a few people that decided to set up shop in remote areas and either moved back home or lost their jobs due to the fact the Internet was too shoddy.

The Rich Gringo – If you have money it the bank account and do not have to work, basically be on a permanent vacation then you can really enjoy Costa Rica.  Waking up in the morning taking a walk on the beach, heading out for a late lunch with drinks, taking pictures of the sunsets and not having to really become a part of the true Costa Rica world then you will be really happy here.  I get told all the time by these tourists that live here permanently that this is paradise. If you can make life just a vacation and not have to work you can be happy anywhere. PS – these are the same people that do not understand why anyone would not like living here and make statements like “If you don’t like it go home.”

If you are looking to come to Costa Rica to start a new business or live a sober lifestyle or meet your soul mate, you might want to look somewhere else.  Most people that make money in business down here have been here for years.

These are the gringos that came to Costa Rica 20 years ago and started their business during a time of zero competition and a huge boom in tourism and investors.  With a little business knowledge they fell into a pot of money. Most of these businesses and people are now packing up and leaving Costa Rica because making money here is really hard in the present days.  Most businesses fail here, but if you want a business as a hobby and you are not looking to make much money then Costa Rica might be perfect for you.

Costa Rica is not for everyone and there are people that do not fit in the categories above that find happiness here, but with the majority of people coming here packing up and leaving, you might want to rent a place here and try it out before you buy.

PS – I cannot wait to see the comments on this article from Real Estate Agents and others that fit in these categories tell me how I am wrong.




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  1. godutch said:

    Thanks Dan, as a real estate broker with 9 agents throughout the Central valley, I totally agree with you. Just like a real estate agent writes about how good living in Costa Rica is with the ulterior motive to sell real estate, you write for the Costaricantimes with the ulterior motive of selling ads. I don’t see the difference and why that would be a problem or a negative issue.

    That said, you did a pretty good job of pointing out the different types of people, but you forgot the most important one: the future retiree who is looking for more sunshine, an easier life at a lower cost of living, who have a retirement income that is enough to get by decently. Even those who receive only $1,500/month, back home they couldn’t live in a trailer park for that and in Costa Rica they can live at least in a decent place surrounded by nice people and sunshine, if they are able to adjust to life in Costa Rica

    • admin said:

      Ivo, I think the only difference is many times people try to hie the truth down here and I would rather them no it before they get too heavily invested that Costa Rica is not for them. I write to bring in readers and honestly do not go out there and try to sell ads, the people come to me because they like reading the truth. I am not saying that real estate agents do not tell the truth, but they just might not tell you everything. I am not trying to sell someone a new life, I just present a place where someone can place an ad for their business. If they advertise with me and are out $200 for a banner, it is a little different then someone moving their entire life to Costa Rica only to find out it is not for them. PS that $1,500 a month does not offer much in Costa Rica anymore.

      • lagerence said:

        I have some questions, I am Guatemalan guy, married 58 years old, with two little girls 13 and 9 I do not want to say nothing bad of USA I love this country, that gave the opportunity to became a US citizen, but I am tired, I want to go back to the basics, to a quite life, spend some time talking and having a good cup of coffee with friends, I went a couple of times to San Ramon, bought a nice piece of land of 1 hectare, I receive about $ 5,000 from rentals and have some money to invest in CR. I am a Real Estate Broker since 10 years ago and also a GC, actually that is what I am doing building houses, not a lot, just a few. I been thinking to move to San Ramon since 3 years ago, but I am afraid for my kids, do you think that:
        that amount will be enough to have a decent life style in San Ramon? do you think that San Ramon will be a nice place to raise my kids? will be too hard to get the legal residency ? sorry too many questions, but I am almost ready to take the final step.

        Thanks for your attention to my post

        • admin said:

          I am going to have a retirement specialist contact you to get you some answers to your questions. He can walk you through everything.

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