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Why Retire in Costa Rica?

Recently I was asked by the editor of this publication to write a weekly retirement column. I’d like to start by listing some of the benefits of retiring here.

First and foremost is the weather in the Central Valley.   National Geographic claimed that the town of Atenas, nestled in the hills of the Central Valley, has the best climate in the world. In reality the whole Central Valley has some of the best year-round weather (72 degree average) on the planet. We are truly blessed to live in a country that has been called “The Land of Eternal Springtime” because of its fantastic weather. Temperature is controlled by altitude in Costa Rica, so you can basically pick almost any climate you want. At lower elevations the weather is warmer and in the highlands the climate is significantly cooler.

Another factor in choosing Costa Rica is that there is an organization which is dedicated exclusively to helping retirees relocate as easily as possible. I am talking about the Association of Residents of Costa Rica or ARCR. They can help retirees obtain health care at affordable group rates, find a trustworthy lawyer, open a bank account, get a driver’s license, take care of one’s insurance needs, assist with bringing pets to Costa Rica and so much more. In addition, the organization sponsors a highly-informative monthly  seminar  for newcomers or for anyone thinking of moving here. I don’t know of any other country in Latin America that has an organization like the ARCR.

Another factor that make Costa Rica attractive to retirees is its medical care. Costa Rica’s affordable medical care is among the best anywhere.  The quality of health care is comparable to North America but the prices are one half or less. Considered by many to be one of the healthiest country south of Canada, Costa Rica has a life-expectancy rate that rivals many first world countries.

Although much has been written about the high cost of living here, what you spend really depends on your lifestyle. If you must have a luxurious home, drive a late model car and buy imported goods, you will spend as much or more than you would in North America.  But if you live more like the locals and watch your spending, you will end up living on considerably less. Many Americans who live below the poverty line in the United States can live in moderate luxury on a modest retirement or investment income in Costa Rica. What Costa Rica does is give  people a chance to retire with dignity and enjoy the last part of their lives without having to work. Many were affected by the economic downturn in the U.S. and face the prospect of having to work the rest of their lives. This is not the case if you move to Costa Rica. A couple on Social Security pensions can live very comfortably here. Living in Costa Rica can make all the difference in the world  between just subsisting or maintaining the lifestyle to which you are accustomed.

Many people choose to retire in Costa Rica because of the lifestyle.  Costa Rica fits the bill for anyone  seeking an alternative way of  life.  Those who relocate here tend to yearn for adventure in an exotic land because they want more out of life than a gated retirement community in Florida or Arizona.  They  want new challenges, a chance to pursue their dreams and achieve greater personal growth by immersing  themselves in a new culture and reaping the rewards of learning a foreign language. Once people move here many espouse the pura vida or hang-loose lifestyle practiced by the Costa Ricans and learn to live with more gusto.

Newcomers can make friends easily because foreigners tend to gravitate towards one another when living abroad.  One transplant from Florida told us he had lived there for 20 years and hardly ever had contact with his neighbors. He claims not to be the most sociable person in the world, nevertheless he has made more than a hundred friends in Costa Rica. He proudly says, “Everywhere I go I bump into people I know.” Another  20-year retiree and resident of Costa Rica, said, “ My days are so filled with exciting activities and interesting experiences that each day seems like a whole lifetime.  I really feel rejuvenated by living here.”

There are countless other reasons that make retiring in Costa Rica attractive:  NO army, low utility rates (no heat or air conditioning needed in the Central Valley), cheap public transportation, affordable hired help, great outdoor markets which overflow with mouth-watering fruits and vegetables and last but not least the country’s friendly people.

Granted Costa Rica is not for everyone but if you fall in love with the place you’ll never want to leave.

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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