Costa Rica is one of the most popular destinations in the world to retire.
It is a favorite among American expats looking to retire overseas.
And we can see why!
But, choosing where you retire is an important decision.
It’s essential to look at not only the pros, but also the cons of moving to this country.
Have a read this article to decide whether Costa Rica is for you.
The Pros of Living in Costs Rica
We won’t lie to you, there are plenty of fantastic pros to living in Costa Rica.
The people, the environment and the affordability are all major factors.
Check them out and everything else on offer below.
It’s Very Affordable
Costa Rica has a low cost of living that is incredibly affordable.
Housing is low, even in coastal areas and the city center.
Food, utilities (except for electricity) and social activities are also very cheap.
It’s Got A Universal Healthcare System
Costa Rica has a great public healthcare system that’s one of the best in Latin America.
For a cheap monthly payment, the system covers all medical needs and medication.
Private medical care is also available and very cheap.
Cheap Flights To and From The USA
Many airlines have flights into all the major cities, which means there are lots of cheap airports to fly into. That makes it easier to visit family back home and have visitors come to you.
There’s A Specific Immigration Program For Retirees
Costa Rica has an option specifically for retirees called the Pensionado Program.
This is a great program that gives you residency given that you have a monthly pension income.
You have to renew the program status every two years for $100.
You Can Retire There If You Invest In A Local Business
If you are not eligible for the Pensionado Program you can still get residency.
This is done by investing at least $200,000 in a property or business in Costa Rica.
There is also a $250 application fee and a $40 document authentication charge.
Applying For Permanent Resident Status Is Possible
Once three full cycles are done in a retirement program you can apply for permanent residency.
You can also decide to keep going with the renewals if you decide.
But after being in Costa Rica for six years the government will give you the option to stay permanently.
You Can Always Try Before You Buy With House Sitting
If you’re on the fence about retiring to Costa Rica, you can stay for up to 90 days without a visa.
US citizens do not need a visa for short stays, but you will need to show a valid passport.
If you do wish to stay on, get your paperwork sorted and start packing.
Rather than rent or get a hotel you can try house sitting in Costa Rica. this gives you an inbuilt community.
It’s Close To The United States
The proximity to North America is another bonus of retiring in Costa Rica.
It is easy to visit family and friends without feeling too isolated.
Houston is also only a three and a half hour flight ride away from most airports in Costa Rica, which is not too far at all.
It’s A Lovely Place To Live
Drinkable tap water, fast internet speed and mobile connection are available.
There are plenty of theatres, galleries, rainforests and beaches throughout the country.
Costa Ricans are also lovely people, so it’s easy to meet people in friendly communities.
Politically It’s Doing Well
Costa Rica is one of the most stable countries in Central and South America.
It is politically neutral and has a large commitment to peace within its country.
There is no army in Costa Rica, which means more of its budget is spent on its residents.
A Healthy Lifestyle
With its high standard of living and happy outlook, Costa Rica is a great place for your health.
Less stress, surrounded by natural beauty and full of activities where you can explore the outdoors.
Living in Costa Rica you will also have access to plenty of fresh produce, grown locally.
Things Move At A Slower Pace
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the US, Costa Rica will probably be for you.
Costa Ricans loves the idea of a slower lifestyle and truly embracing the simple things in life.
It’s a great place to unwind and look after your physical and mental health.
Cons of Moving to Costa Rica
And now it’s time for the cons…
Like any country, there are negative aspects to retiring in Costa Rica.
Consider the factors below and see how they will affect your life.
The Roads Aren’t Great
While the main roads in Costa Rica are pretty standard, others might not be so good.
Potholes are common and there can also be dips and cracks present on the roads.
Landslides during the wet season may also cause delays and road blockages.
Local Driving Can Be Dangerous
Drivers can be pretty dangerous in Costa Rica.
They are known to speed and weave through traffic dangerously.
Be sure to take extra care when crossing roads as pedestrians will be the most at risk.
The Bureaucracy Can Be Painful
Long waits at government offices, healthcare clinics and lots of visa paperwork.
It can be a frustrating process dealing with the bureaucracy in Costa Rica.
We recommend finding a local to help you through processes to make this as painless as possible.
You’ll Have To Learn The Language
Sure, some people will speak English but most people won’t.
Learning Spanish is a necessity if you want to communicate and get around Costa Rica.
That being said Costa Ricans are known for being patient and kind to new Spanish speakers.
There Is A Big Rainy Season
While it is nice and sunny in Costa Rica, its also quite rainy.
The rain season is from May to November.
Old infrastructure in Costa Rica also seems to struggle in wet weather so be wary of leaking roofs.
Things Move At A Slower Pace (Again)
While it can be glorious to live at a slower pace, sometimes it can be inconvenient when things take a while.
Immediacy is less important and things might happen a bit later than expected.
This can be from when your plumber decides to turn up to having friends come to social engagements an hour late.
Shipping Can Take Forever
Shipping is another element that also moves at a slower pace.
Shipping can be slow, expensive or end with items being indefinitely stuck in customs.
There are also places where mail is not delivered in Costa Rica, so you will need to travel to pick up your packages.
While it’s one of the safest countries in Central America, there are still crime issues.
This is mostly petty theft but armed robberies can also occur.
Generally use common sense when walking at night and avoid public parks in the evening.
While there are no hurricanes in Costa Rica, earthquakes are common.
Many buildings are earthquake-proof, but earthquakes can still cause regular inconveniences.
Major or life-threatening quakes are uncommon, but it’s still something to be aware of.
It Can Get Pretty Warm
Because Costa Rica is so close to the equator the climate stays hot all year round.
More mountainous regions will provide cooler temperatures.
September and November tend to be a bit cooler, but there will be plenty of humidity.
The Metro Can Be Slow
If you’re taking public transport you might be waiting a while.
There will also be less public transport in rural areas and outside San Jose.
If you’re regularly travelling we recommend getting your own vehicle to get around.
Costa Rica’s a fantastic retirement destination and one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
This country has a lot to offer and most of it is positive!
There are also a supportive community of expats ready for you to join.
But, there are also several cons that are necessary to consider with this country.
Ultimately, it depends upon your lifestyle and the type of place you’d like to retire.
Have you visited Costa Rica yet?
Brittnay is one of the Travelling House Sitters. She has cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats 1 turtle, and 1 rabbit over 40+ houses in 15 countries over 5 years.
She is ready to teach you exactly how to become a house sitter! She wants everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!
You can read more about Brittnay and Jay on their about page.
Or connect with Brittnay on Facebook or in their house sitting community on Facebook