Retiring to Costa Rica should be on the options list of anyone looking to relocate offshore. It is a short flight away from the US and over the next few years more and more people will be looking for ways to stretch their retirement dollar.
Costa Rica offers many advantages and will allow you to really enjoy a successful retirement instead of having to constantly worry about money.
There is a perception that retiring to Costa Rica is now "costa lotsa" but that just isn’t true ... it still compares favourably with any other South American destination.
Tropical climate, low cost of living and natural beauty. Gorgeous Pacific and Caribbean beaches, forests teeming with wildlife, top quality public health care systems, and an environmental policy that has made the country nearly carbon-neutral and virtually energy independent.
What more could you want?
Costa Rica gives investors access to an international standard infrastructure, an entrepreneurial business climate, and a positive attitude toward foreign investment. It's one of the safest and most attractive Latin American countries for foreign investors.
Added to this is a highly educated, productive and affordable workforce, and many business opportunities.
Retiring to Costa Rica you will be living in one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world. There is an abundance of water and fertile agricultural land, volcanoes, beaches, mountains, jungle, and cloud and rain forests. There is the variety of terrain, temperature and one of the most diverse “macro” ecosystems on the planet; producing many micro-ecosystems of fauna, flora and climate.
The benefits and advantages go on. Costa Rica is so peaceful that it doesn’t even have a standing army. So instead of ploughing money into military resources, the funds were allocated to highways, education, medical care and the cultural arts.
Add to the mix. Costa Rican friendliness and hospitality, its international airport in San Jose and proximity to the US and all told you have one of the best retirement destinations around.
In retiring to Costa Rica retirees must apply for temporary "pensionado" residency and meet certain requirements. The main one as of 2010 is that you must have a lifetime monthly pension from a verifiable source of at least US$1 000, or the equivalent.
As a "pensionado", you do not have the legal right to work. However, you can own a company and collect income. Costa Rica has a high standard of living, but if relocating from the US this comes at a very modest price. For about US$1 500 a month you can live comfortably. If you make your living choices carefully, you can get by on as little as US$1 000 a month.
When retiring to Costa Rica you can expect to have access to excellent health care, amazing foods and all the modern conveniences of home.
Costa Rica has one of the best, low-cost medical systems in the world focusing on both preventive and curative care. It is accessible, affordable and comprehensive … and if you're in need of some "nipping, tucking or sucking" it also offers excellent cosmetic surgery.
In most areas of the country, you can enjoy consistent and reliable access to modern communication ... internet, mobile phones, land lines and, an efficient surface mail system.
Unlike most developing countries you will find this to be one of the cleanest countries in the world. The people, their homes and public facilities.
Costa Rica is a true tropical paradise. The weather is wonderful … warm temperatures (even during the rainy season), no real summer or winter, and sunny a lot of the time.
Though generally classified as a tropical country, because of its close proximity to the equator, weather wise Costa Rica can be divided into 4 distinct zones:
The lowlands, have a dry, climate with hot days and sultry evenings and temperatures around 26 degrees Celsius.
The highlands, due to their higher elevation, are misty and foggy throughout the year with temperatures averaging about 13 degree Celsius.
The Central Valley has the best climate in the country with average temperatures of around 22 degrees Celsius. With temperatures tempered by a cool coastal breeze.
Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has its own unique micro-climate. With trade winds keeping the weather hot and humid most of the year. It rains often and there is no real dry season.
The coolest months of the year are November, December and January, with March through to May being the hottest.
The rainy season lasts from May to November, with the months of December through April having little to no rain. While the average annual rainfall in the country is around 250 centimetres, some mountainous areas get up to 750 centimetres.
As most people in Costa Rica speak Spanish, it would be advisable to learn the language so you can fully understand and appreciate the people and their culture.
If you are retiring to Costa Rica from a first world country you will have some adjustments to make. The easiest will be from your current fast, frenetic, stressful lifestyle to the gentle, spirited, friendly, polite and kind "pura vida" Costa Rican way of life.
Adjusting to a new environment and culture may not be easy if you have not travelled a lot or lived in different countries. When retiring to Costa Rica, there will be many changes which you should be willing to make.
As with any major decision, when considering your options … take your time and do your homework. Costa Rica is a beautiful, affordable retirement option.