I have been living in Costa Rica for over 12 years now. Full time, not a part-timer. Moving to Costa Rica is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I first came to Costa Rica in 1999, as a tourist, as many people do. Something kept drawing me back like a bad cocaine habit. I could not get enough. When I look back, I can confirm that I was in Costa Rica at least three times a year, and some years four times. I just loved it here.
Back in 2007 when I was returning home from Costa Rica I had an interesting chance meeting with the broker-owner of the RE/MAX Tamarindo office. I had just purchased my 4th property, this time in Playa Hermosa Guanacaste where I still live.
The guy didn’t tell me he was the Owner/Broker of a RE/MAX office " he just told me his name, Chris Simmons. We were sitting next to each other on a plane heading north and we struck up a conversation. At first, it was just general stuff. But, based on some of the questions this gentleman was asking me, I felt like I was being interviewed. It was a bit weird, but Ok I will go along with it. What the harm? We talked the entire flight, upon hearing the DING sound and the flight attendant doing their usual, notification for approach and landing, Chris reached in his shirt pocket and handed me his business card. When I glanced down and saw RE/MAX I said thanks but as I mentioned I prefer the Playa Hermosa area. He said, “great " especially since you already own a home there you might as well join our team”. I laughed and said, “well I have to be honest with you I really do not like realtors, at least the ones I have dealt with in the past, nothing personal”. He laughed as well and said, “perfect, I don’t like them either, they have bad habits. I am looking for positive, energetic and knowledgeable people to join our team.”
To save you time as I can go on about this meeting and how I got here, I won’t boor you. So, let me tell you what it is like in Living in Costa Rica.
98% of the time I am still in love with this country. Of all the countries I have visited in my life ( at last count 25) there is no other place I would rather be. Yes, there can be things that make you want to pull your hair out, like standing in line at the bank when there are 20 people waiting for only 2 windows open but you see another 5-8 employees walking around talking and 3 windows closed. "Come on! get to work! I have things to do!". Or one of my favorite pet peeves is when I go grocery shopping. It sounds like a pretty easy task, right? You get what you need and go to the checkout line, pay and leave. That’s when it starts. 80% of the time there is a person in front of you right? Well, that is normally not a problem. When this person in front of you stops putting items on the conveyor and leaves the line and disappears back into the isles looking for things, then comes back and say excuse me I forgot this, that is when my patience starts to get thin. If it only happens once, OK. But when the same person leaves and goes back for another item " it is enough to make me want to scream.
However, these are just 2% of the things that make me think "why did I move here?" You see, it is cultural. It is not an issue for the locals. Costa Ricans do this regularly. You have heard the saying "Pura Vida"? "Pure life" is the literal translation but it means so much more.
Here are my top 5 reasons why I love living in Costa Rica and I promise they are not long so keep reading.
1- The People: I have traveled to many different countries and cultures around the globe and by far the sweetest, warmest and most welcoming people are Ticos, Costa Ricans. Even if you do not speak Spanish people will try to understand you and help you, even if you are trying to speak really bad Spanish.
2- The Culture: Family is the key here. Many generations still live together in the same house and there is respect for the elders. There is a strong family bond and if you are lucky like me and have many Tico friends, you are considered part of the family. Costa Rica is a very peaceful place to live, PURA VIDA, if it is not an emergency then its ok don’t sweat it. This is not a first world country but it certainly is not a 3rd world one either.
3- The Weather: As I said I live in the Playa Hermosa area in Guanacaste province in the Pacific Northwest. The weather is incredible, the mornings start out in the low 70” and depending on what time of year, the afternoon can be as hot at upper 90”. But the best part if the dry season, no rain for six months. If I want a cooler climate I can jump in the car and head to the mountains and rain forest and it is only an hour’s drive at best. But the mountains tend to be wetter.
4- Low Cost of Living: If you compare Costa Rica to other Latin American counties, yes Costa Rica may be more expensive to some, to others it is way cheaper than their home country. Due to import taxes and the “Green Energy” used to preserve the environment, some items are very expensive. But when you compare health care quality and price, hands down living in Costa Rica is cheaper. Then there are the property taxes $250.00 USD per year per $100,000.00 USD value. Now that’s cheap.
5- No Army: Costa Rica is the most peaceful country in Central America, the army was abolished back in 1948. Costa Rica is also the most stable democracy in Central America as well. I have no fear of being pulled over by some military guy with a big gun asking me questions. No generals that may try to overthrow the government and then end up with a dictator.
Now, these are just a few of the many reasons I decided living in Costa Rica was right for me. It can be for you are well. Especially now with this crazy COVID-19 virus that has infected the world, Costa Rica is a leader in preventing the spread of the virus. As of writing this April 17, 2020, there are only 648 confirmed cases. In Playa Hermosa 0, in the county of Carrillo, where I am there are only 2 cases. So if your thinking of an escape plan, living in Costa Rica may be the right thing for you.
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