Costa Rica is an incredible place to live at any age, but it has a special attractiveness to people heading into retirement because of the slow, relaxed lifestyle. Now more than ever, it is important that we take a step back and make sure we are making choices that will not only make us happy but also keep us safe! The current world climate is a bit unpredictable, but we have felt nothing but thankful to live in Costa Rica through these uncertain times. Careful and intentional government action has ensured that Costa Rica has navigated the pandemic with minimal disaster and come out on top. As borders start to open and travel becomes possible again, we are certain that it is going to be an ideal safe haven to not only avoid getting sick but also take in all of the beauty, health, and incredible opportunity that Costa Rica has to offer! If you have been wanting more and would enjoy exploring an incredible new place in this next chapter of your life, read on to learn more about the best places to retire in Costa Rica.
- The Central Valley – San José
The Central Valley of Costa Rica, known for sweeping mountains, mild year-round temperatures, and beautiful coffee fields, is a beautiful and affordable place to retire. The elevations range from around 2,500 – 5,000 feet so no matter where you are, you will have gorgeous mountain views. The capital of Costa Rica, San José, is located here and retiring anywhere in the surrounding area makes it extremely convenient to access the city for culture, entertainment, shopping, awesome restaurants, or the major airport. This also means that when your friends and loved ones want to come to visit you, they will be able to fly directly into Costa Rica’s largest and cheapest airport, making the trip extremely easy!
Besides access to the perks of the city, it is also extremely easy to get to amazing nature. Head out to the jungle, hike to a waterfall, or walk through the surrounding coffee farms in a day with ease. If you enjoy being close to the city, prefer a mild and cooler climate, and enjoy taking advantage of the mountains, then the Central Valley is for you!
It is also very affordable to retire here. A huge factor in retirement location is the cost of living and a big reason why many people turn to moving abroad in order to live the kind of life they want. Many people find that when it comes time to retire in the states, they just aren’t as set up financially as they would like to be. It becomes a choice between living in penury in the U.S. or living in luxury in Costa Rica. In this area, the average couple can live very comfortably on just around $2,000 per month. I think the choice is clear… why not be able to make your money stretch further, afford a nice house, more amenities, good food, AND live in paradise?
- North Pacific Coast – Tamarindo
If you’re after a warm climate, a healthy lifestyle, and proximity to the beach, Costa Rica’s Northern Pacific Coast and the Nicoya Peninsula might be the perfect place for you! This area truly has everything when it comes to the ideal retirement location. It is a tropical climate but also one of the driest regions in Costa Rica, and the average temperatures hover around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit all year. As far as accessibility goes, Liberia is another major city in this region and is home to the second-largest airport in Costa Rica. This means that your family can easily come to visit and you can travel internationally or within Costa Rica with minimal effort as well. It is also close to one of the country’s leading public hospitals which is important if you need routine medical care. There are also many major stores here, so you can make big shopping trips to stock up on necessities and buy things like home goods, clothes, office supplies, and whatever else you might need!
The food in this area is also a big part of the draw. Most diets are high in fresh produce and seafood and low in processed food. There are tons of fresh markets that make it really convenient to access healthy food. A family of four can buy enough produce for a week for only around $30! How incredible is that? You can’t afford to NOT eat well in an area as rich in good food as Tamarindo.
The vibe in Tamarindo is one that truly cannot be beaten. The ease and tranquility of the beach lifestyle mixed with modern amenities and a growing community of people from all over the world make it the ideal spot to retire in Costa Rica. People here are generally very happy, and it is not hard to guess why. Plenty of sunshine, a gorgeous beach as your front yard, and incredible sunsets every night make the living here easy. There is a strong sense of community and the people that live in Tamarindo are there because they love it, which makes it more pleasant for everyone. Strong social and family networks will ensure that you will feel comfortable and at home.
If you have ever wanted to try surfing, Tamarindo is the perfect spot to do it! Surfing is also the perfect sport to pick up later in life because it is easy on the body and the water is forgiving. The beach in Tamarindo especially is ideal for beginners because the water is warm year-round, the bottom is sandy and soft, and there are no major currents or tides to worry about. The waves come consistently no matter the time of year and they are usually the perfect size for learning, with some bigger swells bringing bigger waves occasionally. Locals and ex-pats alike have a blast in the water and everyone is always welcoming, even if you might be a bit of a kook!
Despite a slightly higher cost of living due to the influx of tourism to the area, living here remains extremely affordable. For an average couple, $3,000 per month should cover food, housing, healthcare, daily expenses, and fun.
- The Caribbean Coast – Puerto Viejo
Anyone who has visited Costa Rica will agree that the two coasts have very different vibes. While the Pacific side is chill and beautiful with year-round surf, the Caribbean side is a bit less developed and just a little bit wilder. Settled by Jamaicans and other Caribbean peoples over 100 years ago, the area still has a strong island vibe. There is a unique flavor to the food, they speak slightly different English, and you are sure to hear reggae playing as you walk down the street. You will find some of the most stunning beaches and extremely blue water in Costa Rica in places like Playa Cocles, Punta Uva, and Manzanillo where white sand and tall palm trees make it feel truly tropical.
Similar to the Pacific coast, the temperatures are usually around 80 or 90 degrees, but it is much more humid than the region of Guanacaste. An ocean breeze can help to cut the heat though, and it does get a little cooler at night.
The biggest drawback of this area is that this coast is much less developed than other parts of the country. You may experience short power outages and it is a bit trickier to find steady internet. And there is only fairly basic medical care in many of these communities, so if you have any sort of chronic or specialized medical condition that might be something to take into consideration. Traveling is also a bit harder from here. To fly internationally or to have visitors, you will most likely have to drive to San José. This is definitely doable – the drive is just about 3.5 – 4 hours. But it is just something to take into account when trip planning! If you are looking for a laid-back lifestyle where you don’t have to worry about much except if you should pack Coronas or Heineken to take to the beach, then this is a good place for you.
Overall, it is clear that Costa Rica has a lot to offer to retirees, and the list of reasons why Costa Rica is the best place to retire is long. Not to mention, your family will be ecstatic to have an excuse to visit paradise! We can assure you that you will fall in love with this little slice of heaven, no matter where you decide to settle. We know that being in a place like Costa Rica will bring you greater fulfillment in your retirement. It is impossible to not be amazed by the incredible beauty all around, and you are sure to find a great sense of community to make you feel at home. And most importantly, it is a safe environment and an easily accessible location to get to post-pandemic. Time to get packing! Contact us for more information about relocating to Costa Rica!