Why Retiring in Costa Rica Won’t Work For You

Costa Rica, photo by Gunther Wegner, cc

Retiring in Costa Rica may sound like a dream come true. So far, for my wife and I, it’s worked out OK. It’s not a dream come true, but you don’t believe in that myth anyway do you?

So why will retiring to Costa Rica not work out for you?

  • Your extended family will interfere
  • You have a comfortable nest egg
  • You never lived in a small town
  • Health care costs don’t concern you
  • You have lived in the same place forever
  • You are a conspicuous consumer
  • You enjoy cooking and fine dining

Extended Family Will Interfere

If you have a large extended family, moving to Costa Rica would be difficult. Especially to Costa Rica where extended families live in the same house and do everything as a family. It’s hard to see such happiness and know that my life is missing something.

You Have a Comfortable Nest Egg

If you lived within your means you whole life and socked away a chunk of your earnings consistently and didn’t get careless with your savings, you probably have a comfortable nest egg. Perhaps even enough to provide a nice inheritance for your children. Yay on you.

We lived carelessly during my peak earnings year. We ran up a lot of credit card debt and student loan debt. We got it all paid off, but there wasn’t anything left over to save. My parents were not wealthy so there was only a small estate that came when I was in my fifties.

In order for me to quit work and retire, we needed a country with a low cost of living. Costa Rica provides that. We are able to live here comfortably on $2000 a month or less. Many of our expat friends are living on less. Living simply in Costa Rica is easy because most of the population earns less than $5,000 per year.

You Have Never Lived in a Small Town

Unless you locate in the big dirty city of San Jose or any of the barrios surrounding the city, you’re going to live in a small town of 20,000 or fewer residence. If you don’t know how frustrating it is not having a Target or Home Depot or Publix or Auto Zone in your town, you won’t make it in Costa Rica. There is a whole culture built up around finding gringo-centric items… like horseradish, or knitting yarn, or windshield wipers or… you get the idea.

Small towns in Costa Rica are built around the Catholic Church – literally. In almost every town, the church is in the center with a park across the street. During non-work hours (for Ticos that’s Monday through Saturday) the park will be filled with people of all ages chatting and laughing. This is their entertainment: laughing with their friends and family.

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  1. Retire in Costa Rica - International Living

    September 12, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Thanks for sharing your unvarnished and honest perspective of Costa Rica. It is rural with a small town feel in many areas, which doesn’t work for everybody. And you can enjoy a simple life with relatively low income. That said, as you noted, it’s not for everybody.

  2. I find being a gourmet cook in Costa Rica as easy as cooking well in Alaska. You may not have everything in the world, but there are enough raw ingredients to make great food. I haven’t found tough pork there and coasts are close when looking for seafood.

  3. @robert: thanks for your comment. You are probably right – an excellent gourmet cook thrives on taking the local ingredients and making a fine meal. However, one of the things expats talk a lot about is finding spices and other ingredients that aren’t readily available at the local market.

  4. Vacationing in Costa Rica 3/25- 4/1, happen to be retiring (husband) immediately on returning to states. Flying into Liberia and staying at the Westin Playa Conchal. Any suggestions for us on things to experience in this Westin area. We live in Texas now and would love a less materialistic lifestyle.

  5. @Janet: don’t know anything about that area… have never been there. If you are seriously considering retiring in Costa Rica, you need to get away from tourist areas. It is a whole different experience (better.) Check the blogs on my site for a nice cross section from people who live here.
    Have a great time.

  6. I am surprised by the comment that the Costa Rican ocean “waters are not very clean.” What comparison is being made here? I can’t imagine that their waters (besides Jaco, of course) even approximate the problems that exist with ocean pollution everywhere that people live in the world today. And because fishing is done off-shore, I am not too sure that even San Jose’s runoff toward Jaco is going to make for a bad situation. One of the reasons I want to visit Costa Rica is to experience a beautiful ocean. My research hasn’t turned up any issues besides what is expected. I think if this were an article about southern California, then I would include a warning to check which beaches you end up at… What am I missing? Is this even accurate?

  7. Re: dirty ocean… The waters *look* dirty for the most part. Of course there are pristine looking waters, but I’ll stand by my unscientific personal opinion that Costa Rica waters are dirty. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Since this site was created the cost of electrical power in Costa Rica has increased dramatically, and is increasing another 16% in the near future.
    Many expats who cannot live in a hot climate without AC have moved back to the states, the $500. per month for electrical power was just too much for their budget. Groceries cost about the same as in the states, and the selection is far less. There is no eatable beef here, it’s like rubber, but the chicken is very good. Fruits and vegetables are less expensive than in the states. The cost of a car or anything imported is outrageously high, the government here imposes very high import taxes. We rarely hear of violent crime here, but petty theft is ramped. We live in a gated community with an armed guard, and we have bars on all of our windows and doors. It’s dark at 6pm and we can’t go outside the development gate at night. If the muggers don’t get you the drunk drivers will. The locals are friendly but many of them are lazy, which is why they import migrant workers from Nicaragua. Some Ticos will claim they need food but they’d never consider planting a fruit tree in their back yard. Even if they had a fruit tree they wouldn’t take the time to even water it. Home prices here are way out of line, they sell for almost double what they are worth, as you must take into consideration that the men who build homes down here earn as little as $4. per hour. The Gringos have destroyed the real estate market down here.

  9. Hi John,
    You state “many” expats are moving out of CR… without any attribution to back up your claim. I know personally of a Canadian who moved back and also a Kentuckian that moved in.
    You are correct that the cost of living here is increasing rapidly. We chose to live in an area that didn’t require a/c for that reason. Our last electric bill was USD$120. Fridge, electronics, washer, dryer (sometimes), four ceiling fans.
    I agree about the beef – and would add pork and chicken to the list. It’s all tough in my opinion.
    Agree on the food prices/selection
    Petty theft is not rampant in our area. I imagine living close to the tourist areas you would find a much more undesirable element. Something to consider for sure.
    I think lazy is prejorative and unfair to categorize an entire nation on your feelings.
    Home prices are of course VERY subjective anywhere in the world.
    Thanks for commenting.

  10. I am fortunate enough to have visited Costa Rica in 1999 and again in 2006. Friends retired to San Jose c. 2005 and have found it a mixed bag, pretty much like most other places (mixed bag-wise, I mean). It’s sad that the influx of Americans with their almighty dollars has changed the country so much. I noticed that the food in restaurants improved markedly between ’99 and ’06. In the latter trip I was traveling with vegetarian – pescatarians. We cooked our own meals most of the time, and the quality of the produce was fine. Admittedly, we brought our own spices with us! We stayed on the Nicoya Peninsula and our dinners out featured excellent fresh fish. It’s a beautiful country with its own unique culture and of course, many wonderful people. Too bad it appears that Americans may be ruining it… but still, I hope to go back at least one more time and see for myself.

  11. Mark,
    I am considering retiring to Costa Rica, but am on a fairly limited budget – Social Security and a state retirement. Unlike many North Americans, I would not be interested in living in a “remote/peaceful” small town or near the beach, nor would I be interested in buying property (I prefer to rent). I have travelled to Costa Rica many times over the last 20 years and have numerous Tico friends, mainly in San José, Sabanilla, San Pedro and Heredia. I have a college degree in Spanish and speak Spanish fluently, which has allowed me to understand the Tico culture and way of life perhaps better than your average expat. I prefer big cities to small towns and am accustomed to getting around using public transportation. I’m not interested in living amongst expats. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against “my fellow Americans” (quoting Richard Nixon), but I don’t see any sense in moving to Costa Rica to hang out with expats. I guess I’m really hoping to immerse myself in the Tico culture for maybe 4-5 years. So… my question to you is… is it conceivable that I could lead a simple, no-frills life (with maybe an occasional weekend trip to the beach) in the San José area (no farther than from downtown San José to Cartago or Heredia on around $1500/mo.? I’m single and do all my own cooking, cleaning and laundry. For entertainment I like to visit with friends/neighbors, read, play cards, attend an occasional movie and dance, so entertainment is not a big-ticket item for me. Thanks for your input.

  12. Jerry,
    All I know is that you could live in Atenas on your budget. And with your simple lifestyle, probably save money. ( or self-insure your medical needs.)

  13. I’m considering retiring to CR and wonder what the health care situation is and how much things cost. I have Type I Diabetes and manage it pretty well but I do need monthly supplies (insulin, insulin pump, needles, test strips, etc) as well as regular doctor visits. How would I go about determining what these and other factors would cost on a monthly/annual basis?

  14. My wife and I are planning a visit to C.R. next fall. Would fly to Liberia, rent a car, drive to Arenal area (Tabacon Spa) for a few days then to Flamingo Beach Resort for 5 or 6 days. Our purpose is to possibly find an area where we could rent, for a month or more, in the future. Any suggestions, comments or recommendations will be very much appreciated

  15. Steve.
    Health Care in Costa Rica is very cheap, as soon as you get your costa rican residency you ll be under the public health care system, paying $80- $100 a month, it ll include doctor visits, medication and medical tests.

    Most of the private hospitals work with USA medicare.

    • eric james lauch

      June 20, 2020 at 6:24 pm

      can a retired federal government worker use his/her bcbs insurance in costa rica?

      • Eric, no. Private insurance is available. Unless you have a chronic condition, consider not having private insurance and self-insuring. It depends on how much risk you want to assume.

  16. Al

    Since you are going to be around Arenal area , check out Nuevo Arenal town , around Lake Arenal, you ll love it.

  17. i am retiring United airline employee . I fly free so living near the airport would be best for me . I enjoy people and would like to be near the ocean . Being single ,I would also like to be near females that enjoy a fun guy ! I have looked at Belize but San Jose has more flights back to Houston ! I am currently downsizing for a simple fun life ! Is CR for me ?

  18. I have no experience as a geezer horn-dog, so I can’t answer your question.

  19. I’ve lived in Asia, speaking of different boy howdy! So I understand the problem with culture shock. Rent for a year absolutely good advice. Maybe rent entirely. You never know when political situations might change and Americans may not be so welcome. Just saying. We are not the most popular people in the world. Now where I lived in Asia nobody spoke English, and it’s surprising how well you can get along as you learn their language. You have to have a Type C or D personality to get along in any foreign country as an American. What we think is normal they think is very rude. Just living among expats would drive me nuts. Some expats are drunks, dopers, perverts, criminals, people you would never associate with at home. Why not consider the Caribbean, lots of cool English speaking places there. We like Costa Rica but are not that in love with Latino culture. If you don’t love the culture don’t do it.

  20. Javier, you mention that private hospitals in CR work with Medicare. How can that be? Medicare only covers a very limited range of items outside of the USA.
    I’m curious because my wife and I are considering a move there. We currently live in SE Asia, and have been here for 7 years. We would prefer to be in an environment closer to home. I speak Spanish (in fact, I do translations from Spanish to English) so that will make things easier. I’m curious about cost of living factors and I’m a little put off by the figures for electricity. Maybe we should stay here in Vietnam where my electric bill is about $20 a month.

  21. Wow Mark, great “mean spirited” response to ol’ Luther, who seemed to be sincere in his question and didn’t come across as a “horn dog” just cause he is a “fun guy” who likes females.

  22. Are there any tennis communities around the ocean? We are looking and and the only one we saw was in Jose.

  23. my husband&I are from Canada and planning to visit Costa Rica this fall for our anniversary and if all goes well,are seriously hoping to move there and rent a furnished place in the mountains when he retires in 6 years
    we would love to hear any feedback please

  24. I am divorced, and met a nice woman from CR online. We started as friends; but now talk/IM/email throughout the day, everyday and have for sometime now. I really like her. She is a Mom as well, which at this point in my life I am more than happy with.

    She is someone I could see myself married to. However, she has trepidation about moving her and her kids to the states. She speaks English quite well and I believe would adjust quickly here. I only speak conversational Spanish.

    I have a good career and a healthy savings. I could support her in the states. But my question is what would I expect to need money wise to survive comfortably down there with her and her kids? She of course works a decent job, but I don’t want to be a sponge. With my skill set I could get a job anywhere in world, but not knowing the language would be a huge detriment. So I am trying to figure out if it is realistic to think I could survive in CR until I get their language on savings alone? Or should I just hold that she needs to relocate here at some point?

  25. Tony,
    First, are you gonna live together in CR? This triggers a whole lot of legal concerns. Check it out.

    You legally can’t work as a laborer in CR- only as owner of a business. Check it out.

    Money? Will you rent? If yes, you can live on $1500 a month. Google living on $1500. There is a great site that documents this.

    Good luck.

  26. Suz,
    Six years? A lot can happen! What you find today in CR will change. Developing nations work like that.
    You’re on the right track- google is your friend. 🙂
    I have links to a lot of CR specific blogs on my site GoingLikeSixty.com. Some aren’t very active but still have good info.
    Facebook groups are also active.
    Above all, your anniversary/ vacation experience will be dramatically different than living here full time !

  27. My wife and I will soon be retired and CR looks very inviting. I’m 74 she 72 and our monthly income will be about $3,000. We’d rather rent an apartment rather than buy. I’ve read some very negative comments regarding high power bills, muggings, and some other things. I’m concerned because we’re not exactly young anymore. We don’t want to move somewhere where we may not have the peace and quiet we need. Maybe we’re looking for a non existing tropical paradise. Thank you for your input.

  28. Mike- Atenas has some beautiful 3 BR homes with pool in nice developments for $1500-$2000 a month. Since we live in the mountains, a/c isn’t necessary which keeps electricity costs down.
    I’m guessing it would be $200/mo for electricity.
    If you’ll be happy in a smaller 2 BR home w/ pool you can find them. Costs from $1000-$1500. 
    It’s hard to generalize about crime. In 5 years we have experienced no personal or property crime.
    Hope this helps. 

  29. I am retiring from the U.S. Military this September and will be receiving between $36,000-$48,000 annually. How realistic do you think it would be for my family (wife and 2 young children) to move there and live off of that income by the beach? Thank you.

  30. “This is their entertainment: laughing with their friends and family.”

    So what is wrong with that????

    All your reasons for why it won’t work are exactly why I would want to go there.

  31. Carax: NOTHING is wrong with that… but in context the point was that if you live in a larger city with museums, entertainment venues, movie theaters, nearby malls and other places to socialize, you MIGHT not be happy in a place where these are hard to come by.

    DO NOT ENJOY BIG CITIES BUT LOVE THE OCEAN. Yearly income is $21000.

    Thank you.

  33. Hi, I can’t help much because everybody is so different and this is such a personal decision. I can tell you that Atenas is a nice little town with good bus service. Flies and Fauna is everywhere in Costa Rica! There are plenty of single women of your age here. $21,000 a year doesn’t leave you much room, but it can be done.
    Good luck.

  34. I am an American living in Chile for 6 years and now thinking of where to retire. I was thinking about Cartagena, Colombia; Costa Rica; or Iquique, Chile. Reading these comments answered some questions for me. But I also can comment on what it is like in general for the gringo to come live in Latin America. I think 1/2 or more of you reading this are not good candidates for moving to Costa Rica or anywhere else.

    There are two approaches to such a life: (1) live as an expat and seek out other expats and (2) go native.

    I have done (2) but now am living alone again so was considering (1) to perhaps make some friends. Like the post said you will find it hard to make Latin friends since they live like clans. So for the male the thing to do is to look for a girlfriend. Anyway trying to live like an American down here you are going to be frustrated. I have lived mainly in a rural area. So I am used to there being no Walmart and to how backward things are.

    One thing I see here in Chile is that lots of expats hang out with other expats. So they end up learning no Spanish. Seems like you can do that in Costa Rica if you are willing to spend heavily to have that kind of gated community, Walmart, and expensive restaurant lifestyle. You would definitely make more friends as all those expats are seeking out other people. But it’s going to cost more and probably leave you frustrated when you do have to deal with the local government, the thieves, and the medical system, insurance, and all of that on down the road.

    So, which of the two kinds of expats will you be? The rich one living in isolation who ends up frustrated and goes back home? Or someone willing to dive into the culture and live like the locals? I am going to stay in the second category. I have gotten used to it too, but also I do not want to spend a zillion dollars trying to live like an American in a foreign country. Nowhere in Chile are there such expensive houses on the coasts and expensive boats like there are in Costa Rica. In Cartagena, Colombia there are expensive boats, but not all those really expensive houses. That might be a better bet for those of you needing a city. As for coming to Chile, forget about that. The ocean is too cold. The air temperature however is perfect. But there are no English speaking expats here outside Santiago.

  35. I’m very much interested in moving to Costa Rica preferably on the Caribbean side. I don’t need much at all. I do need a Dr to help me get the meds I take each day and I love my American sports so if it is possible to get some kind of dish or whatever they have down there. You see these are just two of the questions I have. If I could hook up with an expat that has lived there for a while and could answer my question it would make my ability to move there much easier. I don’t want to get off a plane and sleep on the beach till I find out the things I need to know. I see there is a good size city on the Caribbean coast called Limon I think and I was thinking they probably had a Dr and so forth. I get a monthly check for a $1000.00 and a few months ago I went to the internet to see where in the world a person could live comfortably on that amount. Costa Rica was one of those places. Anyway to cut to the chase I need someone to help me with my questions and perhaps know a place or two I could rent. It doesn’t have to be in a large city just as long as it’s close enough for me to get to the Dr. I won’t have a car. I live in the Cayman Islands 25 yrs ago and love the laid back way of life and I make friends really easily and enjoy getting to know their culture. If someone can help me please contact me at jeffdavis2464@hotmail.com
    . Thank You,
    . Jeff davis

  36. I am just beginning to research the best place to retire in Central/South America. Costa Rica is at the top of the list, along with Ecuador.

    @ JeffDavis@hotmail.com, did you find someone to chat with about your questions? If so, will you contact me? debrathomasceremony@gmail.com. Thank you!

  37. I may be missing something here, but can’t you just order what you want over the internet? (like spices, products, etc)

  38. roro,…
    Shipping into Costa Rica is expensive and iffy.
    Fed Ex and DHL are getting better to high population areas. Mail delivery is a gamble.

  39. Never been to CR, but considering a trip in order to see if we like it enough to put it on the list of where we might move to. Finances wouldn’t be a consideration, but … what is the internet situation around the country? I assume it’s available in the capital city, but what about elsewhere? And is it in sync with the electrical cost, meaning very high if you actually want to use it? Thanks.

  40. Internet is available. Kinda. 2-10 Mbps down for $60-100 month. Ask… More importantly, see for yourself.
    Kolbi ICE is nationwide with cable TV Internet. CRWiFi covers alot of the gringos.
    But VERIFY.

  41. Morton Zobotznyck

    March 3, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    We want to leave Trumpistan. Are there rental retirement centers that supply everything, all inclusive programs? There are no dopers in C R, are there? We have had bad experiences with those sorts in Eureka and don’t want that again.

  42. Morton:
    Yes, dopers are here.

  43. brent watson

    May 1, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    my wife and I are looking into retirement in costa rica. would like to know
    of towns around san jose that are decent.

    • Just visited friends that live on Lake Arenal. It is away from the big cities and very temperate. Rents are modest and the high 70 degree temps year round eliminate the need for AC.

      While my experience in CR is limited to resorts and their place, I would choose a place away from San Jose and Liberia, move to the mountains and enjoy the jungles and small towns.

  44. Mark Van Patten

    May 1, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Brent… Atenas, Grecia, San Ramon have a lot of expats.
    Your question is too generic… But there’s a start.

  45. I am a retired E-7 from the Navy and will soon be retired a 2nd time from the DOD as a civilian as will my wife, so I think I can meet the financial aspect quite easily. Our medical is covered by my retirement – would you happen to know if it eligible in CR? Never been, however I have traveled the world from Spain to Bahrain and have never had a problem with the locals or the small town environment. We just want a more peaceful lifestyle….

  46. Mark Van Patten

    May 23, 2017 at 1:35 am

    VA benefits are available in Costa Rica. But I’m not an expert.

  47. Mark, retiree here, caring for my mother for as long as I can keep her out of the nursing home. After that, I want out, far enough away my kids won’t be faced with the same decision. Some place where I can take advantage of altitude for a/c, yet be within a short drive of a beach. I’m looking in the Dominical/Uvita/Ojochal to San Isidro area, as I want someplace off the beaten path. Any thoughts on my choices and/or alternatives appreciated.

  48. Mark Van Patten

    May 25, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    R Harrison
    The Central Valley has a lot of expats for a reason. 60-90 minutes from the beaches, but close to larger cities with lots of medical care options. You can get to higher altitudes in the Central Valley, where a/c is very rare.

  49. I’m glad to find your website/blog. I’m building a house in the Tronadora area of Lake Arenal. Will move there permanently in Mar 2018. Needless to say, I am excited about this next adventure in my and my wife’s lives.
    You have such good info and down-to-earth advice. I’m gonna keep reading and monitoring your website. I really appreciate your helpful insites!

  50. I’m really looking for something no more than an hour from Uvita. Don’t mind living Tico style, almost prefer it. My number one priority is being close to a less touristy beach setting. Any ideas?

  51. Mark Van Patten

    May 27, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    I’m skeptical of Gringos that say they can live like Ticos. That’s like moving to a rural Mississippi trailer park. They are all cousins, have their own language, chicken and dogs everywhere, underemployed neighbors.
    I don’t know about Utiva area.
    Good luck.

  52. I meant housing style, rustic. I’m looking for long term rentals, not to buy. Something small, simple, private.

  53. mirtala angulo

    June 25, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Hello Mark,
    would you please direct me to the necessary website to find the legal side about moving as a retiree to costa rica… what kind of visa does one need?
    where does one apply ? where does one find a house? a realtor?
    do have info on there counties or just costa rica?

    Great article, great advise. I am looking forward to continuing emails with you.
    looking forward to your reply

  54. I’m thinking of a 1-2 week vacation over the Christmas holidays. MY purpose is to explore CR for possible 3-6 month residency each year. Where do I go to book a hotel (or 2 week rental) and find a guide to show me around?

  55. Mirtala: You’re asking for a lot. Google is your friend! If you don’t want to be bothered, I can help you out – email me directly.

  56. Marie: I recommend Airbnb.com – good for both short term and long term rentals. As far as a guide, I can’t help. Bring a friend and rent a car and explore the Central Valley yourself. 🙂 Also if you use Facebook, there are many groups for Costa Rica.

  57. Hi we have some Oceanview acreage on the Central Pacific coast at 1100 ft no need for air cond! We want to start a small sustainable community for retirees here. All the infrastructure has been installed. ICE electricity, spring fed water system and WiMAX internet. We have greenhouse and plan on raising chickens and goats. We have planted 400 fruit tree that are currently producing. You can build a home here for less than $150000 we have the local building crew and the first house has been completed. We have monkeys, toucans and scarlet macaws daily.
    If interested in our project email me at Knowink@yahoo.com.

  58. Hi. Please bear with me, I appreciate this has been asked many times so I apologise for the repetition. Is there anyone with experience of living in/around Liberia/Hermosa/Tamarindo area, who can tell me about monthly electric and water costs for a three bed house with a pool? Is a/c needed all, year round? Does it cool enough to turn off the a/c sometimes?

    Again, apologies for the repetition.

  59. Hello everyone…I’m looking into retiring in Costa Rica, but would prefer to rent, not buy. Most websites seem to cater to short term (vacation) rentals. Can anyone recommend sites that cater to those looking for long term (yearly) rentals? Thanks

  60. All real estate agents deal in long term rentals, sometimes to the detriment of those who have homes for sale.

  61. Hi Mark, I appreciate you taking the time to keep this website up and running! My hubby and I live in Houston, Texas and we are sick of the heat!! We want to live at an altitude (3 or more thousand feet) that does not require air conditioning. We prefer a small town setting that at least has healthcare services available. Can you recommend an area in CR that fits our requirements? Thanks so much!!

  62. Vicky, Atenas and the areas nearby.

  63. Dirty ocean water? It was brown ocean water outside the Cartagena, Colombia region also. Swam anyway, until we discovered they were dumping their raw sewage in it. This was years ago, maybe Costa Rica does the same, maybe not?

  64. Hi Mark- Thank you for all of this good info!

    We are from Northeast US w large extended family. Bro & sister in law retired and built beautiful home in Jamaica. As much as we love JA- it’s not for us- long term. Many friends have spoken of Costa Rica and we plan a visit next year to start to learn “lay of the land”.

    We will retire within next 4 years. Long term, steady income about $5K/month. Some medical (type 1 diabetes). Any idea for trajectory of costs in Costa Rica next 3-5 years? We love cooking, reading, walking,sun & surf, and are social– but at our age– we go to bed by 10pm…!

    Thoughts on location??– Don’t want to be in heavy duty tourist area (owned a cottage on Cape Cod MA so been there, done that…!) , don’t want to be too rural but DEFINITELY DO need to be near ocean. IF only we all had a crystal ball!!

    We recognize that Costa Rica is becoming quite popular, and housing supply & demand may be increasing $$. Would love your thoughts and speculation. Many thanks!

  65. Valuable service you are offering here–thanks. Appreciate your honesty, too. How possible is it to travel about the country w/o a car? Is there a decent bus system linking the towns?


    March 23, 2018 at 7:05 pm


  67. Hi I’m Beverly, 63 and live on disability. I am overwhelmed with paying all my bills in Northern California. Rent alone is over 1,700.00 a month. It does not include utilities and water. Every month I wonder when I will be kicked to the curb I am a native California. I am single. And wonder if I could live more comfortable i Costa Rica?

  68. Mark- terrific website. Learned a lot about CR from the comment section. I want to retire in CR in August 2019. Want to be near the water. Large lake or ocean. Fish is what I want to do. Pacific coast is preferred. I would prefer apartment style living; high rise is okay.. Rent only. I will be by myself. Any suggestions.

    Thank You

  69. You can in Panama, cuz AXA health plan, used to be Canal Health Plan, Retired feds can use it living there. It is a great deal, I know of no other country you can do this.

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