Consistently voted as one of the favorite countries to retire in, Costa Rica shows no signs of losing interest among American retirees. Thanks to a combination of great weather, political stability, natural beauty and great healthcare services, Costa Rica continues to surge in popularity as a favorite international destination.
Another great reason to consider Costa Rica is that the real estate market is so stable. What with so many Americans, Canadians and Europeans flocking to the country, construction in the residential real estate sector is booming.
Costa Rica is the ideal spot to purchase a new home for so many expats, be they your regular Joe or Hollywood superstars like Mel Gibson. Retirees generally have a very easy time in establishing their residency. Those who wish to become a permanent resident in Costa Rica can do so very easily, with the government only requiring that they can show a guaranteed income of $1,000 per month. The local real estate market also caters to people of varying incomes, so it means there are options for everyone – be it a luxury, multi-million beachside villa or a smaller, simpler home for under $100,000. With many choices, expats can easily find a place suitable to their individual tastes and preferences while enjoying a bit of the local flavor and color. For retirees on a fixed income, living in Costa Rica is one great way to reduce the financial pressure they may find themselves under back home. A dollar goes a lot further in Costa Rica than it does back home.
Most of all though, Costa Rica is an easy place for expats to assimilate into and blend in with the local culture. Costa Rica is a laid back country where one can easily carve out a comfortable and rewarding lifestyle.
Rather than go diving in at the deep end and buying a home on your first visit, it’s much better to take the time to check out the landscape first.
The best way to do so is to rent a place to stay for a while. Doing so gives you an opportunity to see for yourself what day to day life is really like in the part of Costa Rica you choose. You can even check out several different regions of the country to see where you like best.
Long-term rentals can be hard to find in the popular beach areas, because many home and condo owners prefer vacation rentals where they can pull in a thousand bucks or more a week during high season. But there are still many long-term rentals to be found from landlords and property management companies that prefer responsible, long-term tenants. Failing that, the Arenal and Central Valley regions are abundant with long-term rentals, if one is interested in getting away from the most heavily touristed areas.
When searching for a rental home or condo in Costa Rica, be sure to check out local resources and real estate websites. Many sites have classified sections where long-term rentals are listed, though most will be vacation rentals and properties for sale. Still, it’s often possible to negotiate with the owners or managers and ask them if they’re interested in a long-term lease. Most will be game if the property is currently empty with no leads on the horizon.
Most retirees find it’s possible to live a good lifestyle at a much more affordable price in Costa Rica than it is at home. One can easily live on a budget of $1,500 a month (rent included) in Costa Rica. After all, most locals make do with an average annual income of just $11,000. The trick, as in any place, is to eat and shop like the locals as much as possible.
This means avoiding overpriced things like the imported items from back home you’ll find in the luxury grocery stores designed to serve expats. Sure it’s okay to treat yourself once in a while, but the prices in such places are comparable to the U.S. The same goes for restaurants too. While it’s okay to eat out once or twice a week, try not to make a habit of it if you want to save some cash. Instead, do your weekly shop at the local “feria”, or farmer’s market, which can be found in almost every town, city and village in the country. The prices are insanely cheap, with 6lbs of mangoes selling for $2, pineapples costing $1.30 each and tomatoes going for around 50 cents a pound.
For those who live near the coast, it’s possible to pick up fresh fish from the numerous roadside stands at incredibly cheap prices – for example, a huge two-pound fillet will cost just $10-$12, which sushi-grade tuna can be had for $15 for two pounds.