Top 10 List of What I Like Best About Living in Costa Rica

toucan
I was driving my son Sean into Pedregoso today so he could play video games with some of his friends. On the way he asked me what I missed the most from our former life in Oregon. I recalled having thought of something just a few days ago along those lines but couldn't bring it up at that moment (his was Dr Pepper). Maybe it's because there is so much to enjoy here in Costa Rica that I don't fret over comparisons to the "old life" that much. Be here now, right? 

So, I thought I'd make up a quick list of those things I enjoy about retiring here in Costa Rica. The order is not important. It's tough to say which features are better than others. It's not so much their presence individually, but the synergy of them taken together that makes me smile, relax, and want to share the goodness that we've found living here.

10. The lower cost of living, which allowed me to retire early. 

9. Knowing there is affordable health care available for our family, whether it be public or private.

8. Beautiful, often awe-inspiring, scenery in almost any corner of the country.


7. The general friendliness of the people. Clerks, who generally work 55 hours a week, are ready with a quick smile and a warm attitude. People I barely know waving at me as I pass by.


6. The wildlife that comes in so many shapes, colors, and interesting behaviors.

5. Warm ocean water. No more freezing my you-know-whats off. The Pacific side harbors endless favorite beaches. The Caribbean, with its calmer, clearer water is only a 6 hour drive away.

4. My morning Costa Rican coffee and mountain view, which I usually enjoy in shorts and T-shirt any day of the year.

3. Country living. I enjoy immensely our 7 acres of coffee, bananas, and forest, the ample space for my hobbies, the abundance of fresh air, fresh eggs and milk from the neighbors, etc.

2. Freedom from the U.S. 24/7 marketing machine and constant political drama. 

1. Friends and good neighbors. We have the friendliest neighbors and we've found so many good friends here, ex-pat and Tico alike. Good friends, after all, are what make any place special. It seems especially so in Costa Rica

So, what do you think of this list? What would be on your list for where you live now or where you might want to live later?

43 comments:

  1. Like this post too. I read the previous one afterwards which made me smile ;-) We live in the Forest of Dean in the UK and live with the changing seasons which is always reflected in the beautiful Forest. However, it's been one of the wettest years in history so a long wet season so far which means I can only be a little envious of your shorts and tshirt lifestyle!
    So no list, more of a taste of why we love to live here, more of a lifestyle choice similar in a way to yours but perhaps on a smaller scale :
    The pace of life is slower here due to the wildlife on the roads !! People have time for you too. 'Stretching for 27,000 acres, the Forest of Dean is a proper, fairy-tale forest – so much so that it inspired the darker chapters of works by both J R R Tolkien and J K Rowling.' The Romans lived here and it was once the hunting ground of Norman kings, and remains England's biggest oak forest. I am never bored .If you want to take a peek here is a link http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/general_ourarea.html- Here's to a happy future best wishes Pauline

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pauline, the link didn't work. I think it's the trailing hyphen, so here it is corrected:
    http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/general_ourarea.html

    Indeed, you have a uniquely beautiful area, just gorgeous. I wish I could come visit and explore that forest. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that! Glad you found us and you never know ;-)

      Delete
  3. Like Pauline, I also live in the UK. We moved to the West Country in search of a quieter life, and more or less have it. Lots of work to do on house and garden, but out of the rat race and don't miss it a bit. Could do with a bit of Costa Rican climate though!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I've always been a country person, though sometimes I wonder if I need all the extra work. Keeps me fit I suppose.

      Delete
  4. Hi, i am from Houston tx. and spent 6 moth in costa rica 20 minutes away from la fortuna, and is was awesome, i enjoyed my morning coffee with a bunch of birds, iguanas and sloths, i hardly drank soda, just natives fruit juice, and organic vegetables / fruits .... any way i am going back in september, by the way i am 65, retired, married with the same dame for more than 35 years, and she loves all the flowers in costa rica ....best regards !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola Mauricio!

      As you can see elsewhere in the blog we made a trip to Arenal, but didn't go over the dam into La Fortuna that trip. Beautiful area, no doubt about it! Hope you can come visit La Zona Sur on your next trip down.

      Pura vida!

      Delete
  5. 9Here's my list:

    Natural wonders abound on it’s unspoiled beaches, rain forests, mountains and rivers. With an average temperature of between 71 and 83 degrees year round and 9 degrees above the equator, it is tropical and sub tropical. Emphasis on the environment makes Costa Rica the envy of many developed nations. Quality of life is rated as one of the highest in the western hemisphere. Astounding beauty, pure air and clean drinking water, abundant hydro electric energy and a stable democratic society all contribute to the high ranks of this tiny nation, by international travelers. The government’s encouragement toward foreign investment and the right to own property by foreigners has done much to put Costa Rica in the spotlight internationally. Baby Boomers looking for quality of life, affordable health care, a welcoming people, a relaxed life style and healthy living are quickly discovering this gem. With two modern international airports and a third on the way, travelers can find convenient direct flights from many major gateway cities in the US in just over two hours. Americans need only a passport to visit Costa Rica and there are a number of ways to be granted residency, without giving up your US Passport.

    Steve Linder
    Pacific Lots of Costa Rica
    www.PacificLots.com
    305-295-0137 direct
    877-481-0300 US only toll free
    Read our blog: www.PacificLots.com/Costa-Rica-Blog/
    Photos of our Developments http://picasaweb.google.com/pacificlots

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Steve,

      And that third airport?? When? :)

      - Casey

      Delete
  6. Steve/Casey,
    Thanks to both of you for reinforcing our decision to move to CR soon. We will be vacationing there to confirm, but plan to move to the Osa region in November.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Osa is a beautiful area, nice choice. Feel free to contact us when you come for your next visit since we're practically on the way to Osa.

      Pura vida,

      Casey

      Delete
  7. Casey, I'm enjoying this blog immensely. I retire this fall and will take a year to prepare the house for sale, dispose of over 30 years accumulation of ...Junk. Then the wife retires and we move to our condo in Tamarindo.

    Your blog keeps my spirits up when the preparations seem overwhelming. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Scott, comments like yours keep my spirits up for more writing. Yes, I remember all too well what you are going through. We had like an endless garage sale for 3 months before we came down.

      Delete
  8. Hello.
    Sounds like you're enjoying your retirement. Nice post & awesome photo! Thanks for sharing.
    Visiting from Ropcorn's weekend blog hop.

    Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andy,

      Thanks for hopping by! :)

      - Casey

      Delete
  9. seems attractive and comfortable living in costa rica, what makes you attracted to live in this area and the tranquility that how you mean?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seo, all I can say is my blood pressure is down 20 points since coming here.

      Delete
  10. The life you describe sounds so tranquil and peaceful. And its a truly beautiful country. You make me yearn for what you've found there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not all a bed of roses Nell, but it is pretty nice to be able to have my morning coffee on the balcony in T-shirts and shorts each day.

      Delete
  11. I so love hearing more stories of people living what I call the SIMPLY ABUNDANT life! So cool that you took the risk of letting go of the uncomfortable "comfort zone" to be, do and have what your heart and soul are calling forth. We are planning our first trip there, so I will definitely be reading more of your blogs. Enjoy the Pura Vida!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a big step off what looked like a big cliff, but which actually was not that far. You get trained to have a HUGE comfort zone in many developed countries, but simplicity is much more worthwhile, imho.

      Delete
  12. Sounds like bliss, one place I would love to visit is Costa Rica your post wets my appetite even more. Sounds my kind of heaven :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bliss until you have to deal with some dopey bureaucrat who barely understands the arcane process they are putting you through themselves (see many other posts on that topic!), but 95% of the time, ... yeah.

      Delete
  13. No period in Dr Pepper. (from a big Dr Pepper fan)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Wayne,

    Never knew that! Corrected it here and in one other post that I guess you didn't see yet. :) Thanks!

    - Casey

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good to hear u enjoy the place u live in

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is the ideal place for me ~ peace and quiet.
    You made a wise decision of retiring in Costa Rica.
    I am retiring soon myself and will definitely use some on your list, if not all.

    Let's enjoy life to the fullest, Casey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Couldn't agree more Freddie!

      Delete
  17. After that blog about the immense troubles of getting a residency permit in CR this post is a bit more encouraging. Do you have to have residency before you can purchase land or a house? I am coming in August to tour about but mostly in the Arenal area as I love the fresh water and cooler temps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suzanne and Guy, we're due up for the next renewal soon. Hoping it will go better than the last one.

      No, you don't need residency to buy property. We bought ours long before our first cédula. Typically, you create a corporation to hold and protect the asset and it buys the property. Recently, the gov't instituted a new tax on corps., however. It's about $160/year for a non-active corp. and indexed to particular gov't employee wage, so expect a 5-10% increase each year.

      There are lots of cooler temps anywhere above 3000 feet. Above 5000 it's too cloudy. Most of Arenal is too windy for me, though I heard that at the Nuevo Arenal end it's better. Hope you have time to tour a little in our area.

      Delete
  18. Affordable healthcare has to be a winner!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's the system like over there? Or did you already make a post about that?

      Delete
  19. Casey, just now reading this post. I like your list. After 3 months, I certainly have a list, but imagine it will change as we adjust to our new life here in CR. Even now, after researching and moving, it is nice being connected to those who have blazed ahead of us - thanks for writing; I enjoy your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Greg,

      Yes, it definitely takes a while to settle in before you can take a good look around and assess what you appreciate best about your new environment. Enjoy the journey!

      Delete
  20. Hi Casey, I can vouch for the pleasure of a CR coffee & your breathtaking mountain view. My photo of your view is now my screen wallpaper. BTW: Sheila and I moved to Asheville NC, also beautiful and a great place to live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michael and Sheila, So nice to hear from you! Is the NC move a permanent one? Would love to hear all about your choice and about how you are settling in.

      Delete
  21. Hello Casey. Just found this wonderful blog. Susan and I have been on three relatively short visits to CR paradise and are planning on seque-ing into longer stays, renting first and buying once we know where. Does your site have a map and description of your particular area?

    Can you suggest a site or link that focuses on detailed descriptions of areas/regions in some sort of comparative way? From what I read so far, the paradise blends in throughout, but there are no doubt numerous differences aside from climate at various elevations and east vs. west coast.

    Thanks.

    Jason in San Francisco Bay Area

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jason,

      http://costa-rica-guide.com/travel/weather/weather-map-rainfall/ has a neat rainfall map with a widget that shows annual distribution of said rainfall.

      This has a brief description of various regions: http://www.costaricaguides.com/costa_rica_regions/

      http://www.frommers.com/destinations/costa-rica/733115 is another one from Frommer's.

      However, you have to take these with a big grain of salt as they are usually written by someone from afar. For instance, it says our region is "hot and humid" in one guide, which is only true at the coast. Also, it's very difficult to pin down climate as it can vary significantly within a 10km radius, seriously.

      You can discern some qualities of climate from individual blogs, but naturally they are biased to the region they chose, as we are.

      One thing most sites won't tell you about is the wind patterns. Up north in the C. Valley, for instance, they experience steady, strong trade winds for months at the beginning of the year. The Arenal area is also very windy most of the year.

      You are approaching your move the right way in my opinion. Stay mobile and check out various parts of the country. If possible, spend several months or more in a single area to get a sense of the climate and what's going on in that region.

      Personally, we like the S. Zone because it seems to be less gringo-ized, more peaceful and populated with honest, hardworking, cheerful people, and pretty much gets left out of the craziness in the San José area.

      Drop me a line anytime if you have more questions: adullroar@tomochka.com

      Delete
  22. Hello Casey - I have just discovered your blog and, for the past couple hours, have been reading through some of your posts. Being a brutally honest & analytical person, I very much appreciate your straightforward commentary.
    I have been seriously researching, since last November, alternate places to live outside the U.S. As my husband is a PGA pro, we live 6 months in Florida and 6 months in northern New Hampshire (I am NOT a golfer). We visited Los Cabos, MX in April, as a carrot for my husband (due to the plethora of quality golf courses). Unfortunately, due to the rise of cartel violence (even in Los Cabos) and Trump's constant hostility toward Mexico, we are rethinking our safety in a move to that country.
    So we return to my 1st choice - Costa Rica. However, we will need to locate within 1/2 hour of a quality golf course. I have narrowed in on the Central Valley, due to its climate and proximity to golf, but neither of us are city people. Any recommendations on smaller towns in the Central Valley that you've visited, close to public transportation, as nice places to explore as a possible home?
    Also enjoyed the insights given on your posts about residency. Our next biggest concern is access to affordable quality health care, which was driving my desire to establish residency. We would continue to spend summers in New Hampshire, as it is my husband's home (also elderly parents there). Do you know if it's possible to buy private health insurance in Costa Rica (I'm rethinking the need for Caja, thanks to your blog) as a tourist who comes to live in the winters?
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and thorough information, Kathi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you'll definitely want to stay either in the Central Valley, maybe one of the outlying towns such as Atenas or Grecia or in Guanacaste/Nicoya Peninsula. Honestly, I don't know about the availability of golf courses here, probably not many. Yes, there are international health insurers, I see them mentioned now and then. Probably the best hospital is CIMA in SJ and I think they have their own insurance plan. Check out the Expatriates in Costa Rica FB group, it's open. You'll get lots (too many) opinions there but it's a good place to start. Look for Rob Evans there, he posts frequently and I think he has the CIMA plan. If you get residency, there is no way around Caja but if you get pensionado the premium will not be too bad, especially if you can get in on a pension that is close to the $1K/month minimum, because the premium will be based off that. Email me if you have questions.

      Delete
  23. Thank you for your reply Casey. We've got some time to go before qualifying for pensionado residency, but we're at a point where he can give up the Florida job (semi-retire) and spend winters in Costa Rica. He'd like to volunteer at one of the courses to help with their junior program for local kids. We were heartened to see that some of the Costa Rica golf courses seem to have a much more inclusive attitude toward locals, especially as compared to Los Cabos.
    We're planning on coming down either in October or April (his breaks between his two job locations) to see if we'd fit in well with Costa Rica. Atenas was one of the towns I narrowed in on early in the search! I liked the Guanacaste/Nicoya Peninsula, but the temperatures may be too hot - and we like rural mountains (won't miss Florida). I'm hoping public transportation is going to be workable, as I don't know that we would want to deal with the logistics/costs of owning a car.
    Thank you again, and I will look into the international health insurance as you suggest. Kathi

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for your comment! - Casey

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...