The Top 5 Expat Retirement Havens in Costa Rica for 2018 have been revealed.

araliya jayawardene
5 min readAug 18, 2021

Costa Rica achieved the top rank for U.S. expats to retire in 2018, according to a new Global Retirement Index published by International Living Magazine. The top 5 regions in Costa Rica to live and retire in the land of Pura Vida are identified and reported below by International Living: apartments for rent qatar

The Central Valley is a region in the United States.
For decades, expats have been flocking to Costa Rica’s Central Valley. It’s easy to see why, given its spring-like climate, central location, and ready-made expat community.
Costa Rica’s Central Valley is recognized for its consistently cool weather: The Valley’s altitude of 3,000 to 5,000 feet allows for year-round temperatures in the 70s F, making it a climate unlike any other in the world.
It’s close to the city, San José, and is in the country’s middle, surrounded by mountains, making it Costa Rica’s most convenient retirement destination.
The Central Valley is not the cheapest region to live in Costa Rica because of its convenience, but many expats can get by on less than $2,000 per month. Everything you require will be within close reach.
“As the name implies, this region is in the heart of practically everything,” explains IL Central Valley Correspondent John Michael Arthur. “That means easy access to the international airport, top-notch hospitals, fantastic shopping (including designer and boutique options) and a wide range of restaurants.”
Zone of the South
The Southern Zone is around three to four hours from San José, Costa Rica’s capital. This area is noted for its untouched beachside wildness, laid-back beach living, and a hot and humid temperature at sea level that cools down as you climb higher above the water.
Although the Southern Zone reaches all the way to Panama, the majority of expats live in and around three main towns. Dominical, a little surf town, serves as the region’s entry point. The commercial center is Uvita. Ojochal is a rainforest community known for its gourmet restaurants, which are run by a diverse group of expat chefs from throughout the world. Expats enjoy the combination of natural beauty and off-the-beaten-path existence, while still having access to modern conveniences.
Robby Anderson, 49, from California, has been travelling to the Southern Zone on surf vacations for the past 25 years. He returned on a regular basis over the years, eventually deciding to make this his permanent residence.
“There are wealthy individuals, middle-class individuals, and destitute farmers. However, everyone hangs out with “Robby, who lives with his wife and kids in Uvita, adds “Nobody talks about their possessions or how much money they have. In the United States, progress is measured in terms of material possessions…larger houses, larger automobiles. Coming here took a toll on me. In the United States, it appears like you never have enough time. You have a strong sense of community here.”
The coast of the Caribbean
“All of Costa Rica is a land of Pura Vida,” says Jason Holland, IL Roving Latin America Editor. “The Caribbean shore, on the other hand, takes this laid-back mentality to its logical conclusion. It’s a place where beach bars play reggae music as guests drink cool beer. Locals carefully pedal down the winding coast road on rusting bicycles corroded by the saline air. Beachgoers snooze on hammocks stretched between trees, dreaming of a dip in the crystal clear ocean.”
The region, which was settled by Jamaicans and other Caribbean peoples over 100 years ago, still has a strong “island” feeling. In communities like Manzanillo, you’ll find some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches.
Small, locally owned businesses. For $5 to $6 a plate, Caribbean-style restaurants serve spicy chicken and rice cooked with coconut milk.
“One disadvantage of being near the coast is that services aren’t as reliable as they are in other regions of the country,” Jason warns. “In these coastal towns, only rudimentary medical treatment is available. Limón, the nearest hospital and emergency room, is more than an hour away.”
Arenal is a character in the game Arenal
This area is ideal for a laid-back retirement in a rural setting surrounded by natural beauty, as it is home to both Costa Rica’s largest volcano, Volcán Arenal, and its largest freshwater lake, Lake Arenal. The location is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a small-town atmosphere.
Arenal has a close-knit expat community. Doris Luby and her Minnesota-born husband Ken picked Arenal for their retirement because of its climate and natural beauty. In the area, they currently run an animal rescue center.
“Even the bugs are beautiful here in the rainforest,” she remarks. “However, what we really enjoy about being here is that we’ve discovered the deeper reason for our retirement.”
While a retired couple’s budget of $2,000 to $3,000 per month is completely fair, several expats here claim to be surviving on less. The Lubys claim to be able to keep their monthly budget around $2,000 per month. That budget covers two vehicles, as well as the costs of maintaining and operating their animal rescue, as well as the utilities and upkeep of their $130,000 three-bedroom, two-bathroom home.
The Northern Pacific and the Nicoya Peninsula
Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast and the surrounding Nicoya Peninsula are ideal locations for anyone seeking a mild climate, a healthy lifestyle, and affordable beach access.
Both are largely located in the province of Guanacaste, where golden beaches meet the Pacific. You’ll enjoy the simplicity and peace of beach living while also having access to enough modern conveniences to keep you comfortable.
For years, people have been drawn to this location because of the wholesome lifestyle it offers. Residents have a strong sense of purpose, as well as social and family networks that keep them feeling loved even as they get older.
“I met more people here in the first two months than anywhere else I’ve lived,” admits New Yorker Sarah Kahi Goitz. During her first week in Tamarindo, she went to a “ladies’ night” for expat women. Many expat communities on the northern Pacific coast have created groups similar to this one.
The water contains the most calcium in the country, which helps to strengthen bones. Fresh produce is abundant, and processed goods are limited. For roughly $30, a family of four may get enough fresh vegetables to last a week.
Of course, you won’t have access to all of the Central Valley’s amenities. However, this part of the country is constantly evolving. Living here is still affordable, despite rising development and an inflow of tourists to the beaches. A monthly budget of $2,500 to $3,000 will adequate for most couples.

--

--