FAQ’s & Answers When Relocating to Costa Rica

Costa Rica has many attractions and not we’re nHammockot just talking about zip-lining above the cloud forest of Monteverde. There are so many reasons to relocate to this beautiful, paradise-filled country. Considering Costa Rica runs off of renewable resources, is extremely eco-friendly, has tendencies towards healthy living and obtains an abundance of the world’s most friendly people, it is not only a wonderful place in which to vacation but it is also top of the list in terms of retirement destinations. Due to the low cost of living, the versatile and luxuriant different landscapes, slow pace of life and year-round beautiful weather, it is truly a tranquil place to rebuild your life. A lot of expats and foreigners from all over the world come to this country to experience the “Pura Vida” lifestyle. However, before you decide to make a permanent move, it is best to test the waters. There is certainly no shortage of vacation homes, rentals and villas available so before you decide to completely relocate, you may have some questions that require realistic answers. Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions when making the decision to move to paradise; we hope you find the answers to be accommodating to all your needs.

  1. When considering retirement, where should one think of relocating?

If you’re searching for cooler, spring-like weather, which makes the need for air conditioning obsolete, you may want to consider Northern to Central Costa Rica. Grecia, Escauzu,or Santa Ana and other regions such as La Fortuna or Arenal are not only beautiful but comfortable due to the refreshing climate. You will find that each town has its own charms and no two cities are alike. You will also learn quickly that there is a large difference between a city and a town when you relocate down here. Some people like the small town feel while others prefer to be in the bustle of the city, near crowds of people and closer to the comforts of home that can be harder to find when you choose a beach town like Jaco, Tamarindo or Manuel Antonio. The smaller beach towns are usually located in the South, either along the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean side of Costa Rica where the weather is much warmer. Either way, there is a place for everyone. You can find a perfectly quaint suburb in the city of San Jose or something more exotic in a renowned beach town, perfect for surfing like Puerto Viejo. No matter where you land, you can still find modern amenities and an abundance of housing options for whatever your comfort level may be.

  1. Is it easy to obtain residency?

Whether attempting to obtain permanent residency or temporary residency you are most likely going to need the assistance of an efficient and skilled immigration lawyer. To be on the safe side, it is best to find someone that understands the four different types of residency that most foreigners can acquire. These four include: “un pensionado” or retiree, “una rentisa” or one with an income or annuity, “una inversionista” more commonly known as an investor or those that obtain special work-related skills like executives or scientists. The fourth is a temporary residency that is one safeguarded to those that are married to a Costa Rican citizen, have a child in the country with a Costa Rican citizen or is expecting a child on the way.

  1. How accessible is healthcare?San-Jose-City-Costa-Rica

Costa Rica has an extremely affordable healthcare system and is rated to be one of the best in Latin American countries. Residents and tourists alike have access to some of the finest and most popular public and private hospitals. All those that are looking to relocate to Costa Rica should look into international health insurance but even without, often times healthcare is affordable and obtainable. Some of the more common hospitals have skilled staff members with bilingual specialists. The names of these hospitals include: CIMA, Clinica Biblica, and Clinica Catolica. They are the three that are affiliated with U.S. facilities and for the most part cost ½ of what healthcare costs in the United States. These top-notch facilities are mostly located in or near the city of San Jose so if you are injured further away in a secluded beach town or jungle-area there is no need to panic. These facilities often times have specialty helicopters to get you into their care as quickly and safely as possible.

  1. How long can I stay on a tourist visa?Map of Costa Rica

If you’re visiting Costa Rica from the United States or Canada, a tourist visa will run for up to 90 days. After 90 days within Costa Rica, you have a couple of options. In order to obtain another 90 day visa on your passport to stay in Costa Rica, you must temporarily leave the country for 2-3 days. This might be a trip back to your hometown in the United States or Canada or you can simply take a long weekend and vacation in the north towards Nicaragua or down south in Panama. If you’re thinking of making Costa Rica your home and want to avoid the hassle of obtaining a tourist visa every three months, you should seriously invest some time and money into temporary residency. After three years as a temporary resident, you will automatically qualify for permanent residency and can move forward towards creating a new home in this beautiful country.

  1. Which is wiser; bringing my personal possessions from home or buying new things?

Although there are companies that will gladly ship your possessions down to your new home in Costa Rica, it can often times be costly and a lengthy experience. This is truly a personal decision for each person. Depending on your attachment to sentimental possessions and your attachment to possessions in general, you may feel it is best to bring what is important to you and simply leave the rest behind. There are places to buy new appliances, mattresses, and household furnishings and you might even find that you like your new home to be freshly decorated with native, Costa Rican knack.

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