Retire in Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica (capital)
Beautiful Sunsets


According to Travel Market Report, roughly 3.3 million American baby boomers claim that they intend to retire abroad.

As prices continue to rise in the US and health care costs remain a huge concern for many retirees looking to retire on the cheap, there has been an increasing number of expats relocating to countries in Central America. 

Costa Rica is still a first choice destination for many of those seeking a better life abroad. 

About Costa Rica 

Costa Rica boasts 27 hurricane free micro climates, abundant and inexpensive highlands real estate up out of the tropical heat, humidity and bugs of the coastal areas, and a welcoming attitude by the Tico people. 

It's not as inexpensive as it used to be but a typical Social Security income of $2,000/month for a couple will provide enough money to live in a good house, have a part-time maid or gardener, and still have enough left over at the end of the month for a little fun.
  • Jobs are not easy to find although starting a business is feasible. 
  • Retirement visas can be obtained (you can file papers yourself although the process can become a bit problematic). For a more seamless process it is recommended that you seek the help of a lawyer. BEWARE - Lawyers are lawyers everywhere (some good and some not so good). Be sure to do your research before hiring one and NEVER pay their entire fee upfront.
  • English is spoken more and more in Costa Rica, and you can probably get away with not speaking Spanish. However, it is recommended that you learn at least some basic Spanish. It will also help you feel more like you are a part of the community. Being able to speak some Spanish is a must outside of the capital
  • Anyone in the country can legally buy and own real estate (it is advisable to rent for at least a year BEFORE buying any real estate). Do not be lured in by the hype of the many ads hawking cheap real estate. Although real estate is very affordable (beware of scams) and be sure that you know that you really want to live in Costa Rica first. Investigate the areas and get to know the culture before buying. Make 'rent before you buy' your mantra!
  • Cars and other 'luxury' items are heavily tariffed
  • Electricity rates are on the rise so keep that in mind when choosing a location to live. (if you want to live at the beach where it is HOT you will be spending more on electricity to run that air conditioner
Costa Rica boasts top notch medical facilities (with English speaking doctors trained in the U.S affordable health care costs for a fraction of US costs and inexpensive medication costs
  • Once again the topic of CRIME comes up. Once again, I will say, what you classify as high crime is relative. Always stay vigilant and don't make yourself a target. 
Costa Rica Travelog
You might as well take advantage of the ton or research I've done (and I will share more on this blog) I've also communicated with many people who have first hand knowledge about living in Costa Rica.
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  1. Thank you so much for your blog. Awesome info. My boyfriend and I are planning on relocating to Costa Rica in the next couple of years (we'll be there on vacation later this year), and we're hoping to be in a place where there are other African Americans. We're also just looking for a small house (i.e. 2 beds/1 bath), in an area with Native CR's - not the "estates" many expats look for. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated! Thanks - Tracey

  2. Thank you for your comment and Sorry it took me so long to respond was working n the webinar for Black Women Thriving Abroad. Email me @ if you would like me to send you more info on Costa Rica relocation

  3. Your blog has been so helpful for me to make an exist from California to Costa Rica. I was vacationing in Costa Rica in November 2016 but on the caribbean side. My move will be in July 2017 and I want to explore the westside. It would be wonderful to meet other African American who have made this transition to Costa Rica. I hope to be able to communicate with you about relocating and finding a house. Thanks so much for taking the time to help other. Shirley

    1. Hi Shirley, thank you for your comment. Re houses, I am only familiar (slightly) with rentals in the Grecia area however, it shouldn't be too difficult to find something in any of the more populated areas. Let me know where you decide to settle and Congrats and Best Wishes on your decision to make the move!!

    2. Devon, I want to start in Grecia for the first month and start looking at other area once I am there. I will be traveling by myself and it will be comforting nothing I have a place to stay once I arrive. If you can assist me in any way I will be so thankful. Thanks again for answering me so promptly Shirley.

    3. email me

  4. I am think of relocating to CR sometime in 2018 from Phoenix, AZ to retire. I've learned quite a bit from you blog board here about the niceties and negatives issues regarding relocation there and have learned that its much wiser to rent the first year there and to consult with and have an attorney when buying and registering as a new citizen/retirery there but I'm very curious, can folks here who have already been through the process of relccating there and among many issues to address, what is healthcare like there??? All answers will be appreciated.....and thanks in advance!

    1. Thank you for your question - Healthcare is affordable and good from what I know. Better in larger cities such as San Jose. Expat friends have used the services here with no complaints and always brag about how much less it is here than back in the states.

  5. Nice post...Thank you so much for your blog. Awesome info.
    Costa Rica Relocation