Why Costa Rica
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2012
Every year, thousands of North Americans consider relocation abroad. Thanks to its tropical climate, low cost of living and natural beauty, Costa Rica is home to more Americans per capita than any other country outside the United States. It is considered the “greenest, happiest country in the world” and boasts one of the highest standards of living in Latin America.
We recommend that anyone considering a move to Costa Rica visit the country as a tourist first. Stay as long as possible to get a real sense of the cultural and social differences in your potential new home. Citizens of the United States, Canada and most European countries may stay as a tourist for up to three months. With the growing costs in housing and medical care, living abroad is an attractive alternative for many; visit Costa Rica and you'll quickly discover why it's one of the most desirable relocation destinations in the world.
Cost of Living
Living basics like housing and utilities are very economical; single-family homes start at $250/month to rent and $50,000 for purchase, and utilities are a fraction of their North American counterpart. Labor and services are less expensive in Costa Rica, while you’ll pay more for imported goods than you would back home. Expats interested in simple living should budget $1500 or less monthly, though much depends on your lifestyle and needs.
Costa Rica is known for its excellent medical care and affordable prices. Residents have two options: the public heath care system alone, or the public system combined with private insurance. Private plans cost around $50-$100/month, and offer access to a selection of modern hospitals and clinics throughout the country.
Costa Rica is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries on the planet; cloud forests and volcanoes are only a few hours drive from tropical beaches and lowland rainforest. National parks, reserves and refuges protect more than 25% of the country’s land.
Most North American destinations are a short plane ride from Costa Rica:
- San Jose to Miami: 2 hours, 30 minutes
- San Jose to Houston: 3 hours, 45 minutes
- San Jose to Los Angeles: 5 hours, 30 minutes
- San Jose to New York: 5 hours, 10 minutes
- San Jose to Quebec: 8 hours, 30 minutes
The country has a stable government that has functioned peaceably without an army for more than 60 years. Since there is no army, the government pours more funds into education, health care and infrastructure. Unlike many Central American nations, Costa Rica has a large middle class and extreme poverty is rare, reducing crime rates considerably.
The country’s protective laws make Costa Rica an ideal location for real estate purchases. Foreigners enjoy the same rights as do Costa Ricans in terms of real estate ownership. All titled, fee simple properties are registered in the National Registry of Costa Rica, which help protect your ownership rights. In addition, the annual property tax in Costa Rica is .25% and there is no Capital Gains Tax, making investment opportunities even more appealing.