Where to live in Costa Rica? — A difficult task for retirees

One of the dilemas future retirees face when deciding to relocate to Costa Rica is, Where do I live? The problem is that the country offers so many great locations from which to choose. Frequently, I am asked on my monthly relocation and retirement tours, What are the best areas for living in Costa Rica? I answer by saying that there are many places but what it really boils down to is one’s lifestyle and personal taste.I n fact, I know Americans who move several times before they find their “slice of paradise.”

If you are a beach person there are a whole string of gorgeous tropical beaches which extend from the northern border with Nicaragua to Panama in the south. Flamingo, Tamarindo, Nosara, Sámara, Carrillo, Mal País, Santa Teresa, Montezuma and Tambor are just a few of the beaches located in the Northwest Pacific and the Nicoya Peninsula.


In the Central Pacific are: Punta Leona, Herradura, Jacó, Hermosa, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Quepos and Matapalo.

As you move to the South between Domincal and Ojochal/Tortuga there about a dozen beaches. The city San Isidro, located about one-half hour inland from Dominical, is also popular with expats.

Further south and to the north of Panamá are more out-of-the-way spots like Carate and Pavones. The latter is one of the best surfing beaches in the world.

The east coast doesn’t offer as many choices, with only Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Uvita and Manzanillo being the most popular places to reside with foreign retirees.

You have to be a special breed to live in any beach area which can be oppressively hot and humid, can lead to high utility bills because of AC, tend to be isolated, and are often boring for full-time living.


Some retirees live around the Lake Arenal area, but the majority choose to reside in the Central Valley in places like the outskirts of San José, Escazú, Heredia, Alajuela, Atenas, Grecia and outlying San Ramón. Retirees are attracted to Costa Rica’s Central Valley because of its year-round spring-like weather, access to the best health care in the country, more entertainment and other venues, excellent shopping, good Internet connections, a large expat community and a bevy of desirable places to live for every imaginable lifestyle.

If you enjoy my blog, please share it with your friends. I hope to see you on one of my tours!
To learn more about living in Costa Rica sign up for one of Christopher Howard's award-winning Relocation/Retirement tours. For all of the details see: www.liveincostarica.com
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One thought on “Where to live in Costa Rica? — A difficult task for retirees”

  1. I’m considering to retire in Costa Rica. The majority of your articles address the external setting and didn’t cover the health and medical capabilities. Professional capabilities and the current costs are very important factors to decide. I have US Medicare as a primary insurance and it doesn’t cover there. How other expatriates are coping? I would appreciate your help and information. Thank you much in advance.

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