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Yes, Costa Rica Named By Forbes Among The Best Foreign Retirement Havens For 2011

Yes, Costa Rica Named By Forbes Among The Best Foreign Retirement Havens For 2011

27 January, 2012 2:52 pm Comments

Of course, we already knew this. Costa Rica has long been a well kept secret for over 500,000 American expats that are now living the “pura vida” lifestyle.

But what criteria did Forbes use to consider a country a retirement haven? Lets take a look at a few factors and see where Costa Rica stands.

Cost of living

Considering how expensive things have gotten back home, comparatively speaking living practically anywhere is cheaper.

Then again, regardless of where you move, how much you spend per month depends on what kind of lifestyle you want to have.

It’s safe to say however, that you can live quite comfortably on a monthly budget of $1,500 to $2,500 (based on the average expenses for two people living in a mid-range, two bedroom home).

Here’s a rough breakdown of what you can expect to spend:

•                     Gas bill: $10 to $20

•                     Electric bill: $50 to $70

•                     Water bill: $12 to $25

•                     Rent: $600 to $1000

•                     Taxi cabs (if you don’t own a car): $100 to $170 or

•                     Self owned vehicle maintenance and fuel: $100 to $250

•                     Phone: $7 to $25 (land line); $20 to $70 (cell phone)

•                     Cable: $35 to $70

•                     Internet: $35 to $50


Here is something that might surprise you, Costa Rica has not had an army since 1949 and it’s the longest standing democracy in the Americas. While this may not mean anything to you, when you look at the region’s violent past (political turmoil, coup d’etats, civil unrest and wars) it should give you a window into the country’s commitment to keeping the peace.

This isn’t to say that everything is perfect, there are many things that can and should be changed for the better, but this is also true of any country you choose to move to. The challenge for the Government in the years to come will be in gaining the cooperation of other Central American countries to combat organized crime and regional violence.

Cultural attractions and scenery

What Costa Rica lacks in cultural attractions it makes up in the astounding number of natural wonders it has.

Although a small country, about the size of West Virginia, it nevertheless is home to more than 500,000 species of animals (that’s nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide, making it one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity on the planet); it’s ranked third in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index; it protects 10.27% of the land as national parks (32 national parks, 8 bio-reserves, 12 forest reserves and 51 wildlife refuges); we could go on and on, suffice it to say that Costa Rica was once compared to Eden…we agree.

Tax matters

Taxes in Costa Rica are low. Property tax is about 0.25% of the property value, which means that on a $199,000 house you’ll end up paying around $500 in taxes per year.

Here’s the clincher though, if you sell your home in Costa Rica you won’t have to pay a penny in capital gains taxes.

You also will not have to pay taxes on income earned outside of the country, although you do have to if the income for money earned within its borders.


Costa Rica is a great place to retire, it has an open immigration policy and its people are welcoming and friendly to foreigners; but you just can’t pick up and live there right from the get go. Just like in a lot of countries, you’re going to have to apply for and receive legal residency.

Being that there are several alternatives for legal residency, each with its own requirements, we suggest that you consult with a local lawyer that has experience in these matters so that you’re less likely to hit a snare down the road.

Local hospitality

There is good reason why Costa Rica has one of the largest expat communities in the region, ticos (as Costaricans are referred to) are known for their hospitality and welcoming disposition.

You might have heard of the expression “pura vida,” its literal translation “pure life,” a term which encapsulates the tico lifestyle. Most people are pleasantly surprised by how laid back things are, those that want to escape the craziness of modern life find Costa Rica to be a perfect place to live out their golden years.


Although generally classified as a tropical country, being that it’s so close to the Equator, Costa Rica enjoys a stable climate throughout the year. It doesn’t get extremely hot or cold at any time and some places, like the Central Valley, have been described as having among the best climates in the world.

The average annual temperature in the country is around 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll find a variety of microclimates to fit your choice, from arid and dry in places like Guanacaste to misty and foggy in the mountains of Monteverde.


Costa Rica’s healthcare system is world renowned, there are three large, private hospitals and more than 30 hospitals and 250 clinics in the Government run system and there are plans for new hospitals to open in the coming years to meet the growing demand for medical tourism.

Prices are low if you compare them to those in the U.S and many European countries where healthcare costs have skyrocketed over the last years. For some medical procedures, prices are sometimes up to 50% lower than in the United States.

As you can see, there are good reasons to consider Costa Rica as a retirement haven; we recommend that you visit first to scout out possible locations of places where you might consider buying a home or a lot. If you do want to explore more we may have something for you…

Take a sneak peak…

If you’re ready to know how to buy Costa Rica Real Estate, Costa Developers has a team of experts waiting for your call. They take their job so seriously, that they want to speak to you in person down in Costa Rica and pay for your stay. Call them up right now 1-800-803-4177 or schedule an appointment for later.


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  •  Yes, Costa Rica Named By Forbes Among The Best Foreign Retirement Havens For 2011