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10 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job and Move to Costa Rica


Arturo Sotillo

Nationals and residents of Costa Rica seem to all share one integral thing: a deep love for the country that surrounds them. Native Costa Ricans, expats, and even travelers who have spent time in this land of monkeys, waterfalls, and surfing, speak about the area with deep admiration and pride.

Costa Rica has become one of the most popular places in the world for North American retirees and expats to relocate. What exactly is it about this beautiful country that lures people to pack their belongings and invest their lives there?

Here is our list of the top ten reasons that inspire many people to make the move to Costa Rica.

1. Stunning Nature Abounds

Costa Rica is literally covered in natural wonders. It has epic volcanoes with spewing lava that create natural hot springs you can soak in. It has tall mountains you can climb to see the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

It has hundreds of miles of shoreline varying from black to pink to gold to white. It has dolphins and whales for you to watch on and off shore. The sea varies from enormous waves for exciting surfing to calm and still for snorkeling and diving.

The land is covered in old growth trees, swaying palms, and beautiful flowers. Rushing rivers and waterfalls flow through mangrove forests or reveal themselves deep in the jungle.

Animals take refuge in the lush landscape and the Osa Peninsula is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. Howler monkeys live in the trees in your backyard. Sloths cross the road causing traffic jams. Toucans and scarlet macaws fly over your head.

Costa Rica is easily one of the most magical and beautiful countries on Earth.

2. Great Healthcare is Affordable

Healthcare is top-of-the-line and inexpensive, which has brought a new kind of tourism to the country: medical tourism. Hospitals in the capital of San Jose offer world-class care. Procedures including dental work, surgeries, and more are available at a fraction of the cost of the U.S. and are extremely high quality.

Costa Rican citizens receive free healthcare and residents can pay a low fee to join the national healthcare program. Private healthcare plans are incredibly affordable starting at around $50 per month. Even the out-of-pocket medical costs for those with no coverage is staggeringly low compared to the U.S.

3. Comfortable Climate Year Round

While there is a distinct wet and dry season in most of the country, temperatures on both coasts average between the high 70s and low 80s year round. Even in the rainy season there is typically some sunshine every day. This comfortable weather allows you to enjoy outdoor activities and nature every day of the year.

4. Its Proximity to North America

The capital city of San Jose is an airport hub for flights to North America and has inexpensive, direct flights to major cities in the U.S. including Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, and New York. These flights often cost less than national flights across country. This makes it easy to stay close to family, have visitors, and run home to stock up on certain comforts that can’t be found in Central America.

5. The Established Expat Community

Because Costa Rica has been popular among expats for years it has a well-established supportive community in most of the coastal towns as well as in San Jose. These communities have created excellent schools for children, health-focused stores, markets, restaurants and cafes, and other practices like yoga, pilates, and bodywork.

The communities are very supportive and make integration into a new country much easier. Living in a small town with like-minded people, you may even find yourself in a closer community than the one you were in back home.

6. A Healthy Lifestyle

Eating less processed foods and more local fruits and vegetables, being outside with nature every day, and using your body to achieve more tasks are all changes that take place for most people who move to Costa Rica. Many report losing weight because they become much more physically active.

The slower-paced lifestyle and immersion in nature help one to fully relax which is incredibly health beneficial. Not to mention, outside of the city there is much less pollution and toxic fumes than cities in North America.

7. The Stable Government and Economy

Costa Rica abolished its army in 1950 and has kept its spot as one of the most stable democracies in the world since then. It is the only country in Latin America to make the list.

The economy is also experiencing steady growth with greater foreign investments as well as tourism which bodes well for those looking to invest in the country.

8. Kind, Generous Local Culture

Local Costa Ricans, Ticos, are some of the most hospitable, nature-loving, peace-oriented people on earth. They love their country and are welcoming to tourists and expats who love it too. Costa Rica has a 95% literacy rate and nationals are highly educated.

Raised in an amazing ecological environment, most are quite knowledgeable on plant medicine, wildlife, and other aspects of nature that many people in North America never study.

The smaller coastal towns tend to have very integrated communities where locals, long-term tourists, and residents are friends. It’s also fairly common for families to be multicultural with one local Costa Rican parent and one foreign parent.

9. Outdoor Adventure Opportunities

With unlimited hiking trails, white water rafting, excellent swells for surfers, rivers for kayaking, and standup paddleboarding, Costa Rica is an adventure lovers dream. High adrenaline activities are very popular here including ziplining and bungee jumping. In Costa Rica, even a simple walk on your nearby beach can become an adventure.

10. The Pura Vida Lifestyle

What may truly set Costa Rica apart from the rest of Central America is its dedication to the words “pura vida”. Pura vida is more than a phrase, it is a way of life. When locals say “pura vida” it is a reminder to themselves and the rest of the world to relax, let things go, and be grateful for what you have.

Isn’t that why most people get off the grid after all?

It may not be the place for everyone, but Costa Rica is an exceptional option for anyone looking to live abroad in Latin America. These are just a few of the many reasons to move here.

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21 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job and Move to Costa Rica

  1. 1

    Looking for either residential property or rental property on the coast

  2. 2

    You’ve summed it up wonderfully. I think the welcoming culture is the #1 reason why we’ve stayed for a year instead of just 3 months… the awesome scenery, great weather, and low cost of living doesn’t hurt either.

  3. 3

    We are looking for the area(s) in Costa Rica that have the most annual sunshine with temperate weather. Is this an oxymoron or does it exist? We are seriously considering the move there if we can find suitable weather and low cost rent.

  4. 5

    Looking for healthy vibrant active ex pat community. We are Canadians

    • 6

      Deb, thanks for taking the time to comment..check out our information on Nosara Costa Rica, which has a well established expat community.

    • 7

      Why leave Canada to go to Canada? I opted for the Island of Mauritius.. And I chose not to be part of the expat community. Just having a great time- Very friendly locals. We have maids, a gardener and a chauffeur.

  5. 8

    What are the laws for british people moving to Costa Rica , any info would be great

    • 9

      @Paula, it’s easy for you to move to Costa. You’ll automatically be granted a 3 month visa. You can renew it indefinitely by leaving the country for 3 days. There are also lots of residency programs depending on your personal situation.

  6. 10

    Thank you for this entry 🙂

    My wife and I are almost 30, sick of American/western/modern society.

    We will have about $150,000 USD once we liquidate our assets.

    We can live off of the land with fruits and vegetables, and can (and have) lived in extremely small houses (200-400 sq ft) We are very easy people.

    What can you suggest for us as far as moving and living to Costa Rica?

    Mainly, how can we make our $150,000 work for us? And will I be able to earn a humble wage each month to survive (assuming my high school level Spanish isn’t adequate)?

    Thank you again for any help you can provide. Our next step will be a trip to Finca de Vida raw food retreat somewhere in Costa Rica 🙂

    Kyle :]

  7. 11

    @Kyle, you’re on the right track. Do as much research as you can from home, then make a trip down.

  8. 12

    What kind of jobs can one find in Costa Rica? My husband and I have been considering a move there. We do not have $150,000 USD in assets like Kyle, however.

  9. 14

    I am considering a move to the Lake Arenal area. I’m not old enough to collect social security yet, but will rent out my house in Austin, TX and have income from that. I am an accomplished writer getting an education degree and hope to teach down there. I am also a Registered Nurse but don’t expect that to be able to help me support myself down there. Any other ideas? Is there a sailing club at Lake Arenal? Thanks!

  10. Paula Anderton

    I’m another person looking to reboot my life in a beautiful place with a sane, healthy lifestyle. I’m in the “can’t afford not to work” category. I am a community college instructor with an MA and teaching credentials, and I was also a professional writer and editor for 15 years. What are the chances of employment down there? Do I need to invest to settle down there?



  11. 16

    Pls can a foriegner get employed in their industries

  12. 17

    What is the largest expat social group online for Panama and Costa Rica, We are trying to decide between the two countries and would love to connect to others already living there. Thanks!

  13. Scott campbell

    We have a sailboat we would like to live on inside your countries borders. Are there harbours we have access to for long periods of stay?

    • 19

      I can help you there, Scott! Although this post is about a year old…

      Boats without Costa Rican flags are like people without Costa Rican citizenship. They are granted a visa, usually a 90 visa the day you arrive.

      I sailed my friend’s Sea Bird, a 45′ C&L Marine Explorer, down here to Costa Rica in January of 2009. I have lived in Playas del Coco (first port of entry in Costa Rica below Nicaragua on the Pacific side,) for 8.5 years. Since I was already living here and wanted Sea Bird to be allowed to stay and work here, I had to import her…pay taxes and get her the Costa Rican flag.

      If you are just cruising down the coast and want to drop anchor, you can anywhere and Coco is a great place to come and meet locals, buy supplies and relax a bit. The Golfo de Papagayo has several places to anchor and it’s free to do so. You can rent a mooring in Coco if you like, for a small fee. You can pay a guard to guard your boat if you wanted to go do some traveling around Costa Rica and I know several honest, trustworthy people that could help with that.

      We have been using Sea Bird to run sailing tours since 2009 but last year the owner of the boat retired and he and his wife want to sell the boat so they can buy some beach front property. Since the business is doing so well, I decided to sell the boat and business together as a turnkey opportunity and if you would like to learn more about the boat and business that is completely set up and running strong, take a look at the Google Doc we created –

      Feel free to email for more info. I have Skype too and call call you if you like. Pura vida!
      Imagine getting paid to live your dream…to live like you’re on vacation…to go sailing on the deep blue pacific off the tropical shores of Costa Rica, sailing alongside dolphins, whales, manta rays, and sea turtles while catering to happy travelers and locals alike. Now is your chance to live the life of “Pura Vida” while running sailing excursions with the luxurious 45’ double masted sailing yacht. Sea Bird Sailing Excursions is the #1 Boat and Water Tour company, as rated by our guests on TripAdvisor.

      We have worked really hard to bring the sailboat down from California, to import it to Costa Rica and to get everything running as smoothly as they are now. We have a fabulous reputation around town and the guests that come aboard obviously agree that this is an excellent establishment. The reason we are selling is because the owner has retired and he’s ready to purchase some beachfront property.

      See tour photo albums that date back 2009 all the way up to tours this past week — YOU could be in all the future photos if you grab this opportunity while it lasts!

      See the boat and tours as they are currently, here is the link to the albums –

      Sea Bird is a 45′ C&L Explorer, built in 1979 in Taiwan. She was just hauled out and painted last Dec. 2014. She is a Stay-sail Ketch w/ a center cockpit with sleeping space for 9, 2 fresh water showers and heads, SSB/VHF radios, GPS, Captains Charts, am/fm radio, mp3 player with IPOD hookup, speakers all around, US Coast Guard approved safety stock, EPIRB life raft, Perkins 4.108 engine, fishing equipment, snorkeling equipment, propane BBQ, & all legal documents, navigation papers up to date and she carries the Costa Rican flag. There are way too many extras that come with the sale of this business to list.

      The boat is moored in Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, in the most prestigious area of Costa Rica, with the Four Seasons sharing the Gulf of Papagayo as well as Occidental Gran Papagayo, the Hilton, Andaz, Mangrove, Playa Panama, Playa Hermosa, Playa Ocotal, Playa Matapalo where the RiU is, and several other well known vacationing spots. The Liberia International airport is only 25 minutes away from Playa del Coco. The Marina Papagayo is also here to service vessels.

      Whoever buys this business can rest assured that we will help train you to take over and run it as we have, and hopefully you will bring new ideas and make it even better than it already is. We want you to succeed!

      Asking $328,000 – based on the income + Sea Bird + all assets (Sea Bird, dinghy with outboard motor, trailer, deep freeze, 2 corporations, website, all contacts of course and too many extras to list.) Reasonable offers will be considered. Serious inquiries only please –
      Email – [email protected]
      Some videos of Sea Bird in action -
      Facebook page –
      N o w i s y o u r c h a n c e t o L I V E T H E D R E A M ! ! !

      It is completely legal for expats, or “tourists” to own a business and reside in Costa Rica. If you have any questions regarding the laws, please ask the experts…in fact investing in this business could be your ticket to permanent residency status without restrictions, and that does not mean you give up citizenship in your home country. Immigration Experts -

  14. 20

    I’m 56, married and I’m a Hairstylist in Canada…. We would love to move to a temprate climate like this and it sounds Amazing…. what are getting jobs like there? How much money do you need to move there…

  15. Tena Jackson

    There is fear and there are facts. Violence in Costa Rica is at an all-time high while police/courts infrastructure is a nightmare. Cars are crazy-expensive, as is insurance. Mandatory healthcare takes a chunk out as well. Some groceries are prohibitively expensive (namely hard cheeses, salmon,steaks, and make-up or personal care products). Clothes and towels are expensive as well. Traffic in the capital city and surrounding areas is God-awful. Getting your “green card” requires numerous documents and fees along with several hoops to jump through. Anything that isn’t chained up or cemented down will be stolen. There is a reason why all of the houses are behind metal gates and have bars on the windows. I have lived here for 25 years and have watched what was once a true paradise become something altogether different.

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