I don’t presume to know who you are. I mean, I might know you, but I have no way of knowing that you are reading this right now. How can I know that Costa Rica is attractive to you? Honestly, I’m only assuming that as a human—of any age or varying demographic—you are connected to your senses. And Costa Rica, my dear friends, is one sensory rollercoaster of a nation. From lighting strikes to union strikes, there is no lack of power behind the goings-on in this dynamic landscape.
Ocean-view land is still valued at comparably-good rates in the Southern Zone. Affordable, well-built, two or three bedroom homes can still be found between $200,000-$300,000. However, this year we have witnessed a big increase in both buyers and visitors coming to our region in the south pacific coast. So, if we’re right about you, here are the reasons why you love Costa Rica (even if you don’t already know it), and why 2019 is your year to join us!
You’re 50-ish. You’ve raised kids. You’re still earning, still saving, but you’ve done well enough to own a few good assets and you generally enjoy your life. But you’re looking for something more. You want to feel a little more free; a little more loose; a little more healthy, revitalized, rejuvenated. You try to join a gym, a club, go out a bit more, but you keep running into the same patterns of stress and boredom. Costa Rica is your answer! You will find more purpose to your relaxation when you’re surrounded by lots of green, lots of fresh air, the sounds of moving water, the buzzing of crickets, bird song… it’s so easy to get lost in meditation on a daily basis when you are so inspired! And there is no lack of events to share in, and great company can be found wherever you go. People here bond with their community and it’s often love at first sight! Not every community is for everyone, but the Southern Zone has so many different types of communities and you will undoubtedly find the one that speaks to you.
Second Home Seekers
Many young expats buy a second home in Costa Rica to spend extended stays in, especially during the season of ceaseless snow shoveling. Caretakers in our region are inexpensive to look after your home, and it’s easy to arrange a good property management team if you want to rent your home while you’re away. Many don’t want anyone staying in their place, and that’s ok, too. We live in a caring and protective community. It is reasonable to expect that, with the right precautions, your home will be here, in the same condition as you left it, when you return. And with so much to do while you’re down here—whether it’s your 5th or 15th time visiting—you will not be bored. As you find your groove with each progressive visit, you will fall in love with this country more and more.
Making money in Costa Rica is not for everyone. People who come down here to live and who still need to work tend to find that they have taken a rather sizable pay cut. Not everyone, but it’s a common refrain, albeit a gentle one, because those people know why they choose to take that pay cut. But for those who are willing to work on a bigger scale, buying land and developing it into single-use lots has traditionally been a profitable endeavor in the Southern Zone. There are more than a few independent developers (not involved in large-scale, international developments) who have bought sizable tracts of land and sold it as individual lots over time, making their money back several times. As with any investment, the trick is to be ahead of the game; buy when it’s cheap and sell when the value goes up. And with the fluctuation of the Costa Rican Colon against the US Dollar, there are a few ways to play this game. Low property taxes and no capital gains taxes are the most desirable draws for investment, beyond sheer beauty.
Costa Rica is one of the countries with the highest Internet penetration in Latin America. The latest data indicate that penetration exceeds 90%. Giovanni Stella, Google manager for Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean, explains that Costa Rica has a particularity: it is composed mostly of relatively young people, who are mostly digital natives, having grown with the progress of information technologies. “It is a young country, where many of its users are young and digital natives. They are used to live like that, they were born with the cell phone. It is a very interesting and very dynamic market. We work with brands of all sizes and with associations and organizations in Costa Rica to support the development of the digital ecosystem with a strong focus on digital education”, says Stella.
Although bandwidth and speed are currently not what can be expected in the first world, Costa Rica is catching up quickly to meet the demands of its digitally-educated population. Digital nomads have long found that the combination of friendly people, plentiful, healthful eco-services, and decent internet make Costa Rica an incredible place to spend a few months working remotely. And now, with a national fiber-network being installed by Costa Rica’s telecommunications provider, ICE, as well as a whole slew of centers being currently built along the Pacific Coast that cater to the digital nomad lifestyle, we can see those months quickly turning to years.
The most common type of expats who have come to Costa Rica over the years are the people who want to permanently “get away” and live somewhere that’s far easier on the body, mind and spirit. The humid, always warm air in the coastal, mountainous region of the Southern Zone, is super oxygen rich. Skin always feels supple, even without moisturizer. Many retirees who worry about “humidity”—especially if they come from arid climates. But people who do come here from places like Arizona or Nevada, having loved their dry climate, still come to a new appreciation of the good that salty, moist air can have on the body.
Beyond the climate, services like healthcare are free for residents. Residency is an easy process for any person (or couple) who purchase property or assets in Costa Rica valued at over $200,000. This is a huge reason for Americans choosing to retire in Costa Rica, in addition to this being one of the safest countries in Latin America. Dental work, health treatments, beauty treatments, laser, cutting-edge J-plasma treatments and so much more are all available in private, state-of-the-art clinics that are comparable to anywhere else in the world—and at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay in Canada, the US or similar. Truly, your nest egg will stretch further in Costa Rica.
It’s a tough time to be raising kids today. We may not have the plague or polio to worry about, but we do have smart-technology affecting our relationships, sugar and added-chemicals in a lot of food, town water systems that require you to have a personal water filtration system in your home, and international politics invading every corner of our lives. It’s not a surprise that parents would like a break. Here, in Costa Rica, even with fresh, delicious, organic produce stocking your fridge, you will not pay Whole Foods prices. Pizza may be more than the $5.99 special you can get at the local pizzeria back home, but if you want to eat right, you will be quite pleased with this place.
Getting your kids to school here is much the same as anywhere else. Maybe you put them on a school bus. Maybe you drive them yourself. They learn in English or Spanish—whichever you prefer, there is a school for you. You take them to their sports clubs or their music lessons, all the while driving in minimal traffic and with the lushness of the jungle around you. Kids here spend more time outdoors and families spend more time connecting.
Although Costa Rica is probably not actually for everyone, I like to think that those who are ready to live life fully will love living in Costa Rica. Passion is deeply embedded in the national phrase of ‘pura vida’ and its meaning translates to us new-comers organically. Living here, we learn what it means to enjoy ‘pure life.’