We get these questions all the time: Will I enjoy living In Costa Rica? Where Is the best place to live in Costa Rica? Who moves to Costa Rica?
Will I enjoy living in Costa Rica?
We find that most people, after visiting for a couple weeks, have a pretty good idea if they will like living in Costa Rica or not. Now of course, some people move here and ultimately decide it’s not for them and go home. But there are very few, especially if they do their due diligence.
Tres Amigos Realty Group has sold more real estate in Costa Rica than just about anyone else. We have had thousands of people buy property from us and we can count on a couple of hands how many people don’t like it and go back to where they lived before.
On the internet you will read about people who didn’t like living in Costa Rica and went home — of course you will. Highlighting the negative is human nature. Unfortunately, in our social media era, you will hear about people who have had bad experiences more often than you do people who have good experiences. And to be fair, the positive feedback about living in Costa Rica has been drowning out the negatives. So that tells us that people are enjoying themselves so much that they want to share their experience with others.
For example, you will see online two or three detailed negative reviews about your favorite restaurant and 500 thumbs up, or 5-star reviews. You can find a negative review for anything under the sun. In the end, people who are having a good time enjoying their life are too busy to tell you about it.
It’s the same thing here in Costa Rica. The few people who didn’t like it, go home and write all over the internet about how terrible it is. The other 100,000+ expats (that is the estimate of how many gringos live in Costa Rica) are too busy enjoying life in Costa Rica; they don’t have time to write on the internet. Yet, come and ask these people yourself and you will find out. None of us would ever leave.
Spend one day here walking around town talking to the local expats and they will all say the same thing. “You couldn’t pay me to go home.” Ask the people who have invested in a property here what they think. You won’t find too many people who have anything negative to say.
I think maybe the people who have left didn’t do a good enough job adapting. Remember, people move to New York and don’t like it and go home. People move to California, Florida and all over the world and some have ended up going home. But most people, once they make a move, they adapt.
Costa Rica is no different. It is not the USA or Canada or Europe. That is why we moved here. We don’t want the same old-same old. Costa Rica is for people who want a little adventure … for people who don’t want to follow the same routine. If you want to do the same thing, every day for the rest of your life, God bless you. Have at it.
But that sounds pretty boring. Treat yourself to experience different things in life, different lifestyles, different cultures, different languages, different people. We are only on this earth for a short time. You can always go home.
But you have to be able to adapt. You cannot expect to move to a Latin American country and find it the same as your home country. Those are the people who upset us the most. You see them complaining about how things are done here. Remember, this is not their country; it’s the country of Costa Ricans. They were nice enough to let us live here. Adapt. If you do, you will be very glad you did. It is a phenomenal culture.
What’s the best place to live in Costa Rica?
One of the most important decisions you will have to make about living in Costa Rica is where. What’s the best place to live in Costa Rica? Good question. Almost all of Costa Rica is beautiful. But that doesn’t make all of it a good investment or a great place to live.
Too many people come to Costa Rica on vacation, they end up in the middle of the rainforest and they think this is the most beautiful place in the world. I want to live there. But they never do any due diligence about actually living there. These are usually the people you read about online, who bought a place in Costa Rica, moved here and ended up going home. There is more to living somewhere than its beauty, temperature, tranquility or views. Whether it’s the rainforest, the volcanoes or the beaches, it is also about quality of life.
Quality of life — that is why you have to do your due diligence and pick the right place to live in Costa Rica. The Papagayo region offers quality of life, and that is why the majority of all foreigners buy here in Playa Hermosa, Playa Panama, Playas del Coco, Ocotal or the surrounding towns. That’s why it’s considered the best place to live in Costa Rica.
Who moves to Costa Rica?
Tarzan and Jane — people ask us all the time to describe our clients. My buyers are mostly 40 to 60 years old and they want to pretend to be Tarzan and Jane. They want to sit on their balconies or patios, sending emails and making Skype calls to friends, telling them how there are monkeys and parrots in the trees and that they are “roughing it” in Central America. Then they want to get in their car, go to an air-conditioned grocery store and buy a nice Chilean bottle of wine and come home to satellite TV and their high-speed internet. They want to have an Americanized sports bar to watch their hockey, basketball and NFL games.
These expats want to have good health care and shopping, and first-world amenities nearby. They don’t really want to be Robinson Crusoe, they just want to experience the concept. Also, as much as we love the Costa Ricans, foreigners want to be near people of their own kind. That is why there’s a Chinatown and a Little Italy in most large U.S. cities. We tend to migrate towards our own kind.
With many foreigners here in the Papagayo area, people who move here immediately meet people from their own countries and cities, and feel more at home right off the bat. Everyone speaks English, and many other languages as well, from French and Russian to Italian and German. So it makes the transition that much easier as you aren’t forced to learn Spanish right away. Do yourself a favor though, and learn the language. There are many people who will help you to learn Spanish.
But the nice thing is the rainforest is very close. So, when you want to play “Survivor,” you can get in your car and within a couple of hours you can literally be in the middle of the jungle. You can stay for a couple days in a hotel with no electricity, do the Ted Roosevelt jungle thing and then come home, back to reality, back to the first-world amenities. You can still email your friends telling them how you are really a true jungle monkey.
When many of us first came to Costa Rica, there was no information on the internet like there is now. So, we spent a good amount of time touring the whole country, searching for the best place to live in Costa Rica, from the Panama border all the way up north to the Papagayo region. And while you could have a brief love affair with anywhere in this amazing and beautiful country, most of it you could never live for more than a week’s vacation. It is very hot and very humid in the Southern Zone. It reminded me of Miami in August.
Coincidentally there are many eccentric mansions for sale in the Southern Zone, where many had a misguided dream of living in the middle of the rainforest but could not handle it after a year.
San José and the Central Valley have some of the best weather in the world, but so does San Jose, California. There are many big cities to live in and unless you are coming for a specific work assignment, then you can find hundreds of nicer cities than San José, Costa Rica. We didn’t come to Costa Rica for traffic, smog and noise. And the rainforest has … well … a bunch of rain – Hence the name rainforest. Getting pounded every day, year-round, with torrential downpours, isn’t exactly our cup of tea.
Guanacaste has the least amount of rain in the entire country. It has perfect weather 330 days a year. That is why most foreigners come here. The Papagayo region is the best place to live in Costa Rica, both for investment and retirement. And as the area continues to grow, the quality of life will improve as well. There’s no better place to live, and you couldn’t pay most of us to go back, no matter how much money you were offering. Come down and let us show you around our little paradise.