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Pick your place to live in Costa Rica.  The mystique and adventure that Costa Rica offers are a big draw for those looking to be part of this special place. What are your deciding factors for moving here? What is your ideal living environment? Research and knowing what you want are very important. From weather and terrain to lifestyle and costs, there are many things to consider and Costa Rica offers something for everyone.

Your choices of living space are among the most biodiverse in the world for a country so small. Besides boasting mountainous regions, Costa Rica also has plains and grasslands, cloud forests, jungles and some of the most pristine beaches in the world. With the exception of snow and deserts, you can surround yourself with almost any type of flora and fauna.

Cost of living varies a great deal among different locations.

Within these regions of the country, climate variations are also wide and diverse. Do you like rain and moisture on a regular basis? Or something in a cool mountainous area? Then the Central Valley is for you. Are you better suited for a drier climate? Or prefer beaches? Then staying closer to the Pacific or Caribbean coasts will meet your needs. Are you willing to deal with mold and humidity, which in some places are constant? Other spots, like the northern Guanacaste region, are dry with only limited months of rain during what is affectionately referred to as green season. The rest of the year is dry and can be very dusty. Each location has its own calling for different preferences. Knowing yourself well and doing your own research from that angle is invaluable when making such big decisions.

The good life – what does yours look like?

What kind of lifestyle are you looking for? Beach life, seclusion, city amenities or a little of everything? It’s important to identify your specific likes and dislikes before picking a place. San José and surrounding areas are the closest to a truly bustling urban life you will find in Costa Rica. All the other areas are spotted with smaller cities and pueblos, each with its own unique personality.

Also think carefully about the kind of social life are you want: the expat experience of living in a multicultural place, or full Tico immersion? Is there shopping close by, or are you ok with stocking up during less frequent trips for supplies? If you have children, what type of schools are available in your desired area? Are they accredited, and if so, what form of accreditation? And for anyone, whatever place you have in mind, your safety and security should take highest priority.

Cost of living in Costa Rica varies a great deal among different locations. In resort areas, prices of housing, food and clothing can be as much as 30 to 50 percent more than in other regions. Access to groceries, clothing and restaurants can be limited depending on where you live.

These are not only important budget considerations but also factors when purchasing real estate. If you are in a high-traffic area, real estate is more expensive but you will probably be able to resell your property faster. Somewhere off the beaten path might be a fast purchase and seem like a steal, but when you are ready to sell, it might take a long time for an interested buyer to come along.

Life is not all wrapped up in a basket with a bow and plopped on your lap. There are pluses and minuses to each area of Costa Rica. You learn very fast how to deal with things here and accept those that cannot be changed. There are so many options for finding your paradise. Consider what makes you happy and go on your quest.

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