What’s your name?
What brought you to Costa Rica and what was your first impression?
1) The cost of living in California had gotten sky high. Found myself moving from apt to apt each years chasing “move in” specials.
2) Along the same lines, I was approaching retirement and found that I could not retire and remain in California (did not want to live anywhere else in the States)
3) Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949 and dedicated the money to education for its people.
How would you compare Costa Rica to other Central American countries that you’ve visited?
Costa Rica has the highest standard of living among all the countries in Central America. Although I have enjoyed visiting other countries and find they have many similarities, the kindness and generosity of the Costa Rican people is unmatched.
Costa Rica has become a popular retirement destination for Americans of late. What makes it so appealing?
First of all the beauty of this country is breathtaking! Infrastructure is good in most of the major cities. Great weather (with a diversity of climates – you can choose which one you like pretty much). Sizable expat community. You don’t need a car – getting around by bus is easy, affordable and widespread. Fruits and veggies are very inexpensive. The cost of living is much less than most major cities in the US (ie NYC, SF,LA, Chicago). A couple can live pretty comfortably here for around $2,000/mo
Can you describe the process for obtaining permanent residency in Costa Rica?
I do not feel that I am qualified to speak on this subject as it is a rather complicated process. There are also about 5 different types of residency. First you obtain temporary residency and then move to permanent residency. There are many legal papers, forms and an FBI report that must be submitted within a certain timeframe. Anyone considering taking this step should contact a lawyer.
What about healthcare? Is it a challenge gaining access to doctors and pharmacies?
Pharmacies (farmacias) are plentiful and very affordable as compared to the US. Each farmacia has a doctor on staff. Many minor health issues can be resolved at the level of just going to the pharmacy.
Doctors are also available and can be accessed even if you are not covered through the Caja (The Costa Rican Department of Social Security or Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is in charge of most of the nation’s public health sector) You must be a resident to participate in the Caja but you can choose to self-insure at any time. Medical is excellent here and is very affordable (which is another reason people flock here). This is a popular Medical Tourism destination.
Can someone with limited Spanish-speaking ability move around Costa Rica without a problem?
Pretty much! More and more Costa Ricans (Ticos as they call themselves) are learning English. You can usually always find someone who speaks English if you get stuck but I do recommend learning Spanish.
What do you miss most about being in the U.S.?
Shopping and ordering on Amazon Prime
Is meeting other Americans a challenge?
No problem at all. We usually stand out and most expats are eager to help. There are also Facebook Groups and other groups that you can join to socialize with other expats.
If you had a friend planning to spend only 24 hours in Costa Rica, what would you suggest that they see or do?
There is so much to do and see here, 24 hrs is just not enough time but I would say see a volcano, visit the rainforest/cloud forest and see the Caribbean side of the country as the lifestyle there is laid back and the beaches are beautiful!
See more of what Devon discovers in Costa Rica and elsewhere at: