Retire in Costa Rica? (Yes, You Can Afford Retirement)

Retire in Costa Rica: Retirement in Costa Rica for Americans

After a lifetime of hard work, harder winters – and possibly hard up for money – how about retiring in Costa Rica. It’s a relatively safe place where the temperature’s always in the 70s, complete healthcare costs less than $50 a month for the two of you, where a two-bed, two-bath house rents for about $300, and the natives love Americans?

Top 13 Cheapest Countries to Retire

You can afford to retire in Costa Rica! Find out how retirement in Costa Rica for Americans has become more attractive.

Got your attention?

Costa Rica is that little piece of paradise lying between Nicaragua and Panama where democracy and political stability flourish and violent crime is virtually unknown. Living there for American retirees is cheap, easy, and fun.

Yes, fun!

Bestseller No. 1
The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica: The Official Guide to Relocation to...
  • Howard, Christopher (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 754 Pages - 01/18/2023 (Publication Date) - Costa Rica Books S.A. (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 2
Moving to Costa Rica Simplified: Not your typical expat guide (The Rich Coast Collection)
  • Gruninger, Chrissy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 357 Pages - 05/08/2024 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 3
The Costa Rica Escape Manual 2023 (Happier Than A Billionaire)
  • Pisani, Nadine Hays (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 315 Pages - 11/29/2022 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Retirement in Costa Rica for Americans

Right now there are about 40,000 Americans living and retiring in Costa Rica full-time, at least 11,000 of them on Social Security. When Carolyn and I were there in June [Aging Tarzans, Janes Discover Why Americans Love Costa Rica], we spoke with some of them.

Couple with Dog on Beach: Costa Rica Retirement

To a person, they wouldn’t trade their lives in Costa Rica for anything.

“Why would I want to leave this?” asks George Lundquist, 66, a former Texan. He and his wife have lived just outside the capital of San José for about five years.

And with the exception of not seeing their grandkids more often, they couldn’t be happier.

George, who offers a four-day, three-night Costa Rica Relocation and Retirement tour, sweeps his pointed finger at the flowering gardens everywhere and says, “We have incredible weather, 73 degrees – plus or minus five – 365 days a year [in the Central Highlands]. Excellent, inexpensive healthcare. Excellent, downright cheap fresh food, including the basic food groups of ice cream, beer, bread, vegetables, eggs, chicken, and pork. And you can buy a nice home for fifty grand!

George’s only regret is that he didn’t get to retire in Costa Rica sooner.

Most everyone with whom we spoke claimed that a Gringo retired couple could live well there on $2,000 a month or less. Many find they can live on Social Security alone.

A single gentleman we met said that he lives well within his $1,200 monthly check.

But where? With gorgeous beaches on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the country, mist-shrouded waterfalls, dewy waterfalls, breathtaking park systems, and classy suburbs with fine dining and golf, the choice is wide.

As one ex-pat said, “You can live in a fine place by the water, and you can live dirt cheap. But not at the same time.”

Best Places to Retire in Costa Rica


Costa Rica: Stunning Scenery, Sunshine, and Smiles

A huge help in deciding where to put your real estate dollar is Scott Oliver’s How to Buy Costa Rica Real Estate Without Losing Your Camisa. When buying property in this foreign country, where laws and procedures are different, Scott’s an excellent guide.

This Brit, ex-Wall Street and wealth-management type, fell in love with the “stunning scenery, sunshine and smiles” of Costa Rica, and has been telling it like it is ever since.

Scott’s informative newsletter keeps readers up to date on current trends, ideas, and prices. A recent issue featured:

  • Earn $80K per year tax-free living and retiring in Costa Rica?
  • Future Retreat for “Burnt Out” American Lawyers
  • Rents & Sales Falling & Rising?
  • Download Your New 124 ‘Tips & Traps’ Report
  • How To Easily Find Your New Home in Costa Rica
  • Want An Expert To ‘Help-U-Search’?

The main thing to remember: Go slow.

To see a lot in a short time, I’d suggest that you take a tour, like the 10-day Caravan Tour we took in June. Then, once you have a feel for the place, spend some time in and around San José.

Rent a car. Go back to places that interested you.

Most important: Keep your eyes open and talk to people.

We stayed at the Hotel Don Carlos in San José.  Their staff is extremely helpful. And when we were there about half the guests were Americans investigating retirement in Costa Rica.

Most expats we spoke with recommended that you rent at first. Give yourself ample opportunity to look around for that perfect place.

Learn Some Spanish

Although many Ticos speak English, a little language effort goes a long way to smooth a path to great relationships.

There are at least two Costa Rican English language newspapers. The Tico Times, published every Friday, keeps you up-to-date with local, national, and US news. And the biweekly, Costa Rica Today, is a free paper for tourists.

Get them both if for nothing but the ads.

Costa Rica is Safe

Mexico, Belize, Panama, and others all lure Americans to run away to retire. And each has its good points.

But in my book, there’s no safer, friendlier, more comfortable place to live anywhere outside the US than Costa Rica.

Not to say there aren’t problems. Just a lot fewer in Costa Rica.

Once there, you’ll probably agree with George Lundquist: “Nothing could get us to move back north!

How to Move to Costa Rica

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