The Expat Experience: Life As An American In Costa Rica

As the years go by, more Americans are deciding to move to other countries – and Costa Rica has become one of the more popular destinations. 

If you happen to come across Costa Rica land for sale, you might want to consider buying it and moving there. There are a lot of great things about living here. We’re here to help you learn about life as an American in Costa Rica. 

Find Out The Best Way To Move There

When you move to Costa Rica, you want to try to avoid having to constantly be going to an office to get visas. Depending on your situation, there are several possibilities for you. 

First, if you are retired and getting $1,000 from a pension, social security, or another retirement plan, you could use the “pensionado” or “retiree” visa, where you can stay there for three years and then try to become a permanent resident. 

Second, you could do what is known as the “Rentista” visa if you make $2,500 a month on things like stocks, pension, social security, money from renting out other property, or disability. You can’t use your salary as proof for this. Another way to do this is accumulate $60,000 in savings and show bank documents that prove it and subsequently have $2,500 be deposited into a Costa Rican account.This lasts for three years and then you can apply to be a permanent resident. 

The last option is the digital nomad visa. You can stay in Costa Rica for up to two years, but you need to work for a company abroad that is paying you $3,000 a month. The downside to this one is that you can’t extend the visa or try to gain permanent residency. 

If you pick the first two options, you will also have access to the public health system. You can see private doctors, though, if you don’t want to have longer wait times. 

Figure Out the Cost of Living in Costa Rica

Finding a place to live will be a very important decision on your part … and it will depend on a few things. They include your budget, where you want to live, and what kind of amenities you want to have in your place. 

First, what size place do you want? You can find a one-bedroom or studio for a low price ($400 a month) to pricier apartments in communities near the beach like Playas del Coco or Jaco. There are so many different types of climates, too – you can live in a rainforest or mountain forest or a beach town. It’s a good idea to live where there are a lot of people, though. 

Like many other places all over the world, it’s also all about location. If you want to live in a popular tourist town that’s near the beach, you’re going to have to pay more than if you were to get a place in a smaller town that’s near the coast. 

What sort of amenities will you have to budget for? Electricity, for one, since your monthly rate can be as low as $20 and as high as $200 – this depends on whether you run your A/C often. 

As far as transportation goes, you can take taxis in your town and buses to get across the country. You won’t break the bank doing this, though. A short taxi ride for errands can be as low as $5 and you can ride to a beach town for roughly $15. 

Food is fairly inexpensive, with a meal costing between $10-$20. If you like beer, you can get local ones for $3 while imported ones are more expensive. 

Get Ready To Relax … Like It Or Not

Now that we have talked about the more procedural aspects of living as an expat in Costa Rica, let’s talk about the social parts. In certain parts of America, people usually show up at the time that they say that they will and it can feel like they are always on the go. That’s certainly not the case for the people living in Costa Rica. 

When you’re living in a place that has tropical weather, it can be hard to feel stressed about things. That includes deciding to show up an hour late for something. They figure that they are living in paradise and they might as well enjoy it. Sooner than later, you should find yourself embracing that feeling. 

It Might Be a Good Idea to Learn Some Spanish

Costa Rica does get a lot of tourists, so a good amount of natives learn to speak English to communicate with them. Still, you should strongly consider learning to speak some Spanish so that you will be able to have an easier time conversing with Costa Ricans.  It will also help show that you are serious about living there and setting down roots. 

There are a lot of programs that you can use. Some of them are free apps that you can download and then use to learn Spanish on your own time. This is where technology can really help you. 

When you learn these things, then you will be able to really appreciate the beaches, laidback lifestyle and the tropical weather. 

These are just some of the things to learn about living in Costa Rica as an expat. Before you know it, you will feel like a native. To find the best place, hire a real estate agent

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