Why People Move to Costa Rica

Why are we here?

There are a number of reasons that people decide to move to Costa Rica. Put simply, here is a list of some of the most common:

  • Retirement
  • Simplify
  • Disillusioned with homeland (economy, politics, stress, etc…)
  • Weather
  • Health
  • Enrichment


The retirees are drawn to Costa Rica for a number of reasons. Historically, economics has played a large part in this. This is becoming less so in Costa Rica. It is no longer an inexpensive option for retirement (or for anybody for that matter).

Healthcare in Costa Rica is probably a strong reason to consider the move. I pay $1,600 per year at 54 years of age. This is 80% coverage and includes an annual checkup. I am told that they don’t insure people over 65 and you must be a resident to get it.

With the changing of the health care in the States, we are likely to soon see what the effect of Obamacare will be. I have some friends here in the 70+ category. They are being jettisoned from their long-standing health care.  They made some rather profound life-decisions based on having this insurance. It was International and they knew what the parameters of the coverage were and they accepted it.

Upon being terminated, they needed to find different insurance. Interestingly, they are unable to get a good understanding of their new Aetna insurance until the policy is active, which puts them in a sort of limbo. They aren’t even sure that they’ll be able to stay here.

“Convenience” probably shouldn’t enter into the picture. Most things are more convenient in other countries, although I can only speak from personal experience about the United States where everything is truly more convenient than Costa Rica. So, I would venture to say that the folks that retire to Costa Rica are of a hardy nature.


This is a definite reason to move to Costa Rica, and factors largely into the “why” of my family’s move here. In the States there is a constant barrage of media encouraging us to complicate our lives in the interest of: convenience, being happier, having more time, being healthier etc…

The promise of these benefits, which come at some outlay of cash (or credit) is illusory. It turns out that all of the gadgets, new styles and technologies rarely result in a better life condition for the buyer.

My wife & I made numerous “simplification” pacts over our years in the States. We came to realize that we simply didn’t have it in us to live in that environment and keep things simple. Well, this involved getting to “simple” first, and then keeping it there. We simply couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Now, I should say that I have met some folks who have been able to do this back in the States, so I am merely reporting from my personal experience, and my hat is off to those who can do it.

I LOVE the US. I go there at least twice a year and I revel in the convenience of it all. Do I want to move back? Well, I have thought about it over the years, but the short answer is “no”.  I’m quite certain that I would fall into the black hole of consumerism and look longingly back at my simple life I had in Costa Rica.

Disillusioned with Homeland

This one is heady. It is hard to know if we live in a time of more disillusionment with homeland than at other times in history, or if it is simply a matter of being able to do something about it. Globalization (read: the Internet) has enabled many of us to live in one country while we work in another, without ever having to leave the country we live in.

I met a fellow the other day who handles customer service for a remote control car company. These are the guys who make those little cars that you control by remote control. He lives in Costa Rica, and supports his family via e-mail. He works full-time – amazing!

This point of disillusionment merits its own article, and so I’ll leave it there for the time being.


Ok, so the weather in Costa Rica is perfect. Simply put, this is a great reason to move to Costa Rica.

Where I live is on (well, “near”) the beach. It is hot here. So, the question of to air condition or not, is a common topic of conversation. Due to the topography in The Zone, you can get to 1,000 feet elevation rather quickly and still be near to town and the beach.

Costa Rica is a small country. You can fit 3 Costa Rica’s into Colorado. The Pacific Ocean on one side and the Atlantic (Caribbean) on the other results in constant ocean breezes making this near-equatorial country quite comfy. If you build correctly, you won’t need AC. Many houses have it, but many who have it never use it. I have never had AC in my 15 years here.


Many people find that their health improves when they move to Costa Rica. This is likely a culmination of the points above as well as diet. Rice & beans developed to be the staple in Latin America (and other lands) for a reason. It is a nearly complete dietary equation that comes from the combining of grain & legume. Also we eat lots of fruits, vegetables & fish.

Less stress is good for us. Simplifying and having more time for interpersonal communications, quiet time, reading and so on are all likely contributors.

Many of the residents here report that they typically gain weight in their stateside visits.


I use this word in the “lifestyle” context as opposed to the financial. They say that the only way to leave Costa Rica with $1,000,000 is to come with $3,000,000 🙂

Enrichment is a decision, and it is one that can be made anywhere. What we do with our time, what we choose to focus on in our own respective internal chit-chat has a lot to do with leading an enriched life.

I have some friends that have lived here in Costa Rica for many years. When they get up in the morning, they turn on Fox News and leave it on all day. They live pissed off. This is a choice. They defend this choice by saying that it is important to be informed. Fine. However, when it comes to quality of life, and living “enriched”, well… “pissed off” is not high on my list.

Globalization has many facets. We can maintain the same environment in our households here that we had “back home” by simply piping it into our homes. Sure, there are toucans in the trees and mind blowing sunsets over the ocean, but so what? We’re still agitated by life.

Life can be enriched by a move to Costa Rica – or not.  It is a choice no matter where or how one may live.

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