Costa Rica has one of the largest expat communities in Latin America. Many expats chose Costa Rica as their second home because it is a safe country with a stable government, good health care, a strong education system, and a welcoming local population. Becoming an expat in Costa Rica is a relatively easy process, especially if you are retired. Most live in coastal towns, but there are several Costa Rica expat communities found near the capital in the central part of the country.
The main areas where expats live in Costa Rica are in the northern Pacific coastal region, the southern Pacific coastal region, the central valley, and the southern Caribbean coastal region. In the northern Pacific region of Guanacaste, the main expat hubs are Tamarindo, Playa Hermosa, Playa Flamingo and Playa Del Coco. While these towns do have large expat communities, if you are planning on moving here keep in mind that these are still small towns. Tamarindo, one of the largest towns in the area only has a population of 3,000. While this area is very popular, it is not very populated.
Further down the coast, you’ll discover Costa Rica expat clusters living in the towns of Jaco, Uvita, and Dominical. This area is even less populated than the northern Guanacaste Province, but it quite stunning. Transportation to this region is more difficult as the roads to the southern Pacific coast are not as well maintained as they are in other parts of the country and the nearest airport is in San Jose.
If you’re looking for a more metropolitan area to move to, you might be better suited among the expats in the central valley, near San Jose, the country’s capitol. San Jose, Escazu, Alajuela, and Grecia are all located in the central valley, where nearly three-quarters of the nation’s population lives. There are more expats here than anywhere else thanks to the moderate climate, the ease of access and transportation, and the availabilities of amenities like schools, hospitals, banking, shopping, and entertainment options.
The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica has a fair number of expats as well, but not nearly as many as the other popular regions. The Caribbean coast is also harder to reach, much like the southern Pacific coast. The Caribbean coast has more rain annually than other parts of the country and less major amenities, although some expats still prefer to call this corner of the country home.
All in all, expats from the United States in Costa Rica make up about 4% of the total population, according to the latest census. While that number isn’t huge, there is still a strong presence of US expats throughout the country and a large network of support. There are many different websites designed to help a Costa Rica expat connect with others and share information and experiences. There are also many Facebook pages that are region specific for expats living in Costa Rica to provide information, support, and advice for each other. If you are considering moving to Costa Rica and becoming an expat, you can check out some of these websites to get more information and speak with expats living in Costa Rica to see if the move is right for you. Please contact us with any questions about finding a condo or home in paradise.