Take Your Time Before Signing A Rental Contract
Take you time before you sign a rental contract, take your time and look around for the best price for the house, apartment, or condo you are looking for. I would suggest you find an aparthotel in the area that you want to live and stay there and look around for about a month and compare prices and not rent the first place you find. I have heard too many times people saying they wish they had waited before signing their rental contract because once they knew their way around better they found a place for less money and better suited their needs.
When looking for a place to live in Costa Rica you will find your best prices for a house rental in a typical Costa Rica neighborhood which for most would be perfectly acceptable. When you choose a gated community with other ex-patriots you will be paying a premium price.
When looking for an apartment or condo the price for this type of rental will depend on the amenities included. When renting an apartment or condo with all sorts of amenities such as a pool, tennis courts, gym, and more be sure you are going to use these amenities because you are paying for them.
The bottom line is take your time before signing the rental contact and enjoy looking for your new home in Costa Rica.
A Look At The Central Pacific Region Of Costa Rica
The Central Pacific region is probably the most convenient area for those from San José wishing to go to the
beach. To get to Jaco it is just about 1 hour and Quepos is about a 3 hour drive from San José. There are many little beach communities along the road from Jaco to Quepos / Manuel Antonio. For those that might be interested in living in this area you may want to consider not being right at the beach in a small town like Orotina which is just about a 30 minute drive to the Pacific Coast beaches an another option might be Parrita which is on the road to Manuel Antonio.
Orotina – This is a farming community known for fresh fruits and vegetables. Those looking for a relaxed lifestyle yet close to the beaches and not far from the services of San José may want to give Orotina a look.
Jaco – A popular beach location for those from San José wanting to get away for the weekend. Jaco is known for its surfing.
Parrita – Those interested in soft adventure and ecotourism will enjoy Parrita. This is a town’s economy is
almost totally dependent on the African Oil Palm industry so it is off the beaten path for tourist yet on the road to Manuel Antonio, therefore you may find better prices in this area and possibly some business opportunities.
Quepos / Manuel Antonio – Quepos is popular because of its close proximity to Manuel Antonio which is about 7 kilometers south of Quepos. There are plenty of activities in Quepos such as many restaurants, bars, outdoor adventure, and sport fishing to name a few. This would be a great place to live and create a thriving tourist business.
I have just named a couple of the towns in the Central Pacific Region there are many others. The best way to see them is to drive along the coast between Jaco and Quepos and stop in some of the small towns along the way.
A Look At The Central Valley Of Costa Rica
The 75% of the population of Costa Rica probably calls the Central Valley home and don’t be confused some people may say they live in San Jose but really are outside of San Jose in one of the surrounding cities or towns.
Some of the reasons people choose to live in the Central Valley are:
- Climate, which is ideal depending on the altitude that you live the temperature may range from the mid 60’s in the evening to the mid 80’s during the day.
- Services available such as medical care, major shopping malls, all the latest movies (at a fraction of the cost in the U.S.).
- Employment or self-employment opportunities are more plentiful.
- Close to many sightseeing opportunities and depending on where you live in the Central Valley less than an hour to the beach.
- Places to live are plentiful and at a reasonable price.
There are many cities and towns in the Central Valley far to many to list but here is a short list:
- San Jose – This is the largest city in Costa Rica and a good place to live if you wish to live in a cosmopolitan city with a number of upscale neighborhoods, restaurants, cafes, and a variety of universities.
- Moravia – This is a suburb of San Jose and would be for those who want to be close to the activities of San Jose but want things with more of a small town feel. There is a large modern shopping mall here and many restaurants.
- Escazu – I like to call this the business capital of Costa Rica. There are modern shopping malls here, many popular restaurants, movie theaters, many great residentials to live in, state of the art healthcare. Escazu is just 7 kilometers west of San Jose and has the largest number of expatriates living there.
- Santa Ana – If you are looking to still be convenient to San Jose this town is just about 5 minutes by car west of Escazu. The downtown area of Santa Ana has kept that old town charm yet with all the modern conveniences nearby and some very exclusive residential neighborhood.
- Ciudad Colon – If you still want to be convenient to San Jose but want to be in a small town then this is a great place for you. This is a growing area though but for the shopping malls, movie theaters, etc you would need to go to Escazu about 15 minutes east.
- Alajuela – This is where the international airport is that services the San Jose area and the Central Valley. Alajuela is about 20 kilometers northwest of San Jose, here you will find many typical Costa Rican neighborhoods with housing at a reasonable price.
- Curridabat – This city is a suburb to the east of San Jose with many reasonably priced places to live as well as many restaurants, shopping malls, and movie theaters.
- Heredia – The city of Heredia is between San Jose and Alajuela and has all types of services nearby. This city has many places to live and immerse yourself in the Costa Rican culture.
- Cartago – This was the first capital of Costa Rica and this city has a colonial feel to it. There are also many restaurants and a couple of shopping malls.
- Puriscal – This is a rural community, if you are looking for a quiet place to live this is it, although there is a growing number of expatriates living here. This is a great place to immerse yourself in the Costa Rica culture and only about 45 minutes for San Jose.
- Naranjo – This is a farming town and they grow lots of coffee here. If you are looking for a peaceful place to live at a slower pace this may be the place for you.
- Grecia – This small town has its own charm and is a relaxed farming community with a laid-back feel to it. This is a great place to live and immerse yourself into the Costa Rica culture.
The list could go on, all these locations have their special features and have something to offer. My suggestion is if you are thinking of moving to Costa Rica would be come visit for a few months and spend some time in the different cities or towns to see if they are appealing to you.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us and we can help you to find a place to buy or rent in Costa Rica’s Central Valley.
Obtaining Costa Rica Residency
There are 5 main types of Costa Rica Residency: Pensionado (retiree), rentista (annuitants), inversionista (investor), ejecutivo, gerente y personal técnico (executives, managers and technical staff), and residencia permanente (permanent residence).
For more information about Costa Rica Residency check the Costa Rica Embassy website. The Costa Rica Embassy website has links for information about documents needed and the procedure to follow for the different types of residency. These links will have the most up to date information because the are from Costa Rica Immigration. The process to apply for residency is not to difficult as long as follow the instructions.
You can apply for permanent residency if you have a first degree relative who is a Costa Rica National, such as your spouse or if you have a child. It is also possible to apply for permanent residency after 3 years in another type of residency.
This type of residency requires that you show proof of $1000.00 per month from a permanent pension source.
This type of residency is for those not yet retired. You will need to show proof of $2500.00 per month income for this type of residency.
Executives, Managers and Technical Staff Residency
This type of residency is where you work for a company that needs you in Costa Rica to work as an executive, manger, or a technical expert. With this type of residency the company should help you with residency process.
This type of residency requires a minimum investment of $200,000.00 in an approved business. Please follow link to Specific Requirements for Investor Residency.
These are the most common types of residency in Costa Rica. There are several other types of residency for Costa Rica that are listed on the Costa Rica Embassy website.
When you are ready for a simpler and healthier lifestyle get your documents together and consider making the move to Costa Rica. Pura Vida!!
Live A Longer Healthier Life In Costa Rica
Moving to Costa Rica can help you to live a longer and healthier life. This is possible due to your lifestyle you live in Costa Rica.
Living in Costa Rica you have healthcare options public and private
- The public healthcare is with the CAJA which you pay a monthly amount in relation to your income, all Costa Rica residents are required to pay into the CAJA and can be very reasonable compared to health insurance in the United States.
- Private healthcare can be provided by Hospital CIMA San José which is located in Escazú 10 minutes from downtown San José. CIMA also has a hospital in Liberia located in the northwest area of Costa Rica. Hospital La Católica and Hospital Clínica Bíblica are also in San José. These are the largest private hospitals and clinics in Costa Rica and provide state of the art healthcare, that you pay a fraction of what you would pay in the United States. There are also may other smaller private hospitals and clinics throughout Costa Rica providing excellent healthcare.
- Prescriptions through the public healthcare are included with your monthly payment to the CAJA. Should you need medication without the CAJA there are many private pharmacies throughout Costa Rica that can provide medication at very reasonable prices.
Your Diet In Costa Rica
- You will undoubtedly be eating more fresh vegetables and fresh fruits grown by local farmers. Every weekend the farmers market (feria) happens in most towns all over Costa Rica and a great place to find a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- You tend to not eat fast food at those large chain fast food restaurants, which will help you shed the pounds and be at a more natural weight.
- You will probably not be eating as much processed foods and more fresh foods, this is also going to help you shed the pounds. When you shed the pounds it can also help you lower you blood pressure.
Eating like this is just going to naturally improve your health.
The Costa Rica Lifestyle
- Your lifestyle in Costa Rica is at a slower pace and living a more relaxed lifestyle with less stress.
- Living in Costa Rica also tends to get you out walking as the climate in Costa Rica is pleasant year round.
Living in Costa Rica is a state of mind and just a more relaxing place to live and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, a Pura Vida lifestyle.
Healthcare in Costa Rica
The health care in Costa Rica is excellent and you have a choice between public health care known as the CAJA or you can purchase private health insurance. As a Costa Rica resident you are required to buy into the public health care the CAJA, if you choose you can visit private healthcare facilities but you will need to pay out-of-pocket unless you have private health insurance.
The CAJA does offer excellent care but can be very crowded as this is what most Costa Ricans use. Sometimes for non urgent appointments or procedures you may have to wait on an appointment. The CAJA does focus on preventive health care and the try to catch things before they become a problem. When you visit the clinic in the beginning of the year they will give you the paperwork to make various appointments for the year. You will be able to make your appointment for lab work, x-rays, electrocardiogram, eyes, and any other appointments you may need. There are times that you may not want to wait on the CAJA and you see a private doctor or go to a private facility but the cost is reasonable even with out private insurance.
There are many excellent private clinics and facilities to choose from such as CIMA Hospital in Escazu, Hospital La Catolica in San Jose – Guadalupe, and Clinica Biblica in San Jose these are state of the art medical facilities in the San Jose area. Cima and Clinica Biblica have satellite hospitals in Liberia that is convenient for those in the beach communities of Tamarindo and Flamingo. CIMA has agreements with the U.S. Veterans Administration and affiliations with the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
Even if you pay for private healthcare out-of-pocket it is a fraction of what the same healthcare would cost in the U.S.