The trend of young families and retirees moving to foreign countries is not new but definitely on the rise. Borders all over the world are opening and inviting people to not only visit but to invest their futures, build homes, open businesses and apply for residency. Moving somewhere that is not your home and has no familiar connections is not a decision to take lightly or without deliberation. The list of things to consider is endless and many things cannot be simply Googled, they must be experienced. Once you’ve selected the part of the world where you want to cultivate a new life, you must analyze so many factors like language, climate, laws, customs, health care, finances and how many luxuries can you forego and still be happy. In all honesty, no matter how clear your vision is, you won’t know exactly what you want until you go out and see the many intricacies of life abroad.
All that being said, there is a golden rule to becoming a blissful expatriate: rent first! You will read this over and over, and you may convince yourself that it’s not necessary. Let’s put it this way, if your first overseas rental is perfection, and you can’t imagine living anywhere else, then find a house to buy on your favorite street, by your favorite store in walking distance to your favorite beach. You won’t know all this looking at listings while sitting in Nebraska! If your rental shows you that the town is not right, the climate isn’t ideal and your neighbors drive you crazy, pack up and move on without the financial threat or devastation of investment without return.
Now that you understand calculated risk, may we offer other considerations? Take a look at why you want to leave your home. Are you tired of cold weather, overpriced insurance and medical care, obnoxious neighbors who do not share your open mind of the world, your own limited travels, too much traffic and too many highways or a town so small you can’t escape the gossip ring? Start forming a picture in your mind of the things you want to have in your new town, city and country. Then take a breath and rest in the fact that you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Costa Rica has been developing a well grooved path of expats for over 30 years. And do you know why? Because Costa Rica can offer you what you are looking for.
This little slip of a country is smaller than Lake Michigan yet has every visual landscape and climate preference you could desire. You can live in bustling cities, quirky tourist strips, reggae loving beach shanties or the solitude of mountain tops and farm lands. You can have the temperate, dry Central Valley, the predictable rain and summer of the north Pacific peninsula, the year round warmth with scattered annual rains in the South Pacific or the warm, wet humidity of the Caribbean side. You can be surrounded by fun loving expatriates, fully immerse yourself in Ticos (natives of Costa Rica), find a private hole and live in solitude and anything in between. A small town might sound idyllic until you find yourself bored, lonely or tired of the “politics.” A rich, cultural city may be enticing until you miss quiet nights, lower cost living and knowing all your neighbors.
Let Costa Rica be your new home, just don’t go in blind or with your head in the clouds. There are things to learn about in any new location. The government systems, cultural whims, what’s accepted and what’s not, rhythms of life and the underbelly pulse can’t be explained to you, because they mean something different to everyone. Travel this magnificent country and get a true feel of where and how you want your future to play out.
Costa Rica, Pura Vida