Relax, Retire, Rejuvenate: Real Reasons People Keep Returning to Costa Rica

Photo credit: jorge.cancela Costa Rica via photopin (license)

Ask any well-traveled person to list their top ten countries in North America and Costa Rica will be there. Of course, the country has its problems, but as a place to feel at home, to experience a wonderful climate, and to enjoy yourself, it has it all. Whatever you are looking for in a foreign location, Costa Rica is worth a thought.

Natural Environment

Costa Rica is a beautiful country. There are amazing beaches. Some are highly developed and provide all the tourist facilities you could want. Others are remote and unspoilt, with fascinating varieties of sand and landscape.

For the nature enthusiast, Costa Rica has an extraordinary richness of environments—rain forests, cloud forests, savannah, volcanic mountains. Over a quarter of the country is designated as protected or conservation land and the country is determined to look after its natural wonders.


The thing that strikes most visitors is that Costa Rica is a very, very laid back place. People have time, and they make time for each other. A popular phrase you will come across is ‘Pura Vida’ (pure life) and it is something that Costa Ricans prize greatly—the experience of living matters more than deadlines and achievements. It can be frustrating but also liberating.

There are dodgy places in the cities, of course, but for the most part, Costa Rica is a pretty safe place to live. There is no army, and the police are responsible for all aspects of personal and national security.

The country has invested heavily in education and health over the years, with the result that it has one of the best health services in Latin America. The cost of healthcare is, as you would expect, much cheaper than in the US.


The Costa Rican economy is powered by some of the most familiar coffee in the world. Because most coffee is produced in small family farms, there is a substantial middle class which provides a measure of economic stability often lacking in Latin America.

Apart from coffee, not much is produced locally, which means that most consumer items are imported and cost at least as much as in the US. On the other hand, services are incredibly cheap, which means an economy where people deal directly with each other, promoting that sense of community which is so often lacking in the developed west.

Costa Rica has long been a popular destination for American tourists and retired people, so real estate is not the cheapest in the continent, but anyone intent on finding a home for sale in Costa Rica will come across some amazing properties with stunning views and luxurious facilities.

A Welcome Awaits

Over the years, many people have moved to Costa Rica to work, to retire, to live a different sort of lifestyle. Costa Ricans seem to welcome everyone, and expats rapidly become accepted as part of the community. If you are thinking of quitting the rat race, Costa Rica is definitely worth putting on your shortlist.

Maya Hill moved to Costa Rica several years ago after travelling the world and seeking a new place to settle down and call home. She writes about moving, and living, abroad, travelling Costa Rica, and further afield.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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