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Costa Rica Video - learn about living or working in Costa Rica and retirement
Christopher Howards book on living, retiring, moving to Costa Rica New! Read Christopher Howard's latest book on Moving, Living and Retiring in Costa Rica!

VISIT COSTA RICA RETIREMENT TOURS will show you everything you will ever need to know about moving, living and retiring in Costa Rica. Gabriela Guiterez's professional and personal retirement tours are an excellent combination of tourism, cultural education and retirement information. With your signup, you will receive a complementary copy of our Costa Rican retirement DVD which will provide an unbiased, candid, up to date look at Costa Rica as it truly is. Our tours have an important educational component and our overall objective is that our guests learn as much as possible of the economic, cultural and social life of Costa Rica in order to make knowledgeable and fact based decision. Our carefully chosen retirement tours are designed to show four different life styles to be enjoyed in Costa Rica – living in the country, on a farm, city life in the Central Valley, and beach living on the Pacific Ocean coast, with all their pros and cons.

   Christopher Howard's Retirement, Relocation and Living in Costa Rica Tours Costa Rica has become one of the most desirable retirement destinations in the world, not only because of its ideal climate and breathtaking beauty, and a country of great heart and soul, making it always endearing and generally unique among its neighbors.

What REALLY makes Costa Rica “Different?”
This small Central American country, tucked between Panama and Nicaragua, boasts a local population of kind, tolerant, friendly and educated people; a long-standing stable and democratic government; quality and affordable healthcare; a progressive and growing infrastructure; an open environment for foreign business and investment, and a positive outlook on protecting its wealth of natural resources. This is the “short list!”

Costa Rica, with the Carribbean to the East, Pacific to the West and lots of waterfalls, streams and rivers in between , help define it as a land rich in the abundance of water and agricultural fertility.

ADD THE volcanoes, beaches, mountains, jungle, cloud and rain forests and you have the splendor and treasure of terrain, temperature and one of the most diverse “macro” ecosystems on the planet; further yielding an unparalleled number of micro-ecosystems of fauna, flora and climate. With so many people from throughout the world both exploring and relocating to Costa Rica, it serves as an incredible backdrop to a growing assortment of immigrants from the US, Canada, Europe and elsewhere.

WHAT DO I “DO” WHEN I GET THERE The short answer is…anything you want. Both locals and transplants easily find and forge new friends to share in a vast array of cultural, social, sporting, ecological and volunteer activities. Costa Rica is the perfect destination to re-think or re-invent your life or business, or simply hone your own personal status quo. And… you can drink the water, communicate, hibernate or proliferate in this country that is ‘beyond clean,’ welcoming, open-minded and communicative….whether or not you speak the language.

              Are you thinking about moving, living, working or retiring in Costa Rica?
Then, this new video by Costa Rica Retirement Videos is for you! With 60 minutes of information about the country and 4 interviews with people just like yourself who have made the lifestyle change, this DVD will help you make an informed decision. Click on the photo above to start a series of 1 minute sample interviews, country information, objective facts and figures, all with no advertisement of products or commercial endorsements.



WHY Choose Costa Rica – WHY is it different, better, unique? Well, the reasons are as abundant as the overall diversity of this enchanting country - Heavenly mountains and delightful beaches, the healthiest climate of the world.  A profusion of flora and fauna like nowhere else on this planet.   And on top of it all, very reasonable real estate prices. All of this make Costa Rica a true paradise. 

Costa Rica offers all the comforts of home in a relaxing tropical paradise, Costa Rica has become the ultimate relocation and retirement destination. The warmth of its people and its climate have attracted thousands of Americans and Europeans, but the advantages of living in Costa Rica extend far beyond its “fun-and-sun” reputation.


Costa Rican food may be a little different than what you are used to, as with traveling, living or retiring to any country, but you will surely enjoy the wholesome differences, with infinite variety of garden fresh and street market inexpensive fruits and vegetables.

Strategically located in the center of the Americas, means quick and easy airline access from the United States, as well as convenient shipment of personal goods to Pacific or Carribbean Ports.

We have two modern international airports, one in San Jose and the other in Liberia. There are commuter flights throughout the country to smaller local landing strips. We have an outstanding bus and taxi system. And even if our country and local community roads are not always in the BEST repair…You can trust that the main highway systems are smooth, modern, well planned and well-maintained.

During the dry season –our Summer – which is roughly the end of November to May, we still get showers a couple of times each week. Even in the rainy season – our Winter - around the end of May through December, the sun shines all morning and into the early afternoon, before we are blessed with a lively rain typically lasting 2 to 4 hours. There is but one caveat to this perfect climate…Although we have mountains… we DON’T DO… snow!

The Costa Rican people (or Ticos as they call themselves), are almost an international cultural phenomenon because they are such a gentle, spirited, friendly, educated, polite and kind people. They are open-minded and eager to assist. When you say thank you or “gracias” in this country, the reply is always CON GUSTO which translates WITH PLEASURE, and they MEAN it! And as an added bonus they seem to border on a refreshing obsession for cleanliness. You will surely find and appreciate this to be one of the cleanest countries in the world. The people, their homes and public facilities.

The psyche of the people is most certainly, and quite fortunately, reflected in the more than 150-year history and tradition of free and honest elections. Costa Rica boasts the oldest democracy in Latin America, which is why it is richly known for its political, social and economic stability.

This stability (even among less stable neighbors) has been achieved and upheld WITHOUT a standing army, which was abolished in 1948. Instead of investing money into a military, resources were instead allocated to highways, education, medical care and the cultural arts.

This theme of democracy and devotion to the enrichment of the lives of the population has resulted in a highly educated, productive, yet affordable workforce for companies and individuals, alike.

In turn, Costa Rica in general, has a very affordable cost of living which is particularly appreciated by visitors or those who relocate from the United States, Canada and Europe. A couple can live comfortably on less than $1500 per month. Housing, construction, food, utilities, property taxes, insurance premiums and labor (7) domestic help are where you will find the greatest and most dramatic savings.

If your current tastes already trend higher, then you will pay more for it here, as you would in your own country of origin. But more is still less.

As for property ….The type, size and location of the property will dictate how much you pay. A simple but pleasant home can be purchased for $45- $90 per square foot. The range in price will depend on your personal preferences.

So now that you have arrived…please know, that at least in most locations in the country, you can enjoy consistent and realiable access to modern communication. Internet, cell, fax, land phones, and, actually, an efficient surface mail system. Let it be known, however, that the Spanish word for address is “direccion.” Unless you have a Post Office Box, more often than not, your address is, literally, a sequence of “directions” unless and sometimes even if, you live in a more metropolitan area.

Two top-notch English newspapers, cable DirectTV access with US and British Channels, along with availability of English language books and movies help appease the potential for “homesickness.”

There is also a wide variety of options for Spanish language study in both private and public venues.

So what if I get sick? By the way…yes, you CAN drink the water! However if you DO require medical treatment, Costa Rica is considered to have among the best, low-cost medical systems in the world. This system focuses on both preventive and curative care, is accessible, affordable and comprehensive. You can be treated in or by, private or public hospitals/doctors or clinics. AND based on your residency status, you will have different advantages within the country’s system. Many doctors here are also board certified in the U.S. and have practiced or studied in the U.S. or Europe. You should look to your own health insurance provider and their reimbursement rules when visiting or living outside your home country. Claims reimbursement will vary depending upon your insurance provider.

In general, the cost of an office visit will likely be comparable to your co-pay in the U.S. or at the minimum ½ to 1/3. You can also be confident you will be well cared for by staff and doctor.

Looking for some rejuvenation?….want a little nip, tuck, enhancement or reduction? Costa Rica is rapidly building a reputation as the Beverly Hills of the south in regard to cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgeons here are highly qualified, academically correct, speak perfect English, have fine facilities and post-op care, and thery are able to offer their services at a fraction of the cost of the United States. Typically, 30-50% more affordable than the same procedure in the U.S.

The quality of dentists and the more reasonable cost of routine and cosmetic dental procedures follows the same integrity and savings that can be observed for medical procedures.

Now that we’ve covered a lot of the “emotional” WHYS of Costa Rica, perhaps we should get down to business.

Costa Rica, is well recognized for its friendly business climate, infrastructure of international business standards, and a positive attitude toward foreign investment, making it one of the safest and most attractive countries in Latin America for investors from anywhere in the world.

A recent World Bank Study ranked Costa Rica at a very high 83 percentile, Meaning 83% of countries worldwide have LESS political stability than Costa Rica, and accordingly, we have the most desirable rating in all of Latin America.

Depending on the type of business, there are generous incentives, tax breaks and in some cases, waivers on import duties. The Maximum Costa Rican tax rate is 30% with no city or state taxes and low property taxes. Formation of an offshore corporation to shelter earnings and reduce taxes is an option for many. Also, U.S. citizens can recognize sizable tax exemptions, currently $80,000 applies to individual overseas-earned gross income. Please, however, always seek advisement from a professional financial advisor, so that you can make the best and most informed decisions.

Entrepreneurial opportunities are feasible and most certainly exist for those inclined. Keep in mind, however, there is always risk, anywhere, when starting a new commercial endeavor.

With so many Americans, Canadians, Europeans and others relocating to Costa Rica on a full or part-time basis there is ample opportunity to “find your own crowd” and interact on your own level, whatever that might be. A large selection of clubs, organizations, churches and volunteer activities will enhance your ability to make friends, with either locals or transplants, who share similar interests, regardless of race, color, creed or national origin.

You can also still play tennis or golf in the local country club or in your own gated community. And…when you yearn for US restaurant franchise food, familiar clothing labels and product brands they are always available and accessible.


Some things are not apparent until you move here...unless you have "done your research" and considered the consequences of your decisions, both good and bad, or should we say, "equal, but different". The important thing is to be aware...

For those people who have moved and lived successfully in Costa Rica, these are some of the most common lifestyles that they have chosen - the beach, the country and mountain areas, and gated retirement communities.

As a resident, you'll have different shopping needs than a tourist looking for souvenirs. Learn where to find what you're looking for.

So, you've decided to move to Costa Rica. Do you really need to speak Spanish to live, work or retire here?

If you consider yourself too busy with your work to do household chores, or are retired and need domestic help for health and living reasons, then Costa Rica is for you!

You will be pleasantly surprised to know that the public transportation system is not only most adequate for many needs, but because of the traffic, actually preferred. Or, the retiree can use inexpensive taxis, especially in busy San Jose. But, your car is also an option for the ultimate in convenience, but possibly not peace of mind....

A curse or convenience? People choosing to live, work or retire in Costa Rica need to consider the benefits of private transportation verses public transportation and taxis, and then adjust to the looser driving culture, roads and enforcement....

CONSULATES & EMBASSIES Costa Rican consulates in the U.S. are an excellent information resource for anyone considering a visit, temporary or permanent move to Costa Rica. They provide, among other things, information about visas, work permits, marriage and residency.


Living in the Central Valley - San Jose, Escazu, Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago, Ciudad Colon, Puriscal, Santa Ana, San Ramon & Atenas

Living in the Northern Plains - Liberia, Arenal, San Carlos, Nuevo Arenal, Fortuna & Ciudad Quesada

Living in the Northern Pacific Beach Areas - Flamingo, Conchal, Playas del Coco, Ocotal, Tamarindo, Playa Grande, Nosara, Samara, Santa Teresa, Playa Manzanillo, Tambor, Montezuma and Malpaís

Living in the Central Pacific Beach Region - Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Jaco, Playa Hermosa, Matapalo, Esterillos Beach

Living in the South Pacific Beach Areas - Dominical, Playa Uvita, Tortuga, Ojochal, San Isidro de El General, Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay, Golfito, Zancudo, Playa Pavones

Living in the Caribbean Beach Region - Limon, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita

Monteverde - a quiet, cultured place for living and retiring.

Then, regardless of where you move to in Costa Rica, especially if you have a health condition or are retired, having access to health care is important. Different areas offer different advantages. Read about health care in Costa Rica - access, hospitals, clinics, costs and healthcare insurance

Living & Retiring in Costa Rica Information by ARCR

Want to know how foreigners live in Costa Rica? How they are welcomed in this nation of peace and tranquility? How they own land or a business without restrictions?  Get a first hand glimpse into how they settled into a new lifestyle. Here, you can read about about Costa Rican finances, traditions, arts and crafts, Learning the Language, legal updates, immigration, health , the wild side of Costa Rica, flora, fauna, survival skills, building Your home and much more.

Relocating to Costa Rica - Tips, Consulations

For those of you that have already vacationed in beautiful Costa Rica, and have already decided to move and relocate here, or your company is relocating you here, you may want to consider the assistence of a professional Relocation Service. You will find helpful cultural, regulatory information, and tips on adjusting to your new life in areas such as:
  • Pet Relocation
  • School / College Information
  • Corporate Relocations
  • Adjusting to a new culture
  • Rental Assistance
  • Immigration Assistance
  • Pre-Consultation service
  • Social Groups / Clubs
  • Medical Assistence - Special Needs
  • Click for more information on this Relocation Service.

    Immigration - Residency Requirements

    This is what you'll need to bring to start your residency application, as well as other financial documents depending on the type of residency desired.

    • First Name(s).
    • Last Name(s).
    • Names of your father.
    • Names of your mother with her maiden name
      (or the one she used before she got married to your father.)
    • Date of birth.
    • Place of birth.
    • Nationality.
    • Marital Status.
    • Nº of Passport with date of entry.
    • Criminal Record
      (They're only valid for 6 months, so bring a new one !!!)
    • Birth Certificate.
    • 4 recent photos.
    • And some money for fees, lawyers, etc.

    All documents must be translated, certified (legalized) by a Costa Rican Consulate in your country.

    Permanent residency for retirees and other people who want to get out of the active business life is still available with almost no restrictions, even though things are changing little by little.  There are different kinds of residency.  One category is for retirees (pensionados) who receive a monthly income of at least US$ approximately 1,000 from abroad.   There's also one for the retirees called rentistas.   They need a monthly pension of approximately US$ 2,000 (coming from Costa Rica or through a bank deposit).  Financial guidelines have been fluxuating lately, so when you write, we can give you the latest information. Another category is for investors with a minimum investment of US$ 200,000.   Finally, there are company, student and refugee visas, and residency for those with Costa Rican relatives.

    If you are serious about immigrating to Costa Rica and if you can supply all the above mentioned documents, please have them authenticated at a Costa Rican Embassy in your Country (even if the Embassy tells you, that this is not necessary).

    If you only need legal help to get your residency,
    want to become a member of the
    Association of Residents of Costa Rica
    which we highly recommend,
    just contact this office at

    Casa Canada and ARCR
    offers a variety of unique services for immigrants
    to Costa Rica as well as foreign residents.
    Also, Costa Rica Retirement Tours by Christopher Howard

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