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So you want to live in Costa Rica

Aug 07


For many Europeans or US residents, living and working in the tropics is more often than not more a dream than a reality. The few who managed it are admired and envied by those who stayed  home.

But is it really so different in the end, and is it really worth it?

For those who can find a way to live into a different country, the first step is to go and spend some time there as a tourist, and it is no different for Costa Rica. Apart from the fact that you need to get familiar with the legal bureaucracy and the logistics of getting your residency, it is also nice to get to know a little bit about the country, and the people, and thus establish that this is where you want to be. Do you speak Spanish already, or are you thinking of taking some classes? Will you be moving into the Central Valley, or are you a beach creature? Living and working on the coast means you are a lover of the sun; it is hot there, but you also have to remember that this country has a very long, strong rainy season.

When you first enter Costa Rica, you get a tourist visa that will last you 3 months. This is plenty of time to explore the country a little bit, remember that it is quite small, and to get a good feel of it. If you have never lived abroad before, this is the time to decide whether this is really for you. Not everyone likes and adapt to another country’s culture and ways. This is a very easy country to settle into, however some down side to get to people eventually; the way things are done, and the very laid back attitude can turn some people off. Setting up a business here may take a lot more effort and time than it would back home. For those who succeed though, it is all worth it! And once the decision has been taken and you´ve got the ball rolling, there is, for a while at least, no way back!

Reasons for moving here vary greatly; the warm climate, the low medical and dental care, the low cost of living, although it is not as low as it once was, the people, the atmosphere, the lower cost of houses and land, etc. The process of immigration is not straight forward, and it is very slow, even discouraging at times, but don’ t give up, we all get there in the end!

If you are thinking of coming here as a rentista or a pensianado, you will need to follow a set of steps, and you can find most of these in this web site:

If however you are thinking of coming here to work, then you will need to look into a residency that gives you the right to work. Like everywhere else, Costa Rica is protected its citizens so that they have first access to employment here. For more information check the same web site, it is very useful.

There are many other questions that will pop up to your mind as you are working towards moving here to live: How to ship your goods, what to take, what to leave behind. What about a car, how much are they, what about your driving licence, insurance, or  a good school for the children; the list goes on and on, and there are many points that will not get an answer until you have been here quite some time, and there are many questions you never thought of asking, so be prepared for a few surprises, but after all, that is part of the fun!

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