FAQs about Moving to Costa Rica

1. HOW IS THE MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE?

Cable television, cell phone service, and high-speed Internet are available in almost all locations.

2. WHERE SHOULD I LIVE IN COSTA RICA?

The cost of living varies in different areas of Costa Rica. Some regions, such as the suburb of Escazu or the developed north Pacific coast beaches, are more expensive than, for instance, the Caribbean Coast. Generally, life in rural areas costs less than in city agglomerations and tourist areas.

3. DO I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS?

Legal residents in Costa Rica must join the Caja (CCSS), the country's public health system, which typically costs $50-100 USD a month. In addition, private health insurance is also available. If you still carry health insurance in the USA or private insurance in European countries, the private medical sector in Costa Rica usually accepts coverage for your expenses. Clarify with your insurance carrier.

4. WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN COSTA RICA?

Costa Rica has a temperate, tropical climate with two seasons: dry (December-April) and wet (May-November). When considering your relocation, there are many climate variants to choose from - balmy beaches, dry and hot plains of Guanacaste in the north, cool and fresh mountains, the spring-like temperatures in the Central Valley.

5. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO LIVE IN COSTA RICA?

Costa Rican housing, services, and medical care are substantially less expensive than North America. A single person can live comfortably here for about $1500 per month, depending on personal preferences.

6. SHOULD I BUY OR RENT?

We advise renting before buying a property. Every city is unique in terms of culture and amenities. So test-drive your preferred area before investing in real estate.

7. HOW IS PUBLIC TRANPORTATION?

Buses are inexpensive, reliable, and plentiful, making public transit ideal for Costa Rica. Taxis are also reasonably priced (less than half the cost of taxis in the United States) and readily available. A commuter train connects San Jose to Heredia, Alajuela and Cartago. There are plans to expand the service.

8. IS IT SAFE IN COSTA RICA?

Costa Rica dubbed the "Switzerland of the Americas," has a stable government that has operated peacefully for more than 70 years without the need of an army. Unlike many other Central American countries, Costa Rica has a sizable middle class. Compared to the other Central American countries, Costa Rica has the lowest crime rate.

9. CAN I WORK IN COSTA RICA?

Yes, however, you need to have permanent residency status to be employed. Alternatively, you can work for a company situated outside of Costa Rica or be self-employed. Also, you can establish your own business.

10. DO I NEED RESIDENCY TO RELOCATE?

No, you can live in the country on tourist status, which means that you have to leave Costa Rica every 3 months to renew your visa. We strongly advise you to obtain residency. There are many advantages to having a legal status in the country (such as opening a bank account, entry fees for National parks, museums, etc., are the same as for nationals).

11. CAN I DRINK TAP WATER IN COSTA RICA?

Yes. Costa Rican water is drinkable and safe to consume, except when/or otherwise indicated.

12. CAN I USE MY SOCIAL SECURITY TO GET RESIDENCY?

Yes. If you have a life-long pension of a minimum of $1,000 US per month, you may qualify for residency as a Pensionado in Costa Rica.

13. CAN I BRING MY PET TO COSTA RICA?

As there is no quarantine in Costa Rica, bringing a pet is reasonably simple. You can bring your pet to Costa Rica in one of three ways: carry-on luggage, checked baggage, or freight. Animals weighing less than 15 pounds are typically allowed to travel as a carry-on. Before making travel plans, double-check airline policies and current pet importation laws.

14. CAN I OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT?

To open a bank account, you must have residency status in the country. You will need to provide the bank with documentation to show your funds and income verification.

15. CAN I LIVE IN COSTA RICA AS A PERPETUAL TOURIST?

Yes, it is possible. A perpetual tourist is someone who lives in Costa Rica yet enters as a tourist and re-enters every 90 days to renew their entry stamp.

16. WHAT ARE THE HOSPITALS LIKE IN COSTA RICA?

Public hospitals are generally up-to-date and advanced, especially in urban areas. Outside the Central Valley, the quality varies immensely. Private hospitals such as Clinica Biblica, Clinica Catolica, and CIMA San Jose are world-class.

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