All expats living in Costa Rica have faced skepticism from loved ones who are very often misinformed about the country.

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When we made our decision to move here a good friend asked, “What about the gorillas on that island?”

We informed him that Costa Rica was not an island, and that gorillas only existed in Africa and Asia before he clarified that he meant guerrillas! After a hearty laugh we realized that comforting our loved ones through education was vital for us to be content with our decision to live here.

The average person knows that Costa Rica is a Central American country with stunning natural beauty and pristine beaches, which makes for nice vacations. However, many think Costa Rica is a “Third World” country unfit to be a permanent residence for pampered Americans.

Again, for those of us who live here that perception is comical, but understandable, because 70% of Americans don’t have passports and have little curiosity about the world beyond their shores.

We frequently have clients whose wives present the most skepticism about moving to Costa Rica. Whether we men want to admit it or not, women are usually the final decision makers when it comes to a home. Their instinct is to create and protect the nest; and moving to a foreign country immediately raises challenges and fears for the “homemaker.”

After basic knowledge of Costa Rica is learned the same questions seem to arise: Is it safe there? Will I sacrifice creature comforts? Will I have friends and stuff to do? How easy is it to keep in contact with family and friends in our home country?

  • Safety: Overall Costa Rica is a safe and peaceful place to live. Although Costa Ricans are peace-loving people, and violent crime is very rare in Costa Rica, petty theft can and does occur. Be smart with your valuables, as you would anywhere (i.e. don’t leave your laptop on the front seat of your car when parked). Safety is also relative to the location that you choose. Some areas are more tranquil than others (same as the States and elsewhere). You would be wise to research different areas to determine which best suit your lifestyle. And, finally, don’t flaunt your wealth. Live comfortably yet simply and you’ll never be a target of petty theft.
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  • Comforts: All American-style comforts, foods, and amenities can be found throughout Costa Rica with the epicenter of modern shopping and restaurants located in Escazú and Santa Ana. There is an ultra modern mall, Multiplaza (largest mall in Central America), a PriceSmart (like Costco or Sam’s Club), several American chain restaurants (Outback, TGIF, Tony Roma’s, Applebee’s, etc.) and a brand new IMAX movie theater to name a few. High-speed Internet and satellite/cable TV is readily available throughout the country for those who prefer to veg out.
  • Socializing: You will only be bored if you choose to be. There are many activities such as golf, movies, shopping, fishing, surfing, hiking, rappelling, and more to keep busy. If socializing with other North Americans is important to you, then I recommend finding an area where there are higher concentrations of them. In our area of Atenas there are expat book clubs, garden clubs, women’s groups, volunteer groups, and classes for dance, cooking, painting, Spanish and much more. These are in addition to hanging at the local coffee shops and the many dinner parties.
  • Communication: When we moved here many friends and family acted as though we were leaving planet Earth. Keeping in touch with loved ones has never been easier here. Indeed, my wife would have had a hard time living here without quality Internet for Skype, E-mail, and Facebook-ing. Additionally, Costa Rica is a relatively short and inexpensive flight from most locations in North America for return trips and visitors. Finally, expats with homes in Costa Rica are usually very popular with friends and family who have always dreamed of a vacation in an exotic tropical country.

Although Costa Rica is a “developing” country with a lower cost of living, it has First World services, modern shopping and amenities, and an impressive history of political and economic stability.

Considered to be the “Greenest and Happiest” nation in the world, the Costa Rican people are warm, friendly and welcoming to foreigners.

Additionally, the health care system is becoming famous for high quality professional services that you might be accustomed to in North America except at a much lower cost. It is truly a special place in a world full of nations with massive challenges.

Admittedly, Costa Rica is not for everyone, but it should be considered a leading contender for anyone seeking an adventurous expat lifestyle.

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Considering The Atenas Area For Your New Home In Costa Rica?

The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) ranks Atenas as one of “The Best Places to Retire Abroad.” For more information about homes and land for sale in the area please contact our Recommended Realtors in Atenas by using the simple form below:

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