For many prospective expats, the quality of medical care in the country they plan to move to is a very important factor. Of course, most hope to never find out how good the health care system is. But things happen.
Prospective expats often ask me about the opportunity to do community work in Costa Rica as a way to give back to their adopted home.
I visited the Lake Arenal region a few weeks back with family from out of town. When people visit us here in Costa Rica, we usually end up there at some point. Just three hours by car from our home in the Central Valley (and the international airport), it's an easy drive—very picturesque as you pass through the rain forest, farmland, and small villages of the countryside.
You’ve just weighed anchor on another night of bliss, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of your sailboat in the calm sea. Before you is a small cove lined by craggy cliffs. Clear blue waters end at a white-sand beach. You’ve had it all to yourself for the last week. It was supposed to be just an overnight stop. But it was so beautiful, you decided to stick around. After a quick dip, you’re enjoying a cup of coffee and a light breakfast on deck as you contemplate which island paradise you’ll go to next.
When I'm back visiting the U.S. and tell people I live in Costa Rica...I already know the picture they have in their mind. It's a shoreline. First, the brilliant blue water...a strip of sand unmarred by footprints...a fringe of palm trees...then a rain forest with towering trees and lush vegetation alive with toucans and capuchin monkeys...and finally jagged green-covered mountains looming behind it all.
Thanks to a climate that features warm weather year-round, a stable democratic government, excellent health care, low cost of living, and a laid-back lifestyle, Costa Rica has been welcoming expats looking for a pleasant place to live and retire for more than 30 years—and is still going strong.
In many ways, Costa Rica is the “veteran” among Central-American retirement destinations. North Americans and Europeans have been flocking to this little country for more than 30 years, attracted by the tropical climate; low cost of living; top-notch, affordable medical care; bargain real estate; and natural beauty.
Last month, I shared a bit about my new home in the hills above Grecia, in Costa Rica's Central Valley region.
I've lived in several places during my time in Costa Rica: Grecia, a Central Valley market town surrounded by sugar cane fields and coffee plantations; Tamarindo, a funky beach resort on the northern Pacific where I learned to surf and enjoyed sunset celebrations with friends every night; and Escazu, a suburb of the capital San Jose, with plenty of modern conveniences but also treasured cultural traditions.
We're at the peak of the dry season here in Costa Rica. It very rarely rains this time of year, the season lasts from about late November to early May. And that means beautiful, blue sky all day.