Fast Track Costa Rica: Lifestyle & Opportunity Conference 2018

They knew they couldn't afford to retire in California…

But Today, Deby and Chuck Are Living Their Dream Retirement on a Sunny Beach in Costa Rica, the World's #1 Retirement Destination

Beach, Mountain, Lake, City, and Country Living… Low-Cost Quality Healthcare…

For $1,760 A Month Or Less, You Can Do The Same

Dear International Living Reader,

Back in 2005, Deby Hogue says, she was working at a Montessori school and her husband, Chuck, had been working in construction for 30 years.

As Chuck used to say back then, "I am beat up from the feet up." It was a natural time in their lives to retire and make some more memories.

The couple had dreamed of retiring to the beach, but they couldn't see it happening for them in California, where they're from.

On a surf trip to Costa Rica that year, however, they found what they were looking for in the little town of Nosara.

"We found surf, beautiful beaches, and great restaurants…and the place that would become our retirement home."

As Deby and Chuck soon realized, while they couldn't afford to retire at home, they could very well afford to retire in Costa Rica. And in their mid-50s at the time, it would be even earlier than they had hoped.

Nosara had everything they were looking for. A small town on the Pacific Coast, it's sheltered by green hills to the east. But to the west, its beaches are the main attraction. There are five separate beaches here, in fact, in secluded coves and bays. The largest, Playa Guiones, is three miles long, and has been named by National Geographic as one of the top 20 surfing destinations in the world.

Imagine, retiring to one of the world's best surf destinations…
These beautiful beaches and the laidback tranquility of little Nosara attract young, lively visitors who come to surf, practice yoga, and enjoy the stunning natural landscape and wildlife.

Everything you might need is here, Deby says, including a great market, a hardware store, a post office, and a small airport from which you can take a 45-minute flight to the capital city of San Jose.

"The town also has a nice community of expats from Europe, the U.S., and Canada."

Just a seven-minute walk from the beach Deby and Chuck found a lot for sale for just $55,000. Relying on Chuck's construction skills, they decided to build their own home.

The house has three bedrooms, one of which is accessed by an outside spiral staircase," says Deby. "We call this "the monkey room" as it's next to papaya trees that the monkeys love to eat from. We have a large patio where we put our dining table and I have an outside kitchen where I do most of my cooking. We are surrounded by lots of trees and plants…we have to constantly rearrange the plants because they grow so large."

Chuck and Deby figure they spent $120,000 to build their home. (Try doing that in California…where a home this close to the beach will cost a million dollars or more…)

"We love our life in Nosara…it's vibrant and healthy," Deby says. "Chuck surfs and I have started to blog about my cooking and our life here."

They eat out once or twice a week, mostly because Nosara is a fun place to socialize, she says, everyone knows one another.

"We usually spend between $8 to $12 on a meal. My favorite dish when we eat out is what's called a casado—a plate of rice, red or black beans, a choice of fish, beef, pork, or chicken, and a colorful salad of lettuce, tomato, carrots, cucumber, hearts of palm, and avocado."

As residents of Costa Rica, they're enrolled in CAJA, the national healthcare program. They pay $83 per month for that, for the two of them.

And while Deby cautions that Costa Rica is not the most inexpensive place to live, she says their monthly expenses are reasonable.

"We spend about $2,000 per month on food, gas, dinners out, car repairs. It really is a great life in Nosara…one we're very much enjoying."

You, Too, Can Have the Retirement of Your Dreams in Costa Rica

For years now, Costa Rica has been one of the most popular tourist destinations for North Americans. Nearly a quarter of the country is national park land and protected areas. There are plenty of beaches, too, on both Pacific and Caribbean Coasts. And the country's Central Valley offers a nearly perfect climate…never too hot and never too cold.

Retirees, too, have taken note of all this country has to offer.

Costa Rica ticks almost all the boxes on anyone's retirement checklist:

  • Conveniently close to home—With many direct flights to two international airports (and a third in the works), it's close to the U.S. and Canada, (less than three hours from Miami).
  • Excellent weather—From the temperate Central Valley to the beautiful tropical beaches, there's a climate for everyone.
  • Top-quality healthcare—The World Health Organization praises Costa Rica for its healthcare system, and has ranked it better than the U.S., despite spending 87 percent less on healthcare per capita.
  • The most stable democracy in Latin America—No other country has the peaceful history and democratic stability of Costa Rica (and no army)!
  • All the comforts of home—modern shopping malls and world-class hospitals. Reliable high-speed internet is available just about everywhere.
  • Low, low taxes—You'll pay zero income taxes on foreign-earned income. If you buy a home in Costa Rica, your annual property taxes will be little more than $200-$500 in most cases. And there's no capital gains tax!
  • With one of the world's lowest poverty indexes and a high standard of living, Costa Rica offers a surprisingly low cost of living.

Sure, some of the things I've just mentioned are also true of many Latin American countries. All are more affordable than the U.S. and some are even closer geographically (but not by much). Many have democratically elected governments, although few with as longstanding history as Costa Rica.

But as Deby and Chuck and others have learned, Costa Rica offers advantages most of us aren't aware of:

  • A built-in community of English-speaking locals and expats—it's said that more than 11,000 U.S. retirees currently live in Costa Rica.
  • It's healthy…with little pollution and lots of clean water and fresh air. (Costa Rica is one of the only countries in the world to reverse deforestation!) A staggering 99% of its energy comes from renewable, money-saving sources.
  • Adult literacy is practically 100%. Thanks to the well-educated, well-informed workforce, many international companies have offices, factories, and call centers here—contributing to the strong and stable economy.
  • The happiest people in the world live here. Sociologists from the Happy Planet Index have said Costa Ricans "report the highest life satisfaction and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the Americas (second only to Canada)."

It's no wonder that many foreign retirees are living Pura Vida (the purely good life) in Costa Rica. And you could, too…

Find Out if Costa Rica is Right for You at International Living's

2018 Fast Track Costa Rica Conference

August 16-18 InterContinental Hotel, San José, Costa Rica

Join us and discover everything you need to know about Costa Rica to determine if it's your ideal retirement or relocation destination…

Come away with all the knowledge and contacts necessary to make your move with confidence.

If you've read this far, you may have something in common with the Hogues.

Maybe you're concerned about your financial future or your health…wondering if you'll be able to have the kind of life you dream about…or if you can afford to retire at all.

To that, I say: thousands of foreign retirees have made their dreams come true in Costa Rica. And you can, too. As Deby and Chuck discovered, you may even be able to retire earlier than you ever thought possible.

You can quit working and start living. Or even start a profitable new venture…something you're passionate about and have dreamed of doing. When you join us at our Fast Track Costa Rica Conference, we'll show you how.

I'm Jackie Flynn, publisher of International Living.

We're bullish on almost all of Latin America, as you know. And the more research we do on Costa Rica, the more over-the-top bullish we are on Costa Rica. That's why…

This year, International Living named Costa Rica the world's BEST retirement destination.

It takes a lot to earn the top spot on our Global Retirement Index, and Costa Rica has it all…the total package retirees are looking for.

It's the most politically stable country in Latin America, with a long history of peacefulness. (President Oscar Arias won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to bring the peacefulness of Costa Rica to other countries in Central America.)

Plus, Costa Rica has all those advantages I've already told you about. It offers great weather, beautiful beaches, world-class healthcare, and it's so very affordable for daily living.

In a moment I'll share a typical monthly budget for a couple living in Costa Rica. Most report that they live far better in Costa Rica on about one-third of the costs back home….just $1,760 a month or less. Sometimes far less.

But Isn't Costa Rica Real Estate Expensive?

Despite what you may think, real estate prices in Costa Rica are just as low as in Mexico and other popular Central American countries like Belize and Panama.

As anywhere in the world, prices are higher in high-traffic tourist and resort destinations. That's the rule of supply and demand, after all.

But if you relocate to Costa Rica, it's doubtful you'll settle in a tourist destination. Most expats, in fact, settle in the Central Valley. There, you'll find prices extremely affordable. Same with the Lake Arenal area to the north and certain pockets of coastline.

In fact, if the beach is your thing, you'll be spoiled for choice, as Costa Rica offers more than 1,000 miles of coastline. Know where to look and you'll find some incredible bargains.

But don't just take it from me. Here's what International Living Real Estate Editor Ronan McMahon has to say about Costa Rica real estate:

"In the 1980s, International Living recommended buying real estate in northern Costa Rica. This part of Costa Rica caught on…and became the number one destination among foreign retirees and investors. Through the 1990s, the market boomed.

"Thing is: there are, arguably, nicer parts of Costa Rica that haven't yet caught on. In these areas, prices are very affordable. Along Costa Rica's southern coast, for instance, you can buy a quarter-acre lot in a high-end private community for $40,000. With custom homebuilding costs from only $110 per square-foot, you can build a 2,000-square-foot dream home for $220,000. And a three-bedroom home in this location can make as much as $64,241 a year in rental income."

Ronan has logged hundreds of thousands of travel miles in pursuit of the world's best real estate bargains and he's high on Costa Rica. At our Fast Track Costa Rica Conference in August, his business partner Margaret Summerfield will give you all the details and tell you where to find the country's best real estate deals…in areas they both believe hold tremendous potential for appreciation.

The Central Valley is Where Most Expats Settle, Thanks to Convenience Climate, and Cost of Living…

As I mentioned, Costa Rica's Central Valley is where most foreign retirees settle. That's because of the temperate weather and proximity to the modern amenities of San José, with mega shopping malls and world-class medical care.

That's where you'll find Ed and Jackie Cusack. Not that long ago, as they were approaching their 60s, it felt as if the winters in Indiana were getting longer and causing more discomfort. They found themselves wondering where and how they were going to spend the next stage of their lives.

After traveling off and on to Costa Rica, they decided to escape, once and for all, from the conference calls, emails, and deadlines, and focus more on the joys of simplicity. They decide to take their early retirement benefits from Social Security, and in 2013 they told our employers that they would be trading in our business clothes for shorts and flip-flops.

Initially they decided to live in Costa Rica's popular tourist town of Tamarindo, but as they traveled around, they discovered a completely new side to the country.

"Don't get me wrong; with its gold-sand beaches, Tamarindo is a beautiful place, and many expats are very happy there," Ed says. "But the climate is hot and dry, averaging in the 80s F and 90s F all year. Sure, we had pools to swim in, beaches to enjoy, and air conditioning to lounge in. But reality set in when it came time to pay our first electric bill."

Fast forward three years.

Today, Ed and Jackie live in the hills above the charming town of Sarchí, about a 40-minute drive from the international airport at Costa Rica's capital city of San Jose.

It's convenient to get back to the States to visit family and friends, they say. And even though they have a car, Ed says, "We've found ourselves using public buses more and more often for trips to the city, rather than driving. At a cost of about $1.50 for a trip to the capital, San José, the bus saves us the cost of driving, the frustration of dealing with city traffic, and, of course, finding parking."

The climate is perfect, they say. Because of the elevation of the town and surrounding areas, the temperatures are temperate and comfortable—no higher than 80 F during the day and in the high 50s F or low 60s F at night.

They're happy living a simple life surrounded by natural beauty and wildlife. Their four-bedroom, two-and-a half bath home has a small garden and a shared farming field behind the house, "so we can grow our own tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, and fennel. We can go into our backyard in the morning to pick fresh oranges and limes for juice, gather avocados and passion fruit from our front yard for afternoon snacks, and microwaving food is a thing of the past."

As Ed says, they paid roughly $2,000 a month in the States for mortgage, insurance, and utilities, "And we saw these expenses drop to $770 a month since moving to Sarchi…which shows just how affordable this region is. We could not dream of retiring in the States on the budget we have now."

Today their basic monthly expenses come in at just $1,100—far less than they spent every month back in Indiana. But living more frugally doesn't mean they have to live with just the bare essentials.

One reason their expenses are so low Ed says, is because "we are fortunate to have good health overall, and we haven't needed to visit doctors often. Now that they have their Costa Rica resident visa, Ed says, "For the both of us, we pay a total of 25,000 colones a month (roughly $47 US) for full hospital/medical, dental, optical, and prescriptions."

That's an amazing bargain and a tremendous savings to a retirement budget.

It helps, of course, that Costa Rica's Central Valley climate is nearly perfect, Ed says. Not too hot and never too cold, he and Jackie can spend lots of time outside.

"We tend to brag on social networks about the beauty of our new home in Costa Rica, with its friendly locals, warm climate year-round, and the abundance of flora and fauna that we never got to enjoy in the States. We can enjoy just slowing down to appreciate nature, neighbors, and simplicity."

And Just How Affordable is to Buy a Home or Vacation Property in Costa Rica?

Despite its popularity, you can find great real estate bargains in Costa Rica—and that's whether you rent or buy.

As anywhere in the world, prices are higher in high-traffic tourist and resort destinations. That's the rule of supply and demand, after all.

But if you relocate to Costa Rica, it's doubtful you'll settle in a tourist destination. Most expats, in fact, settle in the Central Valley. There, you'll find prices extremely affordable. Same with the Lake Arenal area to the north and certain pockets of coastline.

In fact, if the beach is your thing, you'll be spoiled for choice, as Costa Rica offers more than 1,000 miles of coastline. Know where to look and you'll find some incredible bargains.

Check out these bargains available right now in the popular Central Valley:

  • Affordable carefree condo living: On the western side of metropolitan San José, in the well-to-do suburb of Santa Ana, a brand-new two-bedroom/two-bath condo with granite kitchen and bathroom counters and private garden just sold for just $135,000. Or go big in nearby Escazú, where a mansion-sized home with five bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a maid's quarters, a massive dining room that leads to a fabulous terrace and garden, and close to an amazing community pool, can be had for just $399,000.
  • In popular Atenas—just a half hour San José's international airport—you'll find an 1,940-square-ft. three-bedroom/two-bath home on almost an acre of land that's been built to North American standards. There's a fireplace for the cozy evenings, a separate TV room and office, and a wrought-iron spiral staircase designed with beautiful nature flagstone rounded walls that takes you to the upper floor with its jaw-dropping mountain views. The price? Just $130,000.

Plus incredibly low property taxes—no more than $100 to $200 a year in most cases. And there's no capital gains tax!

And by the way, as a resident of Costa Rica, you'll also pay zero income taxes on your foreign-earned income—another important benefit to retiring there.)

At our Fast Track Costa Rica Conference this August, we'll pinpoint the areas where you'll find the best property bargains and profit opportunities.

The very best advice for any potential expat anywhere is "Rent before you buy." Fortunately, Costa Rica offers a multitude of rental choices.

If you budget $600 per month in rent, you'll find good options for quality living…maybe with a bit left over! Paula and Gloria Yeatman pay $550 a month to rent their 1,000-square-ft. two-bedroom apartment in the center of the town of San Ramón in the Central Highlands. In southern Costa Rica near Dominical, transplanted Coloradoans Wes and Sharon Puckett's rent is just $650 a month for their three-bedroom, two-bath fully furnished home on 25 acres of land.

At the upcoming Fast Track Costa Rica Conference we'll show you exactly where and how to find the country's best rental bargains.

For Natural Beauty, Laidback Living, and Affordability, Lake Arenal is Well Worth a Look…

Prefer to live even farther from the city, but still in a temperate climate? Beautiful, affordable Lake Arenal is well worth a look.

Just a three-hour drive north of San Jose, but still in the highlands, the lake area is blessed with a spring-like climate year-round.

If you like to fish, this may be the place for you. The 33-square-mile Lake Arenal is known for its Rainbow bass sport fishing. And for windsurfing and sail boarding.

Looming above the green landscape at the east end of the lake, is the 5,479-foot Volcan Arenal, a cone-shaped volcano that's active but not dangerous. (A side benefit from the volcanic activity is that thermal hot springs abound in the area. The mineral-rich waters, naturally heated to upwards of 100 F, are said to have medicinal properties helpful to arthritis and other ailments.)

You'll find a vibrant and active expat community here, too, along with a small-town atmosphere, a rural feel, and peace and quiet.

Fortunately, Lake Arenal is one of the places in Costa Rica that has yet to hit its stride as far as real estate prices go. Some real bargains can be found here, such as:

  • A small tidy home, within walking distance of the village of San Luis and the lake. You're surrounded by green space and have partial views of the lake. It's listed for just $48,000.
  • A fabulous lake-view three-bedroom/two-bath home, with a huge wrap-around deck for entertaining. On 1.75 gorgeous acres, it features majestic views of both the lake and volcano off in the distance. The price? Just $191,000.
  • Looking for a business to run? A four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with an awesome volcano view at Lake Arenal is perfect for a B&B. In fact, it's already been converted to three fully furnished one-bedroom apartments that regularly rent for the week or month. It can be yours for just $130,000.

Beach living more your style? You, especially, will be happy in Costa Rica:

  • Check out this spacious 2,200-square-ft. four-bedroom, three-bath home—with a private swimming pool— in Herradura, close to the upscale Los Sueños Resort and Marina. It's been reduced from $299,000 to just $250,000.
  • In popular Flamingo Beach, a 1,600-square-ft. two-bedroom condo in a gated community with 24-hour security and parking—and literally just steps to the beach—can be yours for just $249,000.

Beach Lovers Take Note: The Costa Rica Coast That Deserves Your Attention Right Now

If you're a beach lover…or a real estate investor…there's an area of Costa Rica that particularly deserves your attention…right now.

It's the southern Pacific coast…called the Costa Ballena (whale coast) for the majestic humpback whales that migrate to the warm waters here each year from December to April.

The Costa Ballena is more lushly beautiful, more deeply colorful, and the views from the hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean are more strikingly dramatic than anywhere along the more popular Gold Coast to the north.

You'll hear all about it when you join us at the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference. We'll tell you exactly where to go, who to see, and what kinds of properties make sense if you'd like to buy in this part of the country.

If history repeats itself (as we expect it will), now that the new coastal highway is open and brining more and more people to the area, property prices here will rise rapidly.

"Costa Ballena prices are as low as one-tenth what you'll find along the Gold Coast, just a day's drive to the north," reports real estate scout Margaret Summerfield.* "And the Costa Ballena is far prettier, in my opinion."

* Margaret Summerfield will be at the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference with all the details about the Costa Ballena and more.

You're just in time to SAVE BIG $$$ along the Costa Ballena:

  • In Ojochal, the quickly growing town along the newly emerging Southern Pacific Coast, you'll find a private river-view estate on 2.5 acres of land. The 1,800-square-ft. two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home has gorgeous wood accents throughout and hardwood floors in the master bedroom. Doors open to the terrace and pool. There's plenty of room to expand the existing home or even build some guest casitas. The asking price is just $198,000.
  • And for as little as $40,000, you can purchase a home site in the best community along this coast…with truly superb views. And with costs of custom homebuilding of the highest standards at only $100 per square foot, you can build a 2,000-square-foot dream home for $220,000…

In California, a comparable home would cost you 10, maybe 20 times more. But why live in California with its high taxes, pollution problems and skyrocketing cost of living, when you can live in beautiful, pristine, affordable Costa Rica?

When you join us this coming August for International Living's Fast Track Costa Rica Conference, you'll hear from all our best Costa Rica resources…attorneys, doctors, insurance professionals, construction and real estate experts…who can help you better understand the many benefits and options Costa Rica offers. They will tell you where to go to find the best quality, the best deals and value…on everything from real estate to moving companies to doctors, spas, restaurants, and more.

You'll also hear firsthand from others who've done what you're contemplating…

You'll meet expats like John Michael Arthur—who goes by "Mike."

After years of research, he moved to Costa Rica in 2014. There, he says, he loves his new life as a gentleman farmer.

As he explains, he and his spouse, Michael "wanted some land to spread out on and to be able to garden and raise animals and be surrounded by wildlife."

So, after numerous trips to Costa Rica over a three-year period, they found their perfect spot near the small country town of Cachí in the Orosi Valley that's part of Costa Rica's highland Central Valley area.

"Living in this part of Costa Rica feels very much like a return to the lifestyle and values of 1950s America," Mike says. "We love that. For example, when we were kids, the milkman came to the house every Monday and Thursday and brought glass jugs of cold, creamy goodness. Guess who comes and honks at our gate every Monday and Thursday—the milkman!"

What does Mike love most about life in Costa Rica?

"When I was in high school, they made me take one of those silly aptitude tests," he says. "One of the questions was, 'Would you rather be famous for just one thing, or would you rather have no fame and be adept at many things?' I knew then what I know still—being a Renaissance man was the way to go. Here, I get to be that man."

At the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference in August, you can be sure Mike will be there to help you out… So will Kathleen Evans, who left the "corporate grind" and moved to Tamarindo in 2013, and Gloria and Paul Yeatman, who live in the Central Valley…and many more, from all areas of the country…all along the Pacific and Caribbean Coasts, the Central Highlands, and Lake Arenal.

These are all smart people, like you. And they all say that the decision to move to Costa Rica was one of the best they've ever made. And they have no intentions of ever leaving.

Besides everything I've already mentioned, Costa Rica has something very important going for it: a strong economy.

Of all the countries in Latin America, Costa Rica is the number one tourist destination. Tourism brings in more than $2 billion every year. And remember, this is a country the size of the state of West Virginia.

Plus, Costa Rica has attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. As I said earlier, many multi-national companies have located here. And unlike most of Latin America, Costa Rica is not highly dependent on remittances—they only represent about 2% of GDP.

Importantly, according to U.S. government statistics, Costa Rica enjoys the region's highest standard of living and a low unemployment rate.

Now… What About the Daily Cost of Living? Just How Affordable is Costa Rica?

How much does it cost to live in Costa Rica? The short answer is: whatever you want… within reason, of course.

You can spend just about as much or as little as you want. As one expat says, if you focus on what's important you can live very well in Costa Rica for very little money. He also says that you don't have to "keep up with the Joneses" here.

"Your 'needs' will become simpler here," he says. "You can live comfortably with a lot less stuff."

For sure you can live like a rock star in Costa Rica on $4,000 per month. Most expats, though, report they live happily and without sacrifices on a monthly budget of $1,700 to $3,000.

For example, as I've mentioned, Ed and Jackie Cusack's budget in Sarchí in the Central Valley is just $1,100 a month. Paul and Gloria Yeatman, in nearby San Ramon, live well on a monthly budget of about $1,800.

The rent for their two-bedroom apartment in the center of town is $550. They have high-speed internet, utilities, weekly house cleaning… They spend money on food, entertainment, and transportation, as we all do. They spend just $60 (total for both of them) for the country's universal health plan (known as CAJA) and another $80 for medications not covered.

It's important to note that CAJA expenses have gone up since Paul and Gloria arrived…more on healthcare costs in just a moment.

Still, by moving to Costa Rica, Paul and Gloria say they've reduced their total living costs by 65%

But it's not just the cost savings you should consider…it's the overall improvement in your quality of life.

Here's a typical monthly budget, based on calculations for two people living in a mid-range, two-bedroom home in the Central Valley:

Housing (average rental): $500 to $1,000
Electricity: $50 to $70
Gas: $10 to $20
Water and trash collection: $12 to $25
Transportation (taxi): $130 to $170
OR… Maintenance/fuel for one car: ($100 to $250)
Phone (land line/local calls): $7 to $25
Phone (cell phone): $20 to $70
Cable or satellite television: $30 to $50
Internet: $35 to $50
CAJA health plan $110 to $200
TOTAL: $874 to $1,760

We've listed a range here, because some of these expenses depend on your tastes, habits and consumption. And note that this sample budget doesn't include groceries or entertainment, but a good rule of thumb is to budget about half of what you spend at home.

(As Ed Cusack says, since he and Jackie are able to grow much of their own food and much of the rest they buy at inexpensive ferias—farmer's markets, "Our weekly food bill has shrunk to about $50 a week, from about $125 a week in the States.")

Your actual budget may be even less—some landlords include internet and other expenses like lawn care, water and trash pick-up. And, of course, if you pay outright for your home you won't have any housing costs.

You can see how affordable it is to live in Costa Rica. Choose to live in the Central Valley where you won't need heat or air conditioning and your monthly expenses will be very low, indeed.

You can afford to treat yourself with things you might not afford at home…like a maid and gardener, spa days, and more…

In Costa Rica, even the lowest budget affords a very good lifestyle. You'll enjoy guilt-free consumption at very low prices. For instance, splurge on a salon haircut, manicure or pedicure ($5-$10 each), pay a maid to clean your house ($14 a day) or a gardener to do your lawn work ($4.50 an hour).

Remember, thanks to Costa Rica's government healthcare program, CAJA, your healthcare costs will be negligible. But should you desire elective procedures, you'll pay about one-third what you will in the States. A facelift, for instance, averages $2,800 to $3,200 in Costa Rica, compared to $7,000 to $9,000 or more in the United States. A visit to a dentist will set you back about $50, including X-rays, and a teeth-cleaning will run about $40.

Hands down, Costa Rica's universal healthcare system is one of the best in Latin America and, indeed, among the best in the world. Once you obtain legal residency in Costa Rica, foreigners are eligible (required, in fact) to participate in Costa Rica's universal healthcare system, CAJA. For this coverage, a retired couple might expect to pay $100-$200 a month total for the two of them. It's affiliated with ten major public hospitals in the country and many small clinics in almost every community.

You can also buy private insurance—most plans cover dental work, optometry, and cosmetic surgery in the case of an accident. Prescription drugs, certain medical exams, sick visits and hospitalization are covered at 70% cost, and surgeon and anesthesiologist costs are covered at full cost. Private medical insurance in Costa Rica currently costs about $200-$300 a month per person, depending on age, gender and other factors.

And don't worry about language issues—many doctors speak English and have received training in Europe, Canada, or the U.S.

You'll save, too, on the little things that matter the most, but can add up. Like movie tickets for $5 or less…four avocados for just $2…a whole pineapple for $1…bus rides from San José to Escazu for just 75 cents or to Jacó Beach (60 miles) for little more than $4.

But it's not just the potential cost savings that you should consider…it's the overall improvement in your quality of life.

More time and more money to spend as you like…no taxes, no inflated prices, no more worries about outliving your retirement nest egg.

Maybe even money to spend on things you might not afford at home…like a maid and gardener, spa days, and more…

Are you ready to learn more about all that Costa Rica has to offer?

If So, Please Join Us August 16-18 in Costa Rica

At the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference this August we'll show you exactly how to live this laid-back luxurious lifestyle…no matter how small your budget.

If you want to salvage your retirement dreams, retire even earlier than you thought you could, or just live a more luxurious life than you ever thought possible—then there's no better opportunity to gain access to so much expertise…in one place, at the same time.

Whether You're Retiring or Buying a Second Home…or Starting the New Life You've Always Dreamed Of… This Conference Will Help You Make It Happen Don't Put Your Dream Life on Hold

People are coming to Costa Rica for various reasons. And we've got all the bases covered with all the high-powered local experts you need to know.

  • See firsthand how little it really costs to live in Costa Rica. Not via some theoretical budget, but by meeting the people who are already doing it. People like Gloria and Paul Yeatman, John Michael Arthur, Kathleen Evans, and more…
  • Discover the best places to live and buy property, by learning all about the latest hot spots on the Costa Rica real estate scene. Not from some agent's listing, but by hearing from the International Living contacts who have traveled to see these areas firsthand.
  • Get in early on the newest emerging markets. Not by listening to salespeople, but by taking advantage of our market analysts' extensive experience.
  • Learn what it takes to start up a business. Not from a book, but from expats who have done it themselves…and done it well.
  • Know what documents you need to qualify for residency and Costa Rica's healthcare system…and where to bank, the best place to buy insurance, buy a car, etc. etc. Hear it straight from the attorneys, professionals, and others who are guiding your fellow expats.
  • Learn how to finance your purchase in Costa Rica, whether from a bank or from your own IRA. Expert—and certified—financial planners and banking specialists will be on hand to show you the way.

Get the whole picture, not just the fluff. Taxes, insurance, and visas are not the fun part of being an expat. But you need to know this part of the story before you take your next step in Costa Rica. Our trusted professionals will deliver the information you need.

To discover the real Costa Rica, you need to hear from people like yourself—those who have gone before you

At this Fast Track Costa Rica Conference, we've invited an unprecedented number of expats who have bought second homes, retired, or started a business in Costa Rica. Men and women who just a short time ago, were in the same position that you are today.

Here are just a few of the people who make up our staff for this groundbreaking seminar. Remember: they're not just presenting their topics. One of the primary seminar benefits is that they'll be available to spend time one-on-one discussing your own situation.

Dan PrescherDan Prescher
International Living's Dan Prescher will be your emcee for this conference. As special projects director and media director for International Living, no one is more qualified to talk about living overseas than Dan. He's traveled all over Latin America researching and writing about everything from deserted beaches to bustling world-class cities where life is good and costs are low. He and his wife, Suzan Haskins, are four-country expats.

Roger PerersenRoger Petersen, legal counsel
When it comes to residency, tax law, corporations, trusts, banking, and real estate, there is no better authority in Costa Rica. Educated in the U.S., Roger has been practicing law in Costa Rica since 1992. He'll bring you up to speed with the practical information you need to know if you're planning to retire, buy a property, or start up business. His firm, Petersen & Philps, is one of the leading law firms in Costa Rica when it comes to expat issues and more.

Dr. Kenneth Rojas CalderonDr. Kenneth Rojas Calderon
Dr. Rojas is a private practice physician with associations at the top private hospital in San José, Clinica Biblica. He'll be on hand with details about Costa Rica's excellent healthcare services and private health options.

Dr. Kenneth Rojas CalderonJohn McGee—President/CEO, Expat Global Medical
John's focus is on implementing quality, affordable, and customized health insurance strategies to benefit your individual needs when you decide to live overseas. He'll help you home in on your best options for private global medical insurance.

Winton ChurchillWinton Churchill
Winton Churchill is founder of the Barefoot Consultant an international training and consulting company that helps clients make a living from anywhere in the world by tapping into their own skills and career experience. "By taking charge of their earning power, rather than waiting for governments, financial institutions and employers to 'right themselves,' the baby boomer generation now has the power and access to put their skills and abilities on the global market regardless of where they live or work now," he says.

Margaret SummerfieldMargaret Summerfield
Born in Ireland, Margaret has spent most of her adult life living outside her home country. She now resides in the Casco Viejo neighborhood of Panama City, Panama – and from there she travels extensively in her role as Managing Director for Pathfinder, International Living's preferred real estate advertising partner. She's logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling in Central and South America, scouting new properties, and new opportunities, off the beaten track.

John Michael ArthurJohn Michael Arthur
John Michael (Mike) spent 30 years as a family practitioner in his hometown near Dallas before moving to Costa Rica three years ago with this partner, Michael. They live on a three-and-a-half-acre farm complete with a river in the Orosi Valley. Days are spent tending to the more than 125 fruit trees in the orchard, milking the goats for homemade ice cream and cheeses, gathering eggs from the chickens, ducks, and geese, and tending the gardens and finding creative ways to use the river and land.

Kathleen EvansKathleen Evans
A native Chicagoan, Kathleen and her husband were tired of the "corporate grind" in the U.S., and began to explore their options with one goal in mind: To find their sunshine and start truly enjoying life. In 2013, they moved to the lively beach town of Tamarindo, Costa Rica on the NW Pacific coast to do just that. Since moving to Costa Rica, Kathleen has written a novel, hosted a local expat radio show, and is now an International Living Costa Rica correspondent.

Suzan HaskinsSuzan Haskins
As a writer/editor for International Living for nearly 17 years now, Suzan has traveled extensively in Latin America, searching for the world's best and most affordable lifestyle opportunities. She has lived in Quito, Ecuador; Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Panama City, Panama; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and Cotacachi, Ecuador. Costa Rica is dear to Suzan's heart—she and her husband, Dan Prescher, were married there in 1997. She'll be on hand to talk about the challenges and rewards of the expat life.

Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, it's possible the speakers may change. Other experts, however, will take their place covering the same topic.

And what's more, you'll get first-hand information directly from the experts in Costa Rica on:

  • Shipping your household goods
  • Banking
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Cultural acclimation
  • Learning Spanish easily for enjoyment and business
  • The legal ins and out of buying real estate in Costa Rica
  • Financing real estate in Costa Rica
  • The best visa option for your needs
  • How to safely move your pets to and keep them healthy in Costa Rica
  • Home, auto, life, and health insurance
  • Tax obligations back home in the U.S. and Canada when you become an expat
  • And much, much more… including all the country's best destinations depending on your lifestyle needs

Our seasoned professional experts will deliver the on-target information you need to get the real picture about living, buying, or starting up a business in Costa Rica.

And yes, many of the expats I've introduced you to here will be there, too. I've already told you some of their stories. They left the U.S. or Canada for a variety of reasons, but for sure to escape high costs and frigid winter temperatures. To a person, they've found the American dream alive and well…but in Central America. They'll tell you the unvarnished truth about life in Costa Rica…the good, bad, and the not-so-good.

Believe me, this firsthand information is worth its weight in gold.

We've got a full schedule planned for you, and yes, we're mixing business with pleasure.

After registration on Thursday, August 16 we'll have two hours of general sessions from approximately 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM to introduce you to some of our key experts and staff members. Then, our special welcome cocktail party will take place from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, held in the networking and exhibit hall to give you the opportunity to network and chat with the speakers, exhibitors, and your fellow attendees.

The networking and exhibit room will open bright and early at 8:30 AM on Friday, August 17. General sessions will kick off promptly at 9:00 AM and go until about 5:30 PM, followed by our always-exciting VIP event on Wednesday evening for Publishers Roundtable, Lifetime Society, Platinum Circle, RETA, Explorers Club, and World Club members.

On Saturday, the networking and exhibit room will open at 8:30 AM (it remains open all day) and sessions will run between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM. You'll get more information in your confirmation letter and we'll send you a detailed schedule a week before the event.

On Saturday evening, we'll have our Farewell Cocktail Reception, and you'll be ready to do some firsthand exploring of Costa Rica!

You'll discover everything you need to know about Costa Rica, and in one of the country's most comfortable and beautiful settings…

We'll gather at the Real InterContinental Costa Rica Hotel in San José. It gets great reviews from those who have stayed there. It's ideally positioned in the heart of popular Escazú, adjacent to the city's most prestigious shopping mall with 365 stores, bars and restaurants and more.

This hotel features the hottest concepts in entertainment and dining, including two outdoor pools in landscaped gardens, the largest urban spa in Central America and four unique concept restaurants—there are many more great restaurants in walking distance. We can guarantee you won't go hungry!

We've negotiated a special discounted rate of $145 per night for a single or double room. This rate includes a full American buffet breakfast, internet access, and complimentary use of the health club. If you'd like to arrive early or stay longer, the hotel has agreed to honor the rate for three days before and after the event, depending on availability.

You will get complete contact information for the hotel (with all related travel information) including our special group code, in your confirmation letter once you register for the event.

  • And if you're interested in earning income online or buying an income-earning investment property, we'll offer two exiting optional workshops on the morning of August 16. Winton Churchill will show you how to parlay skills you already half into a lucrative online business, and Beth Carson will show you how to outfit, market and manage your Costa Rica rental property to earn maximum returns. You'll get information about these exciting workshops in your welcome packet via email as soon as you register for the conference.

This Conference is a One-of-a-Kind Opportunity. The Depth, Breadth, and Diversity of Lifestyles in Costa Rica Just Can't Be Found Anywhere Else…

You'll see all sides of Costa Rica. From luxury living to a comfortable and enjoyable way of life that you can manage on a social security check…from the lush green mountains to the dazzling beaches and everything in between.

This conference will bring you up to speed on affordable lifestyles that you didn't know about before.

Think about it. If you gather this information on your own, you'll spend thousands of dollars, and months of your time. Knock on doors, search the internet, sit in lawyers' offices, and hang out with real estate agents, it will be impossible to assemble the body of knowledge that we've pulled together for this conference.

As Joseph Locasclo, a past attendee of our Costa Rica conference said, "I enjoyed the fact that most of the presenters were either locals or expats. Their presentations were very informative and all were very approachable and helpful."

Another past attendee, Robert Scolara, agreed. He said: "It was informative, entertaining, professional yet casual and most importantly – we were not pressured to do anything!"

Frankly, our Fast Track Costa Rica Conference is a good investment of time and money for anyone who's considering making a life there…well worth every penny you'll pay to attend.

But here's one more important thing to consider:

Sign up for the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference and we'll send you via e-mail one of the most valuable reports about Costa Rica we've ever developed.

This special report—Don't Go to Costa Rica Without This: Five Top Expat Hotspots Where You Can Live Better for Less—was created specifically to deliver actionable information and real examples about life in Costa Rica and details about why we believe it's the top retirement destination in the world…not the cheapest, and not with the lowest real estate prices…but hands-down the best.

No matter your budget or lifestyle, you'll learn how you can live the life of your dreams in Costa Rica. You'll also learn more about some of the locations we've discussed here… San José and the Central Valley, Lake Arenal, Guanacaste, the Caribbean Coast, the Costa Ballena, and more.

Why is this so important?

Because before even getting on the plane for Costa Rica, you'll have studied each of the geographic areas…along with property examples and the different lifestyles you'll find there.

Once you get to the conference, you'll know exactly where to focus your energies in order to make the most of it…you'll know which regions interest you, and what they cost.

What's more, you'll have a pretty good idea of what you'd like to explore after the conference, when the optional real estate tours are available.

Don't Go to Costa Rica Without This: Five Top Expat Hotspots Where You Can Live Better for Less will be rushed to you immediately when you sign up for the conference. That way, you can make the most of it before you head to Costa Rica.

This valuable report is only available to Fast Track Costa Rica Conference attendees. It will not be offered for sale.

Register For the Fast Track Costa Rica Conference Now.

The full price for this event is $1,195 ($795 for your guest).

An incredible bargain for two-and-a-half days of information-packed meetings, and access to well-informed and experienced contacts ready to share their firsthand experience.

And what's better, you're probably eligible for a further discount!

  • International Living subscribers get $50 off
  • Lifetime Members get $150 off
  • Platinum Circle, Publishers' Roundtable Members and Real Estate Trend Alert Members get $200 off
  • Explorers Club attend FREE
  • World Club members attend FREE

If you're not an International Living subscriber or VIP member, and you'd like to become one before the conference, or you'd like to find out more, please call Jillian Revels at
1-866-381-8446 or contact her online at

Don't forget, Pathfinder International works with local contacts in Costa Rica and will offer a number of optional property tours after this event. So you'll not only have the chance to learn about the property market, but also to see it firsthand. We'll send full details before the conference but be sure to plan on staying in the country for a few extra days after the conference.

For more information, email

Your Conference entry price includes:

  • All presentations
  • Formal and informal Q&A sessions
  • Introductions to reliable real estate sources, business contacts, fellow expats, and professional legal resources
  • Coffee breaks and snacks (breakfast and WiFi is included with your room)
  • Welcome and farewell cocktail receptions
  • Seminar materials, notebooks, and handouts
  • Digital downloads and video and audio recordings of all conference presentations

And of course, our special report, Don't Go to Costa Rica Without This: Five Top Expat Hotspots Where You Can Live Better for Less.

Registration is easy, via any one of the following methods:

Note: You'll receive information about hotel reservations and rates, getting to Costa Rica, and more in the confirmation letter you'll receive after you register for the conference.

Act Now, this conference is one of our most popular and I don't want you to miss out.

An overwhelming number of International Living readers have expressed an interest in learning more about Costa Rica, the world's #1 retirement destination. This event will be very popular. We urge you to sign up soon to guarantee yourself a seat.

This conference and its companion report, Don't Go to Costa Rica Without This: Five Top Expat Hotspots Where You Can Live Better for Less, is more valuable—and appeals to a broader audience—than any country conference we've held previously.

Please take a moment to register now, using our secure online order form. (Hotel and travel information details are available in the confirmation letter that will be send to you once you register.)

This is your best chance to fulfill your dreams in Costa Rica, whether it's to:

  • Enjoy a comfortable, secure retirement—either full- or part-time
  • Own a second home in a warm, sunny climate,
  • Start that business you've been dreaming about, or
  • Learn more about one of the world's best-performing property markets…

This conference will provide the content to fit your needs.

Please join us August 16-18 for an in-depth look at Costa Rica and an experience that may change your life forever.

This will be the deepest, broadest, most in-depth look at any country that we've ever presented.

Please register now via our secure online order form at the link below or call 1-866-381-8446 (toll free from the U.S. or Canada) or +1 (410) 622-3040 today, to lock in your place at the conference.


Jackie Flynn

Jackie Flynn,
Publisher, International Living

P. S. The last several conferences we've hosted have proven very popular. If you're interested in learning more about Costa Rica, and how living there can change your life for the better, please don't run the risk of being shut out. Register Now.

Please take a minute to sign up now, or call 1-866- 381-8446 (toll free in the U.S. and Canada) or contact us at

Here are comments from attendees of past Fast Track Costa Rica Conferences:

"Appreciated the ability to learn about Costa Rica in depth while vacationing in the country. This is the best possible way to visit any country in my opinion. Not only did I have a great time here but I feel that I really know Costa Rica now." – Warren Marshall

"Schedule was great. All speakers were qualified and helpful." – Gil Wood

"Very informative; definitely hit all the "hot" topics; Great speakers; nice variety." – Carolyn Mergens

"Was a lot coming at you fast, but great. I am a professional skeptic. My mind was quickly put at ease because these were genuine people with NO HARD SELL. It left my mind open and not in a defensive mode. GREAT! Again, having been skeptical, I was pleasantly surprised that there was no hard sell, just good, useful information to help people BEGIN the process of making the right decision for them and their life. If you are seriously considering making the move, this is a great first step." – Alexander Raue

"You exceeded my expectations. I felt that I was starting to get a handle on the country, the people, and the culture. Coming to International Living's Fast Track Costa Rica was one of the best decisions we've ever made! We learned more in 3 days than we could have learned in 3 trips to Costa Rica on our own! Off the charts exceeded our expectations!" – Brian Tennery

"Very comprehensive agenda. I am very impressed. A little overwhelmed but nice to know I will have access to it again. I would do this again." – Ninette Crunkleton

"IL helped me get here (to Costa Rica) by offering opportunities that will enhance my life forever." – Randall Richardson

"Excellent, would attend another conference!" – Steve Turner

"Loved the good, bad and ugly approach; it was very authentic and increased my confidence level." – Patti Nelson

"It was great to hear such a variety of information in one place. The conference opened our eyes to ways of earning an income and the possibility of renting to determine the exact location we would love to live." – Gina Sweenie