Friday, February 01, 2013
Costa Rica is one of the most popular overseas destinations with Pathfinder readers. And it’s already home to thousands of expats. That’s because it makes sense as a location for a vacation home or as a place to retire to.Here’s why:
- It’s stable, democratic and peaceful. It’s got no standing army. (The country officially abolished its army in 1949.)
- It’s close to the US. A 2 hour 40 minute flight gets you here from Miami, and it’s only five hours from New York. Major airlines fly to Costa Rica along with budget groups like Spirit. It’s easy to find low-cost fares to visit friends and family back home. And it’s easy for them to come visit you.
- It’s got a growing economy, up by an estimated 4.2% in 2011 and 4.5% in 2012. The country saw a record $2.1 billion in foreign direct investment in 2011.And 2012 proved a record year for tourism, with more than 2.3 million tourist arrivals.
- It’s stunningly beautiful. Costa Rica’s got volcanic peaks, a spine of mountain ridges that twists its way through the center of the country, crater lakes, thundering waterfalls, pristine beaches, and cloud and rain forests. More than a quarter of the country’s land lies in national parks and reserves. And Costa Rica’s wildlife is amazingly exotic. You’ll spot fluorescent tree frogs, scarlet macaws, secretive tapirs, sociable monkeys and gigantic blue butterflies.
- Medical care is top quality and highly affordable. In San Jose, the capital, hospitals like Clinica Biblica and CIMA offer world-class care. But it’s only a fraction of the cost you’d pay back home. For that reason, North Americans looking to cut the cost of major procedures (dental treatments, joint replacements or eye surgery) travel to Costa Rica. Locals and residents pay a low monthly fee to join the national health care system. Fees for private medical cover start from around $50 a month.
- Costa Rica boasts a superb quality of life. Life expectancy averages 79.3 years. The country tops the Happiness Index. The index is a measure of health, life satisfaction, and environmental footprint. Costa Rica boasts a laid-back lifestyle with an emphasis on spending time outdoors with family and friends. It’s a low-stress lifestyle that plays a big factor in those longer lifespans and feeling content.
- The climate is perfect for an outdoor lifestyle. You can wave goodbye to freezing winters, ice and snow. Temperatures along the coasts average in the 70s and 80s year-round. There are no tornadoes or hurricanes. If you enjoy sport fishing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, zip lining, horse riding, hiking or wildlife watching, you can enjoy these activities pretty much all year.
- You have a choice of residency options. You can become a resident if you can prove income of $1,000 a month, for example.
- Costa Rica is already home to an estimated 30,000-50,000 North American expats who own property in Costa Rica, or live here full or part time. In San Jose, a long-established association of residents sends out a bi-monthly newsletter and they help newcomers get settled in.
- It’s affordable. It’s not just the health care. Property taxes run around 0.25% of the recorded value of your property annually. That works out to around $462 a year on a $185,000 property. With low local salaries, you can afford to get help around the home and someone to take care of the yard. And you can still find low-priced properties – if you know where to look.
P.S. One location where you can find affordable property is Costa Rica’s Southern Zone. And you can see it first-hand on a chill weekend trip where you’ll spend four days in this gorgeous region for only $299. That price includes accommodation, transport and meals. You’ll see property from $40,000, with huge upside potential - and get a feel for what it’s like to vacation or retire in this exotic location. Go here to find out more and lock down your spot.