Is living in Costa Rica all it’s made out to be

Life is not perfect in Costa Rica, nor is it always easy or cheap.


The question, “Is living in Costa Rica all it’s made out to be” put to Quora readers recently received (so far) six answers from Quorans with first hand experiences of living as expats in Costa Rica.

Terry LaRue wrote, “It obviously depends on who you are and what you want. My wife and I have lived here almost 4 years and we love it. However, I heard that the average stay is about 2 1/2 years here, and then people move back to the US/Canada. That seems to me about right.”

In Terry’s opinion, “if you come here looking for a cheap place to live, you will be disappointed. Overall costs here are about the same for a comparable lifestyle in the US. Some things cheaper, others more expensive. If you don’t speak Spanish, you can still get along, but you will miss a great deal of the real fun of being here.”


Liz Guegan wrote, “Well that depends on what you think its ‘made out to be;. I have lived here for 12 years, through various ‘inconveniences’ such as water off during the day in some areas, electricity off sometimes all day, satellite tv going out in the rainy season…However, my quality of life is far greater, the pace of life is slower and less manic, people are friendly, food is good and cheap, housing and utilities are mostly very cheap, and the scenery is awesome…”

For Rob Evans, “If you want the ‘American Dream’ of lots of money, many cars, and a huge house, Costa Rica is not the place. If you value the quality of life, health, relationships, beauty, it may be. As a retiree, I value the latter more than the former since each year of quality life gained is priceless.”

Xavier Morera, who has lived in Costa Rica since 1978, said, “It has ups and downs. Depending on where you live now and which part of Costa Rica you will relocate to, it can be better or worse. It depends on your expectations and attitude.”

Mario Chanto, who lived in Costa Rica, said, “Costa Rica is almost the textbook example of the middle of the road… It is an expensive country to live in but in my opinion, this might be the result of market forces.”

Phil Baker, who studied at Chinese Street Fighting and lives here, “Costa Rica is Always an Adventure… Let me tell you there is no other place like this… Now that said, let’s get a few things straight. There is a big difference between traveling here, living here and owning here.”

The decision to live in Costa Rica depends on what you want out of life. Terry says he and his wife have lived here almost 4 years, past the average stay is about 2 1/2 years here, and then people move back to the US/Canada and love it.

“If you want to come here to be a big fish in a small pound, then you can do that too, but people don’t really have Big Fish envy like those do in the US, so you might feel the air being let out of your ego,” writes Phil Baker.

Life is not perfect in Costa Rica, nor is it always easy or cheap. You should be able to live modestly for about US$1,500 to US$2,000 a month for a single person or a retired couple, including the cost of housing, food, transportation, medical care (that can vary greatly), and entertainment. Eating meals out at restaurants, drinking out or other activities and side trips, you’d be in the US$2,500 – US$3,500 range.

Have you ever considered living in Costa Rica? Are you now living in Costa Rica? What has been your experience? Post your opinion in our comments section below or to our official Facebook page. Pura Vida!