This will be the beginning of our vicarious journey together. The Potholes to Life in Costa Rica will be a series of articles on the subject of life in Costa Rica for a foreigner.
Substituting “pitfalls” with “potholes” is something only someone having visited Costa Rica would understand.Chapter I:
Listen to no one: myself included!
Funny thing about foreigners living in Costa Rica is that they all seem to be “know-it-alls”. The best advice to start off with would be to tell you that all of your research should be done by none other than you yourself. Besides, this way if something goes a stray you can blame no one else but yourself. You are responsible right?
Aside from the best advice being no advice, you should strongly consider coming to Costa Rica and renting awhile first. This is always your best bet for deciding if Costa Rica is right for you. Renting a place in Costa Rica can be surprisingly affordable compared to back home and it is not uncommon (outside the Central Valley) to find homes for rent in the vicinity of $400-$700 per month depending on your needs. This is assuming you would prefer something other than a prefab shanty.
It is important to note that, sure you can find homes for $100 a month in Costa Rica but what an average Tico (Costa Rican) can live in might not be to your liking. A home for this price would be 20 years old or more with roof leaks, electrical problems, paper thin wood or prefab walls, suicide shower (220v showering down on your head) and little or no yard. The good thing is if you need a bowl of sugar you could just reach out your window and grab one off the counter of your neighbor!
Do not abandon your worldly belongings during this “feeling out stage” of renting in Costa Rica either. An unfortunate statistic of life in Costa Rica for a foreigner is that a larger than expected number of foreigners return back from whence they came in the first year. Do yourself a favor and do not assume you might be the exception.
In North America we all have screensavers of tropical beaches while in Costa Rica, most have screensavers of snow covered mountain ranges and lakes. – Eye of the Beholder
Final tip for the subject portion of this article would be: be absolutely 100% sure that EVERYONE in your family is onboard with possibly relocating to Costa Rica. If not then I can definitively tell you that you will regret this ignorance should you decide to move ahead despite knowing that someone else in your family might not be as excited as you are.
Whether you are considering Costa Rica retirement or simply want a change of lifestyle and experience other cultures, I encourage you to follow The Potholes to Life in Costa Rica series as to better educate yourself on what life is like for an expat in Costa Rica. Pura vida!