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Learn where to live in Costa Rica in 20 steps

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Learn where to live in Costa Rica in 20 steps

Future expats don’t know where to live in Costa Rica before they move here. So often they just send emails to realtors. “I want to live in Costa Rica, send me listings.”

You might think otherwise, but it’s not so simple. Sometimes they don’t even realize that Costa Rica is not an island and it’s not 50 miles square. Costa Rica measures 19,730 Mi2 and has 54 cities with between 10,000 and 100,000 people. And, there is only one city with over 300,000 population: San José.

But how do you know which one of those 54 cities will fit your lifestyle?

You don’t have the time or interest to read a lot? Then skip everything below and jump to the 20 steps immediately.

Learn where to live in Costa Rica in 20 steps

Hard Work

Doing due diligence on where to live in Costa Rica is hard work. Not many future expats have the time to do that due diligence. Others just want it all served on a silver platter. Well, the internet is that silver platter, but it takes time to read.

You’d be surprised how many expect a realtor to write mile-long emails to answer all their questions, and then disappear into cyberspace. Most of the time, it is necessary to ask if they want to rent or buy and what their budget is, over and over. When I finally get an answer, I get “let me know what you have to offer, prices, and what is included.”

You don’t know where to live in Costa Rica and you want the realtor to do the work for you? Then I suggest you stay where you are. Don’t move, because you’re going to be VERY unhappy in Costa Rica.

Read this if you don't know where to move to in Costa Rica

So let’s do each other a favor. We will do everything you need to know and learn where to live in Costa Rica. Then you return the favor and do business with us. Is that a deal?

Therefore, I decided to write these 20 steps for learning where to live in Costa Rica. Once you have really thought about the answers, answer them ALL, without exception.

Look for the links if you want to read more. It’s a great start for starting your homework. Once you have completed those, just copy/paste them into an email and send us this email. I will not create a form to fill out because many don’t even give the correct email address and a phony.

Would you like to have assistance in finding out where to live in Costa Rica? Then send your 20-step list with your answers to After that, I’m sure we’ll find the right location for you.

20 Steps

1. Perfect

Nothing is perfect in life, or maybe your old home was perfect. Was it really? Adjust to the best available options or don’t go to step #2

2. Home Requirements

Make a list of your home requirements. In this list, you should for instance include:

  • Single story
  • Condo apartment
  • Gated community
  • Large garden
  • How many BR
  • Views
  • Pool
  • Guesthouse

3. Work

Job requirements, do you want/need to work (I hope it’s legally), do you need to be in a certain location?

4. Disability

Disability requirements, are you blind or in a wheelchair, do you have a guide dog?

5.  Healthcare

Medical requirements: do you need any special medicine or is it all over the counter? Or maybe you have to live close to a good hospital?

Read this if you don't know where to move to in Costa Rica

6. Food

Food requirements, do you eat only imported foods, do you have food allergies, etc.? Do you only eat American food?

7.  Shopping

Shopping requirements, do you love shopping or do you just shop for a necessity?

8. Cultural

Cultural requirements, such as theater, museums, and concerts?

9.  Entertainment

Entertainment requirements, such as movies, sports on TV, books, bird watching or dancing,

Learn where to live in Costa Rica in 20 steps

10.  Gourmet

Wining & dining requirements, including what kind of food and liquor you enjoy,

11.  Sports

Sport requirements, such as golf, American football, surfing, and swimming,

12. Pets

Pet requirements, do you have pets, how many and how large?

13. Religion

Religious preferences, are you Catholic, a Mormon, Jewish, a Baptist or an Atheist?

14. Buy or Rent

Decide if you want to buy or rent, and rent for how long?

15. Budget

Most important: what is your budget? Without this, you won’t get any assistance anywhere.

16. Location

Do you want to live at the beach, a city, or rural? Go back to your requirements in 4 – 11,

17. Humidity or dry

Can you live with high humidity, enjoy a warm climate or prefer a cool climate? You have a huge choice of microclimates,

Read this if you don't know where to move to in Costa Rica

18. Hot or cool

Learn more about temperatures and tell us about your temperature preferences,

19. Bugs & Animals

Is living in nature your thing? Or maybe you’re afraid of snakes and bugs?


Are views important to you? Mountain views? Nature views? Ocean views?

The most important ones

These 20 steps to learn where to live in Costa Rica are probably the most important steps you will ever take. These steps will not only assist you in finding out where to live in Costa Rica but also if Costa Rica is the right place for you.

Ready to buy or rent a property? Then contact us now.

Feel free to leave your comments on this blog. If you like this article, please feel free to share it on your social media.

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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon. If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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