Affirmation Article on Costa Rica as #1 Place to Retire

Scarlet Macaw
Tambor Tropical Resort, Costa Rica
by Charlie Doggett

Christopher Howard is affirming International Living’s ranking of Costa Rica as the best place in the world to retire. You might like to read his take on it:

Costa Rica as the Best Place to Retire

It has been good to have so many people, organizations, blogs and magazines confirm my decision to retire in Costa Rica! Of course those of you who follow my blog know how much I like it here. The perfect place for a nature lover and peace lover.

Tambor Tropical Resort, Costa Rica
by Charlie Doggett
¡Pura Vida!

See also my photo galleries:  Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA

Why “No Me Gusta San Jose Driving”

Why I don’t like driving in San Jose? It is a big, busy, congested traffic city! Especially on Friday afternoon when I had my last doctor appointment and these photos were shot through bus window on Route 1. Downtown was actually more bumper to bumper but I didn’t think to snap a shot there. It took an hour and a half to get to Atenas at 4:30 where during the day it is sometimes just 45 minutes to drive the 38 miles. 🙂   In addition to people leaving work early on Friday, many in the city go to the beach for the whole weekend making it nearly bumper to bumper all the way to Jaco. To facilitate this, the main highway/freeway, Ruta 27, has all lanes going west for a couple of hours Friday afternoon and all lanes going east for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon as they return. Interesting!

Just one more reason I do not have the high expense of a car and get around by bus, taxi or walking: healthier, cheaper, and less stress! And I can get the occasional rent car for a trip or when I have guests.

AND Costa Rica is STILL One of the Best Places in the World to Retire as now reported by U.S. News & World Report with above link to a Live in Costa Rica Blog article. Or go directly to the U.S. News & World Report Ranking of Costa Rica for Retirement. 

¡Ciudad, Pueblo, Bosque, Montana o Playa
Costa Rica es Pura Vida!

¡Me Gusta Mucho!

14 Reasons to Live in Costa Rica

The farming town of Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica from a walk over the hill above my house.
My house is bottom center between and below the big brown & orange roof houses. Orange roof is my landlord.
The church steeple is the center of town, facing Parque Central.

Must read research article by a Dutch expat living here: 14 Reasons to live in Costa Rica

Hope you will notice that Atenas is the only town mentioned as the only one being in the top 10 places in the world to live! It also has National Geographic’s label of “Best climate in the world.” People have asked me if I ever regret my “radical decision” to move here? The answer is unequivocally “No!” I love it here and continue to slowly become a part of the place. I will have been here 8 months on the 24th of this month!

I live in the Central Valley close to the best shopping, entertainment and medical services, while I can easily travel to a wide range of nature spots in an hour or three! (6 hours to farthermost point in country) Last week I was on Pacific coast just an hour away. In September I go with birding club to the Talamanca Mountains maybe two hours away plus a tack-on adventure of my own. Then in October I go with the club again to the Caribbean coast, maybe 3 hours away, after which I plan to explore further south in the Caribbean. All these exotic vacations almost monthly with no plane fares and moderately priced hotels, meals and transportation. I love being Retired in Costa Rica! I’m “Happier than a Billionaire!” (To borrow the title of another expat’s blog and book)

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

~Andre Gide


And if you didn’t bother to go to the link above, here’s the 14 reason without his good intro:

1. Highest score on happy life years by the Happy Planet.

2. Top 10 for best places to live or retire according to International Living.

3. An amazing amount of different locations to live, within a maximum 6 hour drive of each other.

4. The huge Central Valley urban location along with hundreds of beach locations on two coasts.

5. A real democracy with many political parties.

6. NO army and the funds are spent on education.

7. A large number of the habitants are bilingual.

8. The quality lifestyle you have been used to all your life.

9. Perfect weather with many micro climates to choose from.

10. Atenas is on AARP Top 10 for best places to retire abroad.

11. #29 world ranking for Press Freedom by Reporters without Borders in 2010 (1st in Latin America).

12. #31 world ranking for Global Peace by Institute for Economics & Peace in 2011.

13. #49 world ranking for Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal in 2011.

14. Affordable healthcare and an important destination for cosmetic surgery and dentistry.


Jubilado is the most common word used here to name or describe a retired person (Jubilada for feminine). Even though there is a Spanish word that sounds more like our English “Retired” (retirarse), no one uses it here – always jubilado(a)! It comes from the root noun jubilo, “jubilation or joy,” and the corresponding adjective jubiloso(a), “jubilant, joyful.” And in the land of Pura Vida, what a great way to describe retirement! And it is becoming pure joy for me!

One view of our apartments while walking back from town.
Far from a retirement home!

Though the government talked in 2010 about creating “Jubilado Communities” like Retirement Communities in the states, it never materialized with most Ticos preferring to retire in place, stay a part of the total community and their extended family, says an article in La Nacion, the primary Spanish language newspaper here.

Of course there are North Americans who bought up property to create many gated communities of retired North Americans here, even in Atenas. I’m trying to avoid that. My apartments are gated for security, but we are not all gringo, not all retired, and not all old. I love the mix of peoples, ages, incomes, nationalities and the 300 meter walk to a real town! It is better than a retirement community! At least for me. We have two young couples who go to work daily, a couple of older working people,  an unwed young mother with a 2-year old, a community of teenagers next door (New Summit Academy), and all ages of snowbirds. Who knows who will move in when the snowbirds go home in April and May for their summer? We are surrounded by Tico houses plus a church and shopping within walking distance! It is a good balance.

Some believe in destiny, and some believe in fate
I believe that happiness is something we create
Line from Sugarland’s song 
“Something More”

Happy to be a Jubilado!

Atenas Listed as #1 Place to Retire in Costa Rica!

Central Plaza of Atenas
My photo of us walking through in August
I’ll live 8 blocks from this plaza.

Today’s edition of InsideCostaRica Newspaper in an article by Jason Holland,  International Living Costa Rica Editor, lists the five best towns in which to retire in Costa Rica and my choice, Atenas, was ranked #1. It is also interesting to note as the headline says, none of the top 5 are on the beach!

Also see my September 21 Post on AARP listing Atenas as one of the best places in the world to retire. I also included several links to sites about Atenas in that post where you can learn more about my coming new hometown. I’m excited to be moving to such a highly rated place! Just 11 weeks from this Wednesday!

AARP: Atenas One of Best Places to Retire

“El Mejor Clima del Mundo”: the best climate in the world says NatGeo
Image from AARP Website
Read what AARP says about the town that is about to become my new retirement hometown:

Also this real estate website has capitalized on the AARP’s proclamation with an interesting site of their own & good photos, one of which I copied below:

We Love Costa Rica  Just be aware that they are selling real estate! 
Oxcart Parade in Atenas

YouTube 1 Minute Video
International Living Description
Atenas City Guide on “Visit Costa Rica” site
Google Images (Not all made in Atenas, like the beach photos.)
Costa Description  (View slide show & Oxcart Video)
Wikipedia Description
MapQuest Map of Atenas  (Just zoom in)
Vista Atenas B&B  (Instead of my guest room? – for more privacy maybe?) And their site has photos, video, & info on Atenas & check out these hotels:
Eden Atenas  Boutique Hotel, Atenas
Barons Resort  Boutique Hotel, Atenas
El Cafetal Inn hotel in Atenas
Hacienda La Jacaranda (apartments where I will live)
Poco Cielo Resort in Atenas
RE/MAX Real Estate in Atenas
Properties in Costa Rica – Atenas Real Estate
Atenas on “Anywhere Costa Rica” site (3 photos, no info)
Vacation Rentals in Atenas