By 2021 I was getting emails or letters every month from people considering a move here and asking my opinion or advice. And I was writing almost the same thing every time, so, I put it in the website and future enquiries will get a link to this page! 🙂
Copying from the last letter answered:
- To successfully start a new life here you need to “fall in love with Costa Rica” FIRST! That’s my opinion and I recommend 3 or 4 trips here before moving. I came on an organized birding tour first, then the general tourism Caravan.com tour of Costa Rica which I highly recommend as the best general tour at the best price available! No one beats it! I also made a cruise ship stop here and did the excellent Live in Costa Rica Tour which I also highly recommend that includes a two-day seminar on all you need to know to move here!
- If you see it as a place you would like to live, join ARCR, the Association of Residents of Costa Rica, an expat organization designed to help expats move here and go through the legal hoops of residency, housing, etc. They do the two-day seminar that goes with the Live in… tour and they do an electronic emailed bi-monthly magazine that you will also find very helpful! Plus you have access to their website with answers to pretty much all your questions.
- Go on the Live in Costa Rica Tour which will include the above seminar in between the Central Valley Tour and the Pacific Coast Tour. Do both tours even if you think you know where you want to live. It gives you different perspectives and helps you be more sure of your decision of where to live.
- I recommend getting a CR Attorney while here for the seminar, allow a couple of extra days, so you will know clearly what to do for residency. You can use an ARCR lawyer or find your own if you prefer, but you will be glad you did later. And worth more than the cost!
- Follow the ARCR checklists of things to do BEFORE moving here that you will get in the seminar. And not sure, but I think your lawyer gives you a different checklist of what you need to send or bring to him/her for your residency application. Some documents are easier to get while still in the states.
- And if you are running a tight budget, check out the Retire for Less in Costa Rica website/blog that has retired but the info is still good for a while.
- If you are really serious, you will of course study the Spanish language before coming and continuously after you arrive. Not easy but it is the official language of the country and needed absolutely every day. You do not have to speak perfect Spanish and local people will help you if you are at least trying. Arrogant Americans who think everyone should speak English don’t do well here and end up living secluded lives in a tight little expat community. Move to Panama if you must have English or better yet Hawaii or Florida! 🙂
- Keep researching.
I purposefully did not include anything about medical or healthcare services above because of the large variety of possibilities which are well-covered in the seminar. Just know that healthcare in Costa Rica is ranked higher than that in the USA at a fraction of the cost. I’m a Costa Rica Cancer Survivor and vouch for the medical excellence here! And I would be glad to discuss with anyone my mixture of public and private healthcare services.