People often ask me why I recommend living in Costa Rica, or any foreign country for that matter. There are a lot of Americans living in Costa Rica, both working there for multinational companies as well as a large retirement contingent. Living in a foreign country, whether in Costa Rica or elsewhere offers some serious advantages that many people don't even know about.
Costa Rica Blog
The cost of visiting Costa Rica as a tourist has increased due to large increase in tourism in the past 4 years. Costa Rica, a country of only 4 million people, had over 2 million tourists in 2010. Car rentals, hotel rentals and other touristy activities have risen in price but thankfully living there is still cheap by North American standards. The larger expenses in life, property taxes, health care and insurance are still amazingly cheap by US standards but traveling as a tourist is not so cheap. Costa Rica is quite rugged and what looks like an easy ride on the map may take hours longer than expected. There are four mountain ranges in Costa Rica and peaks to 10,000 feet are common. Roads aren’t the best and driving at night is not recommended since you may come across cattle, cars without lights or sudden changes in road conditions you may not have anticipated.
People ask all the time about Panama as the new Costa Rica. Both are popular expat locations and both have pros and cons. Panama is cheaper from a tax perspective since under the pensionado program there, property taxes are waived for at least 10 years but keep in mind that many who move there do not do so under the pensionado program, therefore they still pay property taxes. Candidly property taxes are low in both countries, so low that to base a consideration on where to live on that aspect makes no sense. Choose the place you like the best based on quality of life, health care, ease and cost of accessibility, activities available, infrastructure, friendliness, etc. Cost of living is candidly about the same in either country. Living in Panama City is similar to living in San Jose, lots of expats, more crime, like city living anywhere.
Some of you may have seen this article before in our newsletter but it got so many comments we thought we should put it in the blog. Let me also mention that the "executive check up" that I had at Clinica Biblica now has the cost of the check up listed in the article. (you'll have to read a bit to find it). This is the second article we have written on Health Tourism in Costa Rica because the subject seems to get a lot of interest from readers from the US and Canada.