Whether in search of the perfect vacation, business opportunities or simply an inexpensive and enjoyable place to retire, more and more people have found Costa Rica to be the ideal place for fun in the sun. Its strategic location, friendly people, warm climate, abundant natural attractions and a very competitive standard of living continue to draw people from all over the world who come looking to enjoy its many wonders.
In recent years Costa Rica has developed one of the world’s most successful ecotourism industries and has been praised for its attention to conservation. Costa Rica’s natural diversity is reflected in the wealth and range of its wildlife. With just 0.03% of the earth’s surface area, Costa Rica possesses 6% of its species. Almost 9,000 plant species have been found here as well as 800 species of birds. About 27% of the country is protected within national parks and protected zones. In Costa Rica it is possible for a person to spend the night in a scenic mountain lodge, then head to a lovely Pacific beach for an early afternoon swim before ending up at a Caribbean village partying the night away. Some of Costa Rica’s most popular attractions are sport fishing, white water rafting, canopy adventures, jungle lodges, volcanoes and beaches. A well developed tourism industry has had to quickly adapt to the close to a million tourists that visit the country every year. Even so, you won’t find hordes of tourists and cookie cutter resorts dotting the landscape. Costa Rica’s is still a land of virgin rainforests, unspoiled beaches and friendly smiles.
‘Pura Vida’ is the expression that probably best sums up the tico (as Costa Ricans are also known) outlook on life. Roughly translated it means “life is great, everything is ok, don’t worry be happy”. This happy go lucky attitude is readily apparent to visitors exploring this friendly nation, and this combined with its wealth of natural resources probably explains why so many travelers end up making this oasis their home. In a region that historically has been a hotbed of conflict, the Costa Rican people, for the most part, have experienced relatively little bloodshed. This is due in part to the country’s unique historical, geographical and cultural
Costa Rica’s proximity to the United States makes it one of the most visited eco-tourism destinations as well as a favorite retirement spot. You’re just two and a half hours from Miami, five hours from New York, four hours from Houston and about six hours from L.A. Add political stability and year round spring-like weather and it’s no wonder that the U.S. contributes nearly 49% of Costa Rica’s foreign visitors with another 9% traveling down from Canada and Mexico.
Cost of Living
Known as the Switzerland of Central America because of its high growth rates, economic stability, and low crime rates, Costa Rica enjoys a per capita GDP of $6,700, literacy rate of 95%, and female life expectancy of nearly 79 years. Costa Rica may not be a cheap place to live compared to most other Central American countries, yet, if you consider its superior infrastructure, comparatively low crime rate and high standard of living, it is still probably your best option. Expect to pay less than the U.S. and Canada for properties, rent, utilities, health care, help and basic transportation. Most people can live on less than $1,000 monthly excluding rent, and this does not necessarily mean giving up on your ‘northern’ comforts. For better or worse, Costa Rica offers visitors many of the same fast-food chains, stores and services that one would find up yonder. These include McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, Office Depot, Payless, as well as inexpensive Internet and cable services.
Still not convinced? Then why not head down here and take this tiny nation for a test drive. Explore its pristine beaches, majestic volcanoes and exotic rainforests. Enjoy its friendly people and peaceful ambience as you savor its world-famous coffee. From wind swept mountaintops, picturesque towns or a sidewalk café, wherever you go, Costa Rica has a lot to offer!