Best Places to Live in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific: A Comparison for Expatriates

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    According to the International Monetary Fund, Costa Rica boasts the second largest share of foreign-born population in Latin America, withan average of 10% of its population consisting of immigrants. Costa Rica is considered attractive to most foreigners for its natural landscapes, warm climate, and quality of life. Nonetheless, it is not only renowned for its breathtaking scenery but also for its reputation as a safe and welcoming country offering abundant economic opportunities.

    For those considering settling in Costa Rica, various factors come into play when selecting a location. The presence of infrastructures is essential, consequently it is important to make sure services such as hospitals, supermarkets or banks are available in the area. Moreover, checking the surrounding natural environment as well as the activities available in the area are a good way to know if this location will suit you, depending on what you are looking for.

    In fact, finding a perfect home is about aligning personal preferences with the characteristics and atmosphere of each location, enabling you to live the lifestyle you envision, whether it is a dynamic town or a peaceful spot by the ocean.

    One of the most attractive regions of Costa Rica is the Central Pacific Coast, renowned for its stunning landscapes, expansive beaches, and excellent surfing conditions. Four locations in this province are considered as particularly agreeable places to live in, each of them offering different advantages and attractions for potential residents.

    Playa Hermosa 

    One famous spot for expatriates in the Central Pacific Coast is Playa Hermosa, one of the country’s best surf locations. Living there presents several advantages.

    First, purchasing an accommodation there allows you to live next to the ocean, in a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by nature. As this place is a destination of choice, many expatriates discover a community spirit in the area. In this location can be found many mindful health-related activities such as yoga classes and meditation sessions, but also outdoor experiences such as horseback riding, hiking or ziplining. 

    Playa Hermosa is an active place, offering bars and restaurants right on the beach, from where locals can watch weekly surfing competitions. It is also important to note that Playa Hermosa has a relatively low cost of living compared to other locations on the central pacific coast.

    It is located next to Jacó, the largest beach town of the country, thus giving its residents the advantages of the city without the constraints of living in one. In fact, you can easily have access to all types of products and services with a 8-minute ride to Jacó, which offers a lot of restaurants, supermarkets, and banks, along with a dynamic nightlife. Jacó’s proximity also makes it easy to get around the country, as one of the country’s main axes, which runs all the way to San José, passes through Jacó.

    If you are in search of activities and personal growth, or a surf lover, Playa Hermosa might be for you.

    Playa Esterillos

    Playa esterillos

    In the south of Playa Hermosa is located Playa Esterillos, a beach stretching over 7 kilometers.

    This location offers a variety of real estate options, including accommodations right on the beach, as well as land on sale.

    Investing in Playa Esterillos offers an ideal setting for those seeking a peaceful lifestyle, as the beach usually remains uncrowded, providing a tranquil and serene environment. This location offers various outdoor activities such as horseback riding, fishing tour and surf lessons.

    Although living in Playa Esterillos might feel like living on a deserted paradise, you can find nearby the small towns of Esterillos Oeste and Esterillos Este. In addition, the proximity of Jacó ensures that residents can easily access all essential amenities within a short 30-minute ride. 

    If you are willing to live the Pura Vida experience, Playa Esterillos will provide you the ideal setting.

    Manuel Antonio


    The area of Manuel Antonio is a must-see when exploring Costa Rica. It is renowned for its extraordinary biodiversity and stunning landscapes, notably its national park. In fact, this place encompasses breathtaking views and white sand beaches such as Playa Manuel Antonio, Playa Biesanz, or Playa Espadilla. 

    In the small town of Manuel Antonio, you will be able to find a variety of restaurants, bars, accommodations, shops, and street vendors. While the streets bustle with animation during daytime, primarily due to tourists coming to visit the national park, the nightlife is relatively non-existent.

    Adjacent to the town lies the Manuel Antonio National Park, the country’s smallest yet one of the most visited parks. It is composed of 20km2 of tropical forest and 255km2 of ocean that are the habitat of numerous birds and mammals such as monkeys and sloths.

    Aside from exploring the national park, the area offers many nature-focused outdoor activities and eco-tours including wildlife night tours, mangrove tours and snorkeling adventures. Living in this area will definitely ensure you a deep connection with nature.

    Manuel Antonio is also located right next to the beautiful city of Quepos and its expansive marina. Quepos’ small city center boasts an array of little shops, lively markets, delicious restaurants, and cozy coffee shops.

    Whether you are an animal lover or seeking a deep bond with nature, settling in Manuel Antonio is sure to fulfill your desires.


    A little paradise just for you

    Another favorable location for living is Uvita, positioned in the southern part of the Puntarenas province, at an hour’s drive south of Quepos. This small town offers every essential amenities you need, including shops, restaurants, healthcare facilities, ensuring the comfort of its inhabitants.

    The town, now home to many expatriates, radiates a friendly community vibe and relaxed ambiance that fosters a feeling of inclusion and tranquility, making it ideal for families with children.

    Additionally, Uvita offers various outdoor activities and eco-tourism opportunities, such as waterfall tours, snorkeling excursions, and hikes through rainforests. The area is also known for the Marino Ballena Park which welcomes whales twice a year along with dolphins and various other species throughout the year.

    Moreover, Uvita is home to Envision, one of Costa Rica’s largest music festivals. Residents can also enjoy El Mercado de Bahía Ballena, a local farmers’ market taking place every Wednesday.

    If you are seeking a peaceful life in a friendly town next to the ocean, Uvita might be where you belong.

    Whether it’s the tranquil ambiance of one area, the bustling energy of another, or the closeness to nature, these four different locations offer diverse options suited to various lifestyles and preferences. Nevertheless, despite their differences, they are all enriched by the natural beauty and vibrant culture that define this remarkable region.

    Finding the perfect home

    Now that you found your ideal location, the next challenge is to find your perfect home.

    To avoid hours and hours of searching on several websites, consider turning to a local management company. Indeed, these companies have many valuable assets such as a deep knowledge of the market and established relationships with landlords and property owners. They can also handle negotiations and paperwork, saving you time.

    If you are convinced that the Central Pacific Coast is where you want to live, the company High Vibe Management could be the ideal fit for you, as they operate from Jacó all the way down to Uvita. They are specialized in assisting individuals finding a home according to their criteria and desires and can even offer additional services such as relocation services, property management, and concierge services.

    Overall, relying on such a company is the most efficient way to simplify the home-finding process and to ensure a successful transition into your new location. After that, all that is left is to simply embrace and enjoy your new Pura Vida life.

    Resonance Costa Rica
    At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel
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