Even though Costa Rica is on the list of the most desirable tourist destination in the world, still there are few differences from going on a vacation and actually living there. This fact is valid for any place in the world really, not just Costa Rica as there are substantial differences from a temporary visit to a permanent stay.
In the last decade, Costa Rica has the highest percentage of immigrants living in its territory or nine percent of the total population. There are many reasons why this Latin American country is a desirable place to live, one is because of the wonderful nature.
However, moving to another country is always a challenge and Costa Rica is no exception. There are multiple adjustments in various aspects that you need to do in order to live a normal life.
The adjustments will vary based on many factors such as cultural, economic and religious beliefs. For instance, Costa Rica is a multi-religious society, however, over 76 percent of Costa Ricans identify themselves as Roman Catholic. The next predominant religious denomination is Evangelical Christianity, followed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Judaism, and Islam. You can find more details online about the religion in this region as there are many affordable church websites that will give you in detail information about this segment.
To adjust to Costa Rica’s expat life, you need to follow certain rules but most of all go with the flow and enjoy your stay.
- Learn Spanish
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, so it’s highly recommended you start learning the language along with your moving preparations. Locals do not have problems understanding English, however, to blend better in the new environment and to immediately get a job you need to learn Spanish. Ticos will welcome you warmly if you communicate with them in their language.
- Be polite
If you are still not 100 percent proficient in speaking Spanish, then you should be careful about how you talk to people. In Costa Rica referring to a person using the term “tu” is considered to be rude. You are allowed to address someone as “tu” or “you” only if you know the person well. For every other occasion, it’s recommended to use the word “usted.”
- The cost of living
Costa Rica is considered a developing country, therefore, the cost for the living is not as high as the US or Europe. However, due to the expansion of tourism and because Costa Rica is such a hot spot for vacation and retirement, the costs are increasing each year.
For example, buying and maintaining a car can be quite expensive, but you can still live comfortably with a monthly income between $1,200 and $1,800.
Public transport is a cheap and affordable alternative if owning a vehicle takes much of your budget.
- Different climate and health benefits
Costa Rica has the most diverse microclimates in the world or 99 microclimates all across the country. That means that you can live in the different areas of the country for a while before you decide what climate is the best for your health and body.
While the climate might be a problem, you will notice a significant improvement in your health after you move to Costa Rica. You will have better nutrition because of the various fruits and vegetables available and will get more exercise because you can be outdoors all the time and be in constant movement.
- Political and economic stability
Costa Rica has the most stable governments in all of Latin America. The great business climate has attracted a lot of investors and multinational corporations. Costa Rica has a great infrastructure and telecommunications network and a very educated workforce.
You will be able to find a job as an expat easily especially if you want to do it in the tourism sector such as restaurants, hotels and tour companies.
The banking sector is a bit complex. Unfortunately, you cannot simply open a bank account in a Costa Rica bank. You need to consult with an attorney or real estate agent to help you open a bank account. You also need to send money ahead of time, wiring your bank account with the Costa Rica Bank.
Finally, if you ever feel lost and don’t know what to do, you can always ask the locals for help. People in Costa Rica are fun and open to new people. You will get the best guidance and learn a lot about the culture and how people are enjoying life in Costa Rica. You can always ask for support in local expat groups. Use the social media and the internet to connect with people that have a similar expat status with yours.