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Plan your Retirement: Owning Real Estate in Costa Rica

After spending 40 years working a 9 to 5 job, it’s every retiree’s dream to pack a bag and move to a warmer place where the weather would be kinder on the joints. Some people work their entire lives tirelessly to achieve their dream of retiring in a tropical paradise. For some, that tropical paradise is Costa Rica.

Why Costa Rica?

Tucked between Nicaragua and Panama, this tropical country has the highest standard of living among all countries in Central America. The spring-like weather all year round is one of its selling points. In fact, majority of the 50,000 Americans who reside in this country are retirees who own real estate in Costa Rica.

Although the country’s charm lies in the simplicity that comes with living close to nature, such simplicity is not accompanied by deprivation from the comforts and recreational facilities that many Americans may be accustomed to. The Central Valley is one of the most popular places for retirees to settle in because of its proximity to the airport. For those who want to get away from the city, Guancaste is the place to go. 

Cost of Living

Even as its relatively high standard of living makes it the most expensive residence among countries in the region, Costa Rica allows comfortable lives at much lower costs than in North America or Europe. In a month, a retiree only needs $1,000 to $2,000 to live comfortably.  Rents run as low as $500 and go up to $3,000 for large houses, while labor needed in home construction is inexpensive. Looking up the Multiple Listing Service of Costa Rica properties on sites like, it is evident that property in rural areas is more affordable than in urban centers. 

Visa Requirements

Retirees have a choice between getting a rentisa or a pensionado visa. A rentisa visa requires holders to show proof of $2,500 income a month. A pensionado visa requires holders to show proof of $1,000 monthly from a pension account. Both require that the holder live in the country for at least 4 months a year.

Retirement should be about spending the best years of your life doing what you love. Afternoons should be spent on the beach even in the year’s later months. If this is your idea of what retirement should be, Costa Rica may be the right place for you. 

Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:20 PM by Saul Rasminsky

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