Best Places for Expats to Live in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is among the preferred destinations by expats, every year many tourists visit the country on vacation and fall in love with the place, they make the decision of moving here, but the first question they ask themselves is: Where should we live?

With the help from our friends from Immigration Experts, here we offer you information on the best and preferred places by expats to live in Costa Rica, we have separated the areas by province and listed the benefits of each:

Guanacaste: Guanacaste continues to be per expats, one of the favorite spots in Costa Rica to live in. The famous Gold Coast of Costa Rica the perfect mix of warm weather, awe-inspiring nature and beautiful beaches make it the perfect spot to live a healthy, happy life, surfing, fishing, relaxing, shopping. Guanacaste provides every pleasure life has. Guanacaste has developed into a self-sufficient province, featuring an international airport, private schools, boutique hotels and luxury resorts, shopping centers, business centers, all basic services and then more. The most popular places in Guanacaste for expats include:

Nosara: Home to a big community of American expats that reside near the areas of Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada. No paved roads, breathtaking nature, yoga retreats, a wide array of restaurants, make of this place an exclusive, beautiful but pricy area to live in. If Luxurious Eco Living interests you one of the best communities in Costa Rica located in Nosara is the Bellazo community by Kalia. Kalia is one of Costa Rica largest builders specializing in Eco luxury construction at prices that are very affordable built on properties that will take your breath away.  Take a look you won’t be disappointed.

Playas del Coco: A longtime favorite. Playas del Coco has a big community of expats from the USA, Canada and Europe; this area offers all needed services, including hospitals, restaurants (among them 7 different Italian restaurants), private schools and even a Hard Rock Café. Fun in the sun.

Tamarindo: The same as with Playas del Coco, this is a developed beach community. A surf town with beach bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the perfect ocean without having to sacrifice any commodities.

Flamingo: Flamingo beach has plenty of homes and condos with a view to the ocean, this area is a lot more relaxed, perfect for sport fishing. The deep blue ocean here sure inspires many.

San Jose: The capital city of Costa Rica. Pluses: Temperature is very stable. All main services are available and cater to different preferences and budgets; supermarkets, hospitals, restaurants, gyms, schools, etc. The preferred areas by expats to live in San Jose are: Santa Ana and Escazu on the west side, and Curridabat and Tres Rios on the east. These areas present similar characteristics, upscale neighborhoods, nice residential zones, close-by malls, shopping centers, private schools, hospitals, etc. Escazu and Santa Ana have a warmer climate, while Curridabat and Tres Rios are certainly a lot cooler. Downside to leaving in San Jose: traffic, which is usually heavy. Ciudad Colon is another county in the west that many expats are choosing as their home.

Alajuela: This province has many beautiful touristic places, and it also has a couple of areas with large expat communities; particularly Grecia and Atenas. Life in Atenas has a pace of its own, this small town surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations is charming and offers all basic services. Located just about 40 minutes from San Jose, Atenas is a perfect alternative for those that want to live in an urban area surrounded by nature and away from the noise and busy city lifestyle, Atenas is considered the city with “the best weather in the world” according to NatGeo, with daily temperatures of around 60-85°F and beautiful views. Grecia, close to Atenas, also has a great weather and is known to be the cleanest town in Costa Rica (some claim in Latin America). La Garita has also become popular among expats.

Heredia: Many companies have made of Heredia their center of operations and many people call it their home, it has beautiful mountain areas preferred by many expats, while at the same time you can enjoy the amenities and convenience of the city, the main problem in Heredia is the same as in San Jose, the traffic, but if you can work out the right schedule, this shouldn’t be a problem. Santo Domingo, Santa Barbara and San Joaquin are among the most liked areas by expats in Heredia, mostly because they have a cool climate, quiet atmosphere and a country charm.

Cartago: If you think Costa Rica weather is too hot for you and you rather save in air conditioning, then Cartago might be a better fit for you. During the colonial period Cartago was the first capital of Costa Rica. The Orosi Valley with its magnificent views has convinced many to move to this area. The fresh air, slow pace, and cooler-year around temperatures is a perfect place for those expats looking for a more relaxing lifestyle.

Puntarenas: Jaco, Herradura, Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Uvita, Santa Teresa and Montezuma; all part of the province of Puntarenas, beautiful beaches, a relaxed beach environment, and slightly lower temperatures than Guanacaste. Some of these areas like Jaco, Santa Teresa and Montezuma cater to a younger crowd, surfing towns with a good atmosphere to party. Manuel Antonio and Uvita are ecofriendly destinations, although Manuel Antonio also has plenty of partying places and it tends to be more upscale.

Limon: In the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica, Limon has a unique flavor to it, expats that decide to retire here are mostly European. Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo have a typical Caribbean style, picturesque and colorful. The warm atmosphere makes you feel welcome the moment you set foot here. The hot, humid weather is not for everyone. If you love nature, the raw beauty of the beach and don’t need a luxury resort to enjoy it, this is the perfect place for you,

We’ve taken you through a very quick tour through all 7 provinces of Costa Rica, as you can see each holds their own beauty; although small, Costa Rica has many beautiful places, from secluded mountain areas to fun and lively towns, or soul-healing beach destinations; you are sure to find the right fit for you and your family.


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