How Your Life Will Change When You Move To Costa Rica

May 12, 2023 in Discover Costa Rica, Discover Costa Ballena, Life in Costa Rica

Although we recognize that there is not much room for anyone to move to Costa Rica or change locations at the moment, we are hopeful that our global situation will change soon. We at Osa Tropical Properties are all feeling happy and blessed to be riding out this storm from such a beautiful location, and where the virus has yet to be officially found. We wish all of our readers health and safety in this difficult time and we invite you to dream with us of a better tomorrow, however that may look to you.

How your life will change when you move to Costa Rica

Are you ready to make a shift in your life that will change it for the better? There are no guarantees that moving to a new place will bring you the changes that you desire. But if there is one place that opens up possibilities for trying new things and seeing the world through new eyes, Costa Rica is probably it. Dubbed ‘the land of pura vida’ (their motto of “pure life”), this small Central American nation is filled with those rare qualities that most of us dream about when we think of paradise. This is a peaceful nation with a warm climate, gentle, smiling people, hundreds of picturesque beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, and truly magical flora and fauna. Are these qualities enough to change your life when you move to Costa Rica? Every year, over 3 million tourists arrive in this nation of under 5 million to explore the many wonders of this magical place. Costa Ricans (known amicably as ‘Ticos’) have an immense pride in how visitors view their country, which likely contributes to the nation being ranked as #1 on many world happiness indices. It is also the reason why an estimated 50,000 North American and European expats now call this place home. But this is not just a nation for expat retirees, surfers, and nature enthusiasts. Young families, digital nomads, and many others who are ready to think outside of the box are finding themselves challenged to try a new style of life that is more of a surrender to the moment. So how might moving to Costa Rica change your life? Read on to see if any of these catalysts for change resonate with you.

Getting Lost in Nature

Costa Rica is a nation that delivers the best of the best when it comes to adventure attractions, exciting wildlife, and pristine, awe-inspiring, natural vistas. These are the biggest draws for those of us who grew up in more of a ‘concrete jungle,’ with very little daily exposure to nature. When you move to Costa Rica, you will find yourself living outdoors most of the day, surrounded by wildlife. Exploring the coasts and countryside will open you to a world of new possibilities. You can surf consistent breaks daily in clean, coastal waters filled with vibrant marine life. You can visit cloud forests with hanging bridges linking you through the jungle’s canopy. There is so much natural beauty in this country that you will hardly have time to remember the daily struggles of back home, like traffic, noise, and pollution. What you need to remember is that this is still everyday life. Chores still need to be done, bills still need to be paid, and you still need to look after your health. But what better place is there from which to manage your daily ‘life admin’ tasks than a small town with all of the basic services and amenities you need, while being situated in a picture-perfect natural setting?

Learning To Let Go Of Your Fears

Costa Rica’s terrains are rich and diverse, featuring twelve different natural ecosystems. These wild and rugged settings are home to all manner of tropical species. You won’t have to go to a nature preserve to see them because they will come to you... And this isn’t always ideal for everyone! You might spot a family of howler monkeys or a sloth in the trees outside your home. Or you might find scorpions and spiders inside your home. There are creepy crawlies in Costa Rica unlike any you’ve seen in North America or Europe. A relaxed person will note that these beings are not coming after you. But a tightly-wound person will likely scream bloody murder every time one flies near. Clean homes are the best way to keep the jungle at bay so keep that broom handy. But if you can’t take the regular visits from your neighbors in the jungle, Costa Rica may not be the country for you.

Taking Pleasure In The Unexpected

The warm, tropical weather that makes Costa Rica an iconic postcard destination is a big draw for most people in the seasonal Northern Hemisphere. But Costa Rica has seasons, too. Two seasons, in fact: a dry season and a rainy season. And when I say rainy, I mean pour-y! From around the end of May until about the end of November, you can expect heavy rains to arrive like clockwork almost every afternoon. And you may be thinking that this will dampen your style. But for most expats who move to Costa Rica, the rainy season quickly becomes their favorite! The slightly cooler temperatures and wetness of this season still come with warm and sunny mornings, meaning that you can continue to dry your laundry outside. And around 1pm, the clouds will roll down off the mountains and bring a delicious downpour that refreshes the lush, colorful life of the jungle and our tropical fruit and flower gardens. Without it, Costa Rica wouldn’t be the vibrant land that it is, filled with all of the incredible seasonal foods that we so enjoy. The best thing to do to come to terms with living in a jungle paradise is to take the unexpectedly good with the good.

Finding Yourself Among the Happiest People in the World

There are thousands of beautifully unique communities scattered across this small landmass. Many of them host a number of happy expats living among the local population. To move to Costa Rica, you must be prepared to accept the slogan of the people -- “pura vida” -- into your personal way of life -- for good or for bad. The reason why Ticos are so happy and relaxed is because they do not allow themselves to be forced to work on someone else’s timeline. “Mañana” is a phrase that can mean later, tomorrow, or next week. It is really up to the elements and circumstances presented by everyday life because everything that Ticos do is “pure life." A tree may have fallen, a family member may have called, or it’s simply too hot to do that job right now. Whatever it is, if you want to live in Costa Rica, you have to be able to learn patience and compassion for the things you cannot change. Because let me tell you, no amount of stressing or yelling is going to change their pura vida mentality. Soon enough, you will learn to slow down and enjoy life, letting your usual stressors roll off your back and relaxing your expectations. Their ability to let go of stress is one of many reasons why Costa Ricans are some of the happiest and healthiest people in the world. And our inability to let go of stress is one of the reasons why the most uptight potential expats in Costa Rica don’t last their first year.

Learning The Value (Not The Cost) Of Living

Costa Rica is a beacon of peace amidst a sea of uncertainty. But it is not the most perfect option for everyone considering a life in the tropics. Although this is the most stable, neutral, and financially secure nation in Central America, it is also the least affordable in the region. The reason for this is that Costa Rica strikes a rare balance between a high standard of living -- the highest in the region -- and affordability, when comparing on a global scale. The cost of living in Costa Rica is far less than in the United States and most other developed nations. In saying that, expats who are looking to spend the minimum price for the same goods that they can get back in the U.S. will not take comfort in the cost or selection that Costa Rica typically has on offer. American products and Mexican cuisine are less available than one might initially assume of a Latin American nation. But if you value quality, Costa Rica will never fail to impress you. Food may be more expensive in Costa Rica than in neighboring Panama or Nicaragua. It is, however, more likely to be locally grown, hand-prepared, and delivered to you in an incredible environment of serene beauty. Stick to the local varieties of the items you enjoy and you will experience a new kind of joy that involves supporting an economy of peaceful and nature-loving people.

Finding Peace in All of Your Surroundings

When you move to Costa Rica, you will quickly learn that the bureaucracy is a legendary negative that stands out to anyone from a first world country. For instance, the steps towards getting your visa or a building permit that you were told to expect last month may have changed even though you’ve returned to the same office. Processes that should take weeks may take years, which can be incredibly frustrating to someone who expects consistency in government systems. You will find yourself either tearing out your hair or learning how to roll with the punches. You can learn to be patient and calm while waiting for hours at the bank, chatting with your neighbors or reading a good book. The point is to know to expect a long wait anywhere you go that involves paperwork. Most processes in Costa Rica still involve paperwork and only a few things like personal banking can be done online. But as a general rule of thumb, the more documentation you have, the more likely that things will go smoothly. Losing your temper, conversely, would involve taking your anger out on an underpaid, overworked employee and will get you nowhere. Better to take a deep breath, say “gracias” for being in such a wonderful place, and take your new life in stride. You will get to where you need to be “mañana.” Do you want to move to Costa Rica? Sign up to our weekly newsletter below to get a first look at new listings in Costa Ballena, as well as featured properties, video walk-throughs, articles about living in Costa Rica, and more! 

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