This year in real estate has felt like a move to Costa Rica is suddenly on everyone’s radar. We have always known that this is a great place to live and that people from all over the world dream about moving here. It is a better setting for people who are willing to slow down and live a more gentle, more connected life.

Costa Rica was recently recognized as the third most desired destination to visit (behind Australia in the top spot and Japan) by world travelers in the Wanderlust Travel Awards. And those who have been to Costa Rica know that it is easy to fall in love with the lifestyle and want to change their whole life path after visiting. Here are 10 reasons why people want to move to Costa Rica in 2021.

1. Wondrous biodiversity

Colorfully-plumed birds. Wild cats of many sizes. Terrestrial and aquatic bioluminescent creatures. Costa Rica, more than anything, is a marvel of nature. This is one of the planet’s most biodiverse territories, with nearly 50% of the country covered in protected or reserve nature parks. People come here to immerse themselves in near-pristine pockets of nature that are easily accessible and ripe for exploration. You can spend your days identifying birds by their song or animal by their tracks in the little-tread upon soil. There are so many marvelous species here to see right in your path, like the crocodiles under Tarcoles bridge or the howler monkey troupe in your backyard. In Costa Rica, nature is everywhere.

2. Adventure

Jungle canopy walks across suspended bridges, zip-lines through the tree-tops, white-water rafting down cold and clean rivers, mountain biking the base of a volcano, kayaking along wildlife rich mangroves… all of this and so much more is at your doorstep in this small, adventure-packed country. This is the place where both the surf crowds and mountaineering crowds come to hang in some of the world’s most popular adventure destinations.

3. Active landscape 

Costa Rica is both dramatic and dynamic. Active volcanoes are home to roaring rivers and fertile plains sit at their foothills, giving home to a changing landscape of domesticated plants and animals. Central America is a tectonically created rocky spine that is most prominently visible in Costa Rica thanks to the narrowness of the country, bringing the coast and the mountaintops in close proximity. This creates a mystical dreamscape that varies greatly in a short distance, from deep reefs to sandy beaches to vivid mangroves to misty cloud forest to dry desert mountains and everything in between, always changing and in flux.

4. Friendly people

Costa Rica has been largely off the radar until recently. Tourism and development have been slow to change the country and Costa Ricans have been able to take their time to adapt to the growing interest in their beautiful nation. Ticos have been able to exercise their own onus on the politics of their country, opting to abolish the military in 1948 and pursuing other more peaceful traditions, like better education and universal healthcare. This has allowed the ancient culture of wildlife lovers to follow more eco-focused pursuits, driving many expats to want to share in the pura vida lifestyle of placid cowboys, vibrant indigenous cultures, and family-oriented people.

5. Commitment to protecting and restoring nature

Costa Rica’s goal is to be the best at conserving the environment and a pioneering scheme paying local people to restore natural ecosystems has reversed decades of deforestation and led to a doubling in the size of Costa Rica’s forests. There has been a boom in ecotourism and the economy has been boosted by $4 billion. 

Prince William’s Earthshot Prize was the most recently received award for its efforts to fight deforestation. Presenting the award, the Duchess said “A thriving natural world regulates our climate, nurtures our physical and mental health, and helps feed out families. But for too long we’ve neglected our wild spaces. And now we are facing a number of tipping points. If we don’t act now, we will permanently destabilise our planet. And we will rob our children of the future they deserve.”

This is a country famed for its protected areas and the 30th national park was added in 2020.

Renewable energy, water and refuse recycling, and localism and community co-ops are all a part of the main ethics of this tiny nation.

6. Connection with nature

Sir David Attenborough speaks about the freedom he enjoyed as a boy to wander through the natural world, collecting birds’ eggs, just looking and learning. He thinks that humans can do with more connections to nature. “I don’t doubt that it’s necessary for the welfare of the natural world, that should come first,” he said, “but the interaction between humans and the natural world has been constrained, and that is a human loss. It could ultimately be a loss to the natural world because people won’t understand it any more.”

Natural health is based on sunshine, fresh air, whole food plant-based nutrition, pure water, movement, sleep, spinal integrity, positive mental attitude, and detoxifying your environment. This type of lifestyle is easily found in this nation, which is one of only five Blue Zones in the world.

7. Safe and sustainable tourism

During much of 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic, Costa Rica was on the no-fly list for tourists of many nations. Slowly, the country reopened to the world and started rebuilding its top economic driver. Slow travel is the name of the game in Costa Rica and since before the pandemic, Costa Rica has had many health and safety protocols in action, including stipulations of what types of organic matter is allowed into the country in protection of the natural environment. And many measures have been enacted to ensure the continued ability to conduct tourism safely during a pandemic.

Among them are the application of protocols, sustainable services in all regions of the country, the biodiversity that characterizes us and wellness tourism. As a result, the tourism sector projects national revenue losses of around $400 million over the coming high season.

8. Food

Fresh food is the highlight of Costa Rica living. This country may not be known internationally for its cuisine, but that is mostly because it is not easily replicated elsewhere without the local, fresh ingredients. Costa Rican cuisine is based on farm fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, rice, and beans. This country loves to barbecue and does so at almost any occasion. Fish is a big part of the local subsistence and things like ceviche (fresh fish marinated in a sweet and sour mixture with loads of coriander) are a staple and can be found almost anywhere along the coasts. Banana leaf wrapped tamales may be the country’s delicious national dish.

9. Luxury Experiences

Boutique stays in high-end homes or luxury hotels are the best way to explore this region of Costa Rica. From a high elevation, looking down at the dynamic coastline while surrounded by verdant jungle, luxury properties are the perfect place to enjoy Costa Rica’s natural beauty. Practicing yoga in an ocean view pavilion while the mountain breezes cool you, getting a massage in a 5-star boutique hotel with a waterfall rushing in the background, and eating incredible fusion cuisine from top-quality restaurants in an amazing al fresco setting — these are just some of the many high-life experiences that are prevalent in Costa Rica’s most beautiful destinations.

10. Proximity to U.S.

The majority of visitors coming to Costa Rica in 2021 have come from the United States. Nine airlines offer direct connections between Costa Rica and the United States: Delta, United, Alaska, American, JetBlue, Spirit, Sun Country (seasonally), Frontier and Southwest. All U.S.-based carriers that served Costa Rica before the pandemic have resumed service. In addition, Avianca announced new flights between Costa Rica and the United States that will begin later this year.

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